Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Its been so long...

My little Daisy
It has been so long since my last post and a lot has changed for me. First off let's start with my oldest daughter. Makenzie started Kindergarten and her first day went well. I was probably the bigger cry baby! I think that is how goes because that day marked a chapter change for me. Mak also joined the sisterhood of The Girl Scouts as Daisy. Just think, this is the same child whose survival I prayed for while I was on bed rest in the hospital six years ago (exactly because it was Halloween 2006 when I saw her looking back at me during an ultrasound). Here she is thriving!

The birthday girl!
So I still have one more little one at home, who just turned 4. Payton has flourished into a talented dancer (ballet, tap and jazz to be exact). I think that I may have a triple threat thespian on my hands.  See, I told you a lot has happened my last post. I haven't told you the best part yet, I was nominated and elected as the PTA President for my daughter's school. In the words of one of my fellow mommy bloggers, "you are such an overachiever, Tonya!" This past weekend, our PTA sponsored and organized a Fall Festival. It was a hit. Just think what I could have done with more than a month to plan!!!

Payton's 2 tier birthday cake

I am in such a positive, encouraging place right now. Afterall I have been through it feels good to be reaquainting myself with the core of who I am and exercising all my many talents and gifts that I shelved years ago because of my heartache and loss. Time does heal all wounds but the most important point to remember is how much time is required? It took me 8 years to get back to this place... but it is possible to out on the other side with a few scars but tons of life lessons. Life isn't promised to be neat and clean.

Fall Festival Display at the school

I read a bumper sticker that really encompassed my stance on life right now. It read, "Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius. It's better to be absolutely ridiculous than to be absolutely boring." That's me in a nutshell.



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Flour Power!!!

So, I surf Pinterest on occassion and recently I came across a crafty idea for my girls called Cloud Dough/Moon Sand. Anyone that has spent hours at the Children's Museum with their little ones is familiar with the Moon Sand, which is soft and moldable. The recipe is so simple and inexpensive, you will wonder why you haven't made it sooner. The recipe simple calls for 8 cups of flour and 1 cup of Baby Oil. Who doesn't have any of those items sitting in a closet at this very moment?!

Well, I wiped up a batch for my girls in about 5 minutes! I put the cloud sand in a huge rubbermaid container and I threw in some cookie cutters and tiny cups... Voila'! That is the best boredom killer on a dreary Atlanta day! Two hours, yes, two hours of uninterrupted play time!!!!  Now, I will say that there was a bit of a mess after play but that is nothing that can't be solved with a vacuum (for the floor) and soap & water (for little hands). Wipe up a batch and see for yourself...


Thursday, August 2, 2012

And the First Place goes to... ME!!!!

Feeling a little experimental...

I entered my first bake off contest this week sponsored by our local library. Since I saw the advertisement for the contest, I have been pondering on which cake to bake because I have a few favorites. My first thought was to make a Red Velvet cake but this is the South and that is a very common cake around here. Alas, I decided against it. Then I thought, perhaps, I could bake my Signature Strawberry Dream Cake. Well, considering that strawberries are plentiful and abounding, I was sure someone would make a cake containing strawberries.  I finally settled on making a Key lime cake with cream cheese frosting. Making this cake can be tricky because it contains various citrus flavors outside key limes.

Ok, moving on... So I baked the cake the night before and decorated it the next day a few hours before the competition. I load up my car and head to my destination. At this point, I am a nervous wreck!!! I turn in my registration form and place my cake on the table for the moderator to label. I have to leave the room because my heart is thumping. As I walk out of the room, I notice some of the other entries. I am thinking, "There is some real competition in here."

My "award" winning Key lime cake

Judging is now over. While the scores are being tallied, the floor is open for all the contestants and spectators to enjoy the dessert entries. My ever loyal children make a beeline to my cake and that was all they wanted to eat. :) The moderator now has the list of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners and she is ready to let us know the results... The moderator calls my name for first prize and I am completely surprised. I am given a blue ribbon, a recipe book on baking and I will be featured in our local county newspaper.

I simply can't stop smiling about my win. I am so proud of myself. I was actually going to talk myself out of entering because I didn't want to be disappointed. That is the one thing that I have learned about life, it goes on regardless of whether I actively participate and engage or not. I am stepping even further outside of my box and I am now on the hunt for my next competition....


Friday, July 27, 2012

Citius, altius, fortius!! Let the games begin....

Makenzie playing tennis on
the green @ Atlantic Station

I am not sure that there is anyone as excited about the 2012 Olympic Games as much as I am! I have always been an avid fan of the events and the pageantry for as long as I can remember. The 2008 Olympics is actually more near and dear to my heart because the athletic events actually kept me "company" during my second stint of bed rest during my pregnancy with my youngest child, Payton. So fast forward 4 years later, I am excited as ever! I did want to have a party to celebrate the opening of night but my husband leaves out of town for business the following day for a week. I'll find another reason the throw a party, I'm sure...

Payton holding up her Team USA flag.
 Now, there were a few thing I did to get myself as well as my girls ready for the festivities. First, we spent an afternoon at Atlantic Station to participate in the Team USA displays and interactive games during the BB&T Atlanta Open Tennis Tournament. That was a lot of fun even considering the heat. My girls, by nature, are very competitive and athletic. After completing the interactive games as a reward, we were given Team USA towels and miniature Team USA flags. 

Next, we visited to the Atlanta History Center to see some of the mementos and artifacts from the 1996 Olympics hosted here in Atlanta. The girls really enjoyed this museum exhibit because they could touch and interact to their heart's content as well as use some the equipment in the Olympics Sports Lab on the second floor.

Interactive exhibit @ The Atlanta History Center.

On your mark, get set... GO!

The last and finally activity was to get my hands on the Sports Illustrated and Time Magazines so that I could learn a little more about some of the new faces I plan to cheer on over the next three weeks. I really enjoyed reading about Gabby Douglas, the new fresh face for Womens' gymnastics. What an amazing story on here rise to the top in such a short amount of time!

Well, that is all for now. As you read this, just know that my popcorn has been popped, my favorite cup is full and I am sitting right in front of the TV enjoying the Olympic Games. I hope you do the same!!


@ The Atlanta History Center

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Emperor and the Nightingale

During my usual finger swype through the Daily Deals on Half Off Depot, I came across a steal of a deal for tickets to a musical production of The Emperor and the Nightingale. This happens to be one of Makenzie's favorite books by Hans Christian Andersen. Once I saw the price of $5 per ticket, I couldn't complete the transaction fast enough. Why spend more, when I don't have to!!!

Makenzie and Payton posing
 with the Nightingale and the Emperor.
The production runs now through August 3, 2012 at the Georgia Shakespeare Theatre on the campus of Oglethrope University. I enjoyed the musical and it was extremely family-friendly as well as very interactive. My kids sat quietly through the entire production in awe of the sounds, lights and the costumes. I like to expose my girls to lots of different settings and activities, so that they have a chance to appreciate the Arts starting at an early age. This early exposure also gives them a chance to learn how to act appropriately in various settings. Kids are blank slates (carte blanc) and they HAVE to learn something, so I might as well teach them the best that I can while I still have their attention.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Start your engines!!

My weekends during the summer time are usually filled with birthday parties, cookouts and an occasional trip to the beach to Savannah to visit my brother. Well, last weekend I thought I would have a moment to rest my feet on a lazy Sunday afternoon... That didn't happen!

Instead, I ended up burning rubber on the track at Andretti Indoor Karting (sans kids, of course). Talk about adrenaline rush! On first sight of the building I wasn't sure of what was in store for me behind those doors. I thought it would be the standard run of the mill go-karts that you find at an outdoor festival or carnival. These badboys were no where near that description! The superkarts simulate a speed of up to 50 mph!!! What!?! Yes, that's right and its all indoors! The cool part was signing up with a racer name and getting fitted for a helmet. My first thought was, "oh, there is safety equipment involved?" LOL! I donned my helmet and step out onto the platform. I see the previous heat in wrapping up their 10 laps and they are flying by! "Is it my turn yet?" Now I sound like my kids! This place will do that to you though. It's an indoor adult playground for adrenaline junkies. During my first few laps, I was cutting the corners cautiously but that soon changed. I was burning out and gliding around the corners. And to think Mike was concerned. Once my heat was over, I checked my best lap time, which was 40.3 secs.

After all that fun, I had to cool off, literally. I was covered in sweat. So we played games and climbed the cosmic rock wall (this was a first for me). I made it to the top by hitting the buzzer and realized that what goes up must come down... by just pushing off the wall. Are you kidding?! I crashed into two of the crew members on my way down. Occupational hazard, I guess.

Aside from the racing action, there is a zipline (which is above the track), rock climbing, and an extreme rope course (above the arcade area).
I survived the cosmic rock wall!
We redeemed our tickets on our way home, which are stored electronically the reloadable cards, and selected a few things for the girls. I was exhausted but my day wasn't over... I still had to make it to a wedding invitation stuffing "party".

Now word to the wise, this is not the kind of place where you get all fancy and jazzy with your attire. Because most of the attractions are extremely physical, it is best to go in comfortable clothing and closed toe shoes. I am still wondering how the lady in the short mini kirt and 5 inch heels felt when she walked in? Someone should have warned her. Tsk, Tsk.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cool Parks = Cool Mom

My girls are 3 and 5, so what makes me cool at this juncture in our relationship is a cool activity where they are free to be their age. What gets me a lot of points during the summer time is finding a place where they can play in water and keep cool! I think we have officially hit the "dog days of summer" with daily temperatures exceeding the high 90's. 

Here is a list of my top 5 places to keep cool in Atlanta. All on the list are budget friendly with the exception of number 5, but there are coupons available to help with that. Now, keep in mind there is no particular order:

Mak @ the Historic Fourth Ward Park
 3. International Beach
4. Piedmont Park Aquatic Center
5. Lake Lanier Waterpark

It may be hot outside but that is no reason to stay in the house... get outside, have some fun and keep cool!