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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Awkward Bathroom Situations

We discourage potty talk in our house, but forewarning….this post is full of it.  It all started last Friday.  A quiet morning that I had a couple of hours kid-free to get some blogging work done.  So I headed down to my neighborhood’s fabulous amenity, the Shady Grove Cottage. Y’all, I just love this place.

Free wi-fi, coffee, books and games.  And adults-only.  I use it about once a week and am usually the only person in there, so it’s easy for me to focus on what I really need to get done.  And it’s always nice to have free coffee at your fingertips while trying to work.Just Another Awkward Bathroom Post....So.  Last Friday, I had the place to myself.  I was banging out blog posts and updating Etsy and scheduling stuff you don’t care about.  I had been there about 45 minutes, when I hear a “noise” coming from the bathroom.

And I realize that I am NOT alone.  Someone had been in the bathroom the entire time I had been there!!!!!

So then I panicked.  At some point in time this person was going to have to come out and realize that I have been out here the entire time.  I’m not sure if you have ever pooped in public, but I feel like it’s embarrassing enough coming out of that stall immediately after, just to face anyone waiting their turn.  But this person had been in there for OVER 45 MINUTES.  And was going to come out and come face to face with ME!

So, after hearing some shuffling noises, I thought they might be finishing up.  I figured, if I could hear them, they could hear me too, right?  So I {just loud enough} cursed under my breath and made a noisy exit like I needed something from my car.

I sat in my car for over 5 minutes, texting about this dilemma to my sister Loo {who I knew would appreciate my conundrum}.  I watched the front door to the cottage….no one left.  But I couldn’t see the back door.  So I’m thinking that surely this person, {who maybe stayed in there so long because they were trapped and embarrassed?} would have jumped at the chance to sneak out that back.

So I headed back inside and settled back in to my workstation.  The bathroom door was closed and the fan was on.  How considerate of them to leave it that way.  Ten minutes later, I hear another noise….they were STILL in there!!!

I decided at this point that I had given them their chance to escape, and I refused to be embarrassed when they came out.  So I got back to work, highly distracted by now.

About 10 minutes after that, a guy comes out without making eye contact and heads out the back door.  He looks like he may be a worker for the housing developer maybe {and shouldn’t be using our amenities…}, but I let it slide.

But wouldn’t ya know it…about 3 minutes later, he’s back in the bathroom…without saying a word.  He’s in there for about a half an hour.  By then, I’d pretty much checked out of “work mode” because I was so concerned about this guys’ potty habits.  So I decided to pack it up, but right before I left….the toilet flushed, and the guy heads out the door again.

This time, I couldn’t help myself.  I know it’s gross, but I just had to check out the bathroom.  I’m picturing that scene in Dumb and Dumber….or the scene in There’s Something About Mary, and imagining all sorts of scenarios.  I figure at the very least, it should stink to high heaven, right?

But nothing!  No evidence of a struggle.  The toilet is still fully assembled.  And there is absolutely NO SMELL.

So, I never solved this guy’s potty predicament.  All I learned out of this awkward bathroom situation is that apparently his shit doesn’t stink!

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I Want to be a Bad Mom

I recently went to see the “Bad Moms” movie with a bunch of my other mom friends. Just like any other night out without the kids and with a little wine involved, it was a fantastic evening. The movie was a little crass, but absolutely hilarious, and hit the pressures of motherhood right on the nose.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, make it a priority for you and your girlfriends to go see. But let me give you a quick little synopsis without giving anything away. Mila Kunis is an overworked, under appreciated mom of two; who, like the other moms in the movie, feel like they have to be perfect.  The level of perfection expected from the moms in the movie is ridiculously exaggerated, but perfectly relatable.  An outrageous example is the bake sale that required homemade goods without: sugar, gluten, soy, peanuts, etc. So when Mila’s character decides to buck the system, be herself, and become a “bad mom”, she brings in donut holes from the gas station.  That’s when everything hits the fan.
I loved that this movie kind of poked fun at every type of mom there is, even calling some out specifically.  Each stereotype was represented in the extreme, but the point of the whole movie is that we are all just really “bad moms” at heart. We put on a show for the benefit of other people, with the help of Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram… Only showing off the 5% of perfection that is actually a part of our lives.
I'm tired of all the "good moms" on social media....perfect hair, smiling children, Pin-worthy DIYs. Am I the only "bad mom" out there?!?!?!And when fellow moms compare 100% of their hot mess (but normal) life to other moms’ 5% of perfection, the results are devastating.  Especially since that 5% that we show off to the world is sometimes completely staged, and often exaggerated.  The nauseating public displays of affection toward your spouse on Facebook hides the rough patch the two of you are going through.  The perfectly staged close-up of the DIY centerpiece that you painstakingly made, hides all the rest of the crap all over your kitchen counter.   And the “just whipped this up” comment underneath masks the chores that you neglected while DIY’ing all.day.long.  But seeing others’ similar perfect posts constantly make us feel like we aren’t doing enough; pressuring us into unnecessarily creating the illusion of a perfect life and a perfect family.  We hide our “bad mom” moments behind the illusion of a “good mom.”
 But in truth, some of these “bad mom” moments that we are so ashamed of… Our kid getting benched, a school project that looks like crap, a messy house or a Lunch-able for dinner. These are often the moments that turn our kids into nice people, rather than just little objects of perfection. The benched kid learns humility and sportsmanship, the crappy artist learns about hard work and perseverance, and that messy house and on-the-go dinner mean that you were spending time with your kids creating memories.  When you show your kids {and the rest of your world} your mistakes, your are teaching them to be themselves.  To always try their best, to not worry about what others’ are doing but focus on their own fulfilling life instead.
 So let’s stop the comparisons.  Stop the social media bragging on your 5%.  Stop the vicious cycle of enabling and championing our little losers.  Stop the excuses for bad behavior and the sheltering from everything.  We can show love to our kids by teaching them how to deal and then letting them experience real life.  Hardships.  Disappointments.  It will make them better people; able to cope with situations and have empathy toward others.  Sure, celebrate the true victories and tell your kids that you are proud of them.  Them.  Mistakes, losses, wins, straight B’s, kindness toward others, dealing with disappointment, self control, accountability, trustworthiness, generosity, etc.  Let them know that perfection is not essential, but you expect them to always try their best and be themselves.   Then tell yourself that too.
I'm tired of all the "good moms" on social media....perfect hair, smiling children, Pin-worthy DIYs. Am I the only "bad mom" out there?!?!?!

My unstaged and unedited attempt at a selfie with my silly and pouting daughters in the midst of homework and chaos. No photoshopped wrinkles. No clean house. No optimal lighting, brushed hair, or even poses. Just us.

And as for the rest of your perfect little life {on social media, anyways}…let it go a little.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a Pinterest board for every room of my house and a visions of a perfectly decorated mantle for each holiday.  I love looking at that stuff and dreaming about future houses I may have, the organization of my home when I have more time, when I finally gather all of those rustic knick-knacks to make my home “Farmhouse Fresh.”.   But the “bad mom” in me also appreciates the real life photos:  clutter, kids melting down, burnt dinners and Pinterest fails.  Because these pictures let me know I’m not alone; there are other “bad moms” out there too!  I don’t mind being perceived as a “bad mom” with a cluttered house and take-out, as long as I get time with my family and my kids turn out to be kind, independent, hard-working and humble.
So, who’s with me?  Who else wants to be a “bad mom”?
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An Unplanned Wedding

My baby sister finally got married! We are absolutely thrilled for her and her new hubby, Doc.  And her wedding weekend was absolutely perfect, and just her style.She stressed me out a bit with her “unplanned wedding.”  As a Type-A personality, I couldn’t fathom not planning every second of the weekend, but a laid-back event was just up her alley.  Once they finally picked Labor Day weekend for their wedding date, they decided to keep it to just immediate family.  They’ll have some separate celebrations with their friends later on.  As for the weekend, we were able to relax and hang  out with our “new” extended family.Our side of the family decided to rent a property in Fort Myers.  It was perfect because it had just the right amount of bedrooms in the main house, plus an adorable 2 bedroom guesthouse that our little family {we had the only kids} could invade.  The main house also had a huge living area and a nice pool, perfect for entertaining.
My mom took over the hostess role by opening up the main house to Doc’s side of the family too.  On the day of the actual ceremony, she hosted a brunch and pool party so that the two families could bond a little.The ceremony was held at a property that’s right by Loo’s apartment, right on the water.  There was just enough indoor area for us girls to get ready for the ceremony there.  Jayna and Millie loved getting their hair done professionally, and the flower crowns were perfect for my little flower girls.

The wraparound porch had a bar, some tables and a bluegrass band that played during the ceremony as well as the reception.  And although the girls were disappointed that the band didn’t know “Big Rock Candy Mountain,” the music was fantastic and fun to dance to.

Millie had the official job of throwing the flowers.  And she took it VERY seriously.

Lincoln did great during the ceremony too; he cheesed the entire time, and got in every.single.one. of the family wedding photos after the ceremony! The ceremony itself was gorgeous.  Overlooking the water at sunset, the ceremony was performed by a good friend of the family.  And since there were only immediate family members there, we all got a front row seat!Congratulations Loo and Doc!

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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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