Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Adorable manicures that last 2 weeks! #Giveaway

I have a new fun beauty addiction... Jamberry Nail Wraps!

Have you heard of these yet?

I was asked to do the 7-day test with a wrap and I am hooked. I placed one Jamberry Nail Wrap on one finger of each hand and painted the others. I used a high-quality beauty store polish. Right away, I liked that the Jamberry wrap required no drying time. With a baby who began whining about a wet diaper, it was not ideal to wait for the polish fingers to dry. 

Finally, they dried. It looked pretty nice - although I'm a messy fingernail painter. I do wish the polish fingers looked a bit cleaner. 48 hours into the test, and there was already a clear winner. The Jamberry nails still looked like the moment I put them on, and my polished nails were struggling:

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Mommy & Me: A walk through the flowers

Thanks to Groupon, we discovered a little piece of garden paradise tucked in the suburbs of Atlanta. Smith-Gilbert Gardens is a wonderful place nestled in between neighborhoods and not too far from WalMart and other suburban necessities. We had passed the sign often, but never really thought much about it. Thanks to a Groupon and our lovely spring weather, we were able to visit.

How lovely! I really had no idea that this property was so far back from the road. They had quite a bit of acreage and it was in full bloom. Flowers, trees, a pond and waterfall, Bonsai tree nursery, and more. Amelia absolutely loved meandering down the paths and discovering sculptures, butterflies, birds, and plants. A neat place to visit!

Linking up to Mommy & Me Monday with Really, Are You Serious. Getting moms in front of the cameras! Join in. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

DIY: Custom cake toppers - any favorite character!

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Amelia insisted on a Minions party - but not the usual cute blue-and-yellow minions from Despicable Me. She had to have the "girl" minion, otherwise known as Stuart in a dress at the mall in Despicable Me 2. The girl minion birthday party turned out fantastic! (click that link to see other minion ideas I posted while planning the party)

I had to improvise with the cake, as no one makes the "girl" minion cake design. Publix has minions, but only the "boys" on the beach design. And it turned out that Publix would not print a licensed character on an icing sheet for me. Many Etsy shops will make a printable icing sheet with any image, but when I went to order, I discovered that price and shipping always brought the price to near - or above - $20. And I'd have to put the icing sheet on myself... what if I ruined it moments before the party?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Kids are wise: a girl's guide to making a bad day better

I am often happily shocked by the amazing sentiments that come from Amelia's mouth. She just turned six, but sometimes I believe her soul is thirty-six. Or fifty-six. She is wise and often has something to teach me.

When I'm frantically rushing around to get our family out the door, she tells me to slow down. That it's not the end of the world to be a little late.

When I'm stressed, she says, "Mommy, you have stress." And I remember to take a moment to breathe.

Saturday night, our discussion of Easter turned into questions about God and magic. Amelia says magic is real. And not just "God or Disney World real", but real all the time. And everywhere.

"Magic is real. It's all around you when you are happy. So if you are having a bad day, do something fun. You'll have magic all around you, and magic makes everything ok." 

How incredibly simple. Yet, how amazingly true. If you have a bad day, just do something fun. Allow yourself a smile. And wait for the magic.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Mommy and Me: Playing at Stone Mountain's Camp Highland

Okay, so I totally used the baby as an excuse not to try Sky Hike for myself... but I did have a lot of fun racing Amelia through the closer-to-the-ground obstacles of Camp Highland, in the Sky Hike section of Stone Mountain Park. We had a fun Stone Mountain visit and gorgeous weather last weekend to celebrate my mom's birthday.

Since I am in some of these photos (my sister manned the camera for a bit), it's a perfect Mommy and Me Monday! Linking up to Really, Are You Serious today. Get in front of the camera and join in!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Driving a sleeping baby (and some lovely Southern charm)

With baby number two almost three months old, I am slowly remembering the nap issues and mommy tricks to stay sane. Amelia was a bad napper - short naps, and no amount of hiding or leaving her alone would help her go back to sleep. Thirty or 45 minutes, and boom. Eyes open and ready to see  the world.

Andrew is turning out the exact same way. We are in the too-short nap phase and it's driving me bonkers. I can't get anything done in 30 or 45 minutes! The other day, I resorted to my old standby with baby Amelia: driving through random Atlanta suburbs. Andrew falls asleep easily in the car and he is really comfy in his car seat. So today, when he dozed off after our errands at the bank and post office, I just drove. I chose random roads through the northwest suburbs to see where we ended up.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Kindle Fire giveaway coming soon!

Coming soon! I'll have a chance for you to enter!

mother's day giveaway
**1 Winner**
Kindle Fire HD
Hosted by:

Bloggers --
Want to participate in an amazing giveaway to give one awesome mom a great gift? Come and join in on this opportunity with Mama Foster.

Sign-ups close 4/28

**The blogger with the most referrals will receive the additional links at no cost
Click HERE to sign up and for more html info.

**Only a certain amount of co-hosts will be taken, so please sign up as soon as you can so you won't lose a spot!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Family birthday fun @StoneMtnPark #Atlanta

We spent a beautiful spring Sunday at Stone Mountain recently to celebrate my mom's birthday with some quality family time. We lucked out with gorgeous weather (it's headed back down into the 30s tonight - eek!) and had a lot of fun checking out the various activities.

Amelia, now a brave 6-year-old, is still talking about conquering Sky Hike, the sky-high ropes course that can get your heart pounding. We had lunch at Campfire Grill and laughed through the surprises in the 4D theater. We also Rode the Duck for the first time!

For information on Stone Mountain Park attractions, check them out online. You can also follow Stone Mountain on Twitter.

Posing with my babies!

Sweet Granddad moment

Thursday, April 10, 2014

She ignores her kids daily

I read a lot of great blog posts from other parenting bloggers, many of whom I have the pleasure of knowing in real life thanks to the Georgia Social Media Moms. I do not often have the chance to comment or share their posts, but I do read. I really appreciate perspective form other busy mothers and some of the interesting questions they pose to all of us.

On of my favorites from this past weekend was this one:
I Ignore My Kids Every Day - Real Mom Talk
(click to read her post)

Oh my, how she speaks the truth! I only have one big kid to "ignore" these days; I can only imagine the chatter she is bombarded with each day with six offspring to entertain her.

Is it so wrong to need ME time? Is it a crime to want to look at a silly game on my phone, read blog posts, check Facebook, respond to email...?  I don't think so. Often, I am in a digital world of work, getting stuff scheduled for some random house need, or maybe planning a party or a vacation. It is all part of my always-struggling-to-balance life. It's just busy! So when I do have a free moment, I might just want to veg out with the Where's My Piggie app and talk to - or listen to - nobody.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

We've always said you aren't allowed to turn six...

Our sweet Amelia,

Happy birthday! Daddy and I have told you for years that you are not allowed to turn six. We want you to be five forever. But today, you turned six. Nothing we could do would stop you - you have been looking forward to this day for months!

This past year has been full of many big events: new house, moving, kindergarten, and a baby brother! You have handled each big event with your amazing compassion and understanding. You are wise beyond your years.

When we had your first parent-teacher conference after kindergarten began, I could not have been more proud. The teacher said that you were not only smart and eager, but also truly kind to everyone. She showed such pride in your abilities and your heart. That makes a parent so very proud.

I have no choice but to let you move on, into your six-year-old year. Keep walking down your path in this world with a smile. Always keep that truly compassionate heart. Stay proud of who you are.

You are loved!


Friday, April 4, 2014

Family dinner: A quick and easy hamburger solution

I suspect I am not the only busy mama who often finds herself with few ideas for family dinner. You know that late-week dilemma, when you just didn't make it to the grocery store, and you have few options to cook? I know it well.

The other day, I had green beans and ground beef. Not much else. We enjoyed extra playtime due to a gorgeous day outside, so I had a hungry almost-six-year-old and wanted to fix something fast. Spaghetti is a usual go-to use of hamburger meat for me, but I was hoping for a lower carb choice. Meatloaf was going to take too long. So... what if I made a version of really tiny meatloaf?

I found a bottle of favorite meat marinade (in this case, KC Masterpiece Classic Steakhouse), spotted my mini muffin tin, and invented a new recipe.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

#WW: Almost a year ago...

Almost one year ago, we closed on our new house. We moved to our favorite school district area on this side of town for Amelia to begin kindergarten. She is almost finished with that kindergarten year already!

This is our forever home, barring any unforeseen job issues that would require us to go out of state. We plan to be here for the long haul. Both children will grow up here. Our next home will be the empty nest solution - downsize!

This house is wonderful. Despite the dark hardwood floors that I quickly realized show every piece of possible dirt (funny how they gleamed gorgeously when the house was being shown!) and the light switches that seem to be in really odd locations, we are happy here. The huge floor-to-ceiling windows in the family room, the wooded area outside, the deck, the cul-de-sac with friendly neighbors... it's all good.

May - closing day...

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