Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Nature "exploration walk"

This has been a long few weeks, that's for sure. My hubby got a new job and so the whole family relocated to our new little home. I LOVE the location! We are close to a park (literally 2 blocks away!) and 2 blocks from a beautiful lake that has a jogging trail. Too bad it's raining today. I had big plans for spending the day outdoors.

Speaking of being outdoors, a couple of days ago I took the girls on an "exploration walk". I gave them buckets and just let them collect whatever they wanted. This was definitely a test of patience for me. Ever give an almost 4-year-old and an almost 2-year-old a bucket and say ok, do whatever? Talk about walking at slower than a snails pace. BUT THEY LOVED IT! That is, until my little one fell on the sidewalk and scraped her hand and I ended up carrying her and the bucket (full of mostly rocks) back home. But, I digress. They loved the freedom just to explore. Also, it was nice just to let them be. The trend and tendency I see these days is to over schedule your kids. Kids need time to just play and be kids, scrapes and all. I think we'll make that a regular activity for us.

Above is a great article about helping your kids develop a love for science. One activity they suggest is taking your toddlers/kids on nature walks. Who knew I was instilling a love for science? I just thought a nice walk was in order after a long morning of unpacking and organizing. Score!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today I have this fun little craft to show you. Honestly, I am copying this idea, and I don't even know who to give credit to. I saw someone holding a bouquet of chocolate kiss roses at church and thought "I could do that!" (I plan to give this particular bouquet to my mother-in-law for her Valentine's Day gift.) 

I cut tulle squares in pink, red, and purple. Then I used chocolate kisses and skewered them with shish kabob skewers. I covered the kisses in the tulle and then wrapped the bottom with ribbon. Then I placed colored marbles in a cute vase and put the flowers in. Voila! 

The Supplies

Finished Bouquet

This craft is really cute, and really simple to make. My daughters also made some more Valentine cards to hang on the back of the front door. This time they used different colors of construction paper. C put little heart stickers on hers and then drew stems. She was so proud that she made "Balentime" flowers.

On a side note, I'll be away from the blogging world for about a week. My hubby got a new job and we're moving! Check back soon for the details!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

My Little Army Princess

My 3-year-old daughter was invited to her cousin's birthday party. He is turning 6 and wanted the theme to be "Army". They asked that the kids come wearing something camouflage. My girl is as rough and tumble as they come. She loves digging in the dirt and playing with trucks. I thought she would absolutely LOVE the idea of being an "army guy" for this party. I was DEAD WRONG. We set off to the thrift store looking for something she could wear for this party. We found a couple of pairs of pants and some shirts in the typical green camouflage, which she absolutely refused to wear. She told me that she was an Army Princess and Army Princesses do not wear green. My kid seriously cracks me up!

I didn't know what to do. So, I was at JoAnn's Fabrics (getting supplies for this absolutely fabulous craft I'll blog about next week!) and I happened to find a pink camouflage bandana. I cut the bandana in half and sewed a seam into it. I added drawstring and made it into a cute "Army Princess" skirt for her to wear to the party. It turned out so cute!

(Please forgive the terrible photo!)

My little "Army Princess"!

The party was a huge success! My sister-in-law did such an awesome job with the decorations and games. There was an obstacle course, cupcakes decorated with plastic army guys, an army jeep piƱata, and as a party favor, a little dog-tag bracelet with the kids' names written on them. So cute! Everyone had a ton of fun, especially my little "Army Princess" :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Modest, Beautiful Style

Today I was sitting at my desk checking my email when an article on Yahoo caught my eye. It's time for  New York Fashion week again. The article got me thinking about my personal style. I am very modest and conservative when it comes to style, yet so many of the styles these days are not. I was soon on a quest to discover some styles that are popular and fashionable, but most importantly beautiful.

I have to admit most of my choices come from The Dutchess of Cambridge. I know it's a little cliche' since she isn't really a fashion icon, but I can't help but to love her charming sense of elegance and sophistication. I'm not saying she has always had great fashion sense (see here), but since she's become the Dutchess she seems to shine. Of course it may have something to do with being groomed for royalty. In any case, I'm a big fan. Here are a few of my favorites:

Photo from Marie Claire's Kate Middleton Style Highs and Lows 

Who can forget the beautiful Reiss dress the Dutchess wore to meet with President and First Lady Obama? The dress sold out and crashed the designer's server almost instantly. 

Good news!!! Banana Republic (one of my favorite stores!) is now selling a replica version of The Dutchess of Cambridge's dress. See it here!

Another dress that I saw that I thought was simple yet gorgeous was this white dress worn by Katharine McPhee from Valentino's Spring Collection:

This was at the 2012 NFL Honors in Indianapolis on Feb. 4th.  

This search gave me affirmation that you can look beautiful and still have your own style. It also showed me that I badly need to update my wardrobe. Ha!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Wedding Cupcakes

I first got hooked on the shows on the Food Network when I was on bed rest with my first daughter (it was a VERY long 8 weeks!), and now I am watching the new generation of shows like Cupcake Wars. The other night, after putting the kiddos to bed, I was watching a few of the episodes I had on the DVR. On one particular episode, the winners were vying for an opportunity to showcase their cupcakes at a Mindy Weiss event along with a $10,000 cash prize. Well, I saw the cutest wedding cupcakes which inspired this post. See this winning Raspberry Cupcake with Champagne Buttercream Frosting from the show:

I liked this cupcake because I thought it was very cute. If you prefer not to have a cupcake with alcohol in the recipe you can just use champagne flavoring as the recipe states. I don't drink alcohol, so I would modify the recipe for sure. (Click on the name link above to see the recipe)

Since I was so inspired by the cute decorations, I had to search for some more ideas. Below are a few more wedding cupcakes I found and loved. These are from Martha Stewart Weddings:

Three-Tier Wedding Cupcake

Monogram Cupcakes
These cupcakes below are from Cupcake Project. It's an awesome blog devoted entirely to cupcakes. If you haven't seen this blog, go check it out. I LOVE!

Cherry Cola & Pina Colada Cupcakes

So, the moral of this blog post is that having cupcakes at a wedding instead of cake is such a sweet idea! :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Homemade Valentine Cards and February Printable

I LOVE Valentine's Day. I love the decorations, the candy, the way it makes people feel loving. It is one of my favorite holidays. I loved handing out little Valentine Cards when I was a kid. Every year we would make our own. We'd spend hours pouring over magazines and trying to think up cute sayings like "I'm over the moon for you, Valentine" or "Smile, it's Valentine's Day!" They were super cheesy, but it was a project I really looked forward to year after year. Since it was so much fun for me, I wanted to pass along the tradition to my girls.  This past week, we've been making Valentine cards. We've been hanging them on the back of the front door for their Daddy to see when he gets home from work. Since the girls insist that Daddy is their Valentine. (I love that!) Before the the big day, I think the whole front door might be covered!

Also, since I love Valentine's Day so much and it happens to be in the month of February, I have a gift! February's printable is 3 simple (but cute!) Valentine cards. Simply click on the JPEG file below. It should come up in a new window, then save to your desktop. The file is 8.5 x 11, so print as many as you would like on standard card stock (recommended), and cut along the black outline. (The dotted line is the fold line.) Put your own message on the inside, or leave as is. If you use it, please be so kind and leave a comment. Thanks, and Happy February!