Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Years ago, I claimed Easter as my holiday! We host Easter dinner at our house every year. Last year we were a bit ‘over the top’ because Wesley’s First Communion was within the same month. Christopher said that he felt like a party planner. I had him blowing up balloons, climbing ladders and making decorations for 24 hours. My middle child loves to be involved in the Easter planning. Each year he makes homemade place cards and assigns seats for our guests. He always finds a way to add his special touch to the evening. His “bunny” chocolate covered strawberries were a huge hit after dinner. Now come on…that’s pretty creative for a 7 year old!
Each year I try to introduce a different type of Easter Egg hunt. It’s getting harder and harder to come up with ideas. We tried a ‘glow in the dark’ hunt last year and it was a HUGE success! It was time consuming to place a glow stick in each egg and make sure they were secured but it was well worth it! We did the hunt in our house one Friday night. After the kids found all of the eggs, they decided to hide the eggs from each other. They hid them until they lost their glow (it took hours…). Christopher and I were able to sit back and watch. It was so entertaining! Ironically this hunt has been requested after our Easter dinner this year so that the cousins can participate. I love it when an idea “sticks”.
I had the twins plant jelly beans in our court yard the Eve of Easter and they were pleasantly surprised by lollipops the next morning. The twins still talk about this mystery. God Bless my oldest for not ruining the fun. The twins will probably believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny until their 40 because Michael is so convincing!
We sent an Easter care package to my cousin and her babies. Her last text involved a bathtub incident and I couldn’t resist sending some bunny washcloths, bubble bath and cute soaps. It’s our way of sending a little love from TN to OK. Keep the stories coming Sarah and HANG IN THERE!
I created these cute printable Bunny tags last weekend. Add a small white pom pom for a tail and voila… This file will probably make an appearance on Facebook this Friday as a FREEBIE (hint, hint) Now, I’m off to create and plan this year’s festivities. A new hunt, new place cards and new decorations…fun, fun, fun!
Happy Easter, friends!
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
As usual, I try to find fun food projects to celebrate the holiday week. I made a green Pistachio Cake for the boys and it was devoured in record time. I can’t say that the Shamrock Chips got the same reaction. We used green tortilla wraps for our shamrocks and I have to agree with the boys…they have a funny taste. I made green milk for their Lucky Charms cereal and to my amazement they loved it. I thought that it would completely gross them out…BOYS!
My favorite decoration this year is our Shamrock sign on our front door. We made this last year and Christopher “kicked it up a notch” with the black and white outline. His grandmother will love this decoration. Her name is Martha McAnespie (How’s that for an Irish name?) She is 96 years old and continues to decorate for every season. Not to mention, she loves anything that Christopher creates! As you can see in the above picture, she loves to celebrate ANY occasion.
St. Patrick’s Day seems to be getting more popular every year based on our sales. We’ve sold many of our shamrock notepads for teacher gifts and shower favors this year. I decided to create a freebie gift tag. Contact me at email@example.com if you’re interested. I can email the file to you. (Hopefully in the near future, our freebies will be available to download at your convenience.)
As your friend, I am reminding you to wear your green on Sunday in order to keep those pesky pinchers far away. Happy St. Patty’s week…
Thursday, March 7, 2013
THE CAKE is always a stressful part of a birthday for me. I can’t handle the pressure. Thank God my mother stepped up to the plate years ago. We’ve decorated many a cake over the years…Mickey, a train, a horse, Candyland, a fruit cake, an Xbox remote and the list goes on… Michael’s vote last week was my mother’s infamous cookie cake. Don’t laugh but the picture above is as good as it gets when my mother isn’t in Memphis. Since I’m not a baker, I designed a donut pyramid for his birthday. This may have to be a tradition because they LOVED it! I’m sure that the teachers at school wanted to kill me but my kids were sugared up and happy when they walked out the door to tackle their day…simple pleasures.
For Michael's big day, we hung a balloon wreath on our front door and tied balloons to the ground to alert Riverwood Elementary of a special day in the Speltz household. I received so many texts from mothers as they were picking up their kids from school wishing Michael a happy birthday. (The back of our house faces the school that my kids attend.) I hope it’s the simple things like this that make a birthday memorable for my boys.
I would love to hear of any inexpensive birthday treats or traditions that you do for your family. I try to do something different for all of my kids and creativity can run dry when you have 4.
Here are the links to our birthday labels and I recently created a digital Happy Birthday card that you can print...
Happy Birthday Printable
Thursday, February 21, 2013
A week ago, I was sitting in Mass listening to our priest explain that the Lenten season is a silly season. What? He immediately got my attention. His point was…we give up 'something' for 40 days and make everyone around us miserable because we’re irritable! Then we rejoice when Lent is over and go back to eating chocolate, drinking, smoking, cursing, etc. I had to laugh. He challenged us to give up or acquire a habit over the next 40 days that will ‘stick’ so that when Lent is over, we have made a positive choice that will impact the rest of our lives. Doesn’t that make sense…seems so simple!
15 years ago I converted to Catholicism. I love this time of year! One of my favorite memories happened last year! Please don’t judge me :) Somehow over the last 15 years of being a Catholic, I have managed to miss the “confession” opportunity. For those of you that are Catholic…you know this is impossible!!! My oldest son, Michael, said that he would go with me and told me not to be nervous. As we stood in the confessional line, I stared intently at the red light over the door signaling that the priest was occupied. Michael said that he would go first...what a brave, sweet child! We made it to the front of the line and Michael was next. Then out stepped the priest covering his eyes and said, “I’m so sorry but I can only take one more person because I have to be in the upcoming
” My precious first born jumped up (in front of everyone) and said, “Mom you have to go because you haven’t been in 15 years!” Seriously? I turned every shade of red, tucked my head and slowly walked into the confessional. I survived!! I can laugh now but I was mortified when it happened! Mass.
There will be many special religious events over the next couple of weeks. Here are a couple of invitations and gift ideas. I’ll leave you with a quote I just read…
Be the kind of woman (man) that when your feet hit the floor each morning…the Devil says, “Oh Crap, she’s up!” Ha…have a great week friends!
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
February holds a lot of LOVE for this family! Valentine’s Day, my wedding anniversary and my oldest child’s birthday are all big dates on our calendar! We will plan a lot of fun activities for this family in the upcoming weeks. One of the activities will be our traditional Valentine’s dinner. It kills me to admit that one day I will NOT be the Valentine in my boys’ eyes. Ouch…that hurts! Last year I felt like it was time to introduce the boys to a candlelight dinner with china and crystal. What better day to start the tradition than Valentine’s Day? We are an informal family but there are times when we should be able to “fine” dine in our own home! The boys will need to know how to act when there is more than one fork on the table. They must eat s-l-o-w, keep their hands to themselves, use their manners and initiate conversation. Wish me luck...
In the meantime, I have been on Pinterest searching for creative Valentine foods. Heart shaped bacon and cinnamon rolls were our breakfast before church last Sunday. Unfortunately
thought the cinnamon rolls looked like mustaches…I tried! We made chocolate dipped Rice Krispie treats with sprinkles last night. As you can see in the picture, Christopher and Taylor had lots of fun! And I found the perfect Valentine snack mix that can easily be adapted for other holidays. (Throw together Valentine M&Ms, mixed nuts, yogurt covered pretzels and yogurt covered raisins) I love the salty/sweet combination of this mix. It doesn’t stick around long in this house and it will make great gifts for our teachers. Taylor
At dinner one night, we discussed simple gestures of Valentine’s Day. I decided that I would give the boys a couple of flowers to give to the person of their choice. I can’t wait to find out who they choose and watch them present their gift to their chosen one. Makes my heart smile thinking about it!
We sent a 'message in a bottle' to the most "macho" man we know. The messages written by the boys were priceless. I wish I could be a fly on the wall when he receives it! I also had Christopher sketch a heart on leopard fabric and I appliquéd it on one of my tennis hoodies. So, so cute! Now the countdown is on and I have to find my hubbie something fun for the special day. Hug your special someone today…it’s free, it’s one-size fits all and it’s easy to exchange ;)
Here are some fun Valentine’s designs that are appropriate for anytime of year:
Friday, February 1, 2013
I knew at a very early age about the importance of education. As a Texan, our school systems are fabulous. Private school is not the “norm”. I moved to Memphis and had my first child and I was immediately asked what private school he would attend…WHAT?!
We enrolled Michael into a private Catholic school. When our middle child enrolled in the same private school, we quickly realized that our budget was getting very tight. Needless to say when the economy took a hit, private school was no longer in the future for our 4 boys. This was an emotional and difficult decision for our family. Private school was the only education that my husband understood. Memphis’ public school system continues to be controversial. By the grace of God, a public school was built behind our house at the same time we had to remove our kids from Catholic school. The school is in its 3rd year and it has been a wonderful experience! AND our kids walk to school everyday! Does it get any better?
Here’s where it gets crazy… My oldest is attending middle school next year and the City and County school districts are merging. The middle school of our choice is 30 minutes away and it allows 100 non-district children to enroll into their program. 80 of those spots are given based on a first come/first serve basis. The other 20 are distributed based on a lottery system. A couple of weeks ago, we camped out for 5 nights/6 days in order to guarantee a spot within the first 80. With the help of family, we did it!! The weather was cold, the nights were long but the company and camaraderie made it bearable! The benefit to the madness is that we have met many of the parents and children that hopefully will be attending the same school.
It was a wild ride and Christopher was interviewed on all of the local TV stations. The 'campers' realized quickly that he loved being in the spotlight!! We entered into the Board of Education at 6:30 a.m.Tuesday anxious to receive our bar code! We were Tent #12!!! The application has been submitted and we have to wait for 6 weeks to see if we have been accepted. I realize that this process seems insane to many of you. It was a mind blowing experience but I have come to realize that every city has its issues. If there was a perfect city, we would ALL live there! As I raise my boys, I am reminded daily of the sacrifices that my parents made for me and it continues... We couldn’t have pulled this off without my mother and stepfather!! Did I mention that my stepfather is a superintendent? I feel sure that he was the only superintendent camping…
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Have you seen Duck Dynasty? Before you judge me…you should watch one episode! I was introduced to this reality show over Thanksgiving and I LOVE it! Don’t be turned off by the camo and long beards because I believe that there is so much more to this show. I'm from Texas, I have 4 boys and I'm from a family of hunters BUT I married a city slicker that went to an all boy Catholic school until he moved away for college. So this show is entertaining to me on so many levels :)
The cast of Duck Dynasty is very proud of their redneck roots. As I watch each episode, I find myself relating more and more to some of the antics and pastimes of this family. (This completely mortifies my husband!!!) I grew up in a small East Texas town and some of their shows take me down memory lane. During one of the episodes my oldest son asked me if we were rednecks. I thought that Christopher was going to faint. I’ve always been proud of the fact that I can “clean up” and go to a Gala and act as poised as the lady beside me or sit on a tailgate in a pasture around a bonfire and be just as happy! I hope that my boys are being raised the same way. Being happy in different environments will benefit them more than they know!
I read an article recently summarizing the Duck Dynasty popularity. In so many words, the author said that our society is tired of the mud slinging reality shows and our Duck friends bring back the true essence of family. All families have to overcome disagreements and conflict. But when we conquer those issues we become a much stronger unit! I love how they end their show around a dinner table saying Grace. How beautiful and refreshing is that nowadays!? Rumor has it that the company’s motto is Faith, Family and Ducks. It’s encouraging to see companies become successful while sticking by their faith and values. Those are the types of companies that I would like to hear about in the upcoming years. They’re out there but you have to find them.
We had our own little redneck dinner a couple of weeks ago. I spent all day cooking a brisket and sides so that my family of 6 and another family of 6 could sit down and enjoy each other! I made a couple of redneck wine glasses so that my girlfriend and I could chat the evening away and I filled a cowboy boot with flowers and let the night unravel. Dinner and good company is always a great way to end the day! Kick up your heels and have a happy, happy, happy (per Phil) week!
For all of you camo "people"...here are the links to our fill in notes and invitations: