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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Sunday Scripture: Marriage

Happy Sunday!  We are enjoying some family time this weekend in Atlanta at a cousin’s wedding.  It’s been awhile since we’ve been to a wedding, but I just love them….brings me back to my wedding planning days.  And listening to the newlyweds repeating their vows just reminds me how much I love my husband, and our little life together.

And it just so happens that our church’s memory verse for the sermon series is Ecclesiastes 4:9…which literally ties into today’s Sunday Scripture:

“Two people are better than one.  They can help each other in everything they do…And a rope made out of three cords isn’t easily broken.” -Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12b NIRVSunday Scripture: Marriage, Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12b #faith #SundayScripture #BibleVerses #marriage #weddingscripture

I found this Unity Braid Shadow box from BCPlaxidermy on Etsy, and thought it would be a great image for this week’s Sunday Scripture.  I’d love to have this in my house….it’s a great reminder of the strength of a God-centered marriage.  Check out the link above to see more details about it.

Have a blessed week!

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A Garden Story: Part 2

The first days of summer vacation are here and we are up to our ears in greenery.  We have been working hard in our luscious garden along with Rita from Rita’s Roots, and it’s completely flourishing.  We have already reached the end of our first spring harvest.  And let me tell you, our 12 tiny little lettuce plants have produces beautiful salads for us about three times a week.  We have more lettuce than we know what to do with….giving it away to neighbors and friends weekly!  And just think…the bunnies have eaten half of it!A Garden Story: Part Two.....okra and tomatoes and cukes, oh my!Next to bloom is tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and okra…and we’ll be planting some sweet potatoes this week.  We have three different kinds of Basil {sweet, cinnamon, and lemon}…with the purple being the prettiest!A Garden Story: Part Two.....okra and tomatoes and cukes, oh my!And see those big leaves in the left hand corner?  They are broccoli plants!  We’ve gotten some huge heads so far, and have found a few yummy and fast recipes for baked broccoli, that I’ll share with you soon.A Garden Story: Part Two.....okra and tomatoes and cukes, oh my! We’ve also added some cutting flowers in the corner, and marigolds to keep the bugs away from the tomatoes.  We are a little “arugula-ed” out, so the bunnies have been helping to keep those massive plants producing.  And way back in the right hand corner, our carrots are starting to sprout!I love how they created this small garden at the end of their backyard....shows ways to use every inch of space including planters boxes, vines and trellis.

Stay tuned for the next installment of our Garden Story!

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10 Ways to Tell if Your Neighborhood is Really a Village

 “It takes a village to raise a child.”

-African Proverb

It’s one of the most well-known quotes in the world.  The basic meaning is that child upbringing is a communal effort.  Everyone in the extended family, as well as in the wider physical community; is involved in the raising of the children, the tending of the land, and the overall health of the village.

Do you live in a “village?”  Many of us live in neighborhoods, but can we consider them our “village”?"It takes a village...." Everyone has good neighbors, but do you consider yours a village?Here are 10 ways to tell if the people in your neighborhood are really your village.

  1. They are the unofficial neighborhood watch.  They post on Facebook if there is a loose dog or a creepy truck hanging around.  They call and confirm with you when they see a random dude in a nondescript uniform walking around in the backyard.  They are keeping the whole village safe.
  2. They are your kids’ home away from home.  Your kids feel safe talking to and being around them.  You feel comfortable with your kids spending significant time in their homes.  Often they have similar rules to yours, and so you feel good about your kids being raised there for a couple of hours every day.
  3. Everyone’s alley, sidewalk, driveway and yard is fair game.  Because of #1 and #2, you know that someone always has eyes on the kids, and will have band aides or a bathroom available at any given moment.  And at the very least, they are willing to yell “CAR!!!!” as the children scramble to to sides of the alley, out of the way.
  4. They are your social life too!  Porch gatherings, block parties, game nights, pool days.  It’s nice to have other grown-ups to talk to…  We have even gone on vacation with some of our neighbors!!
  5. They take care of your “stuff.”  They bring you meals when you have a baby, mow your lawn when your hubby is out of town, chase after the trash that blew out of your overflowing trashcan, bring in your mail and water your garden when you are on vacation, and let your dog out when you are stuck in traffic.
  6. They are a portable grocery store.  Need a cup of sugar?  Next door.  Two aspirin?  Three doors down.  Three scoops of dog food?  Behind you.  An extra carseat for the day?  Across the street.  No sweat.
  7. They support you and your kids financially.  They are willing to take one for the team and buy 6 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies and 12 rolls of wrapping paper.  Not to mention, they will come to every.  single.  one.  of your Arbonne/Thirty-One Bags/Pampered Chef parties so you can get the free hostess gifts.  Provide mimosas and you’ll double the crowd!
  8. They yell at your kids.  They care about the well-being of your children enough to know when they need to be corrected.  And the relationship they have with you allows them to feel comfortable doing it.  And you are fine with it! {see #2}
  9. They don’t judge you.  They have seen you, your family, and your home, at your best and worst.  And they still love you.
  10. They trust you with their needs too.  You are more than willing to carpool, be an emergency contact or even an occasional babysitter, and you are happy to do #1-#7 for them too!  But just like them, you also are a shoulder to cry on and an ear to vent to.  After all, the health of the village is dependent on the health of the adults in it.

I am so very lucky to live and raise my kids in a fabulous village…how about you?

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Fearlessly Creative Mammas

 

Low-Calorie Summer Ale Recipe

And just like that, our nice, breezy spring is gone and summer has it full force.  It was 95 degrees today and was like stepping into an oven as soon as the door opened.  Stifling.  As in, hard to breathe muggy.  And so with the temperatures already soaring and all the monsters kids home for the entire summer …       I need a drink!

Annnnnd…once again, Summer Ale saves the day.  Passed around the neighborhood and the internet about a dozen different ways, I’m gonna share my lower calorie version with you today.  It’s refreshing, simple to make, and made with beer and tequila….so it’s the manliest cocktail around!Low Calorie Summer Ale: a necessity for hot summer days

You’ll need:

a 2 qt pitcher

about a half of a 2L bottle of Sprite Zero 

2 bottles of Corona Light

about a half a bottle of Tequila

a can of frozen Minute Maid LimeadeLow Calorie Summer Ale: a necessity for hot summer days

Dump the frozen limeade into the pitcher.  Fill the empty limeade can up with tequila and dump it in.  Then pour the two Coronas in.  Fill up the empty limeade can with Sprite and dump it in, and you should have room for one more can full of Sprite.  Mix it all up until it is a pitcher full of fizzy goodness!

Enjoy!

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Lime Shaving Cream Playdough

Sometimes, you just gotta make a mess with your kid.  Lincoln is all boy….but he does not like getting “messy.”  He’s the first one to ask for a napkin or baby wipe at dinner, and often is skeptical about eating yogurt or applesauce {not in a pouch}, because it’s “too messy.”  So today, while the big girls were at Cheer Camp, we decided to get a little messy!  We made Lime Shaving Cream Playdough!Lime Shaving Cream Play Dough Tutorial: our messy trials and errors! Now, I found pretty much the same recipe all over Pinterest, so I figured it couldn’t be that hard.

Equal parts Corn Starch and Shaving Cream with a pack of Jello powder mixed in for color and a pleasant smell.  {Remind the kids it’s not to taste!}Lime Shaving Cream Play Dough Tutorial: our messy trials and errors!Lincoln was not so sure about it at first…he had about a 2 minute show-down with the shaving cream.  I physically had to put his hand in it and move it around before he started enjoying it!  {He immediately asked for a baby wipe!}Lime Shaving Cream Play Dough Tutorial: our messy trials and errors!As for our equal-parts concoction….I forgot that the jello made it more powdery, so it was pretty crumbly at first.  So I added some more shaving cream.Lime Shaving Cream Play Dough Tutorial: our messy trials and errors!Whoops!  Too much!  I forgot how fast shaving cream comes out, and how quickly it expands.  So we added more cornstarch….nope.  Then more shaving cream.  Then the last of the cornstarch…and it was still a little too moist.  So, I gave up and just let him play in the mess {which he seemed perfectly fine with, now!}.Lime Shaving Cream Play Dough Tutorial: our messy trials and errors!But then a funny thing happened… the more we worked with it, the better the consistency got.  I’m not sure if the shaving cream kind of evaporated after a few minutes, or what, but we just kept playing with it and it dried up to the perfect consistency after about 2 minutes of messy, sticky, gooey play.Lime Shaving Cream Play Dough Tutorial: our messy trials and errors! The end product reminded me of Moon Dough…a little crumbly, but fun to roll around.  And perfect for little toddler hands to manipulate, squish and roll.Lime Shaving Cream Play Dough Tutorial: our messy trials and errors!

So, by trying to mix the cornstarch and the shaving cream together on the tray, it ended up being a messier project than necessary…I think next time I will mix it up in a bowl first.  But the experience was really good for Lincoln, and he ended up really enjoying himself!  He rolled the shaving cream play dough around into balls, counted them, and lined them up by size {“Daddy, Mama, Sissy, MiMi, Nincon”}, and smooshed  everything!  An overall success!

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Fearlessly Creative Mammas

Sunday Scripture: Memorial Day

In the midst of this celebration weekend…the BBQs, the pool parties, the beach houses…let’s take a moment and remember those who have given us the freedom to be able to do all these things.  And although we will never be able to repay those who have sacrificed for us, maybe we can remember this verse from Galatians in our daily lives.Sunday Scripture: Memorial DayThanks to Sonoma Christian Home for today’s Sunday Scripture image.

And from the bottom of my heart, thank you to all those in service to our wonderful country.

Have a blessed week!Palmettos and Pigtails Signature

The Orange Conference: It’s Just a Phase

Recently, as one of the children’s ministry leaders at my church, I was blessed to be able to go to the Orange Conference in Atlanta for three days.  It’s a small group and student ministry conference put on by the group that writes the Orange Curriculum {which we use at church}.  This year, their theme was “Monday is Coming”….essentially studying how you are using your impact on Sundays to influence the rest of the week for your younger church goers.Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!But another underlying theme {and the title of their new promoted book}, was “It’s Just a Phase.”  The entire back gallery of the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth, GA was fantastically decorated to represent a child’s journey through childhood….birth through college-age.Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!Now.  I am not an overly sentimental person.  I throw away most of my kids’ “artwork.” We don’t buy every.single.school.picture. each year.  I can easily hug my kids goodbye and head out for a 4 day trip to Atlanta with my girlfriends without even looking back.Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!But.  Let me tell you….walking through that gallery was enough to make me a little misty eyed.  I’m sure I was just tired, or had some dirt in my eye.  Allergies, I’m sure.  Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!It all started with a simple display of doors, each labeled with a childhood phase.  A handwritten note encouraged us to write our children’s names on the appropriate doors, which were to be packed up and taken across the country on the “Orange Tour.”  Along the way, the Orange staff and conference attendees would pray for all of the children on the doors.  It’s nice to know that someone else is praying for me and my kids as we conquer this phase of childhood.Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!Walking past the doors led you down a corridor with displays depicting the phases of childhood.  It was a little overwhelming to me, staring down this loooooong hallway that symbolized 18 years of a child’s life.  On either side of the hallway were clusters of displays…peeks into the different phases of  your kid’s life.Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!But seeing the individual bedroom displays for each age period, decorated with actual toys and lovies that my kids have {already!} outgrown, put me over the edge.Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!And of course the artwork hanging on the walls and leading up to the next display area reminded every parent there that every phase is fleeting.Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!They had jars of marbles in each scene….one marble for each week that aged kid had left before he was grown.  The jars nestled amongst teenage clutter and baby toys was subtle….Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!But when I found a display that explicitly showed how many weeks I have left with each of my three kids?  Powerful.Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!So I’m not sure if it was the four day vacation away from the stress/kids/mess/busyness/sass/fighting/nagging

but I came back feeling more renewed, calm, and patient.  Not that I’m looking forward to all of the challenging phases, but I feel like now I have a mental picture of the time I have left with my kiddos.  Childhood: It's Just a Phase...you are literally losing your marbles!And although some phases are tough, I know they are all stepping stones to becoming a loving, responsible and Christ-like adult.  And I’m trying my best to appreciate everything about every phase.

Because I am literally losing my marbles.

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Sunday Scripture: Birthday

Today is my baby boy’s birthday!  My little one is {already!} two years old and is our pride and joy.Sunday Scripture for a Birthday Boy!It’s amazing to me how much he has changed over the last week, let alone over the last two years.  Let me tell you, this boy keeps us in stitches and is often my saving grace from all the girl drama around here.  He is silly, sweet, cuddly and kind.Today's Sunday Scripture is dedicated to our Birthday Boy!And boy does he love to dance!  He’s still crazy about cars, balls and Legos…and has finally won Maggie over with constant treats.  He’s learning how to jump, talks in full sentences, and can pout with the best of them when he doesn’t get his way.  He’s getting a balance bike for his birthday so he can start keeping up with his sisters on their bikes!Today's Sunday Scripture is dedicated to our Birthday Boy!Lincoln loves to sing {“Twinkle Twinkle”, “Down to the River to Pray” and “Ba Ba Black Sheep” mostly}, knows about 20 of his letters and can count to 10 {as long as you don’t miss #4!}.  And since he is all about Batman undies and M&M’s…we are starting to potty train this week too!

We are just so blessed to have this little joy, Lincoln, in our lives!  Happy birthday Bubba!Sunday Scripture for the birthday boy! You can buy this week’s Sunday Scripture print on Etsy from Taylor Elliott Designs.

Have a blessed week!

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Sunday Scripture: Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day!  Today, instead of a Sunday Scripture verse from the Bible, I found a lovely quote from Donna Bell a while back on pinterest…and I think it’s just perfect for Mother’s Day.Although it's not a typical Sunday Scripture Bible verse, this is a great quote perfect for Mother's Day!

I am so greatful for all of the women and mothers in my life….my mothers, grandmothers, sister, best friends, and all of my fellow mamas up the street and around the world, who have raised me, supported me, laughed and cried with me, drank with me, and helped me raise my kids.  I truly would not be the woman, or mama, that I am today, without all of them.

Love you all!

Have a blessed week!

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