Sunday, May 27, 2012

What we take in to Disney Parks

I will be getting in my car in 19 days for a 12 hour drive to my happy place.  I am starting to get excited, really, really excited.  I have the feeling my Disney posts will be more frequent!

Today I want to share with you something that I've seen discussed over and over again, and that's what we take into the parks.  Some are minimalists, others carry everything but the kitchen sink.  We've fallen into the carry a lot group, but it's not as bad as it sounds, promise!

I was told years ago that the Baggalini messenger bag is awesome, and it is.  I absolutely love it for WDW! It comes in a lot of colors, but I chose basic black. The straps are comfy, it holds a lot, it keeps things organized! There is a zippered part on the back, too.  I keep the most valuable stuff in there since it stays close to my body!  My cell phone fits great in the section on the strap, keeping it handy for staying in touch, looking up something, etc. The picture is a link to Amazon for this bag.

FYI - You have to have your bags checked at every park entrance.  I try to help the guards out by opening the zippers and zippered pouches while I am waiting in line for bag check.

So, what's in here?
*** mini first aid kit.  There are first aid stations everywhere, but I keep one of these little numbers by Johnson and Johnson so I don't have to try to find one if necessary.  It has everything I need for a basic boo-boo.  I also put in a few pieces of moleskin in case a blister starts cropping up, and a few various sizes of safety pins, mostly in case of wardrobe malfunctions! :) I love that this little box will keep it all organized

**** Medicine kit.  This is a small zippered pouch that I keep in my bag.  I have a tiny box in it with a few adult ibuprofen and another with chewable tylenol for Little Princess.  I also keep a roll of tums and a few peppermints in here.  Sometimes, the food/ride combination leaves us feeling yucky.  These two will head it off pretty quickly.  I wear contacts that sometimes dry out on the faster outdoor rides, so I have a small bottle of drops in here.  Also keep a dose of immodium. Finally, I have a small eyeglass repair kit for DH, like the one shown below.  He's blind as a bat without his glasses!  All this can be found in the parks, but much faster and handier just to have it with me.  Honestly, this zipper pouch is only 2 inches wide by 4 inches long. 

***Gum - not sold on property!  Take it with you if you like it!  Again, great for upset tummies if you get mint flavored.

***Chapstick - no burned lips allowed!

***Our Keys to the World.  These are your park tickets, room card, dining plan, and charge card all in one if you are staying on propertyWe keep ours on lanyards.  Hubby keeps his attached to his belt loop, but I keep mine and Little Princess'.  We rely on this totally for money, with the exception of sometimes taking $10 or so for an incidental expense that might not go on the card, but most do.    (If you are going to Harmony Barber Shop in the Magic Kingdom, you can pay for the haircuts via room card, but not tips to the barber, FYI!) 

***Camera, camcorder.  If you have a small point and shoot, I read a great tip to put it in a travel soap box.  Ours wouldn't fit in one, but thought that was an awesome idea, especially for those water rides.

****Ziploc bags I put in a gallon and sandwich.  These are to protect items on water rides. 
If we are going to Animal Kingdom, sometimes I add a grocery bag to put my whole bag in.  You will get soaked on Kali River Rapids. There is a storage compartment, but it's not totally waterproof.

***Travel size hand sanitizer

***Travel sized pack of wet wipes - sticky hands, dirty tables, Mickey Ice Cream Bar covered faces.  I usually buy enough at the Dollar Tree to have a pack a day.

***Pennies and quarters for pressed penny machines.  Our daughters collect these, they are a relatively inexpensive souvenir.  We keep them in a M&M's mini container.  Note:  this can get heavy!!!

****Little Princess Autograph book and Sharpie.

***Ipod touch - the games and videos have been life savers in lines for Little Princess. That's about all we take to occupy her.  I also keep our ADR confirmation times and numbers on here and my phone, and I air share our touring plans excel sheet to my ipod.

***Health insurance cards and driver's licenses. My theory is if something happened bad enough for us to go to hospital, I wouldn't want to take the time to go back to the room for the cards.  I have a small card pouch that I keep buried in one of the zipper pouches for this. 

*Big Princess has a Vera Bradley mini messenger.  She keeps her key, camera, phone, gum, hand sanitizer, ipod touch, and autograph book.   

We also carry a "stroller bag".  
This will probably be our last year with the stroller, so we'll have to pick and choose what of this to take in the baggalini next year. We take a canvas shopping bag to keep under the stroller with other items.

To get on the buses or trains at WDW, you have to fold your stroller.  I recommend that everyone take a small bag to be able to throw things that accumulate in the bottom of the stroller so you can just put the bag on your shoulder rather than holding the stuff.  I've had to stand on a moving bus and hold a tired preschooler in my arms, while hubby stood and held on to the stroller and baggalini and Big Princess held the stroller bag.   Note:  you can have all your park purchases sent back to your room if you are staying on property at no cost.  We like to take advantage of this when possible, just keep your check out date (and how badly your child might want to play with something purchased)  in mind.  It usually takes 24-36 hours to get there.

  In here, we have:

*Ponchos I buy several at the Dollar Tree and take these daily.  Quick storms pop up almost every day in the summer.  They also help at Kali to keep you a little more dry.  We have nicer, heavy duty ones that we take with us WDW and only take them to the parks if they are calling for RAIN, not just chances of pop up storms and showers.

****Shower curtain liner and clothespins.  I loved this tip from the minute I read it.  If we park the stroller to ride or eat, and the sky looks ominous, we wrap the shower liner around it and clothespin it together in the back. It's saved Little Princess from having to ride in a soaked stroller more than once!  I take a couple of dollar store ones every year, and they really don't take up much room in the stroller bag.


***Glow sticks, light up spinners, etc. if we are going at night. 

****Water bottle - We always get the free ice water at counter service places.  We put it into a bottle immediately.  We got some years back at WDW that the screw on top is held on by a strap, perfect for hanging over the stroller handles.

****Spray Misting Fan - If you read my post on beating the summer heat at WDW, you know I advocate budgeting the extra $15-$20 on the WDW misting fans.  They just work so much better.  We do still take personal ones, but that one is truly the best. We use the neck hoop to hook over the stroller handles.

***Chamois cloth, sometimes called camp towels or swimmers towels.  These are great to wipe off benches or rides after a rainstorm. 

Honestly, I know it sounds like a lot.  But these little things have come in very handy to make our trips more magical.  I know people that head off with their keys and camera and go!  I pack the baggalini before we go, and take a ziploc bag of the extra wipes, batteries for fans, gum, etc. in my suitcase.  I also pack the stroller bag with the basics before we go, and put the ponchos and night stuff in the suitcase.

This blog is an amazon affiliate

School's Out Week 1: DANCE!

 As I mentioned here, I am trying to tie our summer activities around a theme for a week.  At home summer camps, if you will.  We'll still do other things, for sure.  But this will help me get in some things I pinned that I wanted to do, keep us active, and keep me focused!

As Little Princess's first ballet recital is Saturday, the theme is dance!  I have 3 workdays this week, we have dress rehearsal, a pool birthday party for a friend, and Daddy's home for Memorial Day, so this week won't be as involved.

Family Dance Party:  We have some strobe lights and a disco ball left over from the time my husband helped DJ a bit in his former job.  We'll set that up one evening and go to town!

Week long Just Dance marathon: Lots of challenges and mother daughter fun.  30 minutes each day to satisfy my physical activity requirement!

Night dancing: We'll hang some fairy lights, light some outdoor candles, dress up, and dance under the stars. 

The rest of the activities are pretty much geared towards celebrating the recital!

Books:  We have a lot of books in the house about dance, Angelina Ballerina books from the library.  After her recital, I have a special book to give Little Princess to commemorate the day. It's about working towards goals, and not giving up.

Arts/Crafts:I think I am going to send the supplies for one of these with the girls to do with my mom while I have my workdays.   

 This one is just for me to do, but looks simple enough.  It's from Secrets of a Super Mommy again, and involves a vase, a bobby pin, some glue, and some tulle.  Think I can squeeze that in.  It's a vase to hold post recital flowers, which will be a gift from Daddy.

********I love all the streamer wands/rings for dancing with, as does Little Princess.  Her wands are getting a little worse for the wear.  I am going to put some ribbons, some string, some shower curtains, and pipe cleaners in a bag and have Big and Little Princess work together to make them.  I was thinking maybe pipe cleaner bracelets, but I don't want to hinder their creativity.

I love this handprint tutu from Meet the Dubiens.  She has great instructions, too! 

Sweet little paper dolls

***** Big Princess loves photography, so I am going to put her in charge of a photo shoot the day AFTER the recital.  (Don't want anything to happen to the costume beforehand!)  I can't wait to see what she comes up with!

 Recital Morning Breakfast
The day is going to be very, very hectic.  But I want to start it off right.  

To decorate, I'll put out the white lace tablecloth.  I'll use my white milk glass cake stand and put a tutu under it for the centerpiece.  On the cake stand, I'll have some ballerina things I gather from the house.  We have a few Precious moments ballerina items - a snow globe and a figurine.  Maybe one of the ballerina books.  Going to drape the chandelier with a strand of pearl like garland left from Christmas.  Should be rather Pretty in Pink.  We'll also display their artwork from the week.

Going to snazz up our milk glasses with some pink sprinkles and paper straws.  Just regular milk, but this strawberry milk is super cute!:

We love these red velvet pancakes around here, but they are very rich and only for special occasions.  I'll use less food coloring, and hopefully end up with pink pancakes.

I am excited to have these activities that are relatively easy to put together ready to go for dance week.  If you have any quick and easy ideas, please share! 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Favorites

In keeping with the alliteration theme, going to try to start a Favorites Fridays.  Moments, items, books, whatever is on my mind for the week.

Seeing the first lightening bugs of summer

Quiet early mornings while the family is in bed.  Just me, the dogs, the guinea pig, and good coffee.
My new VT Mickey t-shirt from a student.  Oh so soft, oh so sweet.

Watching my daughters' eyes fill with emotion as their school years ended.  As a mom, it told me that they had a good experience, and made me proud that they feel so deeply.  As a teacher, it made me remember why I go to work everyday.

Four day weekends as a family.

Watching the soon to be high schoolers play in the rain at their party.  May childhood live forever.

Cranking up my summer playlist on my ipod.  Eclectic mix, to be sure.  But it captures the feelings for me.  Some highlights:
The Wall by Pink Floyd,
It's the End of the World by R.E.M.
Drift Away by Percy Sledge,
 Knee Deep and Toes by Zach Brown Band,
 All Summer Long by Kid Rock,
Summertime, Kenny Chesney and Will Smith's versions.
Smile by Uncle Kracker.
 Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show.  
In the Summertime by Rayvon/Shaggy
Beach Music Medley by The Embers
One Love by Bob Marley
Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride from the Lilo and Stitch Soundtrack

That moment, when all you want to do is cry.
 When you feel defeated on all sides.
 When you feel like you can't do anything right.
When it seems that no matter how hard you try to do what is right, how hard you work to make things right, how emotionally invested you are, everything you touch seems to go bad. 
 When you are wondering if it's even worth trying anymore, and you can't see the rainbow. 
And the song you need to hear comes on the radio. 
For me, it was Good Life by One Republic.  That's our Disney song of the year thanks to the commercial.  It even makes little princess cry.  And it reminds me that even if it's feeling "hopelessly" I have a lot to be thankful for. (Don't you think the splatter paint for the cover looks like the Cinderella castle?)

Dreaming of this camera.  It's still a very, very, very big dream.  One day, sweet NIkon 5100, you will be mine.  Maybe in 10 years. HA!

Finally getting to read Jodi Picoult books.  I've read these two in the last month, and really "enjoyed" them.  The topics aren't really "happy-go-lucky" - a school shooting and Asperger's syndrome.  But I really enjoy getting into the minds of characters, and Picoult does that well.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thankful Thursdays

I really wanted to cultivate an attitude of gratitude this year.  I thought I was doing better, until a friend pointed out that I am a pessimist this week.  So, to do better, welcome to Thankful Thursdays.  (It is Thursday, I think.  Wait.  Yeah, I checked.  It's Thursday.)

And I am making a no buts allowed rule.  I will admit that I am terrible about saying "I'm thankful for.... even if."  Or, "I'm thankful for... but."  New rules!

This week's Thankful Thursday:

*An amazing Lord who loves me despite my faults and gives me what I need, even when I think I need something else.

*Amazing teachers and staff that have given so much to my daughters.

*Amazing daughters who completed a year of school, worked hard, made friends, and learned sooo much about life, learning, and themselves.

*An amazing husband who shed tears over his daughter's elementary years ending, and cooked hamburgers and hot dogs for her classmates at their party after working all day.

*An amazing mom, whose generosity and selflessness can never be outdone on Earth.

*Amazing parents of students who took the time not only to thank me, but to really think about me in their gifts.  A VT Mickey shirt from one, and a Mickey beach towel and other great goodies from another.

*Amazing in-laws who are always willing to help out.

*Amazing friends who I can always count on and call on, no matter how much time has passed.

*School's out!

*My car runs, my house is warm/cold when I need it to be.  My clothes are mostly washed and mostly fit.

*I have food in the fridge

*I have a job

*I can read, write, and speak.

*My children are healthy

*My Daddy is happy and whole in heaven

*I am going to WDW in less than a month

*My needs are met

*I am learning about myself and my family.  I am gaining focus.  I am working towards a goal.

*I have read actual fiction books lately!

*My coffee was good.

*My list for the day could go on and on and on, but I'll stop here.

School's Out for Summer!

 My daughters had their last day of school yesterday.  Tuesday was their promotion ceremonies.  I've been such an emotional wreck....    It's been sooo hectic with all of their celebrations, (I talked about them here and here) and my end of the year stuff for school.  I've yet to come to the realization that it's almost over.  I have 4 more workdays, then PARTY ON!

I had really, really planned to do some of the great things I had pinned for the last day of school...  Didn't happen. Secrets of a Super Mommy has amazing ideas for celebrating the last day of school, like this number/letter themed food, gifts, and signs!  You've got to check it out!

Source: via Taryn on Pinterest

My Mix of Six also has a great beginning of summer basket!

Family Fun is also a good source:

So now I am in summer vacation planning mode!  I really want this to be a summer to remember. Big Princess is going to high school next year, Little Princess is starting K. Last summer, I did nothing but work on courses for my master's degree.  I want this one to be special!

 I am guilty of doing nothing but resting for a week, usually. And truth be told, it's been such a hectic two months, we need that. But, I want to be sure we don't get too lazy.   Plus, we have a great vacation coming up to Disney World and Vero Beach.  Need to start working on Father's Day. I have lots of great activities I want to do.  I want them to keep up with reading and academics.  I want to work on the house.  Crafty projects that need completing. 

I started thinking about a schedule.  My family thrives on them.  The problem is that my girls are night owls, and tend to get into a habit of staying up late and sleeping late, and then wanting a lazy hour when they get up on top of it!  

I had pinned this schedule that I think is a great guide and inspiration:

 I am not sure that I want to finally go this route, though.  I love the idea.  Don't get me wrong.  I might incorporate it somewhat.  But we tend to get out and go more than this on a typical week, impromptu plans with friends come up, etc.  

I know that on a DAILY basis I want to:
* Have the girls read.  30 minutes a day.  Scholastic has a great reading challenge program.
*Work on writing with the girls.  One idea I pinned was a summer journal.  Might be a great way to end each day!

*30-60 minutes of physical activity.  Not just moving around cleaning, but true exercise.  Swimming counts, lying in the sun with friends doesn't.  Big Princess and I want to run.  Little Princess would be fine to play on the playground at the park while we do.  However, I can't see her the whole time, so that's an issue I have to resolve.  Some can be fun and not necessarily thought of as "exercise" .  Thinking obstacle courses, running through sprinklers, walking the dogs, nature hikes, etc. 
*Daily household chores, and a focus for the week.  The focus will probably be mostly my job, with the kids helping.  I would love to do an extra project a day, but I'm trying not to be too ambitious!

*Academics - want to keep away the summer slide.  Need to do lots with Little Princess to get her ready for K.  Big Princess needs to work on Math daily!

So adding all that up we are at about 2-3 hours of the day for reading, writing, academics, exercise, and cleaning.  Guarantee my kids would groan at that!  Now I have to figure out how to incorporate the fun. I've seen a lot of bits of random fun.  Summer bucket lists, what to do now jars, etc.  Here are a few:

Source: via Taryn on Pinterest

I love all these fun activities. And with Big Princess having received a smartphone for her elementary graduation, I definitely want to limit the screen time. I love this idea of each child having a set number of technology tickets for the week, and when they are gone, they are gone!:

And yet, the K teacher in me loves a theme, a unit, a connection.  A way to incorporate all the things I want to do in a meaningful way.  So I thought about theme weeks. I won't go into all the details for each one, this post is getting long enough.  But here's a preview of what's on my mind!

Week 1: Dance Theme.  Little Princess first dance recital is that weekend.  I have 3 workdays, so I won't be home much. I have a lot of cutesy art projects for Little Princess planned that are ballet related. They can play Just Dance, turn on the radio and dance, they love family dance parties with disco ball and strobe lights, we have dance books to read.  Dance theme, but without a lot of fuss! Wrap up event: recital.

Week 2: Beach theme.  Lots of sensory/craft ideas pinned. Several beachy decor crafty things we can make and decorate the house with.  A few beachy snacks.  Trips to the pools, local and grandparents.  Beachy books.  Wrap up:  Backyard Luau

Week 3: Disney theme We'll be packing, planning, etc.  Disney movie/meal a night.  Lots of possibilities!

Week 4: On Vacation!

Week 5:  Camping theme Lots of great ideas pinned for crafts, snacks, backyard campouts, nature hikes, survival skills, obstacle courses, etc. Wrap up: either backyard campout or real camping.

Week 6: God Bless the USA! All about Independence Day.  SOOO many ideas!

Week 7: Movie theme Watch favorite movies, make a movie, go to the movies, Movie/dinner theme a day, maybe go to a drive in.  Wrap up:  Backyard movie showing party!

Week 8:  Art/Mad Scientist Sooo many ideas for each of these, but in our house, they kind of go together.  Total process over product art this week, and a few experiments thrown in for good measure. Wrap up:  art party for girls' friends. 

Week 9: Entrepreneur week  Thinking about each day being a different "at home business"  Pet Grooming - girls help bathe dogs, etc.  Bake shop:  bake all kinds of goodies, deliver to neighbors, freeze, etc.  Restaurant:  Girls mostly in charge of planning, cooking, serving, and cleaning up after dinner.  Free days - girls pick a job/business.  Wrap up: lemonade stand!

Week 10:  Bucket List  This is my last week off. I actually might have to work a few days.  So this will be the cram everything in we didn't get done week. 


Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day handmade gifts

I know for sure thought the girls are going to make these lovelies. 

However, I am not sure how.  The original idea swirled paint on the inside.  I'm afraid that over time the water would mess up the paint.  I am thinking about spray painting the outside, as inspired by The Colorful Living Project and then doing the handprint, each girl will get one side. I am thinking these are perfect - I have lots of jars, and both moms love to bring in flowers from their gardens.  As I am looking and writing, I do wonder if I will be able to get both handprints on one jar.

So literally, as I am writing this post, my mind starts whirling to other ideas.  I have a ton of frappuccino bottles, they're a guilty pleasure.  They would be lovely spray painted white, and possibly better as vases, truth be told, since you wouldn't have to have as many flowers.  No way to get handprints, but could be made adorable with spray paint, washi tape and thumbprint flowers.  Yeah, that's the ticket.  Stay tuned, I will take pictures and post about them!

Now that that's settled, on to other ideas.

My Mom loves peanut M&Ms.  They are her guilty pleasure.  When I saw this as a Christmas gift for teachers, I knew I would be doing it for Mother's Day.  Going to break out another Frap bottle, fill with M&Ms, chalkboard paint the lid, and modify and attach the poem given on the link for my Magnificent and Marvelous Mom.

Fairy Tale Life

Yesterday was Mother's Day.  I'm still kinda... glowing.

My children made cards for me, Little Princess made a special gift in Pre-K.  Big Princess made a card with Mickey's in computer lab and a sweet poem.

But my dear husband surprised the heck out of me.  My family gave me a Pandora bracelet for graduation with a Mom charm and an owl/book charm.  For Christmas, hubby gave me a football charm.  Our "dates" all occur in the fall when we attend home Hokie football games together. We love watching the games with the girls for away games.  Yes, I like football.  For my anniversary, he gave me a love knot charm.

These are all precious.  But, for Mother's Day, he knocked it out of the park. I received this special, wonderful, amazing gift yesterday.  It's stunning, way more than I deserve, but the meaning behind this for us is what got me.

You know about my love for Disney.  Here are all the ways that this charm shows how he really GETS me and how it ties to my life as a mother, wife, etc.

* I absolutely love Cinderella.  Cinderella's castle at WDW is my favorite.  I have a castle collection - my souvenir from our trips always has the castle - photo frames, snow globes, coffee mugs, whatever.

* My all time favorite "parenting" song is by Steven Curtis Chapman, called Cinderella.  It's meant as a Father/Daughter song, but the sentiment is sooo true.  Get a tissue...

I know that my time with my Cinderellas is fleeting.  One day... hopefully in far, far, far future, when they are not at home anymore, I will look at this and remember this time in our lives. 

*My ringtone when my hubby calls is Someday my Prince will Come.

*When we are at WDW, I am just...... at peace.  In love with my family.  Enjoying and reconnecting with my family.   Looking at this charm instantly takes me to that time.

Oh yeah, he's definitely earned his ears.

Quest for the cape - patience and appreciation

So after the fail of M-F, I was determined that Saturday would be better.  I was going to focus on being more patient, and being in control of my temper.

I got up at my usual 4am, worked on some projects for graduation and Mother's Day, and gave myself a break.  Picked up House Rules that I had gotten from the library, and could not put it down! Had to for Little Princess' t-ball game.  But I was completely engrossed in the plot.

My decree that I would be more patient was definitely put into action several times.  For whatever reason, Little Princess had several meltdowns before 2pm.  Rather than sinking to her level, being disgusted by the actions. I tried empathy.  While she didn't necessarily stop, it didn't turn into the anger that her meltdowns had the previous week.  Thankfully, her evening was much better.

I had Mother's Day on the brain.  I was a little bit of a martyr, I will admit.  I was thinking about why it was always my responsibility, it was assumed I would do things, etc. etc. etc. (Like the dog wouldn't have chewed her flip flop if I had done my job as the cleaner.  I get no respect.)  Or how me taking a break to read didn't mean someone else couldn't do the housework.  Please tell me you've had those thoughts?

Well, I curled up on the couch with my book, and promptly fell asleep.  Took a lovely nap - about 3 hours!!! - and awoke to hubby and Big Princess cooking dinner.  Should have made me feel great, right?  Well, if the house were clean it would have.

Instead, I kept hearing myself and hubby tell Big Princess to do things (he told her part of her job as sous chef was to clean up the kitchen, I reminded her that the laundry basket needed to be taken upstairs, etc. etc.)  I realized that yes, she has responsibilities in the house, as do most kids.  It's just part of teamwork of family.  But if I was feeling a little under-appreciated, how must she feel?  So I spent the rest of the evening acknowledging her actions.  Every time she did something, either because we asked or if we didn't, part of her "chores" or not, I thanked her.  When I told her good night, I thanked her again.

I want my children to feel appreciated.  For who they are.  For their efforts.  For their contributions.  For their actions.  I think most disharmony in homes and workplaces comes from a lack of recognition - not for the sake of recognition, but to feel appreciated.  Sure, I want them to have responsibility, but I want them to know that I am grateful when they follow through.  I am big on responsibility, team work, etc. But being taken for granted isn't good for anyone.. 

Quest for the cape - FAIL!

Oh boy, did I fail this week.  Instead of superhero mom, I was villain mom.  It was one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad school weeks.  I felt so down Saturday morning, I just wanted to curl into a cocoon and hope to come out on the other side a butterfly.  I wasn't even going to continue this series, who was I to talk about the quest to become a supermom?

When I was looking for a specific quote I had pinned for a project, I saw this one; it immediately lifted me up and gave me a new perspective.

SO here is my "kindsight" for the week.

Monday - My wonderful mom got the girls from school for me so I could work on some home projects (cleaning, moving furniture).  She should have a gold-dusted, diamond encrusted cape!  I didn't pick them up until late. But, I did sit and listen to the girls each talk about their days, what's up in their lives when we got home for a bit.  It wasn't a big huge deal, but I bet it was to them.
Hero worthy action:  Making my children feel special by listening.  Not listening while I was cooking, cleaning, folding, working.  But face to face listening.

Tuesday - I was in pain from moving furniture, and couldn't get going.  Note to self:  despite your quest for the cape, your superhero skills will not include moving heavy furniture alone.  I had a thousand things on my mind to do at work.  I am so ready for the end of the year, my to do lists have to do lists.  I realized that if I all thought about was getting to day X, when I could breathe again, I would miss all the wonderful things this day had.  This was my motto for the day when we left the house.
Source: via Taryn on Pinterest

Well, it kinda worked.  Due to rain, evening activities were cancelled, so we came home and were lazy.  Really lazy.  Just laid around, watching tv, everybody kinda doing their own things.  Not really connecting, just being.  It was okay.
Hero worthy action: I get so wrapped up in what has to be done, and what I want to get done, that I forget to just let them be sometimes.  I don't want every moment of my life dictated to me, even if it is fun.  Downtime is good for everyone. 

Hump day is supposed to be great, right?  Well.  Not so much.  Little Princess, for whatever reason, was a puddle Wed. afternoon. Blame it on three days of rain. (Anyone singing Milli Vanilli right now?  Blame it on the raaiiiin...) Blame it on being overtired after a busy week at school.  Blame it on my need to study with Big Princess for a state standardized test. Blame it on..    It was soo not pretty.  Everything was a battle.  And after ballet class, we got home and the dog had chewed up her favorite flip flop.  She argued, cried, wailed, hit, blamed, ignored.
Hero worthy action: I didn't walk out the door never to return.

Softball game for Big Princess.  Little Princess was still a puddle, but not as bad.  She had fun playing on the playground next to the ball field.  Lots of talking on the way to and from with Big Princess, because she wanted to spend the night with someone Friday night, and was rather consumed with it.  I reminded her a lot of the need to stay focused on school until after testing.
Hero worthy action: Big Princess and I had some conversations that we really needed to have.  Sometimes I feel like I nag all the time, but I really focused on her feelings, consequences of actions, and explaining myself.  I actually felt pretty good about our conversation until Friday.....

Oh, it was bad.  This time it was Big Princess' turn to rock the boat.  She made a bad choice, not earth-shatteringly bad, but still bad.  It was directly related to the conversations we had Thursday night.  She lost focus on her math nemesis.  Not a grade, those haven't been good either.  But she gave in to peer pressure and neglected her math.  I was soooo disappointed, I was crying at school when I caught her.  I guess pride goeth before a fall came into play here.  As a result, she was not allowed to spend the night with the friend at the last minute.
Hero worthy action: I stuck to my guns.  I have been known not to dole out a big consequence.  But I followed through.  I couldn't talk to her then, but later, we talked about all the many reasons her choice upset me, and how they led to a much bigger picture with much, much bigger consequences. And I kept my mouth shut when I knew nothing but anger would spew out.

I was so glad I sat down and thought it out in" kindsight".  Because last week seemed like attacks from all sides - everyone was grumpy, snippy. All four of us were short tempered.  Work was horrible, the kids were crazy!  I fell running with them to run off some energy and my knee and elbow still hurt.  I really wanted to crawl under the covers and make the world go away. Everything was a mess, and it seemed like a snowball of hurt feelings, disappointment, temper, disobedience, and calamity.
Source: via Taryn on Pinterest

I encourage each of you to take some time when things are bad to view it in kindsight.  Those of us in the quest for the cape expect superhero actions of our ourselves at all times. We never get ourselves enough credit.  Sure, I still wish I had handled things better.   

I declared Saturday the beginning of a new week for my family. And it was.... better.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Pre-K and Elementary Graduation Ideas

Yes, I have Little Princess graduating from pre-k, and Big Princess graduating from Elementary School on May 22. 

Being honest, the pre-k celebration isn't that big of a deal.  She's in full day pre-k at our school, will be with the same kids, same school, etc.  It's a big deal in that it's a milestone, for sure.  We'll mention it, celebrate it, she'll have a little graduation ceremony during the school day.

Big Princess.That's a huge deal - we don't have a middle school; she will enter high school as an 8th grader in August.  Also a huge deal since for the first time since she started kindergarten, she won't be in school with me.  :(  I'm a mess!  I'm working with other mom's to organize a party for all the kids, so our home celebration will be simple, just family over after the ceremony. The whole school party is going to be a luau theme.  Since we divided and conquered the tasks, I'm not sure what all the details are. I'll take pictures and post later!

At least the color scheme can be the same for both girls, even if it does look like Halloween - orange and black.   Go Wildcats!


Here's a hint:  if you are doing a graduation party, especially elementary, ask the principal if there are items you can borrow with the school logo.  You won't have to spend as much on decorations! 
 We have pom poms, a stuffed wildcat, and I have some things that have been gifts over the years from PTO and students.  One is a black 31 organizing utility tote with our last name in orange.  I will put that to use, somehow.  Might put all her of elementary yearbooks in it for browsing. Candy dish with school logo (maybe fill with orange candies?) Plastic cups with school logo will hold the "silverware".  We have a school colored wreath in the office I'm going to borrow, maybe a banner from the hall!  Going to do a scavenger hunt of my classroom and my school next week.

Going to get a few orange and black balloons,orange and black plates, cups, napkins.  Saw some polka dots at Walmart, can't remember if they had orange or not.  So we'll be hitting up there or the dollar store.  I have both orange and black patterned washi tape, so I'll add that to the cups for a little pizazz.

Going to pull out the Halloween sprinkles and make these cute little tea lights

IF I have time, going to make a similar bunting out of orange and black felt

Going to keep this simple.  Graduation is at 6:30, everyone will have had dinner prior.  We will just have cupcakes and ice cream.  I love these, going to do orange icing, orange tassel, and maybe black sprinkles if I have some left from Halloween!  Love that the Hershey Bar and Reese's Cup are close enough to black to be able to leave alone. 

I may make these for Little Princess' class while I am making them for cupcakes if I have time.  There are only 18 of them versus 71 graduates for Big Princess:
Source: via Taryn on Pinterest

I love this preschool graduation cake.  It's adorable.  I would totally do something similar for Little Princess if I didn't have Big Princess to concentrate on! 

Source: via Taryn on Pinterest

Big Princess: Sometimes, Big Princess stalks my blog.  So I'm not going to reveal her gift from us just yet.  Her big,retail one.  STOP READING BIG GIRL - surprises are great!

I love sentimental gifts.  LOVE THEM.  I have to do something homemade in addition to her retail gift.  Thinking about giving it to her first, because she will be done when she opens the other one.

She will have her yearbook with her friends' signatures and messages.  But there are a lot of things I want to tell her.  Quotes I've collected, and what entering her teen/high school years can/should mean.  How our relationship will change.  What I expect, what I will give in return.  I'm going to buy a pretty journal, and write them in it.  I'm also going to have her Daddy write a letter in there, even if he hates his handwriting and grammar.  What I wouldn't give to have that from my Daddy now.  Also passing on to her grandparents, and aunts and uncles, a few cousins.  We'll all be together this weekend for Mother's Day, so it will be the perfect time. I think this will eventually become very special to her.   

Little Princess:
As I said, not such a big deal,emotionally for me, anyway. She, however, will feel like it is.  I'm sure her amazing pre-k teacher will make them feel like it is!   Still working on just the right "retail" gift for her. She is one of those want everything she sees kind of kids, but we have soo much stuff lying around that I don't want to deal with more junk! She does love jewelry, so I thought about a special pair of earrings or necklace.  Or a gift card to spend at Disney, she tends to keep up with things purchased there. 

 I thought about a journal gift for her, too, so she will feel special. On the first few pages  I will write some things she is always saying or doing to crack us up, some special pre-K memories.  I gave the journals to my family when we were all together for Mother's day, and they all wrote special messages to her in them.  I can't decide if I want this to be her elementary years book, and do the special memories for each year, or let her have the back pages to doodle in, put her stickers, etc.  

"You've got the write stuff, Miss Pre-K graduate"
I am also giving her a personalized dictionary with her journal/scrapbook.  She loves to write, so I thought about writing each family members name in correct handwriting at the top,  and then she would have them to practice; grouping the names by family.  Then, maybe include the alphabet correctly, friends' names, words she can sound out.  Rather than doing traditional writing dictionary alphabetical order pages, I will section it off by theme:  Family, friends, sayings, alphabet, words I know.  Again, this idea literally came to me as I was writing this post.  Love it how that happens.  I'm thinking a binder would be best, so we could add pages.  I would like the portability of a zippered small binder, like a planner, if I could find an empty one at the right price, but the sizes of pages are so odd. Maybe something like a portfolio, so we could store pencils, pens, handwriting paper, whatever kinds of paper we have and don't use.  I might have one already.... hmmm.... So now, at 5:32 on a Saturday morning, I am seriously considering a Wal-Mart trip!