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!

Palmettos and Pigtails Signature

Sunday Scripture: Friends

I have been overwhelmed lately.

With heavy emotions and sadness over all the tragedy happening all over the world, but especially so close to home.  With worry about the future of the leadership of our country.  With busyness in our everyday summer schedule.  With stress over the things on my to-do list.  With frustration, when my kids are at each others’ throats and not doing a darn thing I’ve told them to.  With, with, with.

I need to breathe.  I need to pray.  I need my friend.

Luckily, she is literally on her way to my house!!!!

And with that thought, I feel some of the weight fall off of my shoulders.  The thought of an entire week surrounded by my children and my God-daughters rekindling their relationship with each other, while being in constant proximity to my best friend….just soothes my soul.

Sunday Scripture: Friendship

Today’s Sunday Scripture Image is from In-Courage

Usually, we go to Montreat during the summer.  Or at least hide out in the mountains for a week.  But this year, the whole crazy train is coming to my house, and I couldn’t be happier.  So I’m signing off for the week for some much needed Betsy-time.  Follow me on Instagram if you want to know what we’re up to!

Have a Blessed Week!

Palmettos and Pigtails Signature

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?

Palmettos and Pigtails Signature

I’m linking up here this week!

Fearlessly Creative Mammas


Holiday Recap 2015

Happy New Year friends!

I know I was MIA over the holidays….but hopefully you were too busy with your families to really notice!  We hosted Christmas at our house again, with both Dave and my families coming into town for a few days.  The week was a blur of wrapping paper, Christmas cookies, giggles and snuggles….couldn’t have been more perfect!  So here is my little Holiday Recap:Holiday Recap 2015 from Palmettos and PigtailsWe held our annual Christmas Eve Brunch for our friends again this year, down at the Farmhouse {our community center}, and once again, Santa made room in his schedule to squeeze in one last visit.Holiday Recap 2015 from Palmettos and PigtailsLincoln was pretty tolerant of Santa, but this was the year that Millie was really intrigued by him.  Santa always sits the kids down and tells them the story of Baby Jesus’ birth and how Santa plays a role in Christmas too.  Holiday Recap 2015 from Palmettos and PigtailsHoliday Recap 2015 from Palmettos and PigtailsAnd sure enough, it didn’t take long for Millie to make her way up and stand by Santa’s side for the rest of the story!Holiday Recap 2015 from Palmettos and PigtailsBut the highlight of our party this year was that we were able to get a ton of family here in time.  In addition to my parents and grandma, we also managed to get about half the cousins on my mom’s side of the family in one big picture too!  Hard to believe that this is only half of us!Holiday Recap 2015 from Palmettos and PigtailsChristmas Morning was delightful when the girls realized that they lucked out with two American Girl dolls each!  Santa brought them new ones, and Mommy and Loo Loo also gave them the dolls that we had as kids, including their whole wardrobe!  Holiday Recap 2015 from Palmettos and PigtailsSo we spent the morning unwrapping, and undressing, and redressing, and combing and playing with the American Girls.Holiday Recap 2015 from Palmettos and Pigtails And as for Lincoln, he was more interested in the fruit and cracker tray that was put out for breakfast than toys, but he lucked out with a bunch of new balls and a push mower from Santa!  The kiddos loved spending time with all of their grandparents, and we loved having a full house again!

My parents took the girls for a couple of days so that Dave and I could renovate the playroom {and make some much-needed room for dolls!}….it turned out beautifully, but I still have a few finishing touches to make on it before I can show it to you…that’s on my to-do list for this weekend.

On Tuesday, we swapped out the girls for Lincoln, and my parents whisked him away to FL while the girls, Dave and I made the trip out to the Smokies for New Year’s in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  We’ve visited Gatlinburg several times now, both as a family {before Millie was born!} and with friends {to ride the Polar Express!}…but nothing like this!Holiday Recap 2015 from Palmettos and PigtailsThirteen families from our neighborhood all rented one ginormous house and partied all weekend!  A total of 57 people in one house! We celebrated New Year’s together {at 8pm too for the little ones!}, watched Clemson rock the bowl game together, and spent time snow tubing and shopping together. Holiday Recap 2015 from Palmettos and PigtailsYou can see more highlights from our vacation if you check out {and follow me on} my instagram account.  Needless to say, it’s back to the real world now…the laundry is mountainous, the Christmas decorations are still up and I am still recovering from the late nights on vacation.  So, these have to take priority for the rest of the week while we get back to the grind.  And as for the first part of the year?  It might be a little slow for me here on the blog as I’m once again really going to concentrate on increasing inventory for Flowertown Festival and Etsy.  And since I’m doing some appliqué and embroidery now too, I’ve got my hands full!Holiday Recap 2015 from Palmettos and Pigtails

So hang with me this year, as I get back into routine.  Be sure to subscribe by email so you’ll know when I post, and follow me on Facebook and other social media to see more of my day to day life…it’s way easier to update that than write a whole post!  As for us, we wish you and your family a blessed 2016!!

Palmettos and Pigtails Signature

A Friendsgiving Celebration

We are transplants.  Dave and I both grew up elsewhere and moved to the LowCountry as adults, so we are considered transplants…and most of our friends and neighbors are as well.  So with most of our family living far away, we rely heavily on the support and love of our local friends…our little “village.”  So important and so appreciated!

So, we were thrilled when a small group of our friends decided to have a little “Friendsgiving” Celebration right before the Thanksgiving Holidays.  We ended up traveling to Florida this year, but were happy to help throw a small potluck together at our neighborhood’s Farmhouse, and just love on our Framily a little….ok enough of the portmanteaus and mashups….on to the pictures!

Potluck Friendsgiving Dinner

Our decor was simple…a few of us brought some of our Fall-themed decorations {pumpkins and bunting and such}, for a little effect….but we wanted the emphasis to be on each other, not a Pinterest-worthy party.  For a table-cloth, we used a roll of brown butcher paper.  We set out Sharpies for the adults and crayons for the kiddos to decorate.

A couple of turkeys at our Friendsgiving Dinner

All of our kiddos were 6 and under {Jayna was thrilled to be the oldest…which obviously made her the bossy babysitter by default!}, and were so, so easy to entertain while the adults socialized.  I brought some toddler toys {Duplos, trucks and balls} for the littles, and glowsticks for the “bigs” who just wanted to RUN outside!

A bunch of turkeys at our Friendsgiving Dinner

I also found these cute coloring pages that turned into funny turkey glasses.  I think everyone {including many of the adults!} made and wore them!

Dave smoked 3 turkeys for the crowd, and everyone else brought side dishes and dessert to share.  I made Mulled Apple Cider in the crockpot and couldn’t pour it fast enough after dinner…so I packaged up the spices and sent some home with everyone.

A little jar of Mulling Spices for Hot Apple Cider was the perfect party favor for Friendsgiving Dinner

 It was a hot mess of hot cider, ladies’ laughing, pecan pie, kiddos running around and the men huddled around the fire pit.  It was perfect!

Palmettos and Pigtails Signature

5 Must Haves for a Girls’ Night In {and a Giveaway!}

Life has been hectic around here lately.  Between spring cleaning, spring fever, sports, after school activities, traveling and the upcoming Flowertown Festival, I haven’t had a chance to catch my breath.  Let alone catch up with my girl friends.

So I decided to have a Girls’ Night In.  I didn’t feel like putting on anything but yoga pants, let alone go out on the town, so I invited the ladies in my Bible Study to have a Spa Night at my house on Monday.  I’m not sure if you’ve ever had one, but Girls’ Night In is the best.  It’s just about some good food, good drinks, and good friends.

Now, I love to entertain, but I just wanted to relax for this party, so I invited my friend Allison over to pamper us with some of her awesome Arbonne products.

1. Good food.  Have a mix of healthy, sweet and savory things to eat.  I like to make everything finger foods if possible to make nibbling easier.  For this evening party, I had pound cake cubes, a fruit platter with whipped cream, and a cheese cube and mini club cracker platter with honey.  I found colorful spring plates and napkins to complete my buffet.  Toothpicks replaced silverware!

Girls' Night In Ideas: Bite Sized Foods {both treats and healthy!} are a Must Have

2. Good drinks.  Keep in mind the tastes of the guests at your party.  At this particular one, I chose to serve chilled white wine and homemade Skinny Sangria.  I found the recipe over at Living Locurto if you want to try it.  Some said it was too sweet, but most of us loved it!  Low on carbs and sugar…

Skinny Sangria: One of Five Ideas for a Girls' Night In

3. Good SWAG.  You know me.  I am all about some free stuff.  So when I have parties, I love to give out little favors, or have a little something that my guests can take home.  When I threw my Pinterest project party, we all made a reclaimed wood sign to take for our homes.  When I threw Millie’s Mermaid birthday party, the little girls got to go home with a silky pearl hair clip.  For this party, spring was in the air…so the takeaway was little pots filled with gardening tools, seeds, and {of course} some Arbonne samples.

Girls' Night In Ideas: Favors or Crafts to match the theme of the night

4. Good Friends.  I’m blessed to be surrounded by many wonderful people that I can call friends.  I have a group at church, a group in my mom’s club, a group in my neighborhood, etc.  So when I plan my Girls’ Night In nights, I try to stick to one group at a time to keep it intimate.  That way everyone pretty much knows everyone else and can feel comfortable and relax.

Girls' Night In Ideas: Spa Night with Close Friends and Arbonne

5. Good Entertainment.  Whether you are watching the latest {or a classic} chick-flick, applying fun Jamberry Nail wraps, or even just laughing around a campfire, there needs to be a focal point to the gathering.  On Monday, it was a spa night courtesy of Arbonne.  Allison has us all wash our faces and apply a Seasource Sea Mud & Body Mask to our faces….which appropriately turned us green for St. Patty’s Day pics on Instagram!

Girls' Night In Ideas: Mud Masks, Foot Soaks and Homemade Sangria!

While our face masks were working their magic, our feet were soaking in buckets of warm water and Aromassentials Unwind Bath Salts.  Glass pebbles from the dollar store at the bottom of the buckets gave our feet a nice massage as they soaked, and we scrubbed Awaken Sea Salt Scrub to exfoliate.  My feet were so soft even the next day, which worked out well since I had a podiatrist appointment for my Plantar Fasciitis!

We also got to try out a ton of facial products after we took off our masks, including some spray toner {so you don’t have to waste cotton balls}, instant lift gel, and an intensive renewal serum…all of which tightened, toned and smoothed our faces.  After all the pampering, my face felt and looked fantastic!

Giveaway Time!

Arbonne Gift Set Giveaway! from Palmettos and Pigtails

Today I’ve got a fabulous Arbonne Giveaway worth $87.  Its the Complexion Perfecting Set, which includes a Purifying Cleanser + Toner, an Oil-Absorbing Day Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Sunscreen, and a Mattifying Powder.

The Purifying Cleanser + Toner cleanses and tones, visibly reducing oiliness for refreshed-looking skin.

The Oil-Absorbing Day Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Sunscreen helps absorb oil and provides sun protection, leaving skin with a fresh, matte appearance.

The Mattifying Powder takes away unwanted shine, while reducing the appearance of redness for a perfect, matte finish. It dusts on lightly over or under moisturizer or makeup.

This giveaway ends at Midnight on Thursday, March 26th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

Palmettos and Pigtails Signature

National Compliment Week

I read on Facebook that last week was “National Compliment Week.”  Who creates these holidays, anyway?  Someone fishing for a compliment, obviously.  But it got me thinking about all of the powerful and influential women in my life.  And so I want to tell you about my friend, fellow mom, and pastor, Jenn.

I met Jenn when I first moved to South Carolina, and she was the intern at the church I started attending.  Although we weren’t friends for another year or so, I was immediately in awe of her.  I mean, here was this woman {the same age as me} who not only was strong enough to know her calling, but confident enough to go out and plant a new church that catered to the outer suburbs and rural areas of our town.  Starting from scratch!  I’m just so proud of who she is, and what she has done…even in just the 10 years I’ve known her.


And personally, she is a great friend.  She married Dave and me and  baptized our kids.  Our eldest children were born a week apart, so we had the pleasure of going through that first pregnancy journey together.  And now our kiddos are great friends, and learning about Christ each week at Sunday School together.

Jenn and I are also in the same Bible Study Small Group.  And where normally I’d be completely intimidated by having the pastor in my small group, Jenn has become such an integral part of our little circle….not only as a leader, but as a fellow mom.  Our group’s confessions, prayer requests and laughter bring us all closer together…assuring each of us that we are not alone in our trials, and confirming that we are awesome moms, wives and friends.

Getting to know Jenn over the years on a personal level has been integral in my walk of faith.  I know her as a person, I respect her as a pastor.  And over the years, it’s been nice sharing life challenges with each other.  It’s gotten her off of that pastor pedestal and showed me that even she is human.  Just like me, Jenn has her own journey, and despite any challenges she faces, her absolute faith is what has encouraged me to open my heart more and more to Jesus.

So, just a little shout out to Jenn….thanks for being awesome!

Palmettos and Pigtails Signature

Girls Weekend at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville

As you know, we’ve been doing a ton of traveling the past month.  One of the first trips I took was with my four best girlfriends from my neighborhood.  You might remember my friend Rachel, who moved to Asheville a couple of months ago.  As soon as she found out she was moving, we began planning!  Our first Girls Weekend away included a trip to the famous Skyline Drive, a spa day, LOTS of food and wine, and of course, girl talk!

Girls Weekend at Biltmore Estate

Girls Weekend at Biltmore Estate

Girls Weekend at Biltmore Estate

But by far, the highlight of our weekend was our visit to the Biltmore Estates…home of the famous Vanderbilt family.

Girls Weekend at Biltmore Estate

I had seen pictures and flyers of the estate, but nothing could compare to the grandeur of the house as you round the corner from the parking lot.  Can you imagine actually living here?  I think I would have spent all of my time just trying to navigate through the 250 rooms {let alone keeping track of the kids!}.

Girls Weekend at Biltmore Estate

Dave would just die for a man cave like this!  Complete with a “secret panel” door in the corner!

Girls Weekend at Biltmore Estate

Girls Weekend at Biltmore Estate

And I would love an indoor garden or pantry storage like this!!

Girls Weekend at Biltmore Estate

Girls Weekend at Biltmore Estate

I was just amazed at the sophistication of some the house’s elements….considering that many of the luxuries that the house had were not available to the public yet.  For example, indoor plumbing was a rarity in homes, yet the Biltmore has 40 indoor bathrooms.  Electricity was also not available to individuals back in the 1890’s, but the Biltmore was completely wired!  Not to mention the luxury of having an indoor {heated!} pool, gym and bowling alley in the basement.

Girls Weekend at Biltmore Estate

Girls Weekend at Biltmore Estate

Girls Weekend at Biltmore Estate

The balconies and porches off of almost each room were huge living areas with magnificent views of the  mountains and the rest of the 125,000 acre estate.

Girls Weekend at Biltmore Estate

Girls Weekend at Biltmore Estate

We seriously underestimated how long it would take us to explore the house and grounds before our champagne tasting reservation at the estate’s winery.  So I highly recommend anticipating spending your entire day {at least} there.

Girls Weekend at Biltmore Estate

Girls Weekend at Biltmore Estate

Girls Weekend at Biltmore Estate

We had a few minutes before our “Bubbles” tour to visit the gift shop and do some free wine tastings.  Needless to say, by the time our Champagne tasting started, we were already a little, um….giggly. *wink wink*

Girls Weekend at Biltmore Estate

Girls Weekend at Biltmore Estate

Although I think our tour guide hated us {insert more giggling here}, we actually learned a lot about the art of making Bubbly.  And we also learned that one of the fun things about going on a wine tasting with a pregnant friend, was that *someone* else got to drink her share of the wine!!! {insert more giggles, and maybe a hiccup or two here!}

Girls Weekend at Biltmore Estate

A Girls Weekend of fabulous friends, great food and wine, and good times?  I’ll Cheers to that!

Girls Weekend at Biltmore Estate

Palmettos and Pigtails

A FirePit of Friends

If you know us personally, you know that it’s been kind of a rough year socially for us.  But I think we’ve finally turned a corner.  We’ve found a small group of friends (who also happen to be neighbors!!) that we can truly count on.  We all have children in the same age range.  And although we have different jobs, different personalities and different ways of raising our children, we are all alike in being there for each other.  And these women have become my support system….my core group of friends.And I think it’s for the best.  I’ve been able to really focus on the people who mean the most to me, and who have been there for me!  And boy, do we have fun!  One of our five couples recently moved back to their hometown of Asheville, and so what better way to send them off, than with a firepit party?DSC_1042We had a blast!  The girls gossiped chatted while the guys stood around drinking beer and poking the fire.Rachel {and her fabulous hubby, Josh} has been a Godsend for me this past year.  We went from barely acquaintances to being the closest of friends this year, and I can’t imagine what I would have done without her.  From the late night bike rides to her house for some much-needed girl talk {and wine} to the knowledge I’d always have a last-minute babysitter, she has always been there for me! {And have I mentioned that her little one, E. is Millie’s BFF?}  Rach, I miss you!Anyway, while the rest of our clan are eeking by without Rachel and Josh, we are already planning a girls’ trip to Asheville this summer, and a massive family outing to the lake as well!And what I’ve learned through all of this?  It’s not how many friends I have, but the quality of our friendship that really matters!{source}

Palmettos and Pigtails

The Neighborhood Treehouse

Have I told you about our neighborhood?  We LOVE it.  It started out as a overpriced custom home neighborhood, and has become a family friendly haven!  Amongst the continual development, they are preserving the green space, with fields, parks and ancient oaks prominent at every turn.  Well, the developers have outdone themselves lately with a new treehouse down by the pool and farmhouse.Neighborhood Treehouse from Palmettos and Pigtails

Nestled in the branches of one of the huge oak trees, it has three levels with two slides and several swings.  And has instantly become the favorite place of all the neighborhood kids, and the gathering place of moms!Treehouse Swinging from Palmettos and PigtailsPlaying in the Sandbox at the Treehouse from Palmettos and PigtailsTop of the Treehouse by Palmettos and PigtailsBoys in the Treehouse Field by Palmettos and Pigtails The little slide is super slow….even the babies are eager for a little more action! {But it does make for some cute pictures!}Little Slide at the Neighborhood Treehouse by Palmettos and PigtailsBabies Sliding at the Treehouse by Palmettos and PigtailsAnd the big slide is on the other end of the spectrum!  It’s huge and F.A.S.T.  Good thing there is a pile of sand at the bottom for the kids to land on!Slide at the Neighborhood Treehouse by Palmettos and Pigtails Even the youngest members of our crew enjoy getting a little fresh air!At the Treehouse by Palmettos and PigtailsAt the Treehouse by Palmettos and PigtailsPalmettos and Pigtails