Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Filling the Bus

The annual school sit and cheese pics have been brought home. The bus collages that hang in my hallway have had another picture added to it, leaving one less space to fill as my babies move up in their school years. I have been very, very vocal about how much I detest these particular pictures. This year they aren't so bad. These particular ones serve their purpose. They fill the bus windows.

This year though it hit me. 

Did you count the blank spaces left in the above picture? Go ahead. Count. FOUR left! He hasn't changed that much. Just lost his baby cheeks, added glasses for two years, and has now found contacts. His style hasn't changed much either. Hair or clothes. His face is longer, shoulders broader. And his height, that can't even be recognized in such pictures as these. He now towers over me by almost 4 inches at 6'1". He is in his first year of school ball- basketball! Obviously I am the mother of a rapidly growing man child. 




Miss K became a mini me in the past year. I blinked. Her hair isn't so curly anymore, with the help of product we can still make it pretty wavy. She is sassy and crafty. The girl can scream and throw drama like nobody's business. No one will ever mess with her. She always has to be busy. Her imagination is infinite. She is still dancing and even has a part in the upcoming South Tulsa Children's Ballet's Nutcracker performance.  I still have ten spaces to fill in her bus. I have a feeling I will earn my head of gray while filling these seats.

Like I said above, this year filling the bus seats hit me, hit me hard. The school day memories that have been made and will be made are memories to treasure forever. The education they receive now will prepare them for adulthood and for their future careers.

Education, a lot of prayer, and a solid faith in Christ our Savior.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Pumpkin Book Character Project: Birthday Elf on the Shelf

It's October and pumpkins are EVERYWHERE!!

Miss K's school decided they needed to bring pumpkins into their classroom for some reading fun. At parent/teachers conference last Tuesday I was given a sheet with the following instructions:


  • Select a book and read it together.
  • Focus your discussion on the characters in the story.
  • Pick one character and create them on a small pie size pumpkin. (the student had to be able to carry it to school)
  • Decorate it, paint it, glue things on to it, and just get creative! (Please don't carve it though.)
  • Complete the attached book report.
The pumpkin, book report, and book was all due by October 22. The students will read their stories and talk about their pumpkins October 29-31. 

We knew immediately we had to get to work, we were leaving town for Fall Break and wouldn't be back until the evening of the 19th. Our school/activity/homework schedule gets kind of crazy during the week so, with only two school days before the project was due, we knew she needed to bring it to school on the 20th. 

So what book did she choose? The Elf on the Shelf®: A Birthday Tradition. My girl is crazy about her Elf on the Shelf, and loves that she gets to pay birthday visits other than just at Christmas time. She has a special request in to Santa for Malia Peppermint Pattie to visit for ALL of our birthdays. 


Items used:
1 pie pumpkin
1 piece of red felt (arms)
2 pieces of white foam (hands and collar)
Acrylic Paints, foam brushes and cotton swabs
Pencil for drawing on details
1 piece of white card stock
1 piece of yellow scrapbook paper, cut into strips and accordion folded for hat.
Hat template
Hot Glue



As you can tell from the pictures, Miss K had very little help from me on the project. I was just the hot glue, paint corrector/mixer, and direction giver. 

Hmmm...I wonder if I will have a visitor on my 40th birthday? Only one more week!

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Friday, October 10, 2014

A Souper Recipe and PINK Hair!

Hi y'all! Yes, it's been a while since I wrote here, but no worries, I am still around. Be sure you are following me on all my other social media sites (click on the icons to the right folks) to see the snippets of what is going on in and around my nest. It's CRAZY, I tell ya. Today I have a boy with pink hair.

YES, I said PINK!!! But before I get into that story, I'm sending you all over to Oklahoma Women Bloggers. Today I am posting the following recipe. Everyone needs to make this recipe this weekend. It's Souper Comfort Food for the rainy, chilly Fall weekend we have ahead of us. Yay for Fall!!!



Now the Pink hair story.

It's #PinkOut day here in Broken Arrow. His middle school is going all out. I even heard that his National Junior Honor Society was doing some kind of contest. This is just plain awesome to raise awareness for breast cancer and any type of cancer for that matter.

I am so proud of this boy. He always has had such a fighting and supportive spirit toward any type of cancer. Today he wears a medal that he received in a 5K for a recent loved one who passed away from esophageal cancer, he even stepped out of his comfort zone and dyed his hair pink. I never thought my son would raid my closet for all of my pink gear. He did it for 5 family members in 5 years, one being his own grandfather. At 13, he gets it.


Do you Pink Out where you live? 

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fall Harvest Time with a Slow Cooker Red Gold Tomatoes Recipe from Me, Plus a Giveaway

I think I forgot how hectic Fall is, and we are still FIVE days away from the official calendar date. Anyone who knows me knows that my crockpot aka slow cooker is one of my favorite meal makers. I own three.

"The company, Red Gold-- is focused on slow cooking this Fall, and encouraging families to have a hot meal waiting after a busy school/work day.  Getting back into the Fall schedule is always busy, and slow cookers make mealtimes easier. What's more, in most families there's usually some delicious leftovers to freeze and reheat on another busy night! Using tomatoes in soups, stews and casseroles may also offer more nutrition: when tomatoes are heated, the antioxidant lycopene (linked to several health benefits) is released. Red Gold also will be hosting a promotion on its Facebook fan page starting today, September 17 during which they will give away two slow cookers a day for three weeks — that's 44 Crock-Pots. Just go to this link to fill out an entry form."

Red Gold recently sent me a variety-pack of tomatoes plus an apron, wooden spoon, and recipes. The kit contained 2 cans of crushed tomatoes, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 can of diced w/ green chiles, 1 can of diced with lime juice and cilantro and 1 can of diced with garlic and olive oil. The recipes are absolute must tries, Pulled Pork Sliders, Sausage & Sweet Potato Chili and Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese. Yummy! You can find all of Red Gold's slow cook recipes here.



I actually used the can of diced with garlic and olive oil and another I had in the pantry last week in my slow cooker. Have you ever had Macaroni Grill's Pasta Milano? Well, this recipe is like that, only its not. It has the chicken, tomatoes, and bowtie pasta, not the butter, the heavy cream sauce and a few other things. My family says it's a MAKE AGAIN!!



Let me know what you think!


Now, which one of my readers would like to receive their very own Red Gold Tomato Kit? All you have to do is enter on the easy Rafflecopter entry form below. Bonus entries are available!

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Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Red Gold for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. This Giveaway is open to U.S. only. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering and Recognizing


September 11, 2001, the day our nation came under attack. Thirteen years ago today, it seems like only yesterday. The second time in my lifetime that our own soil was attacked. I do not know any other way but to teach my own children who live in this post 9/11 era to not take their freedoms for granted. Especially now, just last night on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary. The President announced the possibility of a third war as he vows to target terror groups. 

I personally knew no one in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, or Flight 93, that was crashed into a field.  But I knew them all. They were my fellow Americans. 

My baby boy, Braden was one day away from being nine months old. I was living with Moma and Daddy in Wilson, OK. My Moma called me that morning and said turn on the TV. I just sat there holding Braden tight, tears streaming, asking God "who, what, why" is this being done. What kind of world is Braden going to grow up in? How can terrorist hate us so much that they are willing to commit suicide in order to kill innocent people? That was the first time I saw gasoline prices soar, the pumps said $1.85-$2.00. It was considered price gouging. Of course today a gallon of gas costs $3.16. Crazy huh?

Today, as I have for the past 13 years, I am saying a prayer for those who have lost loved ones in these attacks, I am praying for our country to continue to rise up and prepare for the prevention of further attacks. I am praying for our nations leaders and future leaders. I pray for our military as they continue to defend and prepare to defend against these new terror groups. I pray that they recognize more than ever the need to place God into their lives and make wise decisions. 



God Bless America!

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

#DolphinTale2 in Theaters September 12 with a Giveaway! #WinterHasHope


We are SO EXCITED for next weekend! In case you haven't heard Winter the famous dolphin is returning to the big screen!! We have kind of missed our family movie theater time since the summer program ended and have already planned a family date night. Do you have such a tradition in your household? One of these days we plan to visit Winter at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, Florida. Several of our friends have been and I even have a reporter friend with WTSP 10 in Tampa who visits him often. 


About the movie:
Inspired by true events, Dolphin Tale 2 continues the story of the brave dolphin Winter, whose miraculous rescue and recovery—thanks to a groundbreaking prosthetic tail—made her a symbol of hope and perseverance to people around the world and inspired the 2011 family hit movie “Dolphin Tale.” This film reunites the entire main cast, led by Harry Connick Jr., Oscar winner Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Kris Kristofferson, and of course, the remarkable dolphin Winter as herself. Champion surfer Bethany Hamilton, who has been an example of courage, also appears in the film.


It has been several years since young Sawyer Nelson and the dedicated team at the Clearwater Marine Hospital, headed by Dr. Clay Haskett, rescued Winter. With the help of Dr. Cameron McCarthy, who developed a unique prosthetic tail for the injured dolphin, they were able to save her life. Yet their fight is not over. Winter’s surrogate mother, the very elderly dolphin Panama, has passed away, leaving Winter without the only pool mate she has ever known. However, the loss of Panama may have greater repercussions for Winter, who, according to USDA regulations, cannot be housed alone, as dolphins’ social behavior requires them to be paired with other dolphins. Time is running out to find a companion for her before the team at Clearwater loses their beloved Winter to another aquarium.


Group Resource Website: http://www.homeschoolmovieclub.com/homeschool_day
Official Movie Website: http://www.dolphintale2.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dolphintalemovie
Twitter: @dolphintale
Watch and share the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMDymk_gx3A

In celebration of Winter's return to the big screen and the continued story of this dolphin, one of my blessed readers is going to receive a Dolphin Tale 2 Prize Pack: tshirt & sunglasses! Who wants this prize pack?

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Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. This Giveaway is open to U.S. & Canada only.

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

The 4-Crow'sALS #IceBucketChallenge #ALSIceBucketChallenge #StrikeOutALS


Obviously the power of social media has shown its face over the past month. I applaud this challenge of awareness and raising funds for research of any disease. This particular awareness began in the sports world, has spread to celebrities, former presidents and people like my family. 

What exactly is the Ice Bucket Challenge? You are publicly challenged via video by someone you know to either douse yourself with a "bucket" of ice water or make a donation to ALS or an ALS charity of choice. One that we are looking at donating to is ALS Guardian Angels, they actually take every dollar donated and spend it helping ALS patients, family members, and caregivers. The suggested donation if you do not do the challenge is $100. It is also suggested that if you do the challenge to donate at least $10. I mean come on, why wouldn't you?

ALS is one of the most common neuromuscular diseases worldwide, and people of all races and ethnic backgrounds are affected. Men are affected more than women, and the signs are often overlooked.

After all challenges were given and accepted, all FOUR of us ended up getting soaked. Here are our videos. 

Here is mine. I was challenged by Heather Davis aka Minivan Momma as part of the Oklahoma Women Bloggers. I called out my cousin Shelly (who gets some time on this because I just found out she is very SICK) and my friend and Happy First owner Debbie Vinyard. 

Braden was challenged by his friend Peyton. He called out Miss K, Evan, and his friends Oriana and Haley.


Miss K was challenged by her big brother. She gladly called out her Daddy.


Jason was challenged my Miss K. He gladly accepted, and learned the real meaning of a cold shower. LOL! He challenged both of our mothers, Belinda and Betty. I cannot wait for those challenges to be accepted.


Did you do the #IceBucketChallenge? I want to see it. Leave me your link in the comments. 


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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back to School Teacher Gift with Printable

It's Meet the Teacher day at my daughter's school. We are so excited about her teacher this year. Actually, the entire second grade team at her school is awesome so we would have been happy with any of the teachers. I seem pretty stuck this year on chalkboards, having a ball in class, and cake balls so I messaged her teacher on FB to be sure that there were no allergies or hating on chocolate.

As I suspected, chocolate is one of her faves. So of course, I etched a glass container with ABC & a ♥- oh how I love me some contact paper, my Cricut and some Armor Etch. I then filled the container with chocolate cake balls, added some bakers twine, and the printable below.



I made the printable in PicMonkey. I even included the blank copy above so that you can download and add your child's name and year. I saved mine to my iPhone and sent to Walgreens to print off as a 4x6 picture. If you do this, be sure to hit crop and look at your aspect ratio in 4x6 to be sure you don't cut anything off.






This will also be a great Teacher Appreciation Gift, so get it pinned now. Have a wonderful 2014-15 school year. Don't forget to volunteer and join your local PTA chapter (of course I had to get that plug in).
 
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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Back to School 2014

Where has Summer 2014 gone? Seriously. School starts for my kids in four days. FOUR days.

Unbelievable.

Keeping up the tradition, we took our annual back to school photos this weekend. Because I am sentimental like that. Thankfully my kids cooperated. Out of over 50 shots, I managed to get a handful of good ones. The sun was to high and they squinted, a lot.

As always, I planned ahead. I found a #hashtag printable at Tatertots and Jello. Love their blog. And you all know how #hashtag crazy I am if you follow me on any of my sites. I also wanted to get away from my house and our classic desk this year. We decided to take our fun to their schools. I debated on whether or not to actually show the names of their schools in my pictures for safety reasons. If I lived in a smaller town, it would be a given WHERE they go to school, but the photo quality helped me with my decision. My son's turned out very well. And since he IS in his last year of middle school I decided it would be okay to show his school. I can't believe I am going to have a high schooler next year! I can't believe my baby girl is a second grader this year!

Okay, the moment you have all been waiting for....








Have a great 2014-15 school year everyone! 


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Friday, August 8, 2014

Cozy Wall Art: Canvas Art Project & Review


It has been a crazy, busy summer. But, I don't think any of you need me to tell you that. Cozy Wall Art contacted me before school was out in May to review their wall art. I picked two wall decals one for my son's room and a Ballet Shoes Wall Decal for my daughter's. They did a special cut for me for my son's- he had to have a basketball, their Teen and Tween Wall Decals are amazing. Cozy Wall Art is a Texas based company, they were awesome to work with and offer FREE shipping on all orders.

My intentions were to change their beds around this summer. It is time to move B to Miss K's full size bed. He is over six foot tall now. With that move comes paint and major re dos right? Well, then in June we called in a realtor. Needless to say we still haven't put the house on the market and no beds have been moved around. Since my walls are already a neutral color we know better than to paint them, and if we do move within the next year, I don't want to lose these awesome wall displays. So I went to Pinterest and began looking at ways to save the vinyl. I ran across a few pins on putting vinyl on canvas. Seemed easy enough. I even contacted a friend who paints for a living, she says she does this all the time and said she would do it for me. I was up for the challenge.

The canvas sizes I needed were $29.99. I needed two. I lost my primary income when school let out. Time to save and use those 40% off coupons at Hobby Lobby. Thankfully I already had my daughters background paint on hand- a quart of SEXY PINK from Glidden that I had received free from a promotion. Then my son decided on a background of BOO SKY which is a Disney color by Glidden.

Our project finally began this week. The kids painted their canvases using a foam roller brush. Two coats and we let them dry over night. They had a lot of fun. Believe me its a great bonding experience to give your children a paint brush and challenge them to not make a mess on your uncovered kitchen table.



The next day, Miss K and I set out to transfer the decals. This took a measuring tape, some masking tape, the card that Cozy Art sent, my Sam's Card (because two cards are better than one), mod podge, and then I had to run to Dollar General to get some spray adhesive for Braden's. His needed help sticking. I can't answer the why on that one. Maybe because it was such a huge graphic, it also seemed to have a different backing on it than Miss K's. Her's was blue.

 

To apply, we just measured and centered, we used the halve method to pull the backing paper/transfer method off. They were huge transfers, and we didn't want them to slip. Then we used the cards to rub on the decals. With the canvas there isn't a hard surface under it, so I used a stack of copy paper. Worked perfectly. After application I went over with a coat of mod podge to seal.


On B's, in order to get the transfer paper off, I had to lightly spray the canvas with the spray adhesive. His does have a few bubbles in it, where I messed it up before getting the adhesive- could kick myself. He loves it though.




 So, what do you think? I want to try some wall quotes on canvas next. Can't wait.

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Special thanks to CozyWallArt.com  for providing the products free of charge for my honest review in this post. I was not compensated monetarily for this post. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Got Glasses? I Do. From Firmoo.com, Review & Giveaway: 5 Winners


Many, many things are changing as I approach the big 4-0, including my eyesight. I am ashamed to admit it, but my current glasses are 11 years old. See below. A little outdated. We went as a family last October to get our eyes checked and ALL of us were sent home with a new prescription. This meant four new pair of glasses and also contacts for my teen. We took care of everyone but yours truly. I was in denial. And the pocketbook was protesting big time.

11 year old glasses. Wire frames. Wore for driving, reading, computer work. 
I was contacted on July 24, 2014 (this timeline is very important), by Firmoo to review their glasses, service, and website. In exchange they would send me a pair of high quality and fashionable glasses or sunglasses "Firmoo.com is the world's most popular online eyeglasses store. Years of expertise in optical industry enable Firmoo.com to offer varieties of prescription eye wear to the consuming public in high quality yet at extremely affordable prices."

Remember above when I said someone was left out of getting her new glasses? Well, what did I have to lose? I went to their website, was able to log on with my Facebook account. Then I began to browse. I had never ordered glasses online before. Frankly, I don't even have a clue what anything on my glasses prescription means. The site walks you through. Easy. You can upload a picture of yourself (it's really supposed to be straight) and you can use their "try-on view". 

Here is mine:


On July 25, I placed my order for #CP6082. It wasn't hard to order. I did have to take my prescription to my eye doctor to get my PD (pupillary distance). I didn't want any mistakes on my own measurements. My glasses were ordered with the standard 1.5 index and anti-scratch. The company was supposed to upgrade the glasses per blog arrangement to 1.57, anti-radiation, and UV filters. I honestly don't know if this was done or not. It wasn't reflected in the invoice. My glasses arrived via mail on August 4, 2014. The package was sent internationally and was a little beat up. The glasses inside the hard case were perfect. My husband and kids absolutely love my selection. 

What do you think?


This experience was way easier than I imagined. I was leery at first. So far, I am very satisfied. 

Firmoo offers a First Pair Free Program. This program provides free glasses for new customers to try their products & service. Their free offer is open to almost all countries in the world, such as U.S., Canada, Australia, etc. Every new customer qualifies for free glasses. 

In addition FIVE of my readers are going to receive a $30 voucher towards Firmoo's Classic Series Glasses, shipping is excluded. How fun is that? All you have to do is visit the site and tell me which frames you would choose. 

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Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Firmoo.com for providing the vouchers for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. This giveaway is open to U.S. only.

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