Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Proud Mama

This past weekend my amazing little daughter competed at her first States competition for gymnastics. She's worked so hard all year to get to this point; hours upon hours of weekly practices and private lessons that she begged for to help her with her problem areas. And she got out on those mats and competed like a champ.

She pulled some wonderful scores...and some not so wonderful ones, despite the routine in question being one of the best she'd ever done. The judges were tough with a capital T, and the gymnasts she was up against were some of the best in the state. Actually THE best in the state, according to the All Around scores. Thanks to the luck of the draw, we ended up in the toughest session of the competition.

Which meant that despite all her effort, hard work, and doing her absolute best once she was there, she didn't win any medals. Because of the way they divide the sessions and age groups, there were many girls who scored lower who walked away with medals. That's tough to swallow. Especially for an 8 year old. She was heartbroken. Crushed. And I was crying right along with her...nothing hurts as much as seeing your child hurt.

But my amazing little girl had her moment of disappointment and then she brushed her tears away, smiled, and said "Now I get to be a Level 4! I can't wait to go to gym next week and learn my new skills!" :-)

I'm so proud of her. I'm proud of her hard work, her dedication, her courage at not only performing routines that would terrify me, but doing them in front of huge audiences of people who want her to fail. Gymnastics is a brutal sport - one, tiny toe out of place can mean the difference between being on that podium or not. A tough judge (or one who is having a bad day or who just doesn't like your gym) can mean the difference between the lowest deduction possible or the highest possible. Sometimes hard work and dedication just aren't enough.

But she loves it more than anything. And she's GOOD at it. And she doesn't let anything, even not winning when her scores say she should have, come between her and her goals.

I learn so much from watching this incredible little girl. She's tough, she's strong, she's determined, and she allows herself to mourn when she's lost and then dusts herself off and gets right back up.

I would have been so proud to cheer for her had she made it to the podium. I was even more proud to watch her walk from that gym with her head held high, a smile on her face, excited for what her future will bring.

Mommy loves you, baby girl. You are my inspiration and the light of my life. I am so proud of you!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

DIY Lego Table

Have you seen those adorable Lego tables they have for toddlers and little ones? I love them. My kids love Legos, but when they drag them out to the middle of the floor, I just cringe. Even if they clean them up (which they rarely do) a few always gets left behind. And I ALWAYS step on those horribly painful pieces of plastic ;-) Plus, my son always complained it was hard to build because the carpet was too soft. He wanted a Lego table. And so did he could keep them contained LOL

But when I started looking around, most of the tables I found were made for toddlers...or were so expensive that they were WAY out of our realm of possibility. So I decided to make one.

We bought an inexpensive coffee table from Walmart. It was $29 at the time:

And a few Lego building plates (I think I ended up using 3 and 1/2). I also found these at Walmart:

I laid them out and measured and cut the pieces until the table was covered. This was more difficult than I expected, but a sharp box cutter and a little patience finally got the job done :-) I'd seen a larger homemade table that had a field of green in the middle with the racetrack building plates along the outside, but we didn't have that big an area to work with. And the plain plates were cheaper ;-) But I did want to personalize it and add some color.

So I painted the thinner strips along the top with red spray paint and then adhered the plates to the table with my handy hot glue gun. Then I painted my son's name on the red pieces with a small paint brush and white paint. 

We still needed something to contain all the Legos though, so I bought two mesh laundry bags (Target has them for under $2

and stapled them to the underside of the table with a heavy-duty stapler.

My son absolutely loved it. I made this for him for Christmas last year and he still plays with it daily. My daughter has asked for one for her room also :-)

All in all, we spent about $100 to make it (those building plates are kind of pricey at about $14 a piece). But considering that the cheapest table that was large enough for my 9 year old to play on was at least twice that much (and in most cases more like 3-4 times as much) this was a wonderful way to save some money and give him the table he'd been wanting :-)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Springtime Cupcakes

My husband hates cake so I don't get to make cakey type things very often. So whenever the kids have a party at school, I usually volunteer to make cupcakes. And of course, I always visit Pinterest for fun ideas :-)

This one was really cute and looked fairly easy. They didn't turn out exactly like the picture, but they turned out pretty darn cute :-D

First thing I always do is try and find a really cute cupcake wrapper that won't gross out the boys in the class.

To make the grass, you use the grass tip (the one with all the little holes in the top). Then use the spring colored M&Ms, using the yellow ones for the butterflies' heads, and the other colors for their bodies. Add a few pretzels for their winds, and you've got an adorable butterfly! You can also use the white or regular chocolate covered pretzels but I couldn't find a decent sized bag of those at the store ;-)

The Pinterest picture also used black licorice or some other sort of stringy black candy to make antennas. I tried piping chocolate icing but it didn't look right so I just left them off. 

My daughter was thrilled. And they were simple to do. And yummy too! :-)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fun Facts Friday

You can tell from the statue of a mounted horseman how the rider died. If all four of the horse's feet are on the ground, he died of natural causes. One foot raised means he died from wounds suffered in battle. Two legs raised means he died in action. (Interesting...I need to go find some horsemen statues now)

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321 (I hate math, but this is cool) :D

The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time television were Fred and Wilma Flintstone. 

Clans of long ago that wanted to get rid of their unwanted people without killing them used to burn their houses down - hence the expression "to get fired."

Men can read smaller print than women; women can hear better than men. (We can smell better than them too)

The ant can lift 50 times its own weight, can pull 30 times its own weight and always falls over on its right side when intoxicated. (I want to know who got the ant drunk to find this out....)

(Fun Facts found at

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book Page Beauty

I have a houseful of books. They are everywhere. And I love it :-D But every now and then I end up with a book I either don't want, or it's been damaged in some way so I can no longer read it, or give it away. But throwing any book away makes me absolutely cringe in horror.

Luckily, there are people out there who are much more creative than me :-) I will definitely be trying to make a few of these gorgeous book page beauties in the near future :-)

I'd love to renew my vows just so I can carry one of these :-D

You absolutely must check out The Nesting Place - she has 20 ways to decorate with book pages and they are AWESOME ya'all. This book page wreath is one of her ideas.

And this...I can't even tell you how much I want this :-) Absolutely stunning clock made from sheet music.

Found on Pinterest linked to My Sweet Savannah. Check out her site, it's amazing!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Frozen Easter Decorations

If you happen to live in a place that still gets below freezing around Easter time, these are fun outdoor decorations that you can do with your kids. I'm always finding fun little crafts and experiments on Pinterest, but few turn out like the pictures lol 

These, however, actually turned out pretty well. And they are so simple to make! If you can fill a water balloon, you can make these. All you have to do is take the balloon, put a few drops of food coloring in, and then fill them up. If it's cold enough, you can then just gently place them outside overnight. In the morning, peel the balloon off and you are left with these pretty frozen globes of ice. 

If your weather has (hopefully) warmed up, you could probably just toss these in the freezer overnight and get the same results (though of course they won't last as long once you put them outside) :)

Next time we do these, we'll try larger balloons and maybe place them in a bowl or something so they turn out more round instead of egg shaped. But this shape is perfect for Easter decorating!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Funnies

I love Pinterest. I probably spend way too much time on there :-) But there are a ton of great looking crafts and recipes that I'm always dying to try. Mine rarely turn out the way the Pinterest pictures do though :-D So these photos always crack me up :-D

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Banana Nut Bread

My kids seem to go through phases when it comes to bananas. For a couple weeks, they can't get enough of them so I keep the kitchen stocked. And then one day, I'll bring home a bunch of bananas that goes untouched. Luckily, my husband loves banana nut bread. :-D

I found this recipe on the Food Network's site and it's YUMMY! Please visit their site for full instructions.

Here's what you need:
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt 
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 3 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed with a fork (about 1 cup) 
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces 
I always double the recipe which makes 3 loaves for me (but I think that is because one of my pans is bigger than the other two). Also, my kids don't like nuts, but the Hubs does, so I usually make the bigger loaf without nuts and the two small loaves with. And I pretty much always use cooking spray instead of greasing pans with butter. It's always worked fine for me :-)

Here is what you do:

 Cream together the butter and sugar.

While that is going, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

and whisk together the eggs and vanilla and then set aside.

Gradually add the egg mixture to the creamed butter and sugar.

Mash your bananas with a fork (I used to skip this step thinking it didn't matter...IT DOES! Completely changes the texture of your batter, so don't skip this step :-) ) Then add the bananas to your mixture.

Once that's done, add your wet ingredients to the dry, mixing with a rubber spatula just until incorporated.

At this point, I scoop out enough to make my kids their nut-free loaf and then fold in the nuts to the rest of the batter.

Divide into your greased pans and bake for 55 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean) at 350 degrees.