Yes To The Dress

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It’s now a matter of days until my daughter’s wedding, and I finally found “The Dress.” Finally as in I bought it THIS MORNING!!!

I had to get serious about finding a dress. Passively looking wasn’t going to cut it any more. It was either go shopping and find a dress, or be stuck with something in my closet. Saturday evening after my husband ambushed me into buying a new wallet, another story all together, we stopped in Dillard’s. There I tried on two dresses was a nice long dress, and a short dress that made me look like someones grandma. Yes, I am… but I’m not ready to look like it. Excuse the hair, I was wearing a cap.

 

I look like a grandma...  Not The Dress!
I look like a grandma… Not The Dress!

Sunday, we headed to Little Rock to resume dress shopping. I tried on more options and really liked the following dress, but it’s not exactly a dress for the mother-of-the bride. I felt like I should channel Kenya Moore and Twirl.

MOTB Dress 2
And Twirl! Also Not The Dress! 

My friend and I discussed me wearing a pant suit as an option. But when I envisioned it, it looked NOTHING like this! In my mind I thought off-white flowing pants, something like the twirly dress above with a gold jacket. I was so out of my element and needed my friend in the worst way. We talked and text back and forth, and I sent pictures.

Pant Suit... Not It Either!!!
Pant Suit… Not It Either!!!

I almost settled on the following dress because it’s made on the same style as the first dress I tried on Saturday, it’s just shorter. But as I walked around with the dress, and looked at the picture again I realized the other dress was THE dress all along. This morning shortly after the mall opened, and before heading to work I bought my dress. And the best part of all it was marked waaaay down to $34. That dress was meant for me.

All most... But Not The Dress Either!
All most… But Not The Dress Either!

I know you’re wondering where is the picture of “The Dress?!” When you see me in “The Dress” I want to have hair, makeup, and shoes all together. In other words, after the wedding I’ll share a picture of me in “The Dress.” Now I get to look for makeup and accessories. Although I’m not a real shopper, this has become more fun than I’ve expected.

 

Around The World With The Sugababies

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passport

I’m in a Facebook group called Black Educators Rock, made up of primarily K-12th grade teachers. I don’t know how I got in the group, but I’ve loved reading post they’ve shared about their first day of school, as well as some of the innovative ideas they are using to teach and inspire their students. One in particular caught my attention, and I’m going to modify it for the Sugababies.

E.Holland posted: “The first day of school will go down in the history books at George E Peters SDA School in Hyattsville , MD. We welcomed the students and parents back on the red carpet with gifts for both. The theme for this year is Around the World in 180 Days. All of the teachers dressed in the country they’ll represent for the year. Each teacher has one month to teach the students about that country with activities, facts and end with a food indigenous to that country. When the month is over, the students will get their passports stamped!! How did you WOW your first day of school?!? We had a blast and I am pooped!!”

The Sugababies are 6, 5, and a few months shy of 2-years-old. Learning about other countries, and trying different foods will be a blast for them, and me too. This summer our middle daughter traveled to Haiti on a mission trip. She learned so much about the people, the country and their ways. The girls knew she went out of the country and were fascinated by the stories of her adventure. Because of their Filipino heritage, our first stop will be the Philippines.

I took to Pinterest, my favorite place for ideas and DIY projects, and found a printable passport. In creating the passports we have to take pictures, and my little ones love taking pictures. I’ll then need to make a list of places to travel to after the Philippines. Tanzania, and France are tops on my list, and who knows where else we’ll visit. The options are so great, and I’m so very excited.

Do you have a passport? How many stamps to you have?

 

What’s Going On

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There’s a party over here! Not actually… but there has been a lot going on with me and my family.

Get Off The Road

Warning… my baby girl recently got her drivers permit, and soon she will be free to move around the city. Gasp! She is the last of the Five Degrees, and in just a few weeks after another one of her sisters goes to college she’ll be the only one at home. Although I feel sad about my baby driving, it’s important that she be able to help me, help her. I’ve gotten used to telling someone “run to WalMart and get…”

Even after she passes the road test, she can’t drive by herself for five months. That means I’ll be doing all of my own gettin’!

Torri permit
Baby girl with her drivers permit!

Eating Clean

I’m into week five of an eight week goal of losing 10 lbs. I started walking with another lady in my neighborhood 5 days a week, two miles a day, that increased to six days a week and three miles a day. Currently we’re getting in four miles. My walking partner and I walk, talk and laugh, before we know it, we’re done. I’ve even started running a little.

Three weeks ago I joined fit coach Jami Stephens‘ Facebook 5 Day – Clean Eating Challenge. I was introduced to Jami through my friend, who learned about Jami and clean eating through her sister. Clean eating coupled with continued walking is sure to help me along this journey. I even gave up Coke for 5 days. That’s big for me.

Clean eating is not a diet, just a better way of eating. Jami created a menu, and even gave us a shopping list. It’s really good food. My family even liked it. My daughter always ask whats on the menu. One day our younger-middle daughter got home from work and sent a picture to the other of the stuffed bell peppers. I knew Mr. Husband would like them, and two of the girls did too. There were no leftovers for the next day’s lunch.

The greatest challenge of the clean eating challenge was not having Coke. Two days in I had a headache the better part of the day, the withdrawals are real! I soldiered through… But that Saturday the taste of a Coca-Cola was a treat in-deed!

I’m armed with the how-to’s of clean eating, and going to try it on my own next week. Wish me luck!

Still No Dress

My daughter’s wedding is three weeks away, and I still don’t have a dress. To be honest, I haven’t looked that hard. Since I started my 10 lb. weight loss journey, I’ve kind-of put it on the back burner. If… no when I lose 10 lbs. I’ll be at least one size smaller. There is no way I’m going to wear a dress even one size too big. We’ll have pictures to remember this day FOR EVER! It may sound a little vain, but I want to be stunning!

This weekend, I will more actively look for a dress.

On To Bigger And Better Things

In just a few days, our fourth child will leave for college. Although she’ll be just across town, she’ll stay in the dorms. I am so excited for her. This is the beginning of a whole new chapter in her life. Many kids look at it as a time to get away from Mom and Dad, when actually it’s all about preparing for the future.

Graduation Pic
Graduation Pic

We’ve been uber busy! What have you been up to?

Project Doll House Is In Full Swing

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A few months ago Mr. Husband came home carrying a huge doll house. I apparently made a comment on Facebook that I’d love to refurbish a doll house for the Sugababies. My brother-in-law came across this beautiful wooden house, along with a few pieces of furniture and thought of me. Since then it’s been hanging out waiting for me to get to it. This gem is in need of a little TLC by way of a good cleaning, sanding, and painting to make it ready for the Sugababies to play with.

Two weeks ago I bought sandpaper, but it wasn’t till late last week that I finally decided it was time. After my morning walk last Thursday, before it got too hot I grabbed a Coke and the sandpaper and went to work.

Doll House

 

Initially I thought it was going to take a lot of work, as in days just to sand it. To my surprise, I was able to sand the entire house in two hours. That included a few breaks to sip my Coke, get a bottle or two of water, and cool off. I knew it would take a lot of elbow grease, but I was up for the challenge.

Sanding doll house

When I got through sanding I was a dusty, sweaty mess… and I loved every minute of it. There is something about being creative and seeing a project come to life. This week the first coat of paint goes on, and the pieces of furniture get cleaned and sanded. I will do the basic painting, then my daughter the artist and painter will add the decorative touches.

I have three full weeks of summer left, and #ProjectDollHouse has top priority. It’s the “thing” I want to  check off my list as “Done.” What projects do you have plans to complete before the end of summer?

Tea Party For The Bride

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Last weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting a bridal shower tea-party for our oldest daughter.

It was my bright idea to do EVERYTHING myself, with the help of my personal assistants (younger daughters). To say I didn’t understand how much work was involved is an understatement. But I… ahem… we pulled it off. Everything was simple from the menu to the decorations and it turned out beautiful!

Bridal Shower Tea Party Menu

From the very beginning I knew I wanted to do a mini pound cake. Since March I’ve been looking for mini-bundt cake pans, after having cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes.  Petit-fours are traditional tea party desserts, and these cakes served its purpose just fine. The first batch didn’t turn out so pretty! Although they were not burned, they were a little too brown to serve to our guest.

Using a simple pound cake recipe (minus the cream cheese), with a dollop of an even more simple cream cheese icing, and pink sprinkles was the perfect touch. The cakes that didn’t make the cut were made into a bread pudding, with a caramel sauce made with Eagle Brand Sweet & Condensed milk.

Cream cheese icing: 1- 8 oz package of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, and one cup of powdered sugar mixed well. 

Tea party bunt cakes

Another staple of a tea parties is cookies. I found a wonderful, and again very simple, recipe for short bread cookies. Five simple ingredients yielded buttery deliciousness. This recipe is great for any occasion, it stands up well to decorating, and when there nothing else…  devouring.

Months ago I was tagged in a video of cream cheese filled strawberries on Facebook. I knew right then they would be on the bridal shower menu! If you haven’t noticed the underlying theme was SIMPLE. This recipe fell right in line. We started by hollowing out the strawberry (I used the pointy end of a vegetable peeler). After making the cream cheese icing above, my youngest daughter used decorating bags to pipe the icing into the strawberries. Afterwards we sprinkled graham cracker crumbs over the top. How simple was that?! My friend said the strawberries were the best!

Of course fruit had to be a part of the festivities! Instead of fruit on a platter my vision was this watermelon arrangement. Taking my time I used a melon-baller to create dainty little balls. The arrangement consisted of watermelon balls, green grapes and pineapples. When both halves of the watermelon were filled, we put the leftover fruit on skewers.

Bridal shower teapot

With a tea party theme, teapots had to be a part of the decor. The teapot above has been hanging out in my China cabinet since my wedding. It made a perfect center piece. I also used several other teapots to round out the look of the tables.

Last but not least, I must share the cake. It was made by a local cake maker, and it was absolutely beautiful. I found a picture on Pinterest of the inspiration cake, and we could not have been more pleased with her craftsmanship. The guest didn’t realize it was a cake until it was time to cut it. It was confused as a centerpiece.

Wedding Dress Cake

While we were cleaning up after the shower, my middle daughter commented “We’re ready to start catering.”

No way! I enjoyed making all of the delicious treats, but it was a boat load of work. I never want my love of cooking and food to feel like work. For now I will continue to cook for the love of it.

 

#MagicMoments For The Entire Family

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Recently Magic Springs invited me to the park for an adventure of fun, sun and excitement with my family, in return I’d share our experience with you.

It rained the night before our trip, making it great weather for our truly magical family adventure. I couldn’t have ordered better weather from Todd Yakobian himself. We had mid-80s with nice winds, it was absolutely perfect!

It had been about three years since my girls had been to Magic Springs, and it was the Sugababies very first time. The kiddos didn’t know what was going on until we got there. Try telling a small child they’re going somewhere exciting, they’ll ask every day, several times a day “When are we going? Are we still going? How many days before we go? Are we there yet?” Yes I avoided that! The look of excitement on their faces as we walked through the parking lot, and into the gate was priceless.

Magic Springs
Welcome to Magic Springs!

While the kids prepared for a fun time I was taken on a tour of the park. One of the first things that caught my eye was the Sky Shark! I watched a couple be slowly hoisted in the air to the top of an arch. OMG, my heart was beating fast, stomach churning, and was breathing like I was right next to them. Without warning they dropped and swung back and forth over Magic Springs Lake. I got the biggest rush just watching it! This is a ride for thrill seekers, and adrenaline junkies.

There are other rides for those seeking that ‘something extra’ including The Gauntlet. This huge yellow monstrosity can be seen from the highway as you make your way to the park. It stands tall like a beacon calling to park goers and passersby alike. We found our comfort zone in a perfect combination of family rides, and kid rides including the Bugga Booga Wheel, Fearless Flyers, and classic amusement park rides like  bumper cars, and the carousel. During the recent off-season the carousel was updated. The renovation includes pictures of Arkansas history.

I had no idea my little ones were so adventurous when it comes to rides. Pictured below left, that ride takes them very high “Into the trees,” Nadia said. Neither one of the girls was scared, they just giggled with excitement. When it was over they just ran to the next.

Magic Springs 3
Riding, giggling, and having a great time!

 

For our family the highlight of the Magic Springs trip was the water parks! There are so many water attractions to chose from. We started at the Crystal Lagoon Pool where we all played in the water. It’s just right for beginning swimmers, with not too much water, but enough to make a big splash. I almost had to pull them away from the lagoon in order to experience something different. A short walk led us to Splash Island, it’s perfect for the entire family. There are little water slides, big water slides, and water slides in-between. It reminded me of something from a Dr. Seuss book, and quickly became our favorite. Water is dropping from everywhere. When the huge cup at the top of the island fills up, it dumps its contents causing a torrential down pour, and screams of delight. It’s the coolest thing ever!

Magic Springs 2
Getting Wet and Wild at the lagoon, and Splash Island.

After all that playing everyone including little Jericho worked up an appetite. Magic Springs offers a variety of concession stands, snacks, and restaurants serving burgers, chicken, fries, and pizza. X Pizza serves THE largest pizza ever, so big it can feed a family. We visited Smoke On The Water restaurant  overlooking Magic Springs Lake. The kids ate their usual chicken strips and fries, while Ajia and I tried the barbecue pork sandwich. The meat was cut right there in front of us. We had a choice of sweet or spicy barbecue sauce which was perfect for our different tastes.

Magic Springs 4
Barbecue pork sandwiches at Smoke On The Water restaurant.

After an awesome lunch we rode a few more rides until the kiddos were completely tuckered out! Approaching the exit gate Nadia says  “Nunnie, this was the best day ever!” Followed by “when do we come back again?”I agree, that was a great day!

There is something for everyone at every age to enjoy at Magic Springs. The opportunity to make magical moments and memories that will last a life time is a true treasure!

Throwback – Way Back

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Every now and then I participate in #TBT Throwback Thursday when I come across something truly throwback worthy… This is one of those days!

While going through my desk to retrieve my daughter’s birth certificate, she’s taking the written drivers permit test today… which is a total different post, I realized that drawer is stuffed! Before throwing a few away I starting going through them. There are certificates from high school, 1985 to be exact, along with one from Jr. High, and a poem that had been (gasp) typed on a type writer.

Although these certificates expose my true age, it also reminded me of a very good time I don’t mind looking back and smiling about. I wish I had more of these throwbacks to go through.

What memorabilia from yesteryear’s do you have tucked away?

throwback