Tuesday, August 28, 2012

DIY Wedding Card Keepsake Book

First, please excuse the horrible picture quality. I was all snuggled in on the couch with my materials laid out and didn't want to get up and get the big camera. Or apparently turn on the light.

Second, I made this with materials I already had on hand. Looking back I would have gotten some new scrapbook paper and stickers and made it a little prettier. Maybe one day.

When J and I got married we got the sweetest cards with the most wonderful notes, blessings, and words of encouragement for our marriage. I wanted a way to keep all the cards together in one place and after browsing Pinterest, I came across this idea.

What You Need:
-Cardstock to create a cover
-Hole punch

What to Do:
1. Start by printing off the cover for your book. I just printed our names, date, and who the cards were from. I cut it out so that the cover was just a little bigger than the largest card.

2. Hole punch one card with two holes. Make sure the holes are about an inch in from the edge of the card to avoid the holes ripping.

3. Use that card as a template and hole punch the rest of the cards. 
4. Next, string heavy duty ribbon through all the cards. 

5. Tie both the top and bottom ribbons into a bow.

6. And whalaa! All your wedding cards are bound in one spot. I put the book in a large hat box with all our other wedding momentos.

Friday, August 24, 2012

DIY Paper Streamer Obstacle Course

Let's see how we're doing on the list shall we?

1. Glow in the dark sticks in the bathtub
2. Go camping. Even if it's in our own backyard.
3. Have a picnic. This one may need to be indoors if it doesn't get below 100 soon.
4. Make an obstacle course out of paper streamers.
5. Fly a kite.
6. Paint with ice cubes.
7. Have a spray water bottle fight.
8. Go on a picture scavenger hunt.
9. Go fishing.
10. Relax.

Quite a few things are crossed off and we have a few more to go. I'm offically crossing off #10, but we'll continue to do this of course:)

The latest item to be tackled on our list was the Paper Streamer Obstacle Course. When I told J about this he seemed to think Ben would think it was lame. Boy was he wrong.

To create the obstacle course all you need is paper streamers and tape. I made start and finish signs and then got to hanging. I tried to hang them so that Ben had to go over some and under some.
I set up the course while J gave Ben a bath. Ben was so excited when he came out that he didn't even want to put his pajamas on. Luckily I convinced him it would only take a second or else you would have seen lots of naked bum pictures.

And he's off...

This was such a fun, simple activity and Ben must have gone through it about 20 times. 
Thursday, August 23, 2012

Birthday Celebrations

Two of my sweet nieces had their birthday celebrations on August 11th at the bowling alley. We had so much fun and I can't believe how big the girls are getting, especially my niece who is 13. How did that even happen?!

J and Ben getting ready to bowl.

I literally laughed out loud at Ben's face in this picture. I think he'd rather be playing than have his picture taken.

I didn't get a picture with my other niece but she was having a lot of fun hanging out and bowling with her friends.

Happy birthday girls!
Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cheesy Broccoli & Chicken Rice Casserole

I know. There are TONS of different casserole recipes that include these main ingredients, each varying a little bit from the last.

But let me tell you. This is the best one. Hands down. Even Ben requests this at least once a week. This is my go to recipe that I take when I'm bringing dinner to another family and when someone asks me for a quick meal idea. It's easy, relatively quick, and it is great leftover. 

What You Need:
-1 can cream of mushroom 
-8 oz. Velveeta cheese
-1 cup cooked rice
-1 cup chopped broccoli florets- I use the microwave steamer bags
-1 cup shredded chicken-I use rotessaire chicken from the store
-9 X 13 in. baking dish, greased

What to Do:
1. To begin, chop the Velveeta into small chunks and place in a large skillet along with the cream soup. 
2. Stir continuously until smooth. Make sure to keep the heat low, you don't want the mixture to burn.
3. Add the broccoli and chicken and mix well.
4. Once the rice is cooked combine with the other ingredients. 
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 min.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Something to Remember

Hopefully you were able to catch up on our Branson trip this past weekend here.

In that post I let y'all know how awesome Ben did on the car ride down. No crying, yelling, fusing, a sweet little angel. He was actually really good all weekend. That is until it was time to make the almost 4 hour trip back home. That experience was the complete opposite of our ride down to Branson. I think God likes to remind us that just when we think we've got everything under control, we need a little test to humble us.

When we got home from the trip, we were exhausted and I was feeling defeated.

I've been thinking a lot about that trip home. The excitment of going on a trip was gone. We were all  tired, and my patience tank was nearing empty. Was it too much to ask for a little quiet in the car? Couldn't Ben just sit and be still? Take a nap even? And then, instead of thinking about how Ben acted, I looked at my own actions. Were my requests reasonable for a 3 year old?

Car rides are a great time to reflect, listen to music, and think about things on your mind. For a 3 year old, long car rides are the most.boring.thing.ever.

I think the reason our car ride back was less than stellar was because my expectations were less than stellar and even out of line perhaps. I chose to fight every battle in that car on the way home. And when that happens nobody ends up winning. Why should I care if Ben wants another drink of water? Or if he asks me 50 times if the Onceler is bad, or if he wants to use another wipe when he's already cleaned his hands 100 times. In the grand scheme of things, IT DOESN'T MATTER.

Ben wasn't actin a fool just for the sake of it, he was bored and wanted my attention. Positive or not. And even when it feels like you have nothing left to give, being a parent means you sometimes have to muster up all your energy and play I-Spy just to make it another 10 miles down the road.

From now on, before I get onto Ben I'm going to check myself and my expectations. I'm going to make sure that what I'm asking him to do is reasonable. I have high expectations for Ben. I want him to do and be the best he can be. But I also want him to look back on his childhood with lots of fun memories.

There will be times when I lose my cool and make mistakes. But being a parent isn't always easy or pefect. You strive to be a better parent everyday. At Paw Fish's funeral, J's grandma reflected on their family and their life together. She said something that has stuck with me ever since. "It wasn't always perfect, but we had lots of good memories. The good sure outweighed the bad."

That's my wish for Ben when he looks back on his childhood. It may not always be perfect, but hopefully it's filled with lots of good memories.

And you know what? I'd say we're doing ok so far. Even with a few car ride disasters.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Summertime in Branson

I just love Branson. I've gone several times with family and friends and always have a blast. In fact, Mrs. Bojangles and I took a few trips to Branson way back in our childfree days. 

A few months ago my work had a silent auction fundraiser and I bid on and won a Branson package. Ben was so excited to go on a mini vacation and what better time since Summer is coming to an end. J had to work so my parents tagged along and off we went.

We left Friday afternoon and made the nearly 4 hour car ride down to Branson. Ben was so good in the car watching The Lorax and taking a little nap.

Before we knew it we arrived at the hotel and of course had to test out the swimming pool. 

After swimming we got ready and went to the Branson Landing for dinner. The landing has shops, restaurants, and play areas for kids. It's all outside, sits right on the river, and it's pedestrian only so kids can run around.

Saturday was Silver Dollar City and we were all excited about it. All week Ben talked about how he wanted to ride the roller coasters. Turns out he didn't really like them after all. I pretty much forced him to ride the rides, which he was not thrilled about but afterwards all he could talk about was how cool or awesome the ride were. Morale of the story? When you see that mom at the amusement park forcing her screaming child on the ride, don't judge. Maybe the child just needs a gentle push nudge to realize they might like it if they just try it. 

So excited after riding the raft water ride.

After SDC we got ready, went to dinner, and then played Ben's first game of mini golf. I'm proud to report that mini golf went over much better than the roller coasters.

After packing up and checking out of the hotel Sunday morning, we made a stop at Krispy Kreme donuts. We watched how the donuts were made and then got to try one fresh off the line.

After the sugary donuts we headed to the fish hatchery. The hatchery grows thousands and thousands of trout and releases them into the river. Inside the hatchery were large aquariums.

Outside were tanks full of fish you could feed. You can see the Dam in the background.

I have never seen so many small fish in such a close space before. They created quite a splash when food was thrown in.

I love this picture of Ben and my dad.

We stopped at Lambert's for lunch on the way home since my parents and Ben have never eaten there. Lamberts is best known for their "throwed rolls" just be careful your 3 year old doesn't catch one with his forearm. They're hot!

They're also known for huge servings and salads the size of your head.

By this time we were missing J quite a bit so he decided to meet us at Miner Makes at the Lake of the Ozark. We played games, rode the bumper cars, and Ben convinced him to ride the Ferris Wheel.

Branson was so much fun and it makes me even more excited for Disney this November. Here's to hoping Ben will grow to love roller coasters a little bit more before then!