Sunday, February 24, 2013

February Lunch Club: "Love Lunch"

I mentioned earlier that some friends and I have started a little Lunch Club to schedule some much needed get to know you girl time. February's theme was all about LOVE. Who doesn't love to talk about Love??
As with most Mom friends, our relationships were created after the courtship of our romance, after the ceremony and often after the births of our children. So February was the perfect time to dish out all those old love stories and gooey details we box up after the honeymoon.
My beautiful friend Melissa (on the left) was the gracious host of the day. (I must warn you...these iPhone photos are horrendous! I apologize in advance.)
Trying to make our ladies luncheon a bit more special, I created some simple and cute cupcake liner pins. (Liners, glue, ribbon, and a safety pins are all you really need. The hearts were little foam stickers I found of Ada's. Tutorial needed?)
Of course the best way to serve up said cupcake liner broaches is on a cupcake stand!
These arrow cupcake toppers were made for Valentine's Day last year and never used. Inspired by these. So out they came to offer a simple little touch to the mini bran muffins.
Strawberries were sliced (to represent hearts of course!) and added to the water. Yummo! Very fresh tasting and received a lot of compliments. I highly recommend trying. Note, I've learned less is more when trying to infuse water!
I personally love these lunches because it's just a laid back excuse to have fun with friends.
We keep our luncheon menus simple. Whatever you have to contribute is enough. No photo styling here. (Obviously!) After the new year started and all the resolutions were made we decided on a salad bar. Myself and the host provide the lettuce mix, grilled chicken and dressings while friends are encouraged to bring an additional topping. We also throw some food out there for the kiddos to eat. Note I say encourage. I'd much rather enjoy my friend's company than her side dish. So if finding something to bring just doesn't work out for her that day...well, we've got her covered. It will always balance out. 
My friend and I catching up.
Friends were also encouraged to bring their Wedding album so we could all oh and ah over every one's big day! It's so much fun to see what your friends looked like when they wed. Even more fun to see their husbands!
Time changes some while others remain timeless.  But no matter the length of our girls' marriages.... they are all still as beautiful as the day they said I do!
Not only did we swap photos and memories of the big day...we also got the full proposals. Love! These stories varied as wide as the ceremonies. Some were on top of the Empire State Building (not mine), some received a kitten (not me), some were at the beach (still nope) while others were on the side of a truck (yep, that ones mine!).
I created a cute little rating game so we could playfully judge the awesomeness of each love/proposal/dating story. But we talked so much we forgot to play. Oh well. The lovely Melissa also provided a few favors.. door prizes for the longest and shortest married. What fun!
I think every mom and wife would like just a moment to relive those good times. And isn't your love story worth sharing with your friends?

Where's your wedding album? Is it shoved in the attic, waiting to be uncovered in a chest? Mine was. I had to seriously hunt for it. But now that the glory days have been relived with my girls I've found a new place for our love story in my heart and in my home.

So I encourage you to go dig out yours. Share it with your kids. Better yet...put in the video! (We've been wanting to watch ours with the kids for a while but still need to hunt down a VCR. yikes!) Hope these ideas help you create your own "Love Lunch"...with your friends, with your kids or even with your Love.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Birds of a Feather

Did you know February is National Bird Feeding month? Yea, me neither until recently.

A few weeks back the kids and I decided to pull out an old winter standby...pine cone bird feeders. This is quite possibly the messiest easiest bird feeder you could ever make with your kids. Seriously though....learn from my mistake and make them outside!

Start by tying a piece of string (I used twine) around the top of a pine cone to use for hanging...
 Then let the kiddos "paint" the cone with peanut butter....

 Roll it all around in some bird seed...
Then hang! How simple is that?

We chose to hang our from a tree with optimal viewing opportunity. And what a show we got!
After just a few weeks our pine cones are picked clean. I think it's safe to say the birds approved.
Now I think we'll have to dip them again!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Lunch Club

In this small town of mine I have quite a close knit group of girls I adore. The source of our friendships vary from MOMS club, bible study or else where, but we all have the same common thread...we're Mamas. We're all just trying to travel this journey to the best of our ability. That means we need each other.

Not long after school started last fall I noticed a huge disconnect. I was hearing a lot of "yea, I feel out of the loop", or "I feel I haven't talked to anyone lately."  It was just hit or miss with everyone, all the time. And never really getting a chance to know our friends. Just their happenings.

So when I was noticing this disconnect (which happens when the kiddos get older and Mamas start making their way back to work) I decided I wanted to try and remedy the situation.

I don't know about you, but a Girls Night Out is not always in the cards for me. Almost never actually. And a large group of my girls already meet one night a week for Bible Study, while I attend based only on Alan's schedule. As much as I like to talk about Jesus, that also wasn't what I felt we needed. I was feeling the need for some actual "get to know your girlfriends" kind of quality time. And since nights don't work well for Moms to get away from the family, and if you were to try a supper club where the whole family could join,'d be crazy. We currently have 14 girls who actively participate and that adds up to...wait for it...36 kids. Plus moms and dads. You're talking a 64 person supper club. I love them all, but count me out!

Thus the beginnings of Lunch Club. Sounds exciting right? Well, it totally is!! Once a month I, or a gracious friend, will host this lovely group of girls for some friendship building lunch time. And it's wonderful!

I had stated before that some of our girls are working moms now. Luckily most are preschool teachers and are off the clock by 12:15. So lunch works out nicely. Others try to sneak away during a lunch break. And still there are a few I wish I could accommodate. So for the most part a lunch time gathering is the most practical. Also, this time allows for only the preschool age and babies to be present, not all 36+!

We started off just by getting together and chowing down on whatever everyone could scrounge up from their pantry. No expectations of presentation. After the first lunch I decided to stretch the conversations a bit with get-to-know-you games. That quickly led to a more themed type of lunch.

So stay tuned, I'm really looking forward to sharing our lunch club ideas with you. Soon I'll be sharing our most recent "Love Lunch".

How well do you truly know your friends? Is fellowship a priority in your life?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Chalkboard Wall

Hope everyone has a wonderful day of  LOVE!

As I've mentioned before I loved our chalkboard wall in our old kitchen! A few V-days ago we used it as a backdrop for our Valentine's Day Cards.

I loved the thought bubbles...
 We got some super cute photos from it...
 And some not so cute...
But my favorite remains...

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

AdaLove's Bubble Valentines

This year Ada and I went with the popular "Blowing Kisses" idea for her Valentines. I love this version of the theme due to the lack of candy involved.

This was actually way easier than last year's. Seeing as how we only needed to hand out 8 Valentines in her preschool class I was able to pick up the larger size bubbles at the dollar store....$3 worth. Then we went home, whipped up a heart and text on PowerPoint, printed and taped.

To make the uber cute heart wand I ripped off Pinterest, I scrounged up some pipe cleaner from the craft box. And the ribbon has been laying around for years waiting to be put to use. Since I totally forgot to include who it's from I wrote her name on the back.

For $3 I think her classes Valentine's turned out pretty cute. Love the "Blowing Kisses" theme? Find more ideas here, here and the idea I ripped off... here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I Mustache you to be my Valentine....Last's Year's Cards

I'll be honest...last year I thought I was totally original with my kids' Valentines. Truly, I did. Then along came Pinterest and I realized I'm just one of many Mamas in the world trying to be original...with the same idea! I chalk it up to "great minds think alike." Luckily enough none of those other Mamas were in my kids' classes. Phew!

But, yes, I did go the mustache route....

I "mustache" you to be my Valentine! (Oh, I thought I was so clever!) Only two of my Loves humored their mother. Alex opted for the Wal-Mart Sponge-Bob-something-or-other. Oh well.

You'll have to forgive the poor photo, but I'd be happy to walk you though the how to...

I took a close up of their precious faces, uploaded to I'm sure PowerPoint or some other simple office program, placed text boxes on top with my wording, the printed on card stock. Pretty easy, schmeasy. I think each card was slightly larger than a wallet. Since AdaLove had a smaller class I went ahead and cut some card stock to line the back of the photo. Giving it a bit more presence. With Andy's class of 20+ I totally just left off that step.

Next was attaching the mustaches.... I didn't want to peel off my faux mustache sticker and stick it directly on the card. What fun would it be to get a mustache that you can't even stick on your own precious face? So I peeled the mustache stickers off the sheet (found in most fiesta sections of a party store) with the sticker backing still attached and just used a small amount of double sided tape on the back to attach to the card. Did that even make sense?  This way the recipients were actually able to peel off and use the mustache to their own delight.

There you have it....2012's Kids' Valentine's Day cards.

I have NO idea what we're going with this year. Blowing kisses perhaps...??

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

in sickness and in health...?

Today is the first day in a week I have truly felt like a human being. I had the strep...and then a sinus infection....with a touch of allergic rash....and....nauseating side effects of an "herbal remedy" I thought I'd try. So, yay for last week!

And yay that it's over. I still have the lingering sniffles and slight rash on the face (seriously don't know why this happens), but for the majority...I'm back among living. And now Alan is down for the count. Ugh.

While I was laid up in my sweat covered sheets, with tissues strategically placed up the nostrils, phlegm projecting from my lungs, cough drop breath and greasy hair, sans makeup (or the courtesy of razor to my legs...or anywhere) and basically just letting it all hang loose (I'm talking bodily functions here ladies), because who cares when you feel that crappy?...I laughed to myself. "If he can love me through this, he can love me through anything."

At one point I asked for some lovin'...we both laughed.

As I started to feel better and reunite with my family and my home I began to notice the toll my illness had taken on both. My to-do list from the morning I decided a Dr. visit was a good idea was exactly where I left it. Kind of like a twisted foreshadowing of what was waiting for me....the remnants of motherless life happenings scattered around the house. husband did help!! He totally pulled out some loads of dishes I didn't know he had in him. And the meals he prepared...I'm sure they tasted divine. (I ate, I just didn't taste.) And, yes, he did take time off to help us out, Love him! But you can't go for days without touching your kitchen or laundry, leave your home to your husband and three kids, and come back and expect it to be as you wish, or even hope. So as I began the rebuilding process....still feeling less than stellar...through gritted teeth, chuckled to myself again.... "If I can love him through this..."

But as I type my dear, sweet, better half is laid out in the bed before his all-night shift. It's his turn to pop the cough drops, stuff the tissue and let his body just "hang loose". (Not that he ever has any worries in that department!) But he doesn't have the luxury of my coming to help him get through his day. Not even a half-ass help. With the exception of his co-managers, he's on his own. And when I think of all he does for sickness and in health....I don't mind the messy house. Or his bowels.

If we can make it through must be love.