Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Awesome Ideas for Elf on the Shelf Fun

I decided to write a post and share the pictures of the fun our elves had last year. Madison's elves are named Raft and Alison. She loves them very much and we get a huge kick out of placing them around the house every year. Here are some of our favorites.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Back to School 2013

Somehow the summer flew by and it is already the first day of school again! This year, my oldest started college at Oklahoma State University. She started last Monday and was kind enough to send me a picture of her continuing the tradition of holding a 'First Day of School Sign.' I was so excited when Family eGuide posted a Back to School Tips post that linked to a post by Digital Mom Blog that had a First Day of School Sign for College students!!! It was part of a series from Pre-K up, so my First Grader had the same design too! 

I wish every morning went as smoothly as the first day of school. Madison was up at 6:30am on her own after her alarm went off and by the time I went to check on her, she was already dressed and her bed was made! In no time at all we were off!

She was super excited to have her own desk this year, as opposed to a shared table last year!

Last year my husband took her to school every morning because I am not anywhere close to being a morning person. I felt guilty this year, because I do stay at home, so I vowed to get up and take her every day. Since I am doing mornings now, I also have pre-planned lunches and outfits. I don't want to just pack her a sandwich everyday so I found a TON of great ideas on the 100 days of real food website.

Her lunch today was a whole wheat waffle sandwich with cream cheese, Agave sweetener, cinnamon, and raisins mixed inside, petite baby carrots and ranch dip, pears, strawberry milk and a fiber one brownie for desert. I would like to eventually fix lunches that do not include any pre-packaged or canned items at all. That is my goal.

In preparation of outfit planning, I made sure I sprayed all of her shoes, her backpack and lunch box with protector spray so it is much easier to keep clean during the year by wiping them down periodically.

 Then I made sure I had all of her outfits preplanned including socks, hair clips, and shoes. I made sure she was good with wearing each outfit, since she's becoming more independent and wants to pick out her own clothes.

I chose a dress for the first day of school, but I always have her wear a pair of comfy shorts under it, because she is 6. :) The teacher wanted them to always wear closed toe shoes, but the flip flops match the dress...so I just sent a pair of tennis shoes to school to stay in her locker and she can change shoes if she needs to.

On meet the teacher night, her teacher thought that P.E. might be on Tuesday, so we planned an athletic outfit.

Wednesday's outfit includes pigtails, because in First Grade they're still cool!


And Friday:

Now that Madison is back in school and Alyssa is away at college, I think I can clean the house and it will stay clean longer than 5 minutes! I can't wait to get to spend more time blogging, organizing, volunteering and doing household projects. Here's to an awesome school year! *Clinking coffee mug*

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Last Day to Vote - Please Help!!!

Today is the last day to vote for the Best of Denton County 2013 Awards. I wanted to share some of the nominees that are dear to my heart and if you have a moment, it would mean a lot to me if you voted for them. You don't have to register and you don't even receive a confirmation email, so your email is not recorded or kept. It seriously only takes a couple of clicks to vote.

I am very excited that Family eGuide is nominated in three categories, because they ROCK. They provide so many resources for parents that I personally have relied on for years. They offer coupons (including Legoland and Sealife), kid friendly recipes, calendar activities, parenting tips and tricks, things to do for free, and so much more!

***Please vote for them for Best Publication, Best Publication Neighborhood, & Best Online Publication.

Jenny Froh donates her time to capture the best portraits of cats and dogs for several local rescue groups. Please take a moment to vote for her in the Best Pet Photography category!

Here are some of my other favorites. If you could please take a second to vote for them too:

AquaKids: Best Swimming Instruction
Art House Studio: Best Art Studio
Best Gymnastics:  Best Gymnastics

Each of these businesses has had an impact in my family's life. The winners of each of these categories receives free advertising and the honor of being voted the best! Thank you so much for taking a moment to help out local small businesses!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

June 2013 Summertime Fun Update: Perot Museum, Swimming Lessons, Father's Day Fun and More!

It's amazing how fast summer can fly by! We had a super busy and exciting June. It started off with Madison graduating from Kindergarten, Alyssa graduating from High School and Madison's 6th Birthday, all in the first week of June.

My parents came down to visit and attend all the fun events. We went to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science which was on our Summer Bucket List. Because we love the Perot Museum so much, we have an annual family membership so we are able go often and we were happy to be able to share the experience with my parents.

Madison loved drawing a picture on the computer and then spinning the wheel fast enough that the light projected the picture onto the wheel.

The Perot Museum is so cool, I will have to do a future post all about it, but in the meantime here is a great quick article to read. After having lots of fun at the museum we went down the street to the Spaghetti Warehouse for lunch. They have a trolley in the restaurant! It was really cool!

Madison was able to grow a Zinnia plant from seeds in school. It was outgrowing it's little cup, so she had a blast transplanting it all by herself! She is very proud of how well her plant is growing.

Madison really enjoyed going to a Calloways Kids Workshop. She listened to the book, Princess and the Pea and then planted pea seeds in a cup. It was a nice, quick morning activity. The next one is August 21st!

We went out for Madison's birthday to Texas Roadhouse. It is a tradition and she LOVES to sit on the saddle while they shout out Happy Birthday to her!

We are a foster family for the Humane Society of Flower Mound. In June we welcomed our current foster dog, Sadie. She was kept outside most of her life until she was surrendered by her owners to an animal shelter where she stayed for 5 months! She's only a year old. She is very sweet and loving, but really shy and in desperate need of socialization. She's come a long way so far and I know soon she'll find the perfect family that will welcome her into her forever home.

We had a great time doing a 'Naked Egg' science experiment. We placed an egg in a container with vinegar so it would dissolve the outer shell so we could see the inside of the egg. Madison really enjoyed this! In the end, we couldn't see the yolk as well as we thought we would have. I am not sure if it's because we used an Eggland's Best egg versus a regular one. We'll have to try it again before the summer is over and see.

And after the shell dissolved, we had a squishy semi-see-through egg:

I signed Madison up this year for her summer swimming camp at AquaKids and after being inspired by her swimming Coach, she decided to work very hard to move up 5 levels throughout the summer and join the Swim Team in the Fall. In June, she completed Elementary 3 and Intermediate 1. We are all very proud of her and extremely happy with AquaKids for helping her obtain her goal. I am very grateful that they truly cared about my daughter's love for swimming and that they went out of their way to help her reach her goal! I cannot express enough what a wonderful place AquaKids is. They are currently looking to expand to a third location and are taking suggestions, so if you would be interested in having an AquaKids close to you, please let them know where by clicking HERE. They are in the final three for the Best of Denton County 2013 for Best Swim Instruction, so if you have a moment to vote, it only takes a second (no registration required). Thank you!

This year on Father's Day, Jeff took Madison fishing for the first time. She caught one fish and was SO proud of herself! (Since they left early in the morning, I wanted to note that he dressed her, not me! LOL)

Then they went to Bass Pro which offers a lot of fun and free activities every weekend over the summer. They had a blast!

Madison did a couple of summer dance classes at Top Hat Dance, but then decided swimming was her thing. She is continuing to do gymnastics and tumbling too.

Madison has really enjoyed hanging out at the pool with friends. Here she is going down the outside waterslide!

We are currently working on some workbooks and reading books every day so that we don't have the summer brain drain. I bought marble jar reward sheets and marble stickers from the teacher store and when Madison completes a chore (make bed, brush teeth, etc) or does a workbook page, then she gets a marble. When she fills up the sheet, she can either pick a prize from the prize bin which consists of dollar store toys and stickers or she can earn iPad time.

Here's a great blog post on 7 ways to Boost Brainpower Over the Summer Vacation!

At the end of June we temporarily watched another foster family's puppy while they went on vacation. His name is Tony and he was a bundle of puppy love! He has already found his forever home, but I feel really good about fostering for the Humane Society of Flower Mound and teaching Madison to give back to her community. She now knows that she is the voice for those who cannot be heard.

Tony was 8 weeks old here and had just found his unknown love for sprinklers and mud. ;)

Jeff took Madison to the skating rink on Memorial Day for a free skate special we saw on FamilyeGuide and she was hooked. She has been skating every week since. The local skating rink, Interskate has skating lessons every Saturday at 9 am for $3 and she LOVES them! She is learning a lot and becoming a great skater!

Madison also started a musical theater camp at Studio B at the end of June. I'll post pictures and videos from the production in my July post.

Check out our 2013 Summer Bucket List! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and having lots of fun!

Look for more upcoming posts on Walt Disney World, toy room and American Girl Doll accessory organization, and July's Summer Update!

My Beautiful Daughter Turns 18 Years Old

Today my oldest daughter, Alyssa turns 18. It just seems like yesterday when I was holding her in my arms and now she is officially an adult ready to embark on the next phase in her life, college. I am very grateful and blessed to be her mom. I am very proud of her! Happy Birthday Alyssa!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Updated! 2013 Summer Bucket List

This summer I decided to create a 2013 Summer Bucket List of fun things for Madison to do. Since it is almost the end of July, I think my bucket list is now going to be extended through the end of the year. LOL. So far we've accomplished the ones that are crossed off, most of which are ongoing.

  • Gymnastics class
  • Tumbling class
  • Swimming Lessons
  • Musical Theater Camp
  • Dance Class
  • Perot Science Museum
  • Zoo
  • Library Reading Program
  • Dallas World Aquarium
  • Movies
  • Disney Musical Camp
  • Cooking Camp
  • VBS Camp
  • Bowling
  • Fishing
  • Swimming
  • Mini Golf
  • Go Carting
  • Bike ride
  • Fireworks
  • Picnic
  • Gaylord Texan Painting Fun
  • Make homemade Popsicles
  • Playdough fun
  • Roller Skating
  • Play tether ball at Bahama Bucks
  • Egg experiment 
In my upcoming monthly posts, I will feature pictures and details about all of our summer bucket list activities!

Update: If you are looking for awesome activities and ideas to add to your summer bucket list, then please visit FamilyeGuide! They have a calendar feature as well that you can just look up what is going on in the area by day. They are also finalists for the Best of Denton County 2013 in the following categories: Online Publisher, Publication and Publication - Newsletter. Thank you so much for taking a moment to vote for them to win in all three categories HERE! It's super easy, no registration is required.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Walt Disney World 2013 - Beach Club Resort Review

I LOVE Disney's Beach Club Resort at Disney World! We stayed there this past April and it was fantastic.

The main reason we love staying on a Disney World property is for the convenience and perks. We hop off the plane right onto the Disney Magical Express that picks you up from the airport and takes you to straight to your hotel.You don't have to worry about collecting your checked luggage because they pick it up for you and deliver it to your room! Walt Disney World offers online check -in 60 days before your arrival, so when you arrive you have a much shorter and easier check-in process. If you arrive before check-in time they will hold your carry-on luggage for you, so we were able to head straight to Epcot.  They also sent us a text when our room was ready. These conveniences are all part of the magic at Walt Disney World!

My daughter's favorite part of the Beach Club Resort is the white sand beach. She loved building sand castles and running along the shore. There is no swimming allowed in the lagoon, but she had fun dipping her feet in!

Disney's Beach Club has the BEST resort pool in Disney World! Storm Along Bay has 3 acres of pools that include a beach with a sand bottom pool, a lazy river and hot tubs! They have a 230 foot pirate ship water slide that is awesome! The Beach Club Resort also has three all-ages leisure pools with hot tubs too.


Building sandcastles in the sand bottom pool area is so much fun!

The ducks were very friendly. Madison enjoyed swimming with them in the pool.  The life guards were very protective and made sure the children didn't touch the mommy duck or the ducklings!

More pictures of Storm Along Bay.

Here is the pirate ship water slide!

Disney's Beach Club Resort also offers nightly fireside marshmallow roasting as well as movies under the stars on the beach in the evenings.

Another perk for staying at Disney's Beach Club Resort is that it's only a 5-10 minute walk to Epcot, where you can enter through the back entrance which is much less crowded than the main gates.

Epcot is just down the path and over a little bridge. It was SO nice not to have to fight crowds of people to enter the park or wait for a bus. Speaking of buses, the Disney's Beach Club Resort buses that take you to the park are close and come frequently so there's rarely a wait at either the resort or the parks when you're ready to return. When you leave a park, the Disney Beach Club buses are closer to the exit than most resort buses. This is so important when you're exhausted from walking around the park all day and just ready to return to your hotel. Disney's Beach Club Resort has bus service to Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. You can also take a short ferry ride to Hollywood Studios if you prefer.

Beaches and Cream Soda Shop, Cape May Cafe, and Captain's Grille are three amazing restaurants on site at Disney's Beach Club Resort. I will be reviewing Cape May Cafe and Captain's Grille in more detail in another blog post when I feature dining reviews. Without a doubt, the hamburger I ordered at Beaches and Cream was the best hamburger I've ever had! This restaurant has an old fashioned soda shop feel and overlooks Storm Along Bay.

Madison and Jeff waiting to be served.

Beaches and Cream Soda Shop is famous for their 'Everything But The Kitchen Sink' sundae. It includes 8 scoops of ice cream, every topping imaginable AND an entire can of whipped topping! We were lucky enough to see one made while we were eating, and when they deliver it to the table they dim the lights in the restaurant and disco lights come on. It was great! We are totally going to get one when we go back!

And here is the best burger I have ever had!

Staying on a Disney World Property has so many benefits. Aside from the ones I've already listed, you're able to partake in Extra Magic Hours as well as the Disney Dining Plan if you book your vacation through Walt Disney World. Disney's Beach Club Resort also has laundry facilities so you don't have to pack as much (although I still do)!

After staying at many hotels on and off of the Disney World property, we are in love with Disney's Beach Club Resort!  It will be the place we will stay at every time we return to Disney World!

Watch for upcoming posts from my blog on restaurant reviews, park attractions and entertainment, as well as tips and tricks for the best Walt Disney Vacation ever!

In the meantime, for other awesome Disney World tips and restaurant reviews check out the following posts from MilkandCuddles:

Disney World Vacation- Where we stayed

Dining at Disney World

Dining at Disney World - More Options