Saturday, April 26, 2014

Spring Break 2014 (Part 2 of 2)

The next morning Micah and I got up at the crack of dawn and it was so nice to have quiet time with the Lord, and also with my firstborn.

Funny story was when I kept hearing this crazy alarm going off in someone else's tent and when I looked up, the Ro's were coming out of their cabin with the door open and a pan in hand.  They had set off their fire alarm cooking bacon!

We kicked off our morning by raising the flag with Cindy Bear and together everyone recited the pledge of allegiance.  Micah got picked to help raise the flag.

After that, we couldn't just pass the jumping pillow without well...jumping!

There was some coloring activity, and also an Easter Scavenger Hunt.  We then took a nature hike, met up the general store, and then both the mommies took afternoon naps with the youngest sons.  This is me and youngest son trying on our Luray-Wear.

We then headed to the Luray Garden Maze.  That was fun to work together to get to four goals to exit the maze.  It was fun to see all the personalities come out, too.

We got "home" and the Ro's made a yummy dinner and the boys made fire.  Gene bought these massive marshmallows so we had to do more smores!  I didn't get the picture, but the boys went to Walmart and bought four beautiful blue-green folding camp chairs and we sat around the fire at night when the boys went to bed.

The next morning we spent the whole day at the Luray Caverns and Museums.   I was so proud of the boys.  They walked an entire mile, walking through the caverns in about an hour with very minimal whining! 

They were just about done here. :-)   We had a great start to the first half of our Spring Break.  I was actually really really relaxed.  In fact, there were times I had no desire to talk for a long time it was that peaceful.  We got to unplug and just spend time with the kids and our other family and just make great memories together.  Patrick wants to try and do this camping thing annually.  I didn't really "get it" before, but now I do.  Things are so simple and so beautiful in the great outdoors that you can recharge yourself and cut out the noise and just be.  I'm ready to go again!

Spring Break 2014 - Luray Camping (Part 1 of 2)

Spring Break was chock full of events this year.  We started first with a family trip to Luray's Yogi Bear Campgrounds where we rented a cabin, and you even got to hang out with Yogi Bear, pretty much just for hugs and photo ops.


This year was extra fun because we spent the time with the Ro family!  We kicked off our time at the Luray Rescue Zoo.  Funny moment was when Gene jumped back 10 feet when this alligator snapped at him!   Super scary moment.  Tristan is the alligator-whisperer.

Here's home for us for several days!  The Ro's cabin was to the left of this one.

There were lots of activities for the kids, which I really liked.  Tie Dye Shirts, anyone?

Micah's finished product.  Pretty impressive!

I think Toby took a nap in the cabin (and maybe Victoria too?), so we headed 
to the miniature golf course and started putt-putting!

And why stop there...we all jumped for a long on the 
jumping pillow....Micah gets some height on this one!

It was time to start settling down so we took turns making dinner.  It was our night so we grilled some chicken kabobs and grilled out and made s'mores for dessert.  Yum...


It was an ideal set up.  The cabin was split up into two rooms and each room had a double bed and single bed on top.  The kids were pooped from all that jumping and fell fast asleep! 

With two cabins with porches next to each other, we just put our kids down and came back out with a bottle of wine and stayed up and had adult time!     

(more on part 2................)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Date (Over) Night

So nice to be able to get away with Patrick.  The boys were sick all week, and it seemed like they were on the mend, so we decided we'd take off.  We left Saturday around lunchtime and came back Sunday before dinner, but it was enough to feel like we connected and spent time just unplugging and relaxing.    Doesn't this look like someone relaxed?

I might be so relaxed, it appears I might be hallucinating it.


This is where it all started.  We bought a Groupon to the Airlie Conference Center in Warrenton.  It's about an hour away.  $145 with 2 welcome drinks at their pub and 2 gourmet breakfast buffets.  When you see their breakfast, you'll think we really scored.   Rooms were very nice, but I would say the bathrooms were just standard.

The welcome drink at their pub was a white Russian, and if you like milky vodka, than that's your drink.  The gourmet breakfast was great - the omelets were delicious, with everything you could think of to fill it, even capers.  The only sugar and cream available was organic.

* Deep Sigh *  Again, super relaxing.  We actually stayed and continually had my coffee filled to the brim hot... until everyone left in the atrium.  It was just us talking in their sunroom for most of the morning.  Lovely!

Ok, Patrick gets a picture too!

Already planning another one for June!  Some place by the water, me thinks.  Thanks to Karen and Michael for watching our boys.  The boys loved their time with them.  The only bad thing was that Patrick got food poisoning from our lunch on the way back from a Thai restaurant in Manassas.  Poor guy, I didn't think human beings could make those gut wrenching noises from their souls.  After 10 years of marriage, that was a new one for me.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Top 10 Stylish but Affordable Pink Baby Shower Ideas

Finally, I get to throw a pink shower!  I didn't get a chance to take as many pictures as I'd like, so I wanted to just feature a few design ideas that were so super simple, bang-for-your-buck ideas to share:

1.  Fresh flowers $10.  I try to find two pink varying flowers to design a custom florist arrangement.  I shoot for simple and elegant.  In this case it was roses and astromeria.  The astromeria are cheap, abundant and last 2 weeks.  Fresh flowers add an expensive touch to your shower.

2.  Tissue Pom Away!  Most craft stores sell them 6 in a pack, with a 40% coupon.  Total price for 6 was $3.99.  Instead of hanging them everywhere, find a focal point to really make an impact.

3.  Stage your main space by blocking colors and using pillows.  The colors of the shower (and the mom to be's nursery) was going to be pink and gray.  Since my couches were already gray, this was going to be easy!  Save $$ by sewing pillow case covers and put in your existing pillow inserts.  I didn't have time, so I got these at Homegoods for $14.99 each.  The gray and white ones were from Marshalls for $10 each (2 pack for $19.99)

 4.  She's Getting Ready to Pop!  Use balloons of varying colors to decorate the wall and set up a tub of champagne or non-alcoholic beverages.  With the pop theme, you could serve appetizers like different flavored "pop" corn, pop rocks, fruit pops, etc.

5.  Custom print your water bottles FREE.  Many people think they need to go on Etsy to do this, but I'll give you a free printable if you want.  You can just customize it on powerpoint!

 6.  Gift wrap paper as a Table Runner or other Decor.  I found a lovely pale gray and white Damask Gift wrapping at Homegoods.  $3.99

7.  Get some fun chevron straws.  You'll always have drinks.  Super easy, super cheap.  I see these everywhere but you can get some at Target for $2.  Make a high impact for very little $$$.  These flutes were from IKEA $1.99 each.

 8. Use big vases to make a statement.  From seaside coastal---filled with sand and starfish--- to filled-to-the brim candy assortments, these vases are re-purposed for every event!  In this case, three types of popcorn flavors (caramel, jalapeno and gourmet white cheddar.)

9.  Looks for mugs on sale.  I found these at Giant for $0.25 end of clearance sale.  I bought 25 pink and 25 blue for a day such as this!  Set up a fun coffee bar and these are a hit! Another easy cheap idea is to buy those Chalk Stickers and you can custom each cup with a message or have everyone write their names on theirs.  You would need to soak it off before you put it in the dishwasher.

10.  Use fun prints you can create yourself.  On Powerpoint, you can create pages by inserting clipart.  The polkodot pattern, the elephant, and the fun font (I downloaded fun free fonts from Pinterest) and you can create consistent "branding" to make your shower cohesive and beautiful!  We created several "stations" for the guests.  This one is the Baby Bottom Craft Station where you can write personal messages on newborn diapers to encourage mommy through the first rough weeks!  The 8 x 10 frame is a matted silver from the dollar store. I bought 5 for five stations.

I hope you enjoyed my easy top 10 tips!  If I am anything, it's stylish but cheap!!!  We had one very happy mama below (in blue!).