Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Birthday Trinkets!

There is always SO much to think about: oil changes, tire rotations, grocery shopping, working out, laundry, decorating, cooking, baking, serving, church, sports, dance, studying God's word, praying, giving your animals exercise, ironing, doctor appointments, travel, vet visits, and BIRTHDAY PARTIES . . . SIGH . . . I could have written a million things down, but you get the point.  Then there are a million things that empty your check book as well, bills, groceries, yearbooks, school photos, extra curricular activities, family portraits, medication, dog food, new clothes/shoes, tooth fairy visits, gasoline, home repairs, home decorating, Christmas, and BIRTHDAY PARTIES . . . The lists truly are ENDLESS.  Often times you desire to help someone feel special on their birthday, but you just can't break the bank.  I had a few special people to acknowledge, over the last few days, and I found a few items that screamed BIRTHDAY that I would like to share with you.  I was able and desired to give more than just these items, but maybe you know the mailman, a co-worker, or the bus driver's birthday is in the near future and you just want to give a little something along with a card or sweet note. It's always the thought that counts.  SO... take these few items and write a note with a clever riddle or poem attached.  It's bound to put a smile on their face.

1. Birthday Cake-Sugar Free Gum by Project 7.  I purchased this "pack" of gum at JoAnn Fabrics, but I have also seen it at Target. Perhaps you could attached a cute note that says, "Have a slice of sugar-free cake on me!" or "Hope chew have a Happy Birthday!" or "Here's wishing this birthday BLOWS last year's out of the water!"  This pack cost $1.99. If you get it at JoAnn Fabric's you can use a 40% off coupon, making it a little over $1.00.
2. Buttercream Icing Wall Flower from Bath & Body Works: How awesome is this scent from Bath & Body Works?  Just give this wallflower to someone you know already uses them OR spend anywhere from $7-$9 more and get them the plug in also.  Attach a note that says, "You are the icing on my cake!" I believe one wall flower is $4.00.
I made this printable below! Cut and paste it, into a word document, to use it!

3. Gorgeous Looking & Tasting Cupcakes or Pies from Bubble Cake: Check your local town for a bakery that is not only focused on taste, but also aesthetically pleasing cupcakes or pies.  I gave these and a mini Boston Creme pie to two individual's who were having birthdays!  Each mini cupcake was $1.99 (I think) and the pie was (4.95).  Attach a note that says, "Now... you can have your cake and EAT it too!" If you are giving this to an employee or co-worker you could say, "A party without cake is just a meeting!"
4. Birthday Girl Party Gear from Claire's: Everyone gets ONE day, a year, to feel individually special, so help them let the entire world know it's their birthday with birthday gear.  This pin came from Claire's and costs $3.95.  Claire's also has birthday crowns and boa's.  So fun!!!! Attach a note that says, "You wear 30 [the age] well!" OR "Hugs and Kisses! And a lot of birthday wishes!" If you buy a birthday crown, then you could say, "Everyday you sparkle, but today you RULE!" 
So I hope this helps you shower someone with a little ray of sunshine on their birthday without breaking the bank. It's different from a quick $5.00 starbucks gift card and it is cheaper too!!!! Again, the thought always means so much, so don't make excuses for not making someone feel extra special on the only day they can say is theirs.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

First Day Of School 2016-2017

The morning of the first day of school went very smooth.  I switched things up this year by 5 minutes and it really has helped SO MUCH!  There schedule is as follows:
                                        6:10 am Rise. Slowly Wake Up.
                                           6:15 am It's time to get dressed.
                                           6:30 am Breakfast/Family Devotional by Daddy/Mommy
                                           6:45 am Brush Teeth
                                           7:00 am Load Book Bag W/ Lunch Box
                                           7:05 am Walk To Bus Stop
                                           7:06 am Get On Bus
                                           7:35 am Arrive School
                                           7:50 am School Starts
                                           2:15 pm School Ends
                                           2:45 pm Bus Drop Off
                                           2:50 pm Hello Hugs & unload Bookbags/Snack/Homework/Free Time
                                           6:00 pm Football or Cheerleading & Dance (M, T, Th)
                                           8:00 pm Dinner (EEEEEEKKKKK)
                                           8:45 pm Bath
                                           9:15 pm Prayers and Lights Out! 
In the years passed, I was allowing them to sleep until the absolute last minute (6:15 am), but this year I have given them a 5 minute wake up warning.  I did this because I know MANY people who NEED their snooze buttons and I wasn't giving them a snooze button.  Ty rises immediately, but Jax needs time.  I was getting ANGRY when they weren't popping right up.  THIS HAS RESOLVED THE ISSUE.  In addition, their outfits are chosen and ironed the night before.  OH MY GOSH. WHY DIDN'T I do that these last few years? It makes the WORLD of difference.
Lilah was excited to embrace the day! She woke up and smiled from ear to ear. She was so smiley it caused Darren to laugh in hysterics. She sported her "L" black, gold, and white glitter dots/stripes book bag.  Her lunch box is the same.  
 Jax sported a Nike, Virginia Tech University Bookbag!
Big brother with Little sister.  I don't think it really hit her until that day that he would NOT be joining her at Fort Lewis Elementary School.  She was sad.
Big brother and Little Brother.
Ty was sporting a STEPHEN CURRY, Under Armor Bookbag.  It's HUGE, but very stylish. His schedule is slightly different:
                                           6:10 am Rise. Slowly Wake Up.
                                           6:15 am Shower. Get dressed.
                                           6:30 am Breakfast/Family Devotional by Daddy/Mommy
                                           6:45 am Brush Teeth
                                           7:00 am Load Book Bag W/ Lunch Box
                                           7:35 am Hitch A Ride To School With Dad
                                           7:50 am Arrive School
                                           8:20 am School Starts
                                           3:20 pm School Ends
                                           4:00 pm Bus Drop Off
                                           4:05 pm Hello Hugs & unload Bookbags/Snack/Homework/Free Time
                                           6:00 pm Football or Cheerleading & Dance (M, T, Th)
                                           8:00 pm Dinner (EEEEEEKKKKK)
                                           8:45 pm Shower
                                           9:30 pm Prayers and Lights Out!  
As you can see above, Ty continues to get up at the same time last year.  We prefer to both start and end our day TOGETHER, as a family, on the same page/schedule.
Daddy walked the kids to the bus stop.  Sadly, the bus was WAY late, like an entire 25 minutes late.  
The kids got acclimated and reunited.
Yay! The bus arrived finally!
And off they go!
We decided to make Ty a car rider, on the first day.  I just couldn't see him arriving 25 minutes late to his first time of middle school.  Since then, he's been a car rider.  I think it's valuable time spent with his daddy anyway.  We do not allow electronics on the ride to school, for that reason. When Darren dropped him off the first day, he felt sick for Ty.  Haha. And Darren said, "Ty was every shade of red imaginable."  I think it was just the fear of the unknowns because since then, that kids has NOT looked back.  He was made for middle school, I swear.  
My slogan for the morning, "You've Got This!" 
Their lunches weren't anything outside of the ordinary, but I did use this fund "reward erasers" and emoji stickers to create some fun lunch box notes.
Can I just tell you HOW AWESOME it is to have a daughter??? She wasn't even fully off the bus and she was thanking me for everything I put in her snack bag and lunch box.  LOL! "You are so nice! Thank you for the note and the juice box.  I wanted them so bad!!"
The twins came home with NOT too much to say.  It usually happens during bed time.  You know, the times when talking is supposed to come to a close.  It's their way of postponing their bedtime.  Grrr! Jax did confirm that Mrs. Green's real name is Billy Jean.  Haha.  The kids come home singing, "Billy Jean is not my lover!" most days.  #truestory
I didn't get to capture Ty getting off of the bus because the bus was so behind I had to keep looking outside, to avoid standing in 100 degree weather for 20 minutes straight.  When I opened the door to check again, the bus had already dropped him off and he was already halfway to the house.  HE WAS SMILING from ear to ear.  HE LOVED his first day!  

Monday, August 29, 2016

First Day Of School - Bus Driver Gift!!!

Ahhhhhh! I had back-to-school teacher gifts ready and prepped for months, NO LIE, BUT I forgot about Ms. Robin, the bus driver.  The day before school started I went into panic mode.  I know she would appreciate ANYTHING. However, She is not only used to receiving gifts from us, but shh is also used to the presentation.  I couldn't possibly just hand her a wrapped gift or a gift card and call it a day. This is where you insert the eye rolling emoji.  Why me?  I decided since she works in the pharmacy, at Walmart, it might be nice for her to have a gift card to that store, so she could pick up a few groceries or maybe even some fresh make-up etc.  I found the cutest gift card that reminded me of a bunch of crazy kids, sitting on a school bus.  I had to grab it. (See below).  Walmart had a back-to-school gift card, but I thought it was drab.
The morning of the first day of school, NO LIE, I almost just gave up on giving Ms. Robin a gift (all together), even though I did purchase the gift card.  I STILL didn't have a way to creatively present it to her.  I woke up at 4 a.m., packed lunches, skipped studying God's word, (BAD GIRL I know, but I studied later that night) and got to work making something QUICK. It's NOT what I would have settled on had my time constraints been different, but SHE LOVED IT! She said, "You are just so clever and creative. That was the cutest gift ever!" I will take it.  Haha.  

I did buy and have, on hand, these back-to-school stickers, to use for Mrs. Green's teacher questionnaire. Praise God this pack of stickers had a school bus included.  
I made a printable, on my computer, printed it, and added some blue checkered paper to the middle.
The printable read:
"You drive us safely every day. You always wear a smile.  So here's the thanks you so deserve, for each and every mile! Honk Honk ~ The Bolling 5"
I wasn't sure if Ms. Robin would realize that the "children", on the school bus, was actually a gift card, so I created a pull TAB that read, "Gift Card".  
I inserted the gift into a page protector sheet and also enclosed a KIND bar as to say, "You are kind!"
I am thankful that I was able to pull off a cute presentation, along with her gift card.  I know she felt loved and blessed.

Banana, Bacon, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Cupcakes!

I signed up to bring dessert to our church's youth, "Back-To-School" partyI made three desserts: 1. Funfetti Cake Ball Dip with Graham Cracker "Dippers", 2. Fudge Brownies, and 3. Banana, Bacon, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Cupcakes.  MAN that was a mouthful... well literally and not literally, only I didn't actually try one. I have #selfcontrol people.  I just thought those four flavors were meant to be together, along with a cupcake.  I didn't have a recipe, but I didn't care.  I just started baking and decided to do what felt right.  
 I had the cutest helper ever!
I also created a fun label which read, "Welcome #Back-To-School", just to help decorate the cookie sheet, that the 22 cupcakes were lined up on. 
Each cupcake was also filled with a banana cream filling.
 Nothing like a little sweet and a little salty ALL combined into ONE dessert. Yum-o!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

2nd & 6th Grade ~ Back-To-School Photos!

Hello, hello! I am excited to share with you the "back-to-school" photos that I captured of the kids.  I never thought that last year's photos could be topped.  The kids' looked so cute and were so cooperative.  I didn't think I would get that lucky two years in a row.  Of course, so many of you may be wondering HOW in the world I managed to take such cute photos during one of the most stressful days of the year: THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.  Let me let you in a little secret... I DO NOT take many photos on the first day of school.  I learned long ago that that morning is filled with too much excitement, too many nervous thoughts, possibly even a little bit of puffy or baggy eyes going on.  I want to send the kids off happy and not stressed out because mom has the camera in their faces.  SO... I take back-to-school pics several days BEFORE day 1.  It's TRULY genius.  I discovered this idea, when the kids entered Kindergarten, on my own, and carried out the "tradition" last year, after doing a test run of a hair style I wanted Lilah to sport on the first day of first grade.  And I will never turn back.  Of course, in order to get the kids to cooperate and do this with JOY, it doesn't come cheap.  LOL!  They were promised a dessert of their choice (Bahama Ice Shack) and a trip to Chuck E. Cheese.  
On the day I chose to take photos, it wasn't brutally or miserably hot, but the sun was bright and I was having a very hard time finding shade at 2:00 pm.  The twins and I drove around Salem for a few minutes, but noting was striking my fancy, so I decided to take them to my favorite spot (my secret).  LOL!
I snagged a few ideas from pinterest that I thought were adorable.  Writing on the hands was taken from a graduate's photo idea board, but I thought it was PERFECT for second grade too, since "2" represents second grade.
Lilah was a great helper and actually insisted on posing Jax.  She did a great job.  
I cannot take the photos of the TWO of them.  Completely flawless in my opinion  #biasedmommy
He melts my heart.  Simply beautiful.
Doubly blessed.  The below pose was THEIR idea.  I love that they were getting into it.
Our photo session was coming to a QUICK end because our oven repair man called and said he was on his way.  Lilah was bummed and said, "Man! I wanted to take more."  Can you tell she was really LOVING this model shoot.  Hehe,
I love these ideas that SHE and JAX came up with.  Look at how cute she is making a heart with her hands.
I would have NEVER asked for twins, but I am BEYOND GRATEFUL that Darren and I got to experience this BEAUTIFUL blessing.  People say all the time, "Man! You are so lucky.  I have always wanted twins!!"  Yes.. yes I am.
I purchased these outfits on our beach vacation.  They are from a company called Mustard Pie.  I am obsessed with their company.  My friend Jody even said, "Lilah looks like she was made for mustard pie clothing!"  And I agree completely.  This line is called "True Blue".  
Gentle kisses and hand holding! #wombmates
Then came my goofball, 6th grader who was pretty much anything but cooperative and serious.
He thought juggling and sniffing a pencil hard enough to keep it under his nose made for a much better photo op than just smiling pretty. #eyeroll
Really?!?! I was in no mood to play peek-a-boo with an 11 year old.  LOL!
It just keeps getting worse and worse and I was getting slightly aggravated EVEN THOUGH it is funny looking back on it NOW.
I was about to give up.
AND THEN, he finally gave me the sweetest smiles and poses.  These kids make me so proud.
Well... there you have it! If taking photos a few days in advanced is considered cheating, than just call me a cheater. I will take it!! I don't care one bit.  These photos are priceless and precious and I will cherish them forever. AND as long as time permits, I will take back-to-school photos this way, EVEN IF it means I have to endure Chuck E. DISEASE!!!!