Two Veterans and an Airplane

This week we were honored to be able to go visit the Charleston Air Force base with some good friends.  And although Dave is a Navy Veteran, he was as excited as the kiddos to get togo inside of one of these huge planes!

Chelsea and Kyle are some friends of ours from church that we’ve had the pleasure of getting to know over the past year.  And they are just one example of the amazing military families that we know.  While Kyle serves our country, Chelsea stays at home and home-schools their three children.

Celebrating our Veterans from a C17 at the Charleston Air Force BaseGetting to actually board and tour one of these planes was just incredible.  I had NO IDEA how huge they were.  Celebrating our Veterans from a C17 at the Charleston Air Force BaseAnd being inside and realizing that this one plane carries hundreds of heroes, was amazing enough…but to see numerous planes lined up on the tarmac, at this one base…put things into perspective a little bit.Celebrating our Veterans from a C17 at the Charleston Air Force BaseThe sheer number of soldiers and military personnel protecting our freedom currently, not to mention the countless veterans who have made our country what it is today.Celebrating our Veterans from a C17 at the Charleston Air Force BaseThe kids are too young to understand the magnitude of service these brave men and women provide, but hopefully this experience will foster a great appreciation for everyone in uniform.Celebrating our Veterans from a C17 at the Charleston Air Force Base

So, from this very proud and appreciative family….Happy Veteran’s Day!

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Top 10 Things to Do in Summerville in the Fall

It’s finally Fall in the South!   The weather has cooled down a bit, the mosquitos are gone {for a couple of weeks, anyway!}, and FOOTBALL season is here!  There are a ton of exciting activities going on all over the LowCountry, but today I’m gonna focus on the {not so} little town of Summerville.


 It’s small town southern living at it’s best!  Here are my Top 10 Things to do in Summerville in the Fall. 

Click here to see my Top 10 Things to do in Summerville, as featured on Charleston Moms Blog!!

Enjoy the Fall in Summerville!

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Puke, Pumpkins and Projects

Good morning!  Yes, I’m already up…it’s been a weeklong whirlwind of company, sickness, birthdays and projects {hence the oh-so-catchy title of my post}.  And I’m up early prepping for my 4 year old’s field trip to the pumpkin patch, while double checking on my 6 year old {who puked again last night, yet doesn’t seem sick at all}, and praying that the baby sleeps for another hour after fussing on and off all night….so I can get a cup of coffee please.

It’s been that kind of week.  After being at home all week two weeks ago due to the flooding in our town, I was looking forward to sending my stir-crazy kids back to school so I could finally get some work done.  But alas, some sort of stomach bug snuck into our household and hit us one at a time throughout all of last week, ending with me over the weekend….and you know if Momma is down, the household is down. Dave did a great job entertaining my parents and sister who were here last week, attempting to celebrate my birthday, and generally holding down the fort…but I’ll admit that last week was rough.  And we still may not be out of the Lysol-induced haze yet….we’ll see if she keeps her breakfast down.

But.  I am really excited to show you Jayna and Millie’s Halloween costumes, which are both almost done {with tutorials, no less!}…both were surprisingly easy, I’ve just been taking my time finishing them.  Hopefully I’ll have them up by the end of the week to give you some inspiration if you need a last minute costume.  Easy, I promise!

And my Flowertown Festival application is due by the end of the month, so I’ve ALREADY started working on what I’m gonna make for this year’s festival.  Busy, busy, busy.

Not to mention Dave has been covered in sawdust all week…which can only mean that our playroom reveal is coming soon!  The loft/pirate ship/playhouse/indoor treehouse/library/cave is done, with bedding {and a fitted mattress sheet tutorial!}…be sure to check it out.

So, I’m taking a much needed week off to disinfect my house, finish up these projects and be ready to start showing them off next week!  Stay tuned!

In the meantime, I’ve also been over at Charleston Moms Blog…sharing my famous Halloween Spider Corkscrew Bow Tutorial and some Halloween Costume Ideas for Couples!

See you next week!
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Waiting for the Dove

It’s been a tough week here in South Carolina, in my town, in my house.  Although we are so, so blessed to be safe and dry, I can’t say the same for many of our friends and neighbors in our town and the surrounding areas after the storms and flooding.  Here’s footage of a neighborhood less than two miles away from mine, where several of our friends live.

And it continues even now as the water levels are rising, roads are crumbling and dams are breaking.

But, we finally had a beautiful, sunny day…about 65 degrees today.  My kiddos got outside to ride their bikes. We drove into town for lunch with friends.  We sat with neighbors on a back porch and laughed.

And yet I still found myself complaining about yet another day off school tomorrow.  Another day cooped up at home with three stir-crazy kids.  Another argument over toys.

Clearly, I need to take a deep breath. Count my blessings.  Thank God for the sun; for the roads that are still safe in my town: for our dry house and dry toys and dry clothes;  for my family safe and sound; for the neighbors that kept watch for each other as the storms brewed.  And I need to spend less time complaining and more time praying for all of the thousands of people who have lost everything.

So take a moment with me to thank God for our blessings, ask Him to watch over the heroes out there who are helping, and to send prayers to all those affected by Joaquin.  Amen.

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4 Must Have Items to Avoid Meltdowns at Disney

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #onestopshopforbaby #CollectiveBias

How to Avoid Toddler Meltdowns at Disney-4 Items you MUST HAVE #CollectiveBias #OneStopShopForBaby #ad

Now that we’ve done Disney with a toddler three times, I consider myself a semi-expert in knowing what to pack to keep baby happy during those long, hot days at the parks.

And after a recent trip to Babies”R”Us for diapers, I realized that it’s really a one-stop-shop for all of the must haves for traveling with baby!  Really, there are just 4 things that you must take with you to avoid meltdowns at Disney:

How to Avoid Toddler Meltdowns at Disney-4 Items you MUST HAVE #CollectiveBias #OneStopShopForBaby #ad#1.  A stroller.  Yes, I know you can rent one in the park {for ~$15 a day}.  But have you actually seen those plastic buckets they expect your kids to be comfy in?  Not to mention that you have to leave the Disney strollers in the park {and lug baby and gear through the parking lot without it!}. Nah….bring your own, or rent one in Orlando to be delivered to your hotel {a whopping ~$60 for a week for a DOUBLE!}.  And splurge for the jogger, for crying out loud!  Maybe you’ll be inspired {like us!} after having the treat of pushing a jogger for a week, to go ahead and purchase your own!

How to Avoid Toddler Meltdowns at Disney-4 Items you MUST HAVE #CollectiveBias #OneStopShopForBaby #ad

#2. A stroller fan.  Get one that has the soft blades, or a good blade cage to keep those little curious fingers safe.  The air circulation inside the stroller will keep baby infinitely happier on those hot, sweaty days.  And you can always “borrow” it for yourself since it’s easy to clip onto various stroller surfaces, like the stroller handle.  Don’t forget to bring a small screwdriver and extra batteries!How to Avoid Toddler Meltdowns at Disney-4 Items you MUST HAVE #CollectiveBias #OneStopShopForBaby #ad#3.  A sippy cup/bottle leash.  These simple little straps are genius and absolutely one of the must haves for traveling with baby.  They attach easily to the stroller {or high chair, or carseat}, and then velcro around sippy cups, snack traps, lovies, etc.  It’s a great way to ensure that nothing is lost over the side of the stroller while you are trying to snap the perfect picture of your big kids high-fiving Mickey Mouse.  How to Avoid Toddler Meltdowns at Disney-4 Items you MUST HAVE #CollectiveBias #OneStopShopForBaby #ad#4.  Huggies Little Movers Diapers.  I know every mom has their diaper allegiances.  We are a Huggies family…always have been, and love that we can get ours quickly at Babies”R”Us {see photo above}.  And with the new Little Movers being the driest feeling diaper ever {and the Leak Lock protecting Baby for 12 hours}, this is for sure, another one of my must haves for traveling with Baby.  Disney does a great job with their air-conditioned and quiet Baby Centers, complete with a Disney movie and high chairs for multi-tasking with the older kids.  But let’s be honest, most of us aren’t willing to trek all the way to a baby center multiple times a day….which means that the new Huggies Little Movers’ ability to absorb on contact is essential for being able to enjoy multiple hours of Disney fun without stopping for a diaper change.

How to Avoid Toddler Meltdowns at Disney-4 Items you MUST HAVE #CollectiveBias #OneStopShopForBaby #ad

And, if you’ll just let me brag on my boy for just a minute….we are almost walking.  Like, SO close. Like, by the time I publish this, he may be off!  Lincoln has officially turned into a toddler over the course of our vacation.  He climbs all over everything {from piles of pillows, to strollers, to luggage carts!} and crawls faster than I can chase him.  And now that he can walk plow across the room, he thinks he is HOT STUFF.  So after spending a day at the Disney Parks, then feeding him vacation food and getting him riled up down at the pool….I was naive enough to think I could actually get him settled down in his pajamas and ready for bed.  It was like herding cats. Don’t believe me?  I documented it for his future wife:

As you can see…our little guy is very active!  And you can see why the New Little Movers Diapers from Huggies are essential to all the rolling around….the elastic area around the legs keep everything “contained” while we have fun!

To find out more about Huggies’ New Little Movers Diapers, follow Huggies’ Facebook page or follow Huggies on Twitter.  Wanna try them out for yourself?  Here’s a coupon for ya…how will you play in your Huggies Little Movers?

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Amelia is Four!

Happy, happy birthday to my middle little, Millie!  She has been waiting for years…and is now finally four!  We have been celebrating all week with visits from grandparents, presents, cupcakes and friends.

Amelia was born at 2:10 on August 20, 2011.  She was just over 8 lbs…not a tiny baby, but stayed bitty up until her third birthday or so when she first got on the charts in weight and height.  She’s now finally over 30 lbs and is 40 inches tall!

She has always been our little silly joy.  As a baby, she was fussy and wanted to be held a lot….but was smiley and calm if she was getting what she wanted!  She learned very quickly that facial expressions got her a lot of attention!

Millie loves swimming, animals and baby dolls.  She likes playing with her big sister and neighborhood friends.  She is tolerating Lincoln more and more!  She will eat just about anything, but is picky about amounts…some days she picks and MOST days she is a bottomless pit!

Millie is very particular about the way her clothes feel….especially socks and tags.  But she loves dressing the same as Jayna, and playing dress up in Mommy’s clothes.

Sometimes, Millie is like Jekyll and Hyde….she is silly and all smiles one second, and a hot, miserable mess the next.  She has been known to pout occasionally…

But never, ever throws any temper tantrums….

But despite her temper, Millie is so fun to be around!  She is very brave and will try new things like hanging on the monkey bars and horseback riding.

Millie is kind to others, and is quick to get an ice pack or a hug to a friend who is crying.  Her favorite colors are pink and purple, and her favorite song is “Wild Thing” {fitting, huh?}  She needs to continue working on her Knock Knock Jokes!

She got a dentist/doctor/vet office for her Calico Critters, so now she wants to be a vet…or a ballerina.

I just can’t believe she is already four.  My little Bitty is starting her LAST year of preschool and will be headed to Kindergarten next year.  Here’s to another wonderful year!

Happy Birthday Millsie!

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Wiggles and Whimsy Toy Sharing Program Giveaway

We have an excess of toys.  And yet somehow, my children are always “bored.”  Especially this summer.  They had an extremely hard time cleaning up after themselves and taking care of their things.  So I took it ALL.  Luckily, we have a nice closet in our playroom that I was able to lock all of the toys in.  What did I leave out for them to play with?  Books, alphabet blocks, and a couple of matchbox cars.  I expected whining and complaining….but instead, they got creative!

They lined up the blocks on their table, letters facing out to look like a “keyboard.”  They propped up books in front of their keyboards to be “screens” and a matchbox car served as the computer mouse.  And bam…they had a computer station for their Library!  They played for a week, just with those items!  Sometimes less is more.

Wiggles & Whimsy Toy Sharing Site

 So when I was contacted by Wiggles & Whimsy to try out their toy sharing program for the summer, I thought it would be a perfect time to practice a little minimalism and creativity in our playroom.  And since all of our usual toys were locked up, the girls got very creative with the few toys that arrived with each shipment!

I went online and looked through Wiggles & Whimsy’s selection of toys.  Most of their toys cater to the 5 and under crowd, but even Jayna was super excited about the variety of toys.  And I was tickled to see that everything is made from high quality wood, and non-toxic paints.  The toys are brightly colored, but simple…inspiring creativity!

The way it works is that you pay $49 a month for 3 toys at a time, with unlimited exchanges and free shipping to your doorstep.  So your kids can play for as long as they want with the toys, and exchanges arrive within about 3 days or so of your new order.

Our first order was the croquet set {which all of the neighbor kids enjoyed too!}, a child-sized guitar, and a race car ramp and cars.  Something for everyone!

The girls played with the toys for about a week, and then I chose another 6 toys on the website.  Wiggles and Whimsy chose 3 out of the 6 that I picked out to send us {based on availability}.  The second shipment arrived just in time for our trip to West Jefferson, NC.  Since I was going to have to entertain 6 kids under the age of 7…I chose my toys wisely!

For the little ones, I got a three-layered puzzle.  And for the bigger girls, I got the ice cream playset and the doll house.  Endless hours of pretend play!

With this shipment, I realized what a great deal Wiggles and Whimsy is.  The 3 toys I got in this shipment alone retail for about $130 if I were to buy them {and you can, right on the Wiggles and Whimsy site}.  But knowing that my kiddos would get tired of playing with them, I’d much rather rent them for a week or so, then trade out for another set of toys.  This keeps the toy clutter to a minimum and keeps the girls engaged and interested.  The service would be perfect for families with young children who are keeping the toy situation to a minimum {which is super smart!} or who have limited toy storage.

And they love getting the big Wiggles and Whimsy box on the doorstep.  Filled with fun toys and bright tissue paper, and decorated with pretty tape and ribbon, they feel like they are getting a gift every time a shipment gets delivered!

I was super impressed with Wiggles and Whimsy’s customer service too…they were very helpful and sweet.  So sweet, in fact, that they’ve given me a two-month subscription to give away!!  Normally, that would be unlimited toys with free shipping for two months for $100…but for my winner-FREE!

Easy entries! Remember you can tweet every day for an additional entry.  Tell your friends!

The Giveaway ends on Sunday night!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

We can’t wait to see who wins!!! Good luck!

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Sunday Scripture: Remembrance

Today’s Sunday Scripture is a little different.  I try to keep it simple on Sundays with a passage that has been relevant in my life over the week.  This has been a rough week, and because of that, there have been many passages that have gotten me through.  You see, my beloved Popop passed away this week.


I was blessed to have a fantastic and close relationship with Popop…from weekends at the beach house growing up, to the annual reading of the “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” before bedtime on Christmas Eve, to learning how to fish and boogie board with him.

He and my Nana were married for over 65 years.  And I vividly remember watching them do dishes together one evening when I was about 17 or so…watching them complete the chore with effortless routine…teasing each other the entire time.  And I remember thinking that I hoped I married someone who would be silly with me after so many years too…I was flabbergasted that even after 50 years they would seem so happy and in love!

Popop’s favorite thing {when he wasn’t golfing…} was to be surrounded by his kids and grandkids and great-grandkids.  So.  That’s what we did!  Every weekend growing up, we’d make the 3ish hour trek to the New Jersey shore for some quality R & R with Nana and Popop….even if it meant bringing 12 or so of our closest friends with us!!  We ate them out of house and home, I’m sure, but they are some of my favorite memories!

We are so, so blessed to have had this wonderful man in our lives for so long!  And to be able to spend such good times together right up until the end.

It’s hard to imagine Popop not here with us anymore, but I found this poem online and it brought me so much comfort.

We’ll miss you Popop!

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August 2015 Cleaning Calendar

After three trips in five weeks…my brain is reeling.  I’m not sure where I am or what day it is! But apparently it’a already a full week into August, which means I am a full week behind in getting the August 2015 Cleaning Calendar to you.  I’m so sorry!  I don’t know about you, butI’m way behind in my chores and tasks….I’m just counting the days until school starts and we can get back on schedule!

So, a few days late…here is the August 2015 Cleaning Calendar!

August 2015 Cleaning Calendar: A Chore a Day will keep your House Clean!

Click on the picture or here to download the calendar for yourself!

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A Week Retreat to West Jefferson, NC

Last week I was desperate to get away.  Lately I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed with sassy children, overpacked schedules and blogging deadlines.  So when the opportunity to head to the mountains for a weeklong retreat with my best friend and her kids arose, I snatched it up without a second thought.

Fun things to do with kids in West Jefferson, NC #travelwithkids #travel #NCmountains

Normally, we meet in Montreat, NC each summer for a week of reminiscing and playing while Betsy and Jay take their church youth group to a local church conference.  However, this year, they decided to do a mission trip in the mountains of North Carolina.  And since the teenagers and Jay were on location doing construction and house repairs, there was no room for three little girls under five.

Fun things to do with kids in West Jefferson, NC #travelwithkids #travel #NCmountains

So Betsy and I rented a Secluded Hideaway in the hills outside of West Jefferson.  Despite it’s ridiculously  steep unpaved driveway, it was the perfect getaway for us and our six kiddos under 7!  With a big, grassy lot, a HUGE wrap around deck and kid-proof interior, the kids were able to play as kids should….with little supervision and mostly outside!

Fun things to do with kids in West Jefferson, NC #travelwithkids #travel #NCmountains

Fun things to do with kids in West Jefferson, NC #travelwithkids #travel #NCmountains

Although we did have a couple of rain showers throughout the week, the temperatures stayed mild in the low 80’s….perfect for blow up pools and creek stomping at Elk Shoals.

Fun things to do with kids in West Jefferson, NC #travelwithkids #travel #NCmountains

And it was exactly what I needed.  Absolutely no agenda, except for porch sitting and coffee drinking!  I did zero blogging.  I did not check email.  I did my best not to yell at any children {it’s amazing how laid back I can be when I don’t have to get three kids ready for three different activities and we aren’t late for anything!}.  And I let the kids dress themselves.  So they dressed alike.  Or they wore the same dirty outfit numerous times.  I didn’t care.

Fun things to do with kids in West Jefferson, NC #travelwithkids #travel #NCmountains

After the kids went to bed, Betsy and I did crafts and caught up on life.  There may or may not have been wine involved.  And during the day, the babies crawled around the house while the big girls caught critters!  Frogs and lizards and inchworms, oh my!

Fun things to do with kids in West Jefferson, NC #travelwithkids #travel #NCmountains

One day, we packed up all the littles and headed into the town of West Jefferson.  Cutest little Mayberry-ish town you’ve ever seen.  Lots of little fun shops {which would have been WAY more fun without 6 kids in tow….but no complaints!} and at least 3 ice cream shops!

Fun things to do with kids in West Jefferson, NC #travelwithkids #travel #NCmountains

Fun things to do with kids in West Jefferson, NC #travelwithkids #travel #NCmountains

And with all five girls in matching outfits, we were quite the spectacle walking down the street!
Fun things to do with kids in West Jefferson, NC #travelwithkids #travel #NCmountains

Everywhere we went, people told us not to miss The Cheese Factory. And I mean everyone.  And since they don’t make cheese at THE CHEESE FACTORY every day, I actually was getting a little stressed that we were going to miss out on cheese.  Because, we just had to go there.  But when we finally went, it was nothing more than a giant observation window in the cheese factory, so you could observe the four guys in there, pushing stinky curds around.  Needless to say, it didn’t quite live up to the hype.  However, we also toured THE CHEESE FACTORY’s gift shop across the street, and were throughly entertained by the displays of old-fashioned toys, samples of fresh cheese and fudge, the silly cheese shapes, and over-sized animal statues.

Fun things to do with kids in West Jefferson, NC #travelwithkids #travel #NCmountains

Another day, we explored a neighborhood and found the local library and adjoining playground.  They both were super nice and all-age friendly!  The girls even branched out and made some new local friends, and bravely tried a huge slide, rock climbing wall, and monkey bars.
Fun things to do with kids in West Jefferson, NC #travelwithkids #travel #NCmountains

Fun things to do with kids in West Jefferson, NC #travelwithkids #travel #NCmountains

Fun things to do with kids in West Jefferson, NC #travelwithkids #travel #NCmountains

Fun things to do with kids in West Jefferson, NC #travelwithkids #travel #NCmountains

Between the novelty of being able to play non-stop with their “cousins” and the safety net of being in a small town and a secluded home property, the girls were entertained all week.  It was so nice to give them some free reign in their exploration.  They were happy and I was finally able to relax a bit.  Now, how do I bottle this contentment up and bring it home?!?!

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