Thursday, June 28, 2012

Introducing Lake Gaston

I thought that I might take a few minutes while on vacation to share with you some of our adventures on vacation.  We have been staying at my parents house at Lake Gaston.  When I was little my parents bought land here and eventually built a house here. Their goal was to retire here, but since I don't like for my parents to live more than 15 minutes away I have convinced them to just visit here and live near me!  Here are a few pics of one of my favorite places in all the world.  It is so just swim and eat, swim and eat, swim and eat.  Enjoy the slideshow!

Here is their house.  My dad built it himself!

This is where we spend 90% of our time!
Our view from the house.  AHH!

This was our green tube that all three kids could ride.
We spent the first 2 days chasing holes in it until we broke down and bought a new tube.  

We tried out this tube, but it wasn't adventurous enough for the Hodges crew.  

Can you say UPGRADE?  Those kids love to fly on that thing
We went out to lunch at The Pointe, a restaurant right on the water.

The kids enjoyed the hammock at The Pointe.

This is the age old tradition of feeding the fish.  You can't really see that well, but there are hundreds of catfish and huge carp that hang out at this dock.
They were here even when I was a kid! They reach their huge mouths out of the water to be fed.

This was our first trip to Goat Island.  For some reason there are 3 goats that live on this island.  You can go and pet them and feed them.  The kids loved it!

My dad jumped in the water and forgot that his wallet was inside his pocket.
He had a lot of drying to do!

Every year since I was a kid we go to Outdoor World and play Putt Putt.
It cost us $1 per person and we usually get ice cream!
The kids always fish at the dock and catch little fish, but this year Brayden caught his first catfish!
I just had to add some random pictures in here too!  Prepare yourselves for some cuteness!

Oh Yes!  Here is my handsome husband!  If I knew how to whistle online, I would!

I feel so blessed that my parents stepped out in faith many years ago and bought this place.  Now, my family has the privilege of staying here with them.  We love every minute of it.  I have so many memories as a kid growing up here and now my own children are building memories too.  Wow!  So blessed!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Organizing History

I love to throw a party, I love to decorate my house, but I think the thing that gets my heart beating fast is organizing.  I love for every cabinet, drawer, closet...everything to be organized.  Now, don't go look in my closets and drawers and judge me, because at this stage of my life there is not a lot of time to organize.  I thought that I would share with you how I have organized all of the special memories from my kids:

1.  Each child has 1 large tub and 1 small tub for all of their "special" things.  Someone told me a long time ago that you should limit all of your child's things to 1 tub.  I think that is a good principle because as parents we can get carried away with saving everything.  The truth is, when we pass it along to our kids they will probably only have room for 1 tub of memories.  The large tub holds special things like:  their outfit coming home from the hospital, their first blanket, or their favorite pacifier!  Each of them are put in a ziploc bag and labeled.  Doesn't everyone have a label maker?  I have 2!

2.  For all of the special things that they do throughout the year, I store art projects, writings, etc. in this file folder throughout the year.

Inside of this file box are file folders with each child's name on it and a manilla file folder inside that says "Information".  The "Information" folder holds any special notes, schedules, etc. for the year.

2.  At the end of the school year I go through the folders and decide what items I want to keep.  I try to keep similar items for each child.  I use a new folder each year.  As you can see, I have different colors for each child and the folders are labeled with their names and their school year/age.  Once again, I love my label maker!  

3.  Each item is stored in a plastic sleeve and they are labeled with what it is.  For instance, if it is art I print a label that says "Art" or if it is for Mother's Day I print out a label that says "Mother's Day".  Below are just a few examples of things that I save.

I always save things like:  report cards, Mother's Day & Father's Day cards, Birthday invitations or whatever would represent the theme, a few selected art projects, writings, journals, etc.  I started this when the kids were babies so I also have things like their baby footprints and certificates from the hospital.

4.  Once I complete all of this for the year, I store them all in a small tub (1 for each of my children). 

Don't worry...this will have a label on it soon!  

Every once in awhile, the kids ask for me to pull all of their stuff out.  They go through each page and enjoy looking through each book.  It also takes me back too.  These kids grow so fast and it helps me to remember special times.  I thought that I had would for sure remember all of these special things, but I don't, so I am glad that I have this!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Outdoor redo

I have been a spray painting machine.  Stuart and I are trying really hard not to spend a lot of money right now and I have been craving a little outdoor transformation.  ***OUTDOOR DECORATING TIP--always look around and see what can be spray painted, you can repurpose and refresh just about anything for cheap!!

I created 2 looks outside.  We have a white furniture area around the pool and a brown furniture area around the fireplace.  I love our outdoor space.  It is one of the reasons we fell in love with our house.  But in order to fill up such a large space, we inherited a plethora of outdoor furniture that needed to be tied together.  Take a look:

This is what started the whole process.
I wanted to paint this icky bench to match the white chairs that mom and dad gave us.

Here is the finished product!  Didn't it turn out beautiful?
 I bought the pillows from Bed Bath & Beyond for $10 each (and I had a coupon!).  Aren't they perfect?  I wanted something bright and fun.  I bought this white lantern from Target for $10 also with a small yellow tea light holder inside for $3.00.  I took this old, old table and spray painted the bottom white and painted the top yellow for a bit of pop!

My parents gave us these white chairs and torches when we moved into the house.  They bought us these white tables for Christmas.  I decided to embrace the teal chair covers.  With the bright colors they look fresh and modern and not so 80's as I thought they would look.  I spray painted the torches yellow for some pop!  Love it!

I just like this angle.  hehe!

Here is an overview look at the whole area.  Btw, I also spray painted the chaise lounge chair white too.  It tied in the whole area.  Ahh!  Fabulous!

I spray painted our pots.  They were off white and old looking.  I love them, but Stuart is still not sold on them yet...too late.

This is the new umbrella that Stuart got for Father's Day.  It is a cool is that?  I got it from Garden Ridge for $50--deal/steal!  We bought this table off of Craigslist because our old table was...14 years old and last fall the wind blew it over and the glass shattered everywhere.  So, my deal shopper husband found this for pennies off of Craigslist.

This is our fireplace.  But, check out those chair covers my mom & dad bought me for Christmas.  Aren't they beautiful?

This is our view from the top of our deck.  I also spray painted those torches in the back there to match the rest of our furniture.  I spray painted all of the furniture last year and happened to have some leftover.  

I think that all in all, I was able to pull off this transformation for $60!  

Ahhh!  Time to relax and take a swim!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

1st Grade End of School Year Party

Taylor's party this year was one of my favorite parties I have every planned.  It was so simple, yet the kids had a ton of fun.  I planned the party with a good friend of mine and we decided to theme it out with horses.  Why you ask?  Well, the teacher owns 3 horses!


*we had tablecloths that were cowboy themed

*each of the kids got a bandana to wear around their neck to take home.  I ordered mine from Oriental Trading Company and I was pleased with the quality, but I found some at Walmart for less.  I wish I would have found these earlier because it would have saved me $10!!

*I got a crazy idea the morning of the party that I wanted a poster to decorate the room.  I googled and found a website that I could plug in an image into a wanted poster.  Then I went to Office Max to see if they could print it quickly.  If I printed this at a photo store it would have cost me a ton, but I read on a blog that office stores will print out black and white images on large poster paper for really cheap.  So, I went to Office Max and explained to the manager what I was doing.  He printed the poster in color and laminated it for the cost of a black and white poster (around $4).  Score!  I felt so blessed, I almost cried.  Check out the poster:
Isn't this amazing!  I just love it!

*We played the Over/Under game using apples and carrots.  We divided the class into 2 teams and each team had to empty their bucket by passing apples and carrots over their heads and under their legs.

*We played a relay game using the same teams.  I borrowed 4 stick horses from church.  We set up 4 noodles laying flat on the ground.  Then we set 3 noodles in 3 buckets.  Lastly we set a horse in a bucket and put a hula hoop in front of it.  The kids were instructed to take one of the stick horses and gallop over the noodles laying on the ground, weave through the noodles in the buckets, lasso the horse at the end using the hula hoop, run back and hand the horse of to the next person in line.  The kids loved this!

This is Taylor during her relay race!

*We played Giddyup/Whoa.  We basically played Red Light/Green Light, but used the words Giddyup and Whoa.


*We had a huge ice cream party.  For the first time, I tried out one of those free online signup sheets.  I loved it because it kept me from emailing parents back and forth.  It saved a ton of time!

This is Taylor with her fabulous teacher, Mrs. Carpenter.
She has taught all 3 of my kids how to read.  She is an amazing teacher.  I will miss her lots...sniff, sniff!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

This week has been crazy.  The last week of school is always crazy busy for me because I like to help with all of the kid's parties.  I love it, but it wears me out.  I will be sharing more about the parties later, but today I wanted to focus on Father's Day.

My kids have the best father.  I looked out of the window today and realized just how blessed I am.  There he was playing 4 square with my kiddos.  I have a long list of things that I admire about him, but one of the things that I admire the most about him is that when he is present physically, he is always present mentally!  He loves being with the kids and they LOVE being with him.

I wanted to make Father's Day sentimental...and inexpensive.  We are really trying not to spend a lot of money before we go on vacation.  So, I created a small book for him.  Take a look:
This was the cover.  I made it myself, my little version of subway art
.  It took a lot of time, but I think that it turned out pretty cute!

This is Brayden and his poster.  I love it!  StuDog-Super, Terrific, Unbelievable,
Dad of Awesomeness, On Time & Great.  I think that he had great adjectives!
I attached this to the back of his picture.
This is Emma's picture. I love the sunset!

This is Taylor's picture.  Let me help you with this one...I love you because you help me with everything.
You are the best preacher ever.  You are my hero.
How cute it that?

This is the last page of the book.

I laminated each page of the book and I put a ring through a hole that was punched at the top of each page.  I think that I was able to accomplish my goal...inexpensive but special.  He really liked it.

Happy Father's Day to the most amazing man that I know!  I love you!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lettin' It Go

Far too often we do the exact opposite...we don't let things go.  You know what I am talking about.  A comment on facebook or on your can't let it go.  Someone honks at can't let it go.  Someone says something about your child at a can't let it go.  You hear about someone talking about can't let it go.  You HAVE to say something.  I was watching the Bachelorette the other night.  I know, it is a a ridiculous show, but it always sucks me in.  Anyways, this guy got his feelings hurt and felt the need to confront the person that hurt his feelings. After he went on and on I was thinking, "come on dude, let it go already!"  Funny thing is, that the guy was defending his maturity and all he was doing was showing his immaturity.

I can't help but think of the number of times in the Bible that Jesus just let it go.  When He was being crucified, He just let it go.  He could have easily said something, but He didn't.  The Bible is clear that our "battles are not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm."  Our battle is not against the people that leave nasty comments on facebook, but against Satan.  I am pretty sure that we need to spend more time focusing on that battle rather than people here on earth.  Don't get me wrong, there are times that we should confront people, but I think that we get our feelings hurt and defend ourselves way too much!

Why do we feel the need to defend ourselves?

Romans 12:14 says, "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse."

Romans 12:19 says, Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord'."

 It sounds like to me that if we just get out of the way, God will defend us.  I am pretty sure that His defense is way better than ours!  So, next time you want to hit the send button on facebook to defend your honor...just let it go and pray for them.  Yes, I know you have a really good life lesson to teach that person, but just let it go!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Field Day T-shirts

My kids had Field Day last Friday at school.  It was fantastic.  All the kids had a blast.  I thought that I might take a quick minute to show you Emma's class shirts that I made.  Didn't they turn out cute?  
Emma's teacher graciously purchased all of the t-shirts for the class and I got to make them...all 22 of them!  The crazy thing is that it only took me 2 hours.  These shirts may look tie dyed but they are actually spray painted.  All you need is spray paint and t-shirts and you are set!  I scrunched up the shirts and sprayed away.  You can bunch them up in different patterns just like tie dye though.  The best thing about these is that they dry quickly and they don't really bleed in the washing machine like regular tie dye.  I also placed letters at the top of the shirt and sprayed over top of them to spell out her teacher's name, Mrs. Reid.  Before they dried, I removed the letters and put them on another tshirt.  I washed the tshirts 2 times to soften them up a bit.  The kids loved them!