Friday, September 30, 2011

The Eve.

So, who has a button? That would be me! And who's feelin' fancy? That, too, would be me!

Today marks the EVE of 31 Days! I am so excited to link up with such an amazing e-movement.  Join me and SO MANY others on the journey to improve everyday of October.  My topics will cover a kid-friendly life. Consider the island a reference point for crafts & activities, coupons & bargains, toys & junk, cleaning & organizing, parties & play dates, recipes and SO MUCH MORE.  I have found that, as much as I ask for advice, I have some tips and tricks up my sleeve which may help someone else... What a perfect opportunity to showcase an awesome group of people!! I can't wait to stalk check-out everyone's updates...

Do you have a topic you'd like to talk about? Visit the Nester's blog to find out more!

Improving my family's life and showing my biggest blessings off... even if no one's watching ;)


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bows in 1-2-3.

I consider myself to be a bow fanatic so much so that I hosted a bow party for Munchface's 5th birthday party...  As much I love bows (and I truly do), I can never allow myself to pay the ridiculous amounts of money for them.  So, I started making them.  Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoy the originality and glue gun burns love that goes into each handmade tot topper but I'm always looking for ways to make the cheap CHEAPER and the easy EASIER;) 

With that said, check out my latest shortcut cuties:

During my weekly visit to Michael's, I found some adorable high quality stickers and embellishments in the clearance aisle. I hope my hubby is reading this as proof that it SAVES and it PAYS to go back to stores often ;)  Anyways, I fell in love with them and threw them in my basket confident they would be useful.  OMG, are you ready for the easiest tutorial ever?

1. Remove adhesive backing from the embellishment. 
2. Cover clippie with ribbon (I prefer to only cover the top leaving the bottom uncovered so it glides under the hair and stays securely in place (nothing worse than losing adorable bows).
3. Hot glue embellishment to clippie.

This works for pins, bobby pins, clothespins, picture frames, clips and can be sewn on to anything... the possibilities are endless! O and each one usually comes in packs of 2 or 4 so you have plenty of options!

I think of bows as cherries to top off an adorable outfit... One of the things that make having a little girl even more awesome! Plus, being a good mommy is remembering to share valuable tips.  What mommy tips do you have?

I'm linking up to:

I wish I could figure out the whole fancy button thing again but it's giving me fits; sorry, Beth!


Kindergarten - Cooking, Crafts and Crying!

Warning upfront - this is a LONG post so bear with me!

I'm late posting this but you'll have to forgive me, I couldn't see through all the tears in my eyes :/

This post serves as a tribute to those moms who, like me, decide to make their baby the smartest cookie out there. I purchased educational toys, I read everything to her, I was pointing and enunciating and yes ma'am-ing and researching everything and... WELL, the time to hand over the reigns was upon me and I realized it wasn't about whether she was ready (because she was) but rather if I was ready... to let go.

Well, as you can imagine, I was no where near ready... If Kindergarten was a train stop, I would've let the life train's doors open and sat looking around at every other 5 yr old's mom get off.  When the doors closed and the train started moving again, I would've asked someone if that was the Kindergarten stop and said, "O woes me, it appears as if I've missed the stop for Kindergarten!!" *all dramatic with my hand on my forehead and everything - LOL.

But this wasn't a stop, it was more like a GO and, with Munchface and hubby teamed up to make it happen, there was no way out. So I made it my mission to enjoy every minute.  Pardon me, but I DID. I closed my eyes and I calculated every move preparing for school.  Read on to hear more about my journey to letting go... a little... well, maybe.

First, there was Back-To-School night... Where the enemies friendly school staff welcome you and give students an opportunity to see their classes and meet their teachers.  We went:

O and earlier this Summer, I researched and shopped for the best book bag on the market. I found the MacKenzie collection from Pottery Barn... I loved that pre-school size was large enough to hold her binder but small enough to FIT her tiny back... They come in all sorts of colors and you can even personalize them. I wasn't going to personalize to avoid strangers calling her by name and I THOUGHT Munchface would be bummed but UM, nope! Her response? "It's ok, mommy. Just put 'Cool Girl' on it." So, Cool Girl it says.

You know how I am with family traditions and I already told you I need to enjoy every minute so, we started our Kindergarten Eve celebration at the nail shop.  Pink and white nail crackle was rock star enough for us.

Then, Z said she wanted to make US dinner to say thank you for everything (I tellya, I think she can sense when I'm emotional and tries to be all cute and junk - ugh, I heart her).  So, we had to shop for her special pizza and dessert supplies.  Way to go Chef Z:

She dumped some grapes in bowls and called it fruit salad.  When I told her you needed more than 1 thing for it be a salad... THIS is what I got:

For dessert, we also made apple cookies with pre-bought, pre-sliced cookie dough (just press pretzel sticks on the top when they FIRST come out of the oven and voila) - DELISH!

Munchface shopped the house for her "restaurant supplies" and set the table...

It was a great little dinner by candlelight. ALTHOUGH, I know hubs was trying to egg me on to cry all night. UGH! Lol.

With our backpack, THE OUTFIT and all of the 50 kabillion supplies, the first day was here and MAN were we cute:

AND YES, there may or may not have been tears...

And more tears...
And tears while being held by hubby after the bus pulled off... O and yes, I had no idea he was videotaping (you see the iPhone) and smiling about the whole emotional moment.
A mess.

So, yes, the bus came and she was off... and, yes, I was crying but she was off...  She couldn't carry all of her supplies so I took them to the school and suddenly the school went from the place of all my mommy fear to seeming warm and even fuzzy...
Stepping into Kindergarten
We Bee-long together...

I passed supplies to cute Mrs. Downs... Then cried my eyes out and couldn't find the tissue box because, apparently, they need to keep them at kids' height-ugh! Imagine me blinded by tears wandering around the room looking for a tissue. Luckily Cool Girl the Notforgetter wasn't there to witness and probably BAN me from ever coming back... LOL. 

I went into the hall and waited for the bus... and I waited and waited... 19 minutes later, I spotted the polka dot back pack and big blue bow, Z was making her way to class with her hallway escort.  She saw me and smiled; I think we offered each other just a little comfort in that moment.

With her back pack put away, she sat down and got to work... As if to say, "mommy, I'm good!"

I knew after this embrace from our friend Kimberlee that Munchface was in good hands so I (left and came back and left and came back) left.

After a LONG day, mommy couldn't take any more work so we went to iHop for dinner... Did you know Kids Eat Free on Tuesdays? AND they offer crafts and movies? I mean, sounds like my kinda hang out!

UPDATE: We're an awesome Kindergarten family... She's brought home her first artwork:

 We've completed our first take-home project (an all about me collage on a cutout sent home from school):

AND MAN, Kindergarten isn't what it used to be. Students get custom handwriting practice for their names! Isn't this AWESOME:

My little-big girl's first day of Kindergarten on September 26, 2011 taught me that life is a recipe of equal parts holding on and letting go.  She started life with us holding tight to protect her from danger and Kindergarten is the beginning of us holding her little hand guiding her through life... It's bittersweet but I'm sure I'll be holding the purse strings and check books for a while now :)  So I think I can manage :)


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Making Happy Birthdays Happier...

It was finally here... Time for the family to visit Disney!! We made it through the gates and had to take a picture in front of the sign that set the tone for the day... Zion had her ears, shirt and back pack with snacks; we just KNEW we were ready for the day... Z, say CHEESE!

Look at this pic! *Mommy tear moment #1*
 Shortly after entering the gates, we could see Cinderella's castle... I pointed for Zion to see but she still tapped Brian's leg and eagerly yelled, "Daddy, pick me up! Pick me up! I need to see it from the top to the bottom!"

*Mommy tear moment #2*

We walked through the castle and ran into the wicked step sisters. They were just hanging out and causing TROUBLE! LOL.

With no one else around... Zion had a few minutes of them picking on her LOL.

Blue dress: "what's up with the bows? I think you have a problem!"
Pink dress: "O I don't know... I'd say she has a fetish..."
Blue dress: "I mean, how many ARE there?" *starts counting...* "1, 2, 3,"

Please note in the middle pic, they were taking turns gently tugging her pony tails... She loved every minute.

O and OF COURSE, Pop-Pop got in on the pics:

The wicked step sisters weren't the only characters we met, just the FIRST!

We met Donald Duck. Although Munchface seemed more interested in asking him if he knew where Minnie was and how much his coat cost.

We met Goofy:


We went to a block party with a DJ and we met


And Goofy!

And Pluto!

During the Block Party, the DJ played all the hits; Munchface wasn't the only one enjoying herself, Gramma got in on the fun too:

Once the music started, Zion didn't want to STOP dancing:

She kept yelling how much she LOVED this place:

We enjoyed the DJ but music was everywhere; this band was awesome:

We had a blast on the rides, too. Our first REAL roller coaster? DUMBO:


Dumbo was the perfect warm-up for the big-girl rides and Munchface was excited on I think she's an adrenaline junkie!

We saw the Mickey Dreams Come True show and it was amazing! Let me set the stage, when the theme to every story and every show and every song is dreams come true... and you hear your not-so-much-anymore baby yelling and seriously trying to save Minnie and Mickey from the wicked witch with those words... It's just awesome. Like, seriously.


Zion had a front row seat during the parade and was greeted by all the characters - AMAZING!

The last characters we met were???????

MINNIE AND MICKEY MOUSE!!!! Zion must've hugged Minnie for 5 minutes... She was just so excited ALL day to see her and finally the super star mice were in our presence. I think I even got worked up with her LOL!

Disney is one of the few places you can still push your 5 yr old in a stroller... I ACTUALLY RECOMMEND GETTING A STROLLER, they make life easier!

The time to leave for the resort seemed to really ruin Munchface's day... ALTHOUGH, she was sleepy and hungry and dirty and GOODNESS were the grown-ups ready to rollllll.... I ALMOST reconsidered after she flashed this smile (full of chicken nuggets that were 2 hours old because she didn't have an appetite until she met Minnie)... well, ALMOST!


Later in the week, we visited the Bippidy Boppidy Boutique for a complete Princess makeover... Photos were taken with Uncle SmellGood's camera so that makes this post a wrap for now...

Disney was the beautifully wrapped gift with bows appropriate for a Minnie package. This visit (and vacation) was a gift for more than our little 5 year old, it was a gift for our family and MAN was it worth it!

Kinda like Zion is a gift in our lives... We thought life couldn't get any better until she happened.  Just as she has brought our family closer together and made us happier and completed the noisey dinner table and sings the key in the choir no one else holds (off KEY, that is), this vacation gave us memories (happy ones) and for that, I am eternally grateful.... So, cheers to making happy birthdays happier by spending time with family :)


Goodwill Finds: The Magnolia Wreath

Happy Friday, Islanders. I wanted to share a thrifty find from a while back.  Ugh, I love my local Goodwill Outlet.  Oh, and yes, you saw ...

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