Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pumpkin Shaped Jello

Now that the temps are starting to dip into the 80s it's starting to feel a little bit more like Fall here in Texas. (Could you hear all that sarcasm?) Anyway, it may not get that cool here but it doesn't stop me from fully embracing the Fall season.

I decided to kick things off with a fun cool treat for the kids. When I was in the hospital I became a big fan of jello. It was so cold and yummy. I thought it would be fun to make some orange jello for the kids and use pumpkin cookie cutters to make little pumpkins.

As you might have realized by now - I am not the type of Mom that tries to reinvent the wheel. I am going to share this super easy activity with you. All you need is orange gelatin mix and pumpkin cookie cutters.

Make the jello according to the package directions. You can make the jigglers version of these pumpkin by following the directions on the side of the box. You'll need to two boxes of jello for that. We didn't have jigglers because I didn't read the entire box until we were home. #momshrug

Note to Moms everywhere - Sometimes reading the box while in the store can be extremely helpful. 

The jello has to set in the fridge for what seems like forever. Next time I'll make the jello in the morning so that it will be ready by school pick up.

The pumpkin molds came out perfect! You have to press a bit to get them to pop up into the cutter. 

jello pumpkin

I plan to do this again in November. In December we'll use red and green jello with our Christmas cookie cutters. I love a cheap, easy and fun activity!

Will you be trying this? Don't forget to use the jigglers recipe. It would really take this activity to the next level.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Savannah's Rainbow Dash Birthday Party

My baby girl is five. I feel like it was just yesterday that she was born. Time is surely flying. For Savannah's first birthday I planned a cute cupcake themed party. We were living close to family and they all came to celebrate her big day.

We moved to Texas a couple days before she turned two and on her birthday we celebrated with ice cream, burgers and fries. Just the three of us.

For her third and fourth birthday I still wasn't really feeling planning a party so she invited a couple of her girlfriends to do different activities. Her third birthday party was at Chuck E Cheese at ten in the morning (we had the whole place to ourselves, perfection) and her fourth birthday party was at a local ceramic painting place.

rainbow dash birthday party

As her fifth birthday approached I kept thinking about how big of a deal five was. You're no longer a 'baby'. That's a big deal. I wanted to throw her a party that would be fun, colorful and easy on the pockets. I think I succeeded. The kids had a blast, it was a bright beautiful day and we spent less than $300. I consider that a win. There were 15 kids and 14 adults at her party.

To keep things easy we decided to go with pizza, applesauce, sugar cookies and cupcakes for the menu. I packed a cooler with juice boxes and bottled water.

rainbow dash birthday party

The sugar cookies were a big hit. To make these I purchased pre-made pull apart sugar cookie dough and sprinkles (also known as colored sugar, sugar crystals...). I baked them according to the package directions. They came out perfect and fit the theme of her party really well.

rainbow dash birthday party

I ordered three dozen cupcakes from the grocery store. They also made the birthday ribbon for her sugar cookie platter. It was tossed in as a freebie with the cupcakes.

rainbow dash birthday party

As her party guests arrived they were able to create a pony mask of their own. We found these pony masks on etsy and had them printed on card stock. The kids used crayons and stickers to decorate their masks and they used yarn to tie them to their little faces.

Once their mask was done they had the opportunity to take a picture in the photo booth with their mask. I found My Little Pony photo booth props on etsy and had them printed on card stock. I found the sticks (and the yarn for this party) at Hobby Lobby. 

The photo booth was made from disposable tablecloths (the bigger size) found at Dollar Tree. My husband hung the table cloths using two command hooks and lots of tape. 

After all of the posing was over we headed over to the gym for a pony race. I made ponies using pool noodles (and yarn and ribbon) that I got on clearance at Walmart. The ribbon was purchased from Dollar Tree.

These ponies were supposed to have eyes and ears but I got sleepy somewhere around eleven o' clock and decided that they were fine just like this...

The kids had a great time racing each other while my husband went to pick up the pizza. It was the perfect activity for this age. When the party was over it was hilarious to see that in all the race pics Little Mike was out front. He's a fast one...

We used streamers to create the lanes for the pony race.

After all of the ponies were tired from racing it was time to eat. The pizza from Dominos was actually pretty good. 

Before heading out to the playground we sang Happy Birthday to Savannah, ate cupcakes and I passed out all the favors. The favors consisted of rainbow colored bubble wands I found at Walmart on clearance ($3 for a pack of 6), candy from the candy bar and a Rainbow Dash paper craft (that I found for free on Pinterest).

rainbow dash birthday party

rainbow dash birthday party

After this we headed outside to the playground. The children played until our party time was up. It was great. I could not have asked for a better day for my little girl. She was so happy with her party and talked about it for the next couple days. 

It was so nice to see all of her friends and get to know some of their parents a bit better. Her party was held at the youth center on the base where we live. There is no cost for renting the facility on a Saturday, winning.

If you're planning a party for your little one I highly suggest searching Pinterest for freebies and etsy for affordable printouts and invitations. Of course if you can make things yourself that's always great too. 

How do you think we did? If you came to Sav's party thank you for prancing over and spending the afternoon with us! :-)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Organizing Mamas: Kitchen Pantry Reveal

This week has been so busy. I haven't blogged much because Savannah's birthday consumed all of my free time. I'll do a post one day this week about everything we did to celebrate her turning five.

Now that I am sort of back in the swing of things Mimi from Unlikely Martha and I are revealing our spaces for the Organizing Mamas Challenge. This could not have come at a better time for me. While I was recovering from my hospital stay my Mom was in town and she pulled my entire kitchen together. It's so organized in here and I am loving it. I can actually find lids to containers now. My heart is so happy.

My pantry before was a hot mess. There were things stuffed and crammed all over the place. Little Mike would take stuff out, throw it away or hide it somewhere in the house. Now all of his favorite items to play with are out of his reach and no longer in bright eye catching colors. He has lost all interest in the pantry. Again, my heart is happy.

Here is a before pic of the pantry...

military housing kitchen pantry

And here is the after...

One of the things my Mom did that I loved was that she completely removed all the medicine out of the pantry. She also got rid of the cereal boxes. One of my favorite new features of my pantry would be the snack tub. I don't buy much junk food but we always seem to have tortilla chips (because chips & salsa are household staples here) whatever snacks I buy for the kids. The smaller tub on top is filled with kid friendly snacks like fruit snacks, breakfast bars and applesauce. The larger tub holds popcorn bags and chips. 

The bread basket freed up space on my kitchen island (another heart happy moment) and I love that the potatoes and onions have a basket of their own. Military housing doesn't provide much storage in some of the historic homes (like our's) so you really have to get creative with making the small spaces work. I think my Mom did a great job!

What do you think of my pantry makeover? Now head over to Mimi's blog to see the reveal of her space. She recently did a blog overhaul with a new name and vibe to match. Be sure to stop by and show her post some love. She's got so many great DIY/home posts!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Kitchenista: Easy Peach Cobbler

The other day I shared a pic on the blog's Facebook page of one of my favorite desserts, peach cobbler. Since there was such a nice response to that post I figured I'd share my super easy recipe. I also said I would share it and I try to be a Mama of my word so here it goes...

This is what you'll need...

peach cobbler recipe

Recipe Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350. Toss peeled and sliced peaches in 1/2 cup of sugar. You can use less sugar (but I like all the 'syrupie' goodness that comes along with more sugar). Cream butter and 1 cup sugar together. Mix in flour. Add egg and vanilla extract. Poor mixture over peaches. Bake for about 40 minutes. 

*I always bake cobblers, pies and cakes on a cookie sheet because spillage happens when I don't use one...*

I have also used this same recipe with honey crisp apples and it was delicious!

peach cobbler

Easy enough, right? I'm trying to add to my list of desserts. So far I can make a really yummy pound cake, peach cobbler and chewy cake. What are your favorite desserts that are pretty easy to make?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Chic Bump Watch: 25 Week Update

How far along? 25 weeks

Maternity clothes? Yes. I find most of my maternity clothes from ASOS, H&M, Old Navy and Ross. My Oopsie Loops bands help make some of my non-maternity jeans fit but I prefer actual maternity jeans.

Stretch marks? No. I do get spider veins though...

Sleep: There are nights when I sleep like a husband and there are nights when I sleep like a newborn baby.

Best moment this week: I have several. Being home with my family, having my parents come visit to help me and getting some really great blood pressure numbers during my follow up appointment.

What do I miss about pre-pregnancy? Wine, working out and medium rare steaks...

Movement? Yes. #grandfinalebaby moves a lot, mostly at night.

Food cravings? Not really. I do enjoy spicy foods and snacks though.

Anything making me queasy or sick? Hearing someone blow their nose (which grosses me out when I'm not pregnant), smelling morning breath and hearing someone clear their throat.

Gender: We DO know the gender.

Labor signs? Nope.

Symptoms: I is big. I is tired. I is pregnant.

Belly button in or out? Out.

Wedding rings on or off? On.

Mood swings? My personality has definitely shifted. My tolerance level is not as high as it normally is which is causing me to be snappy and maybe a little mean.

Looking forward to? I am looking forward to enjoying the rest of my pregnancy, Savannah's birthday party and the Fall season.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Easy Natural Hairstyle for School Days

“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central forJust For Me. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

One of my goals for the Summer was to learn how to braid or twist good enough to do protective styling on Savannah for the school week. I still haven't gotten my skills all the way tight but I have made a vast improvement from where I started.

Savannah and I have been trying out the new hair milk collection from Just For Me. I was so happy with the results from the hair care line. One of my favorite products was the detangler spray. That's what we used this morning to take Sav's hair from a pineapple top ponytail down to some protective flat twists. 

After fully detangling her hair I sectioned it into parts and began twisting. I love this style because it is something fast and easy to do before school. We still haven't quite figured out how to make styles last overnight (we have tried bonnets) so I have to have styles that are quick to do in the mornings. 

I used the Curl Smoother to moisturize her hair. It's lightweight and works really well with her texture. While twisting I used the Smoothing Edges Crème on her edges. The crème is alcohol free and provides a medium hold which is great for getting those little baby hairs to lay down.

just for me hair styling products

I am really loving the results from the products. Her hair is so soft. These twists will make for a beautiful twist out this weekend. After all the twists were done I used bobby pins to secure them and added the bow in the front because Savannah loves a bow...

kids natural hairstyle

I think I'm getting better with styling. Having the right products helps a lot. The new Just For Me Hair Milk Collection is available at Walmart. The line has helped us pass the #5FingerChallenge and I cannot express how great it is to be able to detangle with your fingers! It makes for a #happyhairtime for everyone involved.

If you're like me and still new to braiding and twists I would recommend getting on Youtube and watching tutorials. If you have a friend that can teach you that's always helpful too. 

Have you taken the #5FingerChallenge yet? If you have any styling tips or video tutorials to share with me please drop them in the comments!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Maternity Style: One Dress Five Ways

Happy Sunday...

Today I am styling the dress I received in my box from Preggonista® five different ways. I thought it would be fun to share how I would wear this dress several different ways, mixing and matching it with items already in my wardrobe.

The dress that I received in my box was a Seraphine Side Ruched Gray T-Shirt Dress. It's a fun soft neutral that can be worn casually or dressed up for a fun date night out. I used the style guide that came in my box to help me select my outfits.

The first look I decided to try was inspired by a pin I saw of Reese Witherspoon wearing this exact same dress, so cool. I liked how she wore it with the touch of turquoise and natural colored sandals.

To glam the dress up a bit I paired it with black and gold accessories and sandals...

This chambray top makes it easy to transition the dress to a look ready for the Fall season...

My favorite grey sweater looked great with it too...

My green light weight trench coat and leopard print scarf paired with the neutral dress seamlessly...

What did you think of my outfits? Which one is your favorite?

 There is still time to enter the giveaway to win a Preggonista® style box!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Chic Bump Watch: A Hospital Stay & Bed Rest

Last Tuesday I got a call from my doctor. She asked me to come up to the hospital to have some lab work done and to have my vital signs checked. After getting the kids ready, I dropped Savannah off at school and Little Mike and I headed to the hospital. 

Once we were there I did all of my lab work and headed up to Labor & Delivery to have my vitals done. Due to some of the complications that I experience while pregnant I am very use to being seen and checked on frequently so my doctor's request to do a pop-up check didn't alarm me in the least bit.

After having my blood pressure drawn the nurses and residents were concerned. It was running higher than they like to see. Personally, I wasn't concerned. My blood pressure has been high with all of my pregnancies so I thought this was just par for the pregnancy course. I was wrong. This time it was going to be much different.

Somewhere between, "Mrs.Smith we want to keep an eye on you for a few more minutes and Mrs.Smith we're going to admit you to the hospital" my mind went into overdrive. All I could think about was Sav being in school on the other side of town. My husband was giving a lecture at one of the local colleges and he was too far away to make it to her before school got out. Luckily, a friend was able to pick her up for us so that mini-crisis was averted. 

Let me just say that I felt fine. I felt completely normal. Like myself. I was admitted and Little Mike and I were put in a room. My husband made it to Sav and then to the hospital and that's when things got more real. The doctor wanted me to have as little stimulation as possible so my family left and I began receiving treatment.

Enter magnesium via IV. I have never experienced anything like that before in my life. "Mag" as the the doctors were calling it makes you feel a little crazy... and sick. I was nauseous and felt like I was having an outer body experience. I was told that would happen before the IV was started so I was expecting it but that didn't make it feel any better. It was the worst.

Magnesium is used to treat all kinds of things but in my case it was being used to prevent any type of medical condition that can be caused by high blood pressure, like a stroke. With the right medication and the "mag" my blood pressure returned to normal and I was moved to a different room on Wednesday morning.

My blood pressure was closely monitored and I had more blood work done to rule out the possibility of preeclampsia. Once those tests came back negative my doctors thought it would be best to keep me in the hospital on bed rest until my blood pressure dropped back down to a range they were comfortable with for at least 24 hours.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday rolled by and I was still on bed rest. During my stay I learned a lot about my body (which is a good thing) and became a big fan of the salad and baked potato meal. It was delish. I ate it everyday for lunch and dinner.

hospital food

On Sunday afternoon I was released. My family was there visiting me when I got the good news. It was perfect timing because they packed me up with the quickness and we were out of there before the ink dried on my discharge papers.

So for the next few weeks I'l be on what my doctor calls "couch potato" rest. There's a list of things I can't do and list of things I can. I'm thankful that I'm not on a strict bed rest. Honestly the little bit of going out that I am allowed to do wears me out so I've been limiting my trips to school drop off/pick up and doctor appointments.

I have been getting tons of rest and keeping a blood pressure log at home between prenatal appointments. I can not wait to meet our baby in December. The weeks are rolling by and I am getting more excited as the time passes. I think I'll do one of those fun pregnancy updates with a bump pic in a few days to share more about my pregnancy journey with #grandfinalebaby.

All prayers, positive thoughts and vibes are greatly appreciated. Has anyone else been on bed rest while pregnant?