March 28, 2011

Our Favorite Easter Traditions

I'm a girl who loves traditions. They help you to know what to expect and mark the passing of time. I also love how traditions build in something to look forward to. Easter is quickly approaching and my family will once again begin our little routine of Easter events.

The number one thing I look forward to is decorating eggs with the little girl. This is hands down my favorite part. She loves arts & crafts and gets giddy when I start pulling down the home decorating kits. She "Ooohs" and "Ahhhs" over the different stickers and colors and glitter, which we use to turn a hard-boiled egg into a work of art. It's a sweet time for us to spend together. Honestly, she tries to convince me to get the kits down any time she catches a peek of them in the closet. The girl simply loves egg decorating.

A close second is the annual Easter Egg Hunt at our church. They have over 50,000 eggs! Nope, not kidding. You read that right, FIFTY THOUSAND!!! My daughter always has a blast scooping eggs into her basket and playing in the inflatable bouncers afterwards. I personally love seeing my church come together to pull off such an amazing event in our community. I always leave with such a feeling of joy in my heart for a multitude of reasons.

I also love getting to play Easter Bunny. It's so exciting to carefully choose the goodies that will go into her little basket, which was hand-made by my mother in law for her very first Easter holiday. When she wakes up on Easter morning, it's neat to see the delight in her eyes while she carefully looks through all of her trinkets and candy.

Finally, I love attending Easter morning service. For years, I attended a variety of churches who focused on the death of Jesus Christ. The fact that he gave His life for ME (for YOU) is a crucial part of Salvation, but my husband and I have finally found a church home that celebrates a Risen Savior! The resurrection is the part of the story that makes it so amazing. I used to dread attending the Easter service, but now I look forward to it immensely. I leave feeling humble and thankful, but also encouraged and refreshed.

Then, there's the food. In our family, no Easter is complete without a get-together and a smorgasbord of delicious, home-cooked food.

What are your favorite Easter traditions?

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Hop blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

March 26, 2011

Worst School Photo Ever?

Pretty hideous if you ask me. I can't decide whether I should ask for my money back or keep it for some sort of future blackmail sentimental value.

Take note of the pink socks and cheesy pink ballerina necklace that she insisted on wearing. More on her new style preferences in another blog post soon. Let me also point out that she had four poses to choose from and this is the one she picked. I just love how you can see the gap where the screen hits the floor in the back.

However, she thought she looked pretty and that's all that matters if you ask me. That strained face - well, that's her "super happy face."

I love my girl no matter what. Even if she wins the "worst school photo" award. :)

March 24, 2011

Spring Break Part 2 (Nashville)

We had a great time in Birmingham but part 2 of our Spring Break was spent at home in Nashville.

Thursday: I spent most of the day trying to get caught up on work that had come in while we were out of town. I did stop to have a picnic in the back yard and to help The Little Girl make a shamrock birthday card for her Daddy. We celebrated his Bday with a steak dinner over at his parent's house with the traditional chocolate chip pound cake. YUM! Best of all, they sent the leftover cake home with us. Squeee!!!

Friday: Hubby left that morning on a weekend trip with our pastor so me and Sky spent the ENTIRE day at the park. I only meant for us to go in the morning, have a picnic and come home. However, it was absolutely gaw-gus on Friday. We kept running into friends at the park so we just stayed. I had a blanket and my book so I was set. Skylar had friends and ample room to run so she was set. We were both happy campers!
At some point, as we were lounging on our blanket basking in the warm sun, I briefly wondered if I should have brought sunscreen. It was just a fleeting thought as I was very much enjoying the day and wasn't about to walk back home to retrieve sun protection. Besides, we needed the Vitamin D!
At 3:30 there was a potty request so we finally packed it up and headed for the house, except that she couldn't hold it the whole way and we had to make an emergency pitstop in the bushes. Eek! Upon arriving home, I inspected our skin and found it to be a bit pink, specifically our arms and noses. Because I was wearing a V-neck top, my chest was also sporting a rosey pink glow. Ah, yes, the return of the farmer's tan. I quickly prayed that our 1/16 Cherokee would kick in over night and we would awake nice and brown. No one wants to finish up a wonderful week of memories with a sunburn.

When Daddy isn't home I have to spice things up a bit for my girl. It's especially helpful if I can come up with a catchy phrase or name for our evening. Remember, our No Boys Allowed Party? I mentioned that we could go get a RedBox movie. My girl is one smart cookie and, knowing that our closest RedBox is at McDonald's, she suggested that we could also get a milkshake. So, our night was quickly named Movie & a Milkshake. Kinda perfect, huh?
I'll admit, after a day of running around at the park, I was TIRED. Apparently, so was The Little Girl. See exhibit A below. This is how I found her when I went up to bed. Sound asleep in her doorway. LOL!
Saturday: I took time Saturday morning to rearrange her closet and rotate toys. We had a little lunch and then headed to Grandma's. Skylar spent the afternoon there, while I worked my last shift of the spring consignment sale. She apparently spent the day roaming the woods with her cousins and spent the better part of the evening giving Baby Jaxon kisses every time she ran past him. That night I babysat my Nashville bestie's little boy. He is so precious and I just melted hearing "Miss Taaaaci. Wub my back" at bedtime. When his mommy arrived to pick him up we (me, besite & her hubby) chatted for a while and I finally hit the hay around midnight.

Sunday: Took me FOREVER to get The Little Girl up and moving. She was still so tuckered out but we made it to church semi-on-time. I went to LifeGroup the 1st hour and then had nursery duty 2nd hour. We had another fantastic weather day (though NOT in my book) so I left the back door open. I was working away preparing lunch when Skylar went into HYSTERICS. I half understood her to SHRIEK that there was a snake in the kitchen while she FRANTICALLY climbed to the highest spot she could find. I wheeled around looking all over the place for a snake. I saw nothing, not even a piece of string. She DEMANDED (while SCREAMING) that it was in the middle of the floor. I wondered if I was going blind. I walked all around the kitchen until I came across THIS.
Image borrowed from Flickr seeing as how my scaredy cat wasn't letting me out of her site to go grab my camera. However, ours was even skinnier than this, barely the length of my 1st finger, more yellowish, and totally blended in with the kitchen floor. I scooped him up and tossed him back in the grass where he belonged. Then, I attempted to get Skylar to sit back at her table and eat some lunch and that's when she saw THIS on one of the baseboards.
Granted, even I think this thing is a little creepy but my girl went BALLISTIC. Her reaction was so through the roof that it was nearly comical. I can't even describe to you the panic in her eyes and the fear in her voice. As you can imagine, it was not one bit funny for her. She was traumatized, literally. So, I proceeded to scoop up this creature and send him packing to the back yard. At this point, she refused to let her feet touch the floor and she was none to happy about having to sit in the kitchen.
She doesn't mind most bugs but anything that remotely looks like it has antennas sets her off so when the wasp flew in I knew it was time to hang it up. Happy 1st day of spring to me, right?! Good thing I have a different marker for the arrival of Spring. Sky was literally beside herself so I sent her upstairs to my hop on my bed, squished the wasp, and put the remaining lunch in the fridge. Even in my bedroom she continued to refuse to put her feet on the floor. I had to carry her from the bed to the bathroom (still crying) and back again to go potty. At this point, her sleep deprivation was definitely working against me so we both snuggled up for an afternoon nap. I was secretly hoping she would forget about the critters when she woke up. Nope! Still no feet touching the floor. Luckily, Daddy arrived home from his trip and came bearing gifts, which took her mind off of the bugs because you can't march in a parade with a brand new Konga drum unless your feet are on the floor. :)

We completed our Spring Break with a trip to Publix and Rita's (Free Ice on the 1st day of Spring). Swedish Fish = YUMMMMMM!!!

March 22, 2011

Spring Break Part 1 (Birmingham)

Our Spring Break got off to a great start with the arrival of our new nephew. The Little Girl was beyond smitten with her new baby cousin.
Friday: After visiting baby Jaxon (isn't his name precious?) we headed south to the great state of Alabama to visit my family. The ride down wasn't too bad but because we left in the evening it was dark and that meant limited activities for The Little Girl. Thank goodness for the flashlight app on my EVO!

Saturday: We spent most of the day at my mom's house. She cooked us a yummy lunch with chicken alfredo, peas, rissoto and Paula Deen broccoli. Afterwards, we went over to MaMaw's (she passed away last year) and mom showed me some of the things they had found her in house. That afternoon Mike and I did a little shopping for his birthday (he picked a new Auburn shirt & hat - figures!) and, that evening, we went to see Unknown with Mom & Rex. Typical suspense movie with the predictable twist yet you don't know when the twist is actually coming. I thought it was pretty good.

Sunday: We went to Sunday School with K-Diddy (my dad's grown-up grandpa name). That afternoon Mom & Rex took Sky to Tannehill Park where she found all sorts of treasures. Me and the hubs spent the afternoon on the 4-wheeler exploring the property. There's a great spot where the beavers have built a pretty hefty dam and the resulting waterfall sounds so serene. I absolutely love it out on the back 40 acres. After our sweet afternoon I wasn't very happy about dropping him at the airport to fly back home for work.
Monday: Me and The Little Girl went out for our own little 4-wheeling adventure. She loves to collect sticks and rocks and random items. On this trip we found an old rubber ball, a gigantic stick, and some hay for the horse. :) FYI: Flip flops are not the best foot attire for navigating muddy terrain. After I nearly fell in the creek, I took her out to the beaver dam and we had our own little sweet moment.
That afternoon, we saddled up and Sky got to ride Pearl, the lastest equine inhabitant of the Circle S Ranch. Check out my cowgirl!
For dinner we met up with my grandmother + aunt & uncle for dinner at Ruby Tuesdays. Skylar provided plenty of entertainment as usual. Get this: I told her she couldn't have any dessert unless she ate some of her dinner. Well, she didn't. About this time my grandmother's chocolate lava cake and huge scoop of ice cream arrive and she proceeds to tell the little girl to come over and sit next to her. Yeah, you know where this story is going. Missy prissy proceeds to eat HUGE bites of said chocolate cake and ice cream and grins at me from ear to ear with each and every bite. And what did I do? Nothing. Because how in the world can you argue with your 81-year-old MeMaw?

Tuesday: We spent the morning at the above mentioned MeMaw's house playing with blocks (the same blocks I played with as a kid) and dolls and trucks. MeMaw pulled out all sorts of keepsakes that she has been holding on to purely for sentimental value, like my father's 9th grade letterman jacket. I mean, really?
That afternoon I got a haircut and then we met up with a high school friend of mine at a really great park. It was so neat to visit with her and meet her kiddos in person though I feel like I know them already from Facebook. At one point, I look up to see Skylar being chased by FIVE boys on the playground. Good gracious girl! After leaving the park we stopped back by the salon for Skylar's hair appointment and to meet up with my mom.

One of the biggest highlights of the entire trip was Tuesday night. Me and my bestest bestie went out to dinner and a movie. She picked an awesome restaurant, Do Di Yos. Everything I put in my mouth was absolute heaven. Aside from the scrumptious food the conversation was nothing less than delightful. In fact, we were so busy talking and catching up that we almost missed our movie, Just Go With It. It was filled with your typical Adam Sandler humor with several Ben Stiller moments (you know, what can go wrong, WILL go wrong - also known in my life as Murphy's Law). We laughed a lot.

{No picture to insert because we ALWAYS forget to take a picture of the two of us. I'm not sure how this continues to happen since we are both picture taking fools. Hmm.....}

Wednesday: Me and Sky (ok, just me) packed up our things and prepared to leave Birmingham. We stopped off at the bestie's house so that me and bestie could talk some more our girls could play together. After that we met up with my mom at work and took her to lunch since her birthday was on Thursday. She chose Dale's Southern Grill and I got the veggie plate. More absolutely delicious food!! We were going to attempt to get Skylar's teeth cleaned (mom is a hygienist) before leaving town. Skylar was all gung-ho about it until she heard the noise that the little polisher made and she FREAKED out, so I got mine cleaned instead. My girl is NOT a fan of loud noises unless she is the one making the racket. Interesting how that works.

After almost a week of going non-stop my sweet girl crashed on the ride home and slept most of the way. We stopped off only once to check in on Baby Jaxon and Aunt Shan. Then it was on to Daddy and Home Sweet Home.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Spring Break...

March 18, 2011

My *NEW* Vintage Sewing Machine

This is my sewing machine. It's a 1966 Singer Golden Touch & Sew - Model 620. It came to me complete with the original sewing cabinet from an old house in my hometown. I love this thing. I love that it's old. I love that it's heavy as all get out, which means that it's mostly made out of metal. It may not have the fancy bells and whistles of newer machines but it sews great. For a novice sewer, it's actually quite perfect for me.
I even have the original manuals and accessories that came with it.
One of the coolest features is that the sewing machie itself can drop down into the cabinet to be hidden. Isn't that SO awesome? It makes this piece of furniture so versatile.
Now you see it. Now you don't.
The cabinet is currently being used as my work desk and I love the three drawers it has down the side.
I've had it for about 5 years. I did some sewing on it back when I first got it and then one of the gears broke. It's been sitting dormant for a while. I tried to repair it myself, even ordered the part I needed, but a special tool was required and I had no idea how to reset the timing. Finding someone who knows how to work on these old machines is harder than I thought. My mom found someone (she has an old Singer too) so I loaded mine up and took it to Alabama to be repaired. Luckily, the machine can detach from the desk so we didn't have to lug the whole thing.
Now that the machine is working, we want to refinish the cabinet. I can't decide if I want to stain it a similar color to what it is now or go dark so that it matches our other furniture. I kinda think that modernized vintage pieces look way cool. Then again, I don't want to tarnish the integrity of the piece. Not that I would ever want to sell it. It's a tough call.
It's working great now. I can't wait to get started sewing on it again. Maybe now I can finally figure out what all these things do. For now, I'm just going to enjoy getting to know my sewing machine again, my wonderfully vintage sewing machine. First up on my things to sew list is this little project. The tricky part is finding the time. Ah, story of my life.

March 14, 2011

Spring Forward!

The first day of Spring is still technically 7 days away but I have a different marker for Spring. MY SPRING starts with Daylight Savings Time. Oh blessed day. This is one of my favorite days of the year because, quite simply, it means that I have survived another winter. This winter was nothing less than brutal and I am O so happy to put it behind us. I'm also thrilled that longer, warmer days are in my immediate future.

In preparation for this post I did a little research on Daylight Savings Time. Turns out I had things a little backwards in my head. I was convinced that DST started with "Fall Back" and ended with "Spring Forward." Nope. The time of the clock in the Winter is the actual time, also known as Standard Time. The days that we experience in the summer are, in fact, the altered time.

I've always demanded that I hated Daylight Savings Time and felt it was and ridiculous to change the time twice a year. Guess I should have researched that a little better. By definition I guess I LOVE Daylight Savings Time. It's the Standard Time that I don't like so much. In the past, I've also thought about advocating a campaign so that the U.S. does away with DST completely. It should be noted that some states do not follow DST. But, if we did away with DST then we would experience the longer, sunny days in winter rather than summer (bleh!). In my honest opinion, that would be a waste of sunshine.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I wish we could get on DST and stay there but I don't see that happening (and also, when I'm wrong I'll say I'm wrong). Instead, I will relish the next 8 months and enjoy my sunshine and longer days. Thank goodness the U.S. government decided to extend DST starting in 2007. Deepest thanks from yours truly.

So long Winter Blues. Hello Spring!

P.S. I also learned that Daylight Saving (no S) Time is the correct term, but Daylight Savings Time has become commonly used and accepted.

March 2, 2011

She no Likey the Spikey

My kid is really funny sometimes especially when she acts all grown. Here was our conversation this morning.

*Background Story* We were running just a wee bit behind this morning in the mad rush to get out the door to school. My hair was still wet, Skylar was not completely dressed yet, lunch still needed to be packed and we needed to depart the building in about 10 minutes. So, this is the hair do that I came up with. Considering that my outfit for the day was also a little edgy, I thought it was a nice match.
I come down stairs to find that The Little Girl was indeed only about 5% dressed for school. I knelt down to help her.

Skylar: "Mom. Why is your hair all (dramatic pause) spikey?"
Me: "Well, sometimes we can do our hair in different ways. "
Skylar: "Oh."
Me: "Do you like it?"
Skylar: "No."
[With a dramatic wave of her hand and sassy tone she announces...]
Skylar: "You need to make it straight and, like, comb it... or something."

Oh my goodness this girl cracks me up!