Friday Favorites – Week 363 – Easter Bunny Luncheon for Kids

 photo Friday Favorites Banner 2.jpg

Please support and follow our lovely blog party hostesses:

Jerri at Simply Sweet HomeTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Christine at Light and SavvyTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Maisy at Becoming AliceFB | G+ | Pin

Sheree at Stage PresentsTwitter | FB | Pin | Inst | Inst

Lisa at Condo BluesTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Amy at A Day of Small ThingsPin

Penny at Penny’s PassionTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Kelly at Under a Texas SkyTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst | BL

If you are featured this week, be sure and grab a featured button for your blog!

 photo Friday Favorites Featured Button.jpg

You can show your love for this week’s favorites by going over and commenting on the posts and by pinning or sharing!

And if you love all of this week’s favorites, please pin, share, and invite your friends to this week’s linky party! Continue reading

Friday Favorites – Week 362 – DIY Succulent Gift Idea

 photo Friday Favorites Banner 2.jpg

Please support and follow our lovely blog party hostesses:

Jerri at Simply Sweet HomeTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Christine at Light and SavvyTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Maisy at Becoming AliceFB | G+ | Pin

Sheree at Stage PresentsTwitter | FB | Pin | Inst | Inst

Lisa at Condo BluesTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Amy at A Day of Small ThingsPin

Penny at Penny’s PassionTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Kelly at Under a Texas SkyTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst | BL

If you are featured this week, be sure and grab a featured button for your blog!

 photo Friday Favorites Featured Button.jpg

You can show your love for this week’s favorites by going over and commenting on the posts and by pinning or sharing!

And if you love all of this week’s favorites, please pin, share, and invite your friends to this week’s linky party! Continue reading

Friday Favorites – Week 360 – Indoor Winter Picnic Basket

 photo Friday Favorites Banner 2.jpg

Please support and follow our lovely blog party hostesses:

Jerri at Simply Sweet HomeTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Christine at Light and SavvyTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Jen at Creatively HomemadeTwitter | G+ | Pin

Maisy at Becoming AliceFB | G+ | Pin

Sheree at Stage PresentsTwitter | FB | Pin | Inst | Inst

Lisa at Condo BluesTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Amy at A Day of Small ThingsPin

Penny at Penny’s PassionTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Kelly at Under a Texas SkyTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst | BL

If you are featured this week, be sure and grab a featured button for your blog!

 photo Friday Favorites Featured Button.jpg

You can show your love for this week’s favorites by going over and commenting on the posts and by pinning or sharing!

And if you love all of this week’s favorites, please pin, share, and invite your friends to this week’s linky party! Continue reading

Our Visit to the King Center: A Photo Blog

Visit to the King Center : Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site

Earlier this month, we loaded the kids up in the car and went to visit the King Center.  My older daughter had been to the King Center before, but unfortunately she was too little to have really understood exactly what the Civil Rights movement or Dr. King’s dream was about.  And so, with  blatant racism, and bigotry being displayed everywhere these days, we thought that it was important for us to remind our children of their significant heritage.

As a parent, I always err on the side of caution when it comes to telling my kids the gruesome and graphic details of life/history.  My philosophy on that is that they have their whole lives to be adults and to deal with such things.  And, I simply don’t want them living in fear.  But, as we were walking through the King Museum and I was trying my best to answer all their questions and explain the things we saw.  I was reminded that the Civil Rights movement was not just for adults.  There were several children on the front lines standing up for what they believed was right.  And, it brought me back to the famous quote by George Santayana, “that those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Surprisingly enough, I do not have too much to say about our trip other than to say that it was a humbling and solemn experience.  It filled me with both great pride and waves of grief.  Pride because of the long journey that our ancestors took on behalf of the very inalienable rights we are supposed to have today.  And, grief for those who lost their loved ones in the struggle and continue to do so in the name of upward mobility and dreams yet to be actualized.

Visit to the King Center - A Day On ... Not A Day Off

A Visit to the King Center : Call To Lead

A Visit to the King Center: Signs from Marches

A Visit to the King Center: Freedom March

I'm Black and Beautiful.

I hope that you enjoyed these pictures that my husband took and, if you are ever in the Atlanta area definitely put this on your list of places to see.  It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.  How do you deal with telling your children about things that are unpleasant?  Do you sugar coat it, or give it to them straight?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, in the comments below.

7 Things Every Parent Should Know

7 Things Every Parent Should Know - www.stage-presents.com

  1.  Every child is different.  I think sometimes we base our parenting styles and decisions on how things worked the first time around, or how our parent’s raised us. I have three children and they couldn’t be more different.  Growing up, I remember thinking that my sister had it so much easier, because I had already gone through all of the hard things.  And, that my mom favored her over me, which.. well I am still not sure that isn’t entirely true, lol.  But… now that I have children of my own I know that what worked for one of them wouldn’t necessarily work for the other.
  2. There is no such thing as the perfect parent.  Even though it is what we all aspire to be, we would save ourselves so much time right out of the gate, by acknowledging from the very beginning that we are human, and therefore flawed. There will be times when you have to say you are sorry.  You will not always be right.  You are charged with shaping these little lives that have been entrusted to you, but try as you might you can’t mold them into your own image.  (Trust me I’ve tried, lol)
  3. Quality and Quantity.  I know you probably thought I was going to say  Quality over Quantity.  But Nope.  Here’s is my reasoning you are probably never going to be able to please everyone see #1.  And, even though you will most likely try to find things that everyone is interested in and or try to give them as much one on one time, as possible.  That simply may not be the way that they remember it.  So do you best to spend as much time as you can, whenever you can.  And hope that it is enough.
  4. Routine. Routine is the key to any well oiled machine.  Bed times, chores, expectations, etc.  As I mentioned before, I thought my parents were too strict.  But, the thing about it is that looking back I see now that knowing what was expected of me and how I was to conduct myself played a large part in shaping me.  I can see now that a lot of the heartache that my friends went through I was lucky enough not to have experienced, because I simply didn’t live that life.
  5. Enjoy it.  I will be the first one to tell you that parenthood is NO WALK IN THE PARK.   You love your babies and you can’t imagine life without them.  But, sometimes you do.  You imagine what it would be like to pull your hands through you hair, throw on some bright red lipstick and skinny jeans and just jump in the car heading off to God knows where and for God knows what reason.  But, you know those days are over.  So once you are back from your pity party.  Make sure to enjoy these days.  One day you will miss it.  Since my oldest is 20 and my youngest is 6, I have a unique vantage point.  I can see the other side while still in the trenches.
  6. Document your days.  This is a controversial one for some people, because if you are snapping pictures then maybe you aren’t present.  I guess I have mixed feelings about this, because I see things from behind a lens that I am not sure I would notice otherwise.  Or maybe it’s that the things that I see make me want to pull out my camera to preserve the memory.  Like taking my daughters to the beach last year, and watching their faces so go from fear, to fun, to frolicking.  It was amazing to sit there and watch them grow before my eyes.  To me, it’s equally amazing to look back on those pictures and remember that day with joy in my heart.  I think I have always taken a lot of pictures, but when my son was little there were no iPhone’s and such, so there are way less pics of him than of the girls, and it is one of my biggest regrets.
  7. We Time and Me Time are a necessity.  Before they came, it was just the two of you.  And, before you became the two of you, it was just you.  Every relationship needs cultivation, even the ones we have with ourselves.  And, I believe this with all my heart.  If you are depleted at some time in some way, it is going to come out.  I am lucky enough to have my parents close by and when I need a break they are more than happy to afford us that luxury.  But, even if you don’t have a support system close by, little things mean a lot.  Can you both get off work for a couple of hours while the kids are at school, for lunch or for a movie or both?  Can you schedule a babysitter, and make a night of it?  Or maybe you just need the peace and quiet, or solitude of a massage, or mani-pedi appointment.  Figure out what feeds your spirit and your soul and do that, make time for that.

“TODAY’S LITTLE MOMENTS,  BECOME TOMORROW’S PRECIOUS MEMORIES.”

Our Top 5 Children’s Holiday Books

top-5-childrens-holiday-books

You may very well get tired of hearing me say that Christmas is my “favorite time of year”.  But, I am pretty sure that I am not alone.  Some of my favorite Christmas memories are centered around the books my parents would read with my sister and I around Christmas time.  It is a tradition that I have tried to pass on to my own Children.  Every year on Christmas Eve they both get a Christmas related book and we read them together.  Needless to say over the years we have grown quite the collection.  I personally believe that a love for reading and a quest for knowledge are one of the most important things that we as parents, can pass on to our little ones.  It is always hard for me to narrow down only a few choices for Christmas Reading, because there is so much to choose from.  But, check out my Top 5 Favorites for this year!!  I have included some classics, as well as a Bonus Book for all those Moms who want to teach their kids the real meaning of Christmas.  All of the links to the books are Clickable.

Olivia Helps with Christmas

olivia-helps-with-christmas

The Sweet Smell of Christmas A Scratch and Sniff Story

the-sweet-smell-of-christmas

Grace At Christmas

61gnpf49mml

THE CLASSICS

The Night Before Christmas

the-night-before-christmas

The Polar Express

the-polar-express

BONUS — the real meaning of christmas

God Gave Us Christmas

god-gave-us-christmas

Out of all the books listed, my very favorite is God Gave Us Christmas.  We just discovered this one last year, and it is a gem.  Everything about it gave me the warm and fuzzies and the kids enjoyed it to.  So it’s officially Mommy and Kid Approved.

What are your favorite books to read with your little ones?  What are your favorite Christmas Traditions?  I’d love to read all about it in the comment section below.

Peace of Mind Essentials for Hotel Stays with Little People

Essentials for Hotel Stays with Kids www.stage-presents.com

I know you remember when spending the weekend or vacations at a hotel was a welcome treat.  The only thing you really had to think about what was what to pack and for how long.  Then, you became a Mommy and all of a sudden it seemed like every news program was feeding into your new found Mommy obsession with germs [esp. in hotels].  And then, in my case, you had a child that was allergic to daylight… (well, at least it felt that way) and had eczema and everything became a battle to avoid  germs.  Unless you are one of the lucky ones who live near all of your family and or can afford your own vacation home, hotels are a necessary evil.  Now, don’t get my wrong I still enjoy my stays at swanky hotels with the hubby, but my mind is not so focused on little people during those trips.

Even though I know full well that this is probably a battle I can not win, there are some essentials that make these trips just a bit more manageable in my OCD Brain.

HERE IS MY LIST OF PEACE OF MIND ESSENTIALS FOR TRAVELING WITH LITTLE PEOPLE

Lysol – I have a true love/hate relationship with Lysol.  Of course I love the purpose that it serves, but ugh the smell.  My compromise is the lemon scented one, it still has distinct undertones but I can handle it.

Disinfectant Wipes – Wipe down as many surfaces as you can that the kids will touch.  Which if your kids are like mine, that is every thing, lol.

Baby Wipes – Cause you can’t wipe down everything

Ziplock Bags –  Storage for pretty much anything.

Your Own Soap – I don’t know about you, but I hate most hotel soaps because they tend to be drying.

Pillow Cases – I sleep better knowing that the pillow cases we are sleeping on, have been washed by yours truly.

Flat Sheets – another OCD thing.

Garbage Bags –  Hotel garbage bags are always TOO SMALL.

Snacks/Juice/Water – This one is just about saving you from the mini bar/vending machine prices.

Hand Sanitizer – For When All Else Fails.

I know I am not the only panicked Momma going through this.  So I’d love to know what are your go to items for hotel stays with your little ones? Drop them in the comment section below, and if you know another Momma going through a similar struggle please share this post with them.

To read more about my adventures Road ‘Tripping” with Kids follow this link.

Celebrate Grandparent’s Day!!

GRANDPARENTS ROCK AND SO DOES GRANDPARENT’S DAY!!

Celebrate Grandparent's Day with 3 Free Grandparent's Day Coloring Sheets - stage-presents.com

©2016 Stage Presents – For Personal Use Only – Do Not Alter, Duplicate or Redistribute without Permission.

Tomorrow is Grandparent’s Day!! Do your little ones want to show Grandma and Grandpa just how much they mean to them?  Grab some crayons and let them get to work on these Free Fun Coloring Sheets.  My parents are all about anything they get from the “grands”.  Think of what a treat this will be.

I hear a lot of belly aching about these Commercial Holidays that supposedly Hallmark has invented.  I am not weighing in either way.  But, I am all for this one.  I was not fortunate enough to grow up around my grandparents, but whenever they came to visit it was such a treat.  There’s nothing quite like hearing first hand stories about what your parents were like as kids, from their parents.  There is always a bit more truth to it, lol.  I hope your little ones are lucky enough to have a relationship with their grandparents.  Enjoy them while you can.   So Download and Print these Free Coloring Sheets.  You can frame them or give  it to them as is, the choice is yours.

Happy Grandparent’s Day Certificate

Grandpa You Color My World

Grandma You Are The Apple of My Eye

Here’s a Little Factual History about the day. In 1970, a West Virginia housewife, Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade, initiated a campaign to set aside a special day just for Grandparents.  The first Grandparents Day was proclaimed in 1973 in West Virginia by Governor Arch Moore.   In 1978, five years after its West Virginia inception, the United States Congress passed legislation proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day. The proclamation was signed by President Jimmy Carter. (September was chosen for the holiday, to signify the “autumn years” of life.)
Today this event, begun by only a few, is observed by millions throughout the United States.  For more information on The History of Grandparent’s Day, follow the link.

“GOD COULDN’T BE EVERYWHERE, SO HE MADE GRANDPARENTS.”

On Your First Day of Middle School

First Day of Middle School The house is eerily quiet after a summer full of laughter and yelling.  And,  as I put the last load of laundry in the dryer, and sit down to relax before bed,  so many thoughts flood into my head. You finished your first day of Middle School.  Around this time last night, your Dad and I  sat and debated all the things that could go wrong and how we would handle it, if it did.  We were both nervous for you and dare I say shook. As we sat there with the tv off for almost 40 minutes just staring out into space.  It seemed unreal that our little timid girl was turning into this tween right in front of our eyes.    On our way home from dropping you off and speaking with your counselor, your Dad told me that he wrote you a note.  I grimaced a little, after all Dad is often known for his boyish ways (less frills and curls and more blunt and direct).  But, when I got home and read the letter. tears literally filled my eyes. (I thought about posting the note, but some things should be between a girl and her Dad.)  Now, I know that this doesn’t surprise you because over the years Mom has turn into MUSH.  Long gone are my hard exterior and Sky High Walls, blame your Dad for that.

But, I am in tears for many reasons.  There is nothing like knowing that your child is loved.  I know you are saying he is my Dad and he is supposed to love me.  Which of course is true, but it’s the way that he loves you that chokes me up.  It is knowing that we were all, you, me and Dad sitting on pins and needles for the last two weeks coming up to the New School Year.  It is the little secret conversations that I would catch a second or two of when walking by, over the summer.  The way he thought of how to prepare you as best he could for what comes next. Or the pride that I saw in his eyes when you walked across the stage at your Elementary School Graduation in May.  And, it is my own understanding that there really is nothing like a Daddy’s love for a little girl.

So as I brace myself for the Middle School Years and the changes that I know you will make and the person who you will become.  I remember something that I thought of when you were just a wee little girl.  I hoped that you would always be able to feel the love that surrounds you.  And, that means when we don’t see eye to eye, or when discipline feels more like punishment and my caring seems more like “stalkery”. And, all these years later as you embark on yet another part of your journey, I hope this still.  You are one of my greatest accomplishments and you are loved, supported and wished well in more ways than you will ever know.

 

Quick and Easy Steps to Making Your Own Candles

Quick and Easy Steps to Making Your Own Candles

I enjoy DIY projects.  But, I should explain I do not enjoy projects that have too many moving parts or require too much work on my part.  So, if you ever see me share a project or a recipe, you can be sure of two things.  It will be quick and it will be easy. Today’s DIY is no different.  I will confess this isn’t the first time that I have made my own candles.  But, it literally was back in 2008.  And, back then I was making them as gifts, so I rarely enjoyed them myself.

Fast forward to this summer, as I was making my summer bucket list.  I tried to come up with projects that I thought the kids would be excited to be a part of.  Now, I know you are probably thinking kids and hot wax, but I promise I did that part all myself.  So, let’s get started.

Moving Parts aka Things You Need.

Moving Parts

  1. Glassware of Some Type
  2. Microwaveable Soy Wax
  3. Candle Wicks with Metal Base
  4. Plastic Mold Sealer (to secure Metal Base)
  5. Straw or Pencil
  6. Fragrance
  7. About 10-15 minutes

I used Mason Jars, because… well I love Mason Jars.  The Microwaveable Soy Wax was Quick and Easy.  The directions on the packaging shown in the first picture.  Indicates that it will take up to a minute to melt.  It took me about 3 minutes to get it all the melted.  I have a Microwave that I don’t use to cook in so I used that for this project.  I am mentioning this because, of course you probably don’t want tomorrow’s left overs smelling like wax.  But I am sure if you give it a good wipe down right after you would be fine.  Candle Wicks, this is one of those things where you will have choices galore.  This go around I used the Soy Wicks with the tabs.  But, if I was to do it again, I would do the braided wicks, because I like the way that they burn better.  And, I would probably go for the simple white wicks just for a cleaner look.  I used a small piece of the Plastic Mold Sealers to secure the Metal Base of the Wicks.  This is not something you have to do but, I feel better knowing that when I start pouring the wick will stay in place.  My favorite part and the reason I made the candles in the first place is the fragrance.  But, I am going to warn you fragrance is NOT CHEAP.  And, if you want a noticeable scent.  You may want to pour between 3-4 bottles of 1 oz  Liquid Candle Fragrances into the melted wax and stir well, for even distribution.

OK, so that explains all the things you will need EXCEPT for the Pencil or the Straw.  Now the first time I did this, I bought longer wicks, so I simply attached the Metal Base and tied the remaining wick around a pencil centered on top of the jar to keep it centered.  This time the wicks I purchased were shorter was shorter, so hubby “jimmy- rigged” it.  My Mommy would always tell me necessity is the Mother of Invention, and she would be right.   He came up with the idea to puncture a hole in a straw and thread the wick through it and then center it on top of the jar.  I was skeptical, but he was right.. hes good with these things.

Making Candles

So there you have it, go forth…and make some great smelling candles.  Not to mention how impressed all your friends and family will be.  I find that these candles are always a most welcome Hostess Gift.  With the holidays coming up, it’s something to consider.  Slap a Personalized Sticker on here or dress it up with a ribbon or two.  Don’t say I never told you anything (smile).

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!!