2/28/15

What To Do When You're Snowed In With Kids

Well our magic chicken noodle soup recipe worked... school was closed on Monday due to 'inclement weather' aka ice. Then it was closed again on Tuesday, due to the refreezing of that ice. Aaaaaaaand then, it was delayed two hours on Wednesday due to snow. We then wrapped up the week with several inches of snow on Friday that led to an early dismissal! What a week!


For the most part, my girls play well together and are easily entertained. But still, getting 'snowed in' with kids can be sweet & sour. On the one hand, it is fun to have extra time together. Time to relax and take a break from a busy schedule. On the other hand, it is really easy to go 'stir crazy'!

So here are my favorite ideas for "What to Do When You're Snowed In With Kids" :) 

1. Get Outside. We don't have real 'winter' gear. But that didn't stop my girls from playing in the ice and snow. It did lead to some extra laundry, but it was worth it. I firmly believe that fresh air can cure anything! (Even cabin fever.)



2. Break out the Crafts. My girls are always getting craft/activity kids for gifts and we don't always have the time to sit down and enjoy them. Knowing you have nowhere to go... makes for the perfect time to give those activities a try. If you don't have craft kits on hand, cruise Pinterest for crafty ideas or science projects that are age appropriate for your crew. You would be surprised what you can make with items you already have at home.



3. Bake. There is something about cold weather that makes a person hungry. Let your kids help you in the kitchen. My girls wanted to make s'mores but we were out of graham crackers. So we put 4 mini marshmallows on a ritz cracker and microwaved it for 15 seconds. Then we topped it with a piece of Hershey chocolate and another ritz cracker. It was ahhh-mazing. I will never go back to graham crackers.


4. Turn on the TV. I am always fearful that I will rot my kids brain with television. But my husband sweetly reminded me "A few extra hours in front of the tv will not kill them!" When you are trying to keep everyone happy under unusual circumstances, tv is good. So I snuggled up on the couch and we watched Netflix movies. I had forgotten how fun those old Disney classics like "Swiss Family Robinson" are to watch.

5. Read. Read to your kids. Have them read to you. Grab a book you like and read to yourself while they look at books. Let them read to each other! My girls fell asleep in the same bed one night while they were reading to each other. So sweet!

6. Play. Sometimes we forget to just play with our kids. Puzzles, Wii games, dolls, legos etc.  Make a snowman or start a snowball fight. Do something silly or just give them your complete attention. My girls love for me to be the audience to their elaborately choreographed dance and singing shows. I have a friend who shared on facebook that she let her kids play "Fancy Hotel". She relaxed in bed while her kids 'spoiled' her with room service, fluffy towels, and great manners.



7. Be Social. If you have neighbors, invite them over for lunch, dinner or a playdate. Getting to socialize with others makes everyone feel better. On our second 'snow day' the roads were dry enough to drive, so we met friends nearby for lunch and a trip to Jump Street. It was good for us all to get out and talk to other people.



And remember, this too shall pass. The snow will eventually melt, everyone will go back to real life and busy schedules. So no matter how crazy you might feel while stuck in the house, your kids will remember those snow days. Their best days and favorite memories will always be the ones they got to spend with you.



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2/22/15

Homemade Noodles

It's Sunday and there are high hopes around here that school will be cancelled on Monday due to 'incelement weather'. In North Texas, we don't get much snow. But a good ice storm will shut the metroplex down. Which means today is the perfect day for comfort food.


I have shared this recipe before, but it is SO good it deserves to be shared again. It's my Grandmother's Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup. The thing that makes this recipe stand apart from all the other chicken noodle soups out there is that the noodles are homemade.

Have you ever had homemade noodles?  They are a game changer.



This is a photo of Afton making noodles with me back in 2012-- look at her little face! 
Today, both my girls wanted to help, but the little one lost interest after about 15 minutes. Homemade noodles aren't hard, but they take some effort (and they are a little messy). Which is why we only make them about once a year. And why Afton was so excited to get in on the action.



You can read my detailed recipe & instructions for making the soup here: "Chicken Noodle Soup".



“Recipe” for Grandma’s Chicken Noodle SoupIngredients Needed:
-chicken
-water
-chicken broth
-2 cans cream of chicken soup
-carrots
-celery
-onion
-salt, pepper, additional seasonings as desired
Noodles:
-flour
-eggs
-water
-salt


Afton is keeping her fingers crossed for a little snow.  And she really hopes school will be cancelled tomorrow so we can stay home together and eat left-over soup.


PS-If you try this recipe with your kiddos, snap a pic and post it to IG with the tag #craftytexasgirls :)



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2/16/15

"Tutus and Top Hats" Birthday Party

You know how I feel about parties. I love a cute theme and slightly 'over the top' decorations. I like detailed party tables and I think those ideas on Pinterest are adorable. (Even though I never do half of the ideas I pin. I really like to look at them all!)


I don't think anyone should feel pressured to do a "Pinterest" party. If party planning doesn't bring you joy, then skip it. Everyone has things they are good at.  We all shine in different ways, but learning to appreciate talents in others does make life sweeter. For some people, throwing a party is their 'thing'.  So if you are a  'party loving ' person - this post is for you :)

Which brings me to my friend Diana and the Tutus and Top Hats party she recently hosted. Her parties make me SO happy because I can see how much thought, time, and love she puts into them. I feel like she honestly wants her guests to feel delighted- and she does that through pretty decor, yummy food, and lost of attention to detail. I have as much fun at her parties as the kids do.


For her daughter's 2nd birthday, she hosted this "Tutus and Top Hats" party. When I walked in her home I literally clapped my hands. So much pink cuteness! Diana kindly let me snap some iphone pics to share with you :)


All the guests were given a tutu and wand or top hat and tie to wear during the party. The party accessories doubled as party favors.  (How adorable is the lil birthday girl?!)







Check out these little bows- made from paper napkins. 


The kids decorated sugar cookies and Valentines. The weather was warm, so they played outside too. 






There was yummy food and drinks. And can we admire this chandelier for a moment please??... so sparkly!



                     

And there was the sweetest little birthday girl who loved it all. Happy Birthday Miss L! 


Thank you Diana for hosting a delightful afternoon. Your creativity and passion for parties is so much fun! 



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2/13/15

Texas is My Valentine

I love Texas.
And I am so excited about this new soft "Native" shirt I just got from "The Home T."
The 'Native' shirt is one of their newest designs.



I have shared about this company before. And I am doing it again because their shirts are insanely soft, they are made in the USA and a portion of all profits from The Home T. go to multiple sclerosis research.

What's not to love?



Texas is my Valentine. But this shirt comes in other states too. Which one is your Valentine?

Find The Home T. at www.TheHomeT.com

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2/9/15

Hang Some Hearts

I have had the same Valentine decorations since 2010. They include paper hearts hot glued to jute twine that I hang from my chandelier, the word LOVE cut from sturdy felt and strung on a piece of ribbon that I drape across my china hutch, and a hand-made felt envelope that I use to write 'love notes' to the girls during "Valentines Week".

Even though it's the same thing every year, my girls still get excited when I bring them out. I think everyone likes a reason to celebrate. And hanging some hearts makes it feel like something special is just about to happen.

The girls came home from church yesterday in the mood to make rubber band jewlery.
Afton prefers to finger loom than use the acutal 'rainbow loom'. 
And as hard she tried, Maisy just couldn't quite get the hang of looming. But she was happy to try. 


This year I printed off some new Valentine lunch box jokes. Some of these are going into my girls' lunch boxes. I am attaching others to candy bars for the girls to give to their teachers and coaches.

Via Over the Big Moon- click here to print
Via Kiki and Company- click here to print
I am super excited about these t-shirts I bought at Forever21 for my girls to wear on Friday. Pizza is my Valentine too :)                  

Via Forever 21
And I am hoping to make these cute Cupid's love arrows on Saturday morning using store bought donut holes.

Image/idea via The Creative Mom
And for my 'Valentine' aka my husband... I am making him these. Jeff is not a dessert guy, but every once in a while he does appreciate some good red velvet topped with cream cheese.

Recipe via Huffington Post- click here to see it. 
I kind of love Valentine's Day .

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2/6/15

Coffee, Chocolate, and Must-Have Mascara

It was cold last week. Our weather continues to flop from spring to winter, 70 one day and 30 the next. I would complain, but those cold days really make you appreciate the warm ones. And since it is still winter, a little cold weather is expected. Even in Texas. Thursday was especially cold. The girls didn't have any activities after school, so we had the gift of time without constraints. We decided to go for an 'after school snack' at Buon Giorno. It's a cozy cafe with rich coffee and tall cakes.

We snuggled on the worn leather couch and talked about school. The cake was so tall that no one even had to 'fork fight' over the last bite. Is there anything as perfect as coffee with chocolate? I think not.



When we got home I found a package from Popsugar Moms containing a 'new mystery' mascara to try out. It's an interesting idea. Send an unbranded product to a bunch of bloggers to review.

The only info included with the mascara was a little card. It read,  "Lucky you! You get the exclusive sneak peek of this new mystery mascara brought to you by Popsugar & Sephora."  It's a new mascara that comes with an "innovative brush that hooks your lashes for visible lift, giving you super-curl that lasts up to 12 hours".


Well who doesn't like a good mystery?! With an audience of two- who kept asking if I would give them 'make-overs'!! ("No, you got cake.) I gave it a try. If you are new here... I am something of a mascara junkie. It is my favorite make-up. I have several go-to brands. But I am always on the look out for the next 'new' thing. (My current 'mascara must-haves' are Loreal's Voluminous, Younique's 3-D Lash, and Victoria Secret's Mascara.)


And honestly, this 'mystery mascara' won me over. I usually buy mascara with a big thick brush. But this little brush had the whole 'lift-and-separate-thing' going for it. It felt like it was a comb, grabbing each little lash and coating it with mascara.


I applied several coats. It is easy to apply, and does as promised... adds length and curl. I mean really lengthens. It didn't irritate my eyes, it didn't take long to apply, and didn't feel heavy.  Which left me wondering "Who makes this?!!"

"Mascara" Selfies... awkward?! 

Included on my 'happy mail' info card from Popsugar was a link with the 'reveal' the mystery brand. Drum roll please...... It's "Benefit Cosmetics"!  you can see the product description here at Sephora.


When my sample runs out, I will definitely be purchasing more of this Roller Mascara by Benefit Cosmetics.  I love the look and I am adding it to my list of 'must-have mascaras'.  It was fun experimenting with a 'mystery beauty product.' It made for a perfect afternoon- coffee, chocolate, mascara, and my girls. #curlpower


PS- Thank you for all the thoughtful comments you left on my last post. It's nice to know you are all out there supporting me :) 

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