{Free Printable} Back to School Teacher Questionnaire

We’re in countdown mode over here.  Tax free weekend….check.  Back to school supplies….check.  Fresh haircuts…..check.  Registration….check.  All that’s left is the back-to-school jitters.

Last year, I ended up really liking all of the teachers my children had.  And numerous times throughout the year, I wished I knew more about all those wonderful people that loved on my kids so much.  I wished I was a little more prepared to love on them throughout the year…not just at Christmas and “Teacher Appreciation Week.”

So, I figured I’d get ahead of the game a little this year, and came up with a fun little survey for the first week of school to learn a little more about the leaders in my kiddos’ lives.  And I’d love to share the printable with you!

A back to school printable about your teacher's favorite things

Click here to download this free printable of your teachers’ favorite things.  And I’d love it if you’d share this post and follow me on social media!

Find Palmettos and Pigtails on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Happy Back to School Time!

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The Summer Scene 2017

Hard to believe that summer is already half over.  Just like every year, I swore up and down that we were going to take it easy this summer…not do to much.  And just like every year, we’ve managed to pack it completely full yet again!Our summer started with a lot of gardening.  Rita’s Roots is amazing.  Rita herself comes out once a month or so and helps us clear out, spray for bugs, replant, etc.  And our garden has never looked better.  The kids love helping out…we’ve currently got okra, carrots, peppers, sweet potatoes, garlic, potatoes, kale, and tons of tomatoes.  I make salsa almost daily, and luckily my kids can’t get enough of kale chips.And we have the most beautiful Caprese Salads for lunch every day.  The yellow tomatoes are much sweeter than the red…YUM!These little guys helped us with our kale overload earlier this summer.  We borrowed them from our friend Mr. Paul’s farm for a few weeks to help socialize them so they can find forever homes.  But we may have bitten off more than we could chew with three bunnies….they eat and poop ALOT!  Meet ‘Camo,’ ‘Chillax,’ and ‘Oreo.’  They loved escaping out of their bin in order to play in the dollhouse and climb all over Lincoln.Jayna tried her hand at swim team this year and loved it!  She regularly placed 1st in Freestyle and in the Freestyle Relay, and usually got 3rd in backstroke.  We’re still working on Breastroke and Butterfly so she can rock those next summer.  I think Millie will be ready for swim team next year too….she finally got strong enough this year to swim across the pool without stopping!

Lincoln looked on (next year, Buddy!) as the girls went to Vacation Bible School and Cheer Camp again this summer too, before we headed out for a three-week long vacation!First stop was a house (and boat) rental for a week at Lake Keowee.  This is our absolute favorite place to vacation “locally”…just a few minutes away from Clemson and less than an hour from Greenville, it’s the perfect combo of lazy lake days and fun excursions.  We rented a big house with three of other families from the neighborhood….not quite as extravagant as our New Year’s Eve Vacation with 15 families last winter, but still fun!We spent all day, just about everyday out on the boat; cruising, tubing and waterfall-hunting.  Perfection.  And Lincoln apparently just needs a speedboat in order to take a goooooooood nap.  He fell asleep on those windy rides every single day.  The evenings were spent eating ice cream and playing board games…perfection!

Straight from Keowee, I drove the kids down to St. Augustine for a week with MomMom and GP while I flew out to join Dave in Las Vegas for a week.  There, I went to the spa, hung by the pool, and people watched mostly.  When Dave wasn’t in his workshops, he was at the craps table….breaking even (luckily!).Meanwhile, the kiddos were taking over St. Augustine.  They just love the pirate tours, the lighthouse and the beach.  And now that they’ve met a friend who works at the Alligator Farm, they have gotten to go behind the scenes there as well as Marineland….where they’ve made new friends with the dolphins and Galapagos Tortoises!  I don’t think they missed us at all….Although Dave had to go home to work, I went back to Florida to pick up the kids….and my parents…and we continued on to Ft. Myers on the Gulf Coast to my sister’s house for a few days.  Loo is about to have a baby in a few weeks, so we decided to spend the 4th of July with her and Doc.While we were there, we also threw her a surprise baby shower.  All of her friends and family live far away, so my mom organized a virtual baby shower on Facebook.  She had all of the invitees send gifts to her, and we wrapped and brought them with us to Loo’s house.  And while she was down at the pool with Lincoln one morning, us girls decorated Loo’s condo and prepared for the surprise shower!  She opened all of the gifts and we showed everything live on Instagram and Facebook so that everyone felt like they were there in spirit!It was a huge success and we all had fun helping Loo set up all of her new baby stuff to get ready for Baby “Bean.”  And it was double fun for me, because there is nothing more fun than being pregnant at the same time as your little sister!!

That’s right!  If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you know that we are expecting another Baby Boy this November!  We are all surprised by the news, but couldn’t be happier about our growing family!  It’s yet another reason why I’ve backed off on so many blog posts too…be sure to follow me on social media @Palmettos and Pigtails to follow along with the rest of our summer adventures!Here’s to a relaxed and completely boring rest of the summer!

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Bucket List for Mamas

When I was in college; single and kid-free; I was an adventurer.  I went away on weekend getaways.  I tried unknown foods at trendy restaurants.  I did study abroads in South Africa.  I was spontaneous.  I showered regularly.  A true daredevil.

And now, I’m happily married with three adorable children and a dreamy life in suburbia.  I love it, I truly do.  But man, a lot has changed.  Instead of tracking rhinos in the African brush, I’m attempting to avoid stepping on Legos.  Instead of “pre-gaming” for hours before going out around 10, I’m asleep on the couch in front of  the sofa before my first rerun of Gilmore Girls ends.  Gourmet restaurants are now Chick-fil-A’s and sushi has turned into leftovers off my kid’s plate.

And I wouldn’t trade one second of it.  But maybe I need to raise the bar a little.  So I decided to make a bucket list for mamas.  Some goals that we can strive for in the near future.

Bucket List for Moms

A Bucket List for Mamas

Eat your own food, by yourself {and preferably not chicken nuggets!}

  • A guilt-free Spa Day
  • 5 Minutes of Complete Silence
  • Read an adult book
  • Shave without awkward questions
  • Shower without an audience
  • Not be a human jungle gym for one day
  • Two words: Bubble Bath
  • Read a book on the beach
  • Nap….a glorious nap
  • Grocery shop without bribing with cookies and balloons
  • Fold laundry without any “help,” while watching Bravo
  • A clean house for more than 15 minutes
  • Adult radio station
  • Drink coffee while it’s still hot
  • Sleep in
  • Leisurely stroll through Target without 12 potty breaks
  • Eat candy without having to hide in the pantry
  • A Date Night that goes later than 9 pm

And the list goes on….I know that in about 16 years, I’ll be able to do all of these things again.  But I also know then all of the lovely “little kid” meltdowns moments will be gone forever.  Maybe I should make a bucket list of things to savor about my littles before they grow up…

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One Day at a Time

Hi there!  Remember me?  I know, it’s been months…I’ve missed you!  Life somehow has gotten in the way lately, and blogging has had to go to the back burner.  Or maybe off the stove completely.  I’m so humbled by those of you who have reached out to me….I don’t even know you, and you were worried about where I’d gone!  I’m still here…hanging on by a thread sometimes, but here.

I’d love to blame it on Flowertown Festival.  But in reality, I was super prepared this year, and did very little last-minute prep (usually I’m up late the whole month before doing last-minute inventory).  The festival weekend was beautiful and successful…and after a few rainy and slow years, it made me appreciate my crafty side of life again!  So…. if Flowertown isn’t why I went M.I.A……what happened?!?!In a nutshell, life has exploded.  I started working part-time for our church.  Y’all.  We LOVE our church.  Our faith has grown so much since becoming members, we’ve made an incredible tribe of friends and our kiddos are loving learning more and more about Jesus every day.  We found our place once we got involved.  Dave helps out with all things technology-wise and has an awesome group of Godly men that he meets with weekly.  And I have been helping out with curriculum and weekly logistics for the church’s kiddos for about 5 years now.  So I feel incredibly blessed to know officially be on staff and be even more involved with our church community.  They are doing great things in our little corner of the world, from feeding hundreds of people each week from our food truck to building an actual church building to allow more people to worship with us and learn about Christ.  And our kids’ ministry has exploded with over 100 kiddos in our program every. single. week.  Crazy!  And so exciting!The staff I work with is just incredible.  I’ve never been around such a creative, hilarious and Godly group of people…and I have the privilege of hanging out with them for a few hours each week.  I love my new job.  However, life with me working even for a few hours outside of the home each week has been a transition.  The hours I normally spent blogging and sewing have been re-dedicated to church stuff and meetings, so I’m learning how to structure my days….again.And let me tell ya, life didn’t slow down any to accommodate any of these changes.  Lincoln is a full-blown preschooler now {where did my chill toddler go?!?!}…with his own opinions on everything and a vocabulary that has exploded.  His little “certainly” and “you bet I am” quips keep me in stitches.  He runs, jumps, and climbs on everything he possibly can, but  doesn’t hesitate to pause for a snuggle.  The day before Easter he fell at the farm and busted his head open.  5 hours in the ER and 6 stitches and 8 staples later, he was a miniature Frankenstein….but back to his old self.  A week later, he got everything taken out and you’d never know about the gray hairs he caused me that week!Millie is finishing up kindergarten, and has absolutely blown me away with her reading skills.  This second half of the year something must have clicked because she has turned into quite the bookworm!  She pretty much has two modes…..dramatic and hilarious.  Everything is a big deal and possibly the end of the world.  So, she might as well talk in funny voices and do silly dances!  She is rounding out her school year with the first of many sleepovers and the start of gymnastics at the YMCA.Jayna blew through second grade this year…acing everything on her report card.  She was one of literally a handful of kids in her school that tested into the Gifted and Talented Education class for next year, and gets to attend the GATE summer program.  She’ll be doing chemistry, computer programming, and other STEM stuff for two weeks this summer.  Softball started late this spring and so we’ve been having 2 practices and 2 games a week.  Which would be fine except that swim team also has started 4 days a week so we pretty much live at the ball fields, at the pool and in the car every evening.  We have yet to master the art of carpooling (or family dinners, for that matter), but it’s moved to the top of my list because….well, something’s gotta give.  She and I have had some great mother-daughter dates this spring, including going to the Secret Keeper Girl Show.  If it ever comes to your town, I highly recommend it for your 7-10 year old….it’s a live Christian show that focuses on modesty.  It’s really well done and a really fun mother-daughter time!As for Dave and I, we have been in constant travel mode lately.  St. Mom Mom has come to corral the children a couple of times as Dave and I jet to conferences and business trips, with the occasional trip to Orlando as well!  We joined a few of our neighbors to head to Disney for the “Dark Side” Half Marathon….a Star Wars themed 10K and half marathon, which Dave ran two days in a row.  I am so proud of him-a 10K and then a half marathon the very next day!!  Then, all six of us headed to Universal Studios for a day of rides, Harry Potter and Butterbeer.  Although we love doing Disney with the kiddos….there is something to be said about that place during an all-adult weekend too!

So there you have it….a few things we’ve been up to the past couple of months.  We have a few more things up our sleeves, including a massive rearranging of the house.  More on that later! Thanks for checking in….I’ll be back soon!

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Sunday Scripture: Work

I have a new job!  Well, really it’s nothing new….just “official” now.  For the past 5ish years I’ve been handling the curriculum and logistics for the kids’ ministry at my church.  I do all of the social media, compile all of the weekly lesson materials, and do the scheduling of all of our kids’ volunteers.  I love it!

When we first started going to our church, we just attended.  We loved the services, music, and general feel.  But it wasn’t home.  Yet.  But then, our pastor {who was one of our very good friends, and even married us}, kind of threw us into realms of volunteering.  At first, we resisted….Dave doing the technology piece {slides and such} during worship, and me helping out with the kids areas.  He didn’t really feel like being the IT guy for church when that’s kinda what he does all week.  And I was burned out from teaching and thought I wanted nothing to do with kiddos on Sundays.

But after a few weeks of settling in and then taking ownership of our new positions, we began to feel more connected with people in the church.  The senior worship staff, the band, the set-up crew.  And for me, I was getting to know kids and their families on a personal level each week.  The senior staff has done a fantastic job of making us feel like we are absolutely indispensable…which makes us even more responsive and responsible in our positions.Sunday Scripture: Work .... a new job and a familiar callingI don’t have a link for today’s Sunday Scripture…beautiful though, isn’t it?

And after 5 years of running the backside of the kids’ ministry team, I’ve finally decided to take on the role part time for the church as an “official” staff member.  My duties won’t change, although my workload will slowly increase as our ministry gets larger.  But now, I’m part of a team.  It’s been a long time {8 years!} since I’ve worked for someone else and been a part of a staff.  And although there are just 7 of us in the “official” capacity, I’m excited to be a part of the backbone of our awesome church!  #BetterTogetherSC

Have a blessed week!

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A New Year’s Challenge!

Happy New Year!  Hope y’all had a wonderful holiday break.  We had a blast with a ton of family in town.  Then my parents took the kiddos for a few days so Dave and I could work on a few house projects.  And, I’m working on a special project this year that I’m really excited about….more on that later!

But, I just wanted to share with you that Dave and I are once again hosting a New Year’s Biggest Loser Challenge.  It’s open to EVERYONE!  And it’s only $25 to play.  There will be weekly challenges and motivation….I’d love for you to play along with us!  Here’s the link to sign up, we’ll be starting on January 9th!

Biggest Loser 2017 Challenge {Facebook Group}New Year's Biggest Loser Challenge 2017!  Join the challenge and make a change!And in case you need some other motivation or ideas, here’s the link to one of my most popular posts from when I WON a Biggest Loser Competition and lost over 30lbs in 15 weeks.  There’s some worksheets on there, and some of my diet and exercise examples.

Let’s start the new year out right and start making some changes!

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Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!  I wish you a New Year full of joy, hope and peace!  See you next year!Merry Christmas Card 2016

Christmas Trees on the Square

We have thought about moving many, many times.  But when it comes down to it, our friends and our town are completely irreplaceable.  We live in a small town.  Not tiny, for sure…and definitely sprawling by the minute.  But it’s still a small town.  We have only lived here for 12 years, and yet we see people we know all day long when we are out and about.  I love that.  Even though I’m not so keen on the chit-chat, I like knowing my neighbors.  I like that my kids will “hang out” in areas where adults know them.  You know, eyes everywhere!A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.And as for the atmosphere of the town itself…couldn’t be more perfect.  You get off of the interstate and pass by the required Target, Cracker Barrel, and Lowes.  But drive another mile down the road, and you’re transported to a one horse town {with a lot more traffic….}  The center of “downtown” is called Hutchinson Square.  It’s a little park surrounded by an old fashioned theatre, Mom & Pop shops, antiques and coffee shops.  At one end is the railroad tracks, at the other is Town Hall, with a big Christmas Tree in front.A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.In addition to weekly Farmer’s Markets, Third Thursday {wine, shopping and entertainment}, and seasonal parades, there is a huge Christmas party to celebrate the lighting of the town Christmas tree.  And the other “Christmas Trees” that surround the park, sponsored by local groups and businesses.A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.I put that in quotations because some of these groups get very creative in their interpretations of a Christmas tree!A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.F3 and FIA are two workout groups that are huge in our town.  Dave is one of the leaders of F3 {the guys version}…they work out, hang out, and pray together-for free.  Daily.  In multiple locations.  It is by far the best thing that has happened for Dave in a long time.  Not only is he healthier and stronger, but this group of guys has provided him the Christian fellowship that has made him such a great role model in our house and in our community.  F3’s tree is a great representation of their group,  They work out with very little equipment….mostly tires, cinder blocks and telephone poles!  And every guy that shows up for a workout gets a nickname.  Dave is “Picasso.”A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square.A tour of our town's Christmas Trees on the Square. Hope you enjoyed taking a little tour of our Christmas Trees on the Square!

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Thank You for Bedtime

I’m not really sure how we fell into the pattern, but when we are both home and available, my husband and I divvy up the bedtime routines.  And somehow, he usually ends up putting the girls {who are 5 and 7} to bed, while I put “the baby” {who is 2} down.

I’m sure our little system started back when I was ginormously pregnant and physically unable to lean over the bathtub to bathe the girls.  Or maybe when I was constantly nursing a newborn, trying to convince him to sleep in his nursery while his sisters giggled next door with their daddy.  Either way, somehow the tradition has stuck that Mama puts “the baby” down.

I know, I know.  He’s hardly a baby anymore.  He’s just about two and a half now, and almost as verbal as my 7 year old.  He’s potty trained, knows all of his letters, and goes to pre-school three days a week.  Let’s face it…he’s well on his way to being a little kid.

But.  He’ll always be my baby.  I mean, all three of them will always be my babies…but he is my final baby.  Admitting that is hard for me to do.  Although I panic at the thought of being pregnant again or having to start all over, I also envy the tiny snores and sweet baby toes that my new mama friends still get to enjoy.  I’ll always be up for snuggling the closest available baby, but I fully recognize that it won’t be my own.  And as ready as I am for the next phase of my family life, I tear up  even as I type this.Dear Husband, thank you for bedtime. #motherhood #parenting #baby #children #finalchild And so, I’d like to thank my husband.  My better half.  My baby-daddy.  For letting me have bedtime.  For letting me completely coddle that almost-two-and-a-half year old for awhile each night.  For letting me read him too many stories, sing him too many songs and then turning out the light and just rocking him for a few more minutes.  I cherish those little moments.  And he loves them too…I know this because I never have to coax him up into my lap or to even turn around and lay his sweet head down on my chest.

During the day, I’m your average mommy….often annoyed at his two-year-old antics.  I don’t use baby talk with him, I encourage him to clean up after himself, and  give him choices to encourage his independence.  Soon we’ll be fighting over dirty clothes on the floor and unfinished homework.   But for now, after bath time, he gets my undivided attention and the chance to be a complete “Mama’s boy.”  And because his daddy is willing to put “the big girls” to bed every night, I get to soak up a few more precious moments with “my baby.”

Thank you dear husband, for bedtime.

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Halloween Wrap-Up 2016

Another Halloween is in the books!  Once again this year, my parents were able to come for the weekend, so we also went to the Coastal Carolina Fair.  Busy weekend!Halloween Wrap Up! DIY Kid Costumes and a Night at the Fair #Halloween #HalloweenCostumes #DIYCostumesThe fair comes to town for about 10 days around Halloween every year.  It’s one of my favorite Fall traditions.  And it’s {usually!} the first cold snap we see around here.  This year, however, it was a sweltering {and mosquito-filled} 85 degree day.  But the friends, funnel cake, rides and animals made it all worth it!Halloween Wrap Up! DIY Kid Costumes and a Night at the Fair #Halloween #HalloweenCostumes #DIYCostumesHalloween Wrap Up! DIY Kid Costumes and a Night at the Fair #Halloween #HalloweenCostumes #DIYCostumesHalloween Wrap Up! DIY Kid Costumes and a Night at the Fair #Halloween #HalloweenCostumes #DIYCostumesI think this might have been the last year we were able to stay in KiddieLand, with all of the younger kiddie rides.  The big girls’ knees literally did not fit on some of them!  Plus, they were begging to ride the swings and go through the mirror mazes.  This was the first year that Lincoln got to ride anything, he was hooked on the line-up of vehicles that rode around in circles….reminded me of the old boardwalk rides at the Jersey Shore.Halloween Wrap Up! DIY Kid Costumes and a Night at the Fair #Halloween #HalloweenCostumes #DIYCostumesSince Halloween fell on a Monday this year, the kids were able to wear their costumes to school for the annual StoryBook Parade.  Jayna was Princess Leia and Millie was Charlotte the Spider.  Millie’s costumes was easy to make….I found the spider web skirt at Target and then I used chalk to draw a web on a black leotard.  We used sparkly foam sticker letters to spell out “Some Pig” and safety-pinned some spiders from Michaels all over her.  No ruining of the leotard necessary!Halloween Wrap Up! DIY Kid Costumes and a Night at the Fair #Halloween #HalloweenCostumes #SpiderCostume #DIYCostumesHalloween Wrap Up! DIY Kid Costumes and a Night at the Fair #Halloween #HalloweenCostumes #SpiderCostume #DIYCostumesJayna’s costume was a little more involved since I made it from scratch, but still easy.  I folded a sheet in half and laid her down on it.  And then I literally drew the outline of a dress around her body, cut it out and sewed it together.  Easy peasy.  I added a little collar and used painted scrap fabric for the belt.Halloween Wrap Up! DIY Kid Costumes and a Night at the Fair #Halloween #HalloweenCostumes #PrincessLeiaCostume #DIYCostumesHalloween Wrap Up! DIY Kid Costumes and a Night at the Fair #Halloween #HalloweenCostumes #PrincessLeiaCostume #DIYCostumesLincoln was an alligator this year, which all started when he saw the hat at the Dollar Store!  We also found three green tee-shirts there, which brought the cost of his costume to a whopping $4!  I’ll have a tutorial another day, but I cut off the arms and sewed up the holes to create his pants, and then cut a tail from the third teeshirt.  A little hot-glue and some scrap felt…not to mention Crocs {get it!?!}  finished off his costume.Halloween Wrap Up! DIY Kid Costumes and a Night at the Fair #Halloween #HalloweenCostumes #AlligatorCostume #DIYCostumesThank goodness he stopped long enough for his teachers to snap a picture at school!  Once trick-or-treating started that night, he didn’t slow down!Halloween Wrap Up! DIY Kid Costumes and a Night at the FairHappy Halloween!

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