Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday Favorites - Sky Ranch Launch Camp Edition

Happy Friday, Friends!!!  This week has been another busy one for the books and I have some fun FAVORITES to share! 

Erika, Narci and I are sharing our FAVORITES and we'd love for you to join us!  Grab our graphic, link back to one (or all!) of us and share. Easy!

The boys both received character awards this week and it was my FAVORITE moment.  It is so special to see them recognized by their teachers and I absolutely treasure the little notes that they each received on the back of their certificates explaining why they were selected for each award.

Luke received Dependability...

... and Mason received Kindness!

We couldn't be more proud of our two FAVORITE boys!

I've been wearing one of my FAVORITE bracelets a TON lately! It's lightweight, great quality and is a unique piece I always get a ton of compliments on.  The chalk art is courtesy of the kids :)

 Griffin moved up to a booster seat this week and of course we had to stop by and show one of her very FAVORITE people!  I love that Gibi is JUST as excited as Griffin!

FYI - she's in a Chicco KidFit high back booster that she more than meets the height, weight and age requirements for.  So far we both love the seat and I have nothing but a great report.  The belt is positioned flush across her shoulder (not by her neck at all) and the lap belt lays flat across her lap and not her belly.  It's GREAT!  I highly recommend it!
This probably sounds silly but some of my FAVORITE moments are the unplanned and impromptu ones where we're just hanging out.  We were testing out her booster seat and so we went and got ice cream and then decided to load "a few" bags of mulch into the van.  We were cracking up at Luke back there with all the bags!  We sang our heart out to Trolls and had a blast!

The kids new FAVORITE toy??? Bags of mulch.  Seriously.  This is about half of them and they're BEGGING us not to spread them! hahaha  (They may get their wish because it's supposed to rain like crazy this weekend!)

Griffin and Dave stopped by to drop something off for me yesterday and seeing GG on the deck at school is one of my FAVORITE things and I still can't believe in August she'll be in a uniform!!!

Since before we moved in (so last Spring) I knew I wanted to do a fun, bright, probably floral rug in Griffin's room.  Everything I loved was super expensive, or not the right colors or just not "right".  A couple of weeks ago I found out that this rug was on BIG SALE and then on sale AGAIN and so I scooped it up and crossed my fingers that it was gong to be as good in person as it was online.  Well... it arrived last night and I'm already in LOVE!  I just kind of threw some bedding and pillows I already had on her bed to kind of get an idea but I seriously ADORE all the colors!

Hers is 5x8 and it's plush and vibrant and wonderful.  I'll figure out the rest of the room situation and then share the finished little update :)

 I posted about a couple of new FAVORITE shirts on Wednesday, but here they are again juuuust in case :)

Left -  Right 

Luke's self portrait is a new fridge FAVORITE...

... as is this cutie's fresh haircut ;)

If Llama llama Red Pajama is a FAVORITE at your house then next time you read it you should attempt to freestyle it like this :) hahaha  One of my students showed this to me and my kids thought it was so much fun!

My last FAVORITE is a big one!  Last year Luke went to Sky Ranch Launch Camp and had one of the best weeks of his entire summer!  

It's a day camp for elementary-aged kids who aren't quite ready for overnight camp (or maybe whose parents aren't quite ready for them to be gone for a week!) ;)

  It's packed with awesome camp activities, games, songs, "cabins", etc. We have several "Sky Ranch songs" that are regular staples at our hose now... if you've never heard "It's Raining Tacos" you need to Google it right now!... and we credit Sky Ranch for his love of Gaga Ball and Ninja.  They also have a spiritual component with daily devotions and last year Luke came home with a journal with his sweet little notes and prayers that he had written down during devotion time.  

After the camp-wide closing, the families of the campers gathered at each of their cabins and the counselors presented each of the boys with an award.  It was so special because the counselors didn't just present the boys with the awards, they spoke with the parents and kids individually and explained why they picked each award for each camper and then gave them a certificate with a personal letter talking about their time at camp with them.  It was seriously the best.  Luke adored his counselors and I wish y'all could have seen the look on his face when he got birthday postcards from both of them a few weeks ago!  And I'm not talking generic notes.... these were thoughtful and personalized and meant the absolute world to Luke!

I am so glad that Luke got to have such a wonderful experience last year and am ECSTATIC that both boys are attending this year!  You can find all the locations and dates HERE and I really can't say enough great things about the program and experience.

 This weekend is supposed to be rainy and truth be told... I'm kind of looking forward to an excuse for hanging out inside and baking a little bit :)

Happy Friday, Friends!!! 

PS - This post contained affiliate links... thank you for supporting my blog.  And a BIG shoutout to Sky Ranch for partnering with me on this post!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Broccoli Salad

Today I'm sharing a super simple but DELICIOUS broccoli salad recipe.  This turned out super pretty and would be great for a bbq, as a salad for a shower you're hosting, or as a dish for a potluck.

- Here's What You'll Need -
- 1 head of broccoli
- 1/2 cup cherry (or grape!) tomatoes
- 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small chunks
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 6-8 pieces of bacon cooked and chopped
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar 

- Step 1 -
Cut the broccoli into bite size pieces, rinse and let it drain.

- Step 2 -
Chop the bacon, onion and cheese.  I chose not to slice my tomatoes since they were small.

- Step 3 -
Combine the broccoli, onion, bacon, cheese, tomatoes and raisins in a large bowl.
(be sure to watch for tiny fingers snatching up the cheese!)

 - Step 4 - 
Combine the mayo, sugar and vinegar.  Pour the dressing over the salad. 
 I used a little more than half of the dressing.... it may just be me, but I feel like that was plenty!
This sounds weird... but don't be afraid!

Sidenote - I was assembling this outside because it was about to rain and the light in my kitchen was AWFUL!  

Voila!  Done!  Easy and yummy and COLORFUL!

I served this as a side to burgers and it was delicious!  I'm not a fan of cooked broccoli and plain raw broccoli isn't necessarily my jam.... but I LOVE a good broccoli salad!  I think the raisins are what makes this one extra yum and kind of surprising.

Happy Thursday, Friends!!!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

Today I'm linking up with Mel, Shay and Sheaffer for their What's Up Wednesday series!

- What We're Eating This Week -

We're keeping it classy with these....

Because they are easy and insanely delicious.  Mason has requested them almost daily.  YUM!!!  We're also eating the last little bit of leftover sheet cake, WAAAAY too many cutie oranges and the strawberries right now have been insanely good!  #allthefruit

- What I'm Reminiscing About -

This time last year we were in the throes of selling our house and when this picture of my three showed up on my timehop I couldn't help but laugh.  We had a whole weekend of showings where we had to be out of our house for almost 48 hours.  We were napping/bathing at a cottage at the country club, running around to various birthday parties and other events,  stopping in at home to grab things we forgot and meeting potential buyers (and having to apologize profusely for my kid needing to go to the bathroom RIGHT THEN!), spending a ton of time in the car, etc. and I snapped this after taking them to the country club to eat brunch after church (since we couldn't go home) and Griffin's mood for the picture pretty much summed up how I felt :)  SO GLAD that moving is behind us!

- What I'm Loving -
I know I talked about my Birkenstocks a couple of weeks ago, but y'all... I can't get enough.  I have to talk myself out of wearing them to work every morning :)  I wore them the entire time I was on my West Texas Trip (except when I was horseback riding) and they were comfortable and great for all the various activities we did.

I love them so much that when I found a pair on sale on HauteLook last week I jumped on it and ordered them!  They're not in stock anymore, but keep an eye on the website and I will as well :)

- What We've Been Up To -
Playing lots of Topple, spending as much time outside as we possibly can and celebrating Gibi with a sunset golf course cruise :)

- What I'm Dreading -
I've mentioned before that there is a big building project going on at MCA (a new high school!) and that means that I get to move out of my beloved (hahaha) "Math Trailer" and into a classroom in the quad (where my classroom used to be).  I am sooooooo excited but am totally dreading having to pack up my school life from the past 6 years.  Thankfully I'm "starting over" with my classroom decor and am getting rid of a TON of it, but STILL! I hate moving!

- What I'm Working On -
Exams! Can you even believe it?!?!  I try to "personalize" my exams every year and make them fun (as fun as a 90 minute Honors Algebra exam can be!) and that can take some time.

- What I'm Excited About -

Summer!!!  We've been scheduling camps, Vacation Bible Schools and planning out a few things to do while in Vail.  More than anything else I'm excited to spend our days in the backyard with these cuties.  I see lots of pool days in our future!  

- What I'm Watching/Reading -

So... I watched 13 Reasons Why on Netflix and I have mixed thoughts.  I watched it because I knew students were watching and I wanted to be able to answer questions and/or have conversations with them if/when it came up (which it has!) and while it was hard to watch I did enjoy it.  Have any of y'all watched it?  What did you think?  I've read numerous articles by counselors, educators, parents, advocates, etc. and STILL have mixed feelings.  While I think it presents important issues facing teens in a realistic and non-sugar-coated way I hate the thought of kids (especially Middle School students!) watching it without having an adult to talk to openly about it.  Thoughts???

- What I'm Listening To -

A lot of these on repeat :)

- What I'm Wearing -

I found a couple of really cute tops that I know I'm going to love all Summer and right into Fall!

This one is a newer arrival and still full price - but I couldn't resist the color!  I think it will look great with white pants for summer as well.  It's really comfortable and I am always looking for work appropriate shirts that aren't crazy hot and that I don't have to wear a jacket over.   The color is more vibrant in person and I'm seriously considering grabbing the white one.

I wore this shirt (on SALE!!!) yesterday and got lots of compliments/questions about it.  Excuse the "5 pm hair"... but I'd taught all day, carted kids around after school, prepped dinner, etc., etc., etc. 

It's super lightweight and I absolutely adore the detailing and little floral print.


- What I'm Doing This Weekend -

The regular!  And hopefully a trip to the lake for some fishing, kayaking and pie-eating.

- What I'm Looking Forward To Next Month -

Summer!!! We get out in May and we can't wait!  We're also looking forward to field trips for both the boys, field day, academic awards and about a million other events. 

- What Else Is New -

Dave and I gave Griffin this horse stable set for her birthday and I can't get enough of how SWEET the little names are that Luke wrote!  Apparently she named them and he wrote them.  SO CUTE!

Happy Wednesday, friends!!!

PS - This post contained affiliate links - thank you for supporting my blog!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Show and Tell Tuesday - Grown-Up Parties

I'm going to be honest here and confess that when I picked this topic it was because "grownup parties" aren't something that I've done a lot of and I really wanted to see all of your ideas :)

With Dave's work schedule (he works Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights because that's when the restaurant is busy and typically when he's running weddings or other events) I rarely host couples parties because when we could host them typically isn't conducive to other's schedules and the few times I have hosted them they've been your basic dinner party type event.

That said, I've hosted my fair share of "Girls Nights" and thought I'd share a few tips for those!

- Exchange Something -
What gets everyone more excited than meeting up with friends for dinner?  Meeting up with friends for dinner and leaving with a fun gift!  Making your party an "exchange" of some sort gives the party some structure (arrival, eating, exchange, dessert, goodbyes) and provides for a lot of great conversation... especially if your group doesn't know each other super well.

Here are a few ideas of exchanges that I've hosted or attended...

1) Book Exchange 
Bring a new copy of your favorite (any genre!) and then bring your extra books that you're done with for friends to take home (and hopefully they bring their extras too and you can grab a few to add to your nightstand).

2) Scarf Exchange
This is something that our group has been doing for YEARS and it's our official kickoff to Fall.  We drink Fall drinks, think Fall thoughts and swap new scarves.

3) Beauty Product Exchange
We did this one last year and it was so much fun!  Everyone brought one of their tried and true beauty products and as packages were opened got to tell everyone why they loved it.  Items ranged from the Wet Brush to dry shampoo to favorite lipsticks, nail polishes and face masks.  So fun!  Everyone left with a great new product as well as a list of others to try.

4) Seasonal Exchange
A couple of years ago our Sunday School class girls did this in the Fall and everyone brought something "Fall" to share.  Candles, blankets, home decor items, chili/soup mixes, etc.  It was such a fun night and got us all in the mood for crisp evenings.   This would work for any season/holiday!

Tips for Exchanging

- Set a price limit and stick to it!  This makes everyone feel more comfortable both in shopping and exchanging.

- Make it a game!  When we do exchanges everyone puts their wrapped item in the middle and then people draw numbers.  The person with number one gets to pick a gift, unwrap it and they set it out in front of them.  The person with number two can either steal the gift that's already been opened or open another.  If they steal then the person they stole from can either steal from someone else or open a new gift.  Once a gift has been stolen twice it's frozen and can't be stolen again.  At the very end the person who's number one gets to go last.  It's just a fun twist and I've played where nothing is stolen and I've played where EVERYONE steals - there are always lots of laughs!

- Lighten Your Load -
Depending on the size of the group you're hosting cooking/catering for everyone might be too big of a job.  If that's the case you might consider asking everyone to bring their favorite appetizer or weeknight dinner or soup to share.  You provide the drinks, main dish, etc. and then the food can be what the event is centered around.  Afterward people can "reply all" to an email with their recipe or bring printouts of their recipe to share the night of.

- Keep It Simple -
If we're honest - most of the time the best part of whatever activity you're doing is the conversation that you get to have... and in our case any game, craft, activity typically devolves into some serious girl talk.  Don't feel like you have to have an "activity" to center your girls night on.  Hanging out and talking can be the night's agenda!

I hope that today's post inspired you to get a group of girlfriends together for some food and laughter :)  

I'm so excited to browse through everyone's posts and get some ideas for hosting this summer - if you have a great party tip or girl's night idea leave it in the comments!  Happy Tuesday, friends!!!

And last, but not least - HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my parents!!!  My dad's birthday was yesterday and my mom's birthday is TODAY!  Happy Birthdays to the best Gibi and Haha ever! We love you so much!!!

(Random... but Mason and Griffin's due dates were actually on my dad and mom's birthdays and they each came totally on their own eight days early!  Weird, right???)


Monday, April 24, 2017

Weekend Recap - Senior Prom Edition

Happy Monday, Friends! We had some AMAZING weather here Saturday and Sunday and we are all exhausted from spending every spare minute outside.  Fresh air for everyone!

Friday night the kids and I made our own pizzas using dough and sauce I had picked up up at Trader Joes earlier in the week.  We've been doing Pizza Friday for YEARS at this point and I'm not sure how/why we've never made our own pies!  The dough and sauce were DELICIOUS and the kids had the best time assembling them themselves.

Earlier in the week we had meatballs and sauce for dinner (also from Trader Joes... see my post HERE) and we decided to use the extras on our pizzas!  SO GOOD!!!

 The kids all crashed pretty early and then it was just me and a crazy storm that blew through and dropped a bunch of hail on us (again).  Thankfully our new roof and other damage (from the storm last month) hasn't been repaired yet!

Saturday morning was awesomely chilly and Griffin and I hit up dance class and then headed to Lowe's to grab a few supplies.  Miss Independent wanted to pull the cart all by herself.  ;)  Good luck with that, sister!

A quick stop at home for some lunch and to change out of dance clothes and then we were off for a couple of errands...

... and to a birthday party for one of Mason's friends.

It was at Sci-Tech Discover Center in Frisco and was so much fun!

They had several demonstrations, made rockets, had snacks and then got to explore.  There was a giant red blood cell (there were 500 red balls/cells in there and 1 white ball/cell)...

... this camera that you could point at things and then see them magnified on the screens....

... a microscope camera...

... and a giant nose that sneezed ;)

There was a whole room of really great hands on things as well...

... simple machines...

... huge foam blocks...

... and BUBBLES!!!

It was such a fun party and was so neat that all the kids got to go and participate.

Later that evening we stopped by Anna Grace's house to see her before she headed to Prom!  Can y'all even believe it?!?!  Anna Grace - the sweet, precious soon-to-be-freshman who was a "mother's helper" for me the summer that Griffin was born is about to graduate!

Anna Grace is even prettier on the inside than she is on the outside and she has been such a blessing for me and the kids!  And I swear I wouldn't have survived June - August of 2013 without her :)  Going from 2 to 3 kids rocked my world and having her around during the day was such a huge help for being able to be out and about and (some days) just get dinner started and laundry done. 

This one cracks me up!

And look how sweet they were last year!

Saturday night we at outside (and were chilly! amen!) and all crashed early (again).

Sunday morning Griffin insisted on matching and we sported our matching aviators ;)

After church we spent the rest of the day outside cleaning, mulching, trimming, etc. and I took zero pictures until this....

... which pretty much summed up how all of us felt at the end of the weekend :)

I hope you had a wonderful weekend and are ready to share your grown-up parties for Show and Tell Tuesday tomorrow.

Happy Monday, friends!