Catching Up and Summer Kick Off

For memory's sake (my own especially, since it's touch and go lately), I wanted to do a quick post of the happenings with the kiddos these days.
We had our last 1st grade field trip to the Children's Museum and the little girls enjoyed it just as much as the big kids.
 AC's spring soccer wrapped with their team, mainly 7 and 8 year olds, playing in the 10 year old girls' tournament and tying in both games...they were great! 
Reason 10,999 my husband is my hero: when he sees that I am burning the candle at both ends and need a break, he arranges for a much needed long weekend at the beach.
This picture sums up our crew so well these days...the big kids deep into a project,  LJ practicing somersaults, MC enthralled with her shadow....
Lollipops and a movie made the drive home much more enjoyable for all
We got home just in time to collapse into bed and make it to school today for awards and the last day of 1st grade!
We celebrated the kick- off of summer with s'mores and firefly catching after dinner tonight
Poor MC was able to enjoy her treat despite a hornet sting right above her eye...
Bring on summer!


Children's Rooms

When the little girls were born and our family doubled in size, we did a lot of switching of rooms to better accommodate everyone. 

Brian loves orange, for Tennessee Vols of course, and wanted an orange room, so we compromised by using it with more neutral colors to keep it toned down.

We recently separated his bunk beds to twin beds and everyone is much happier....changing the sheets on bunk beds is torture.

 Anna Cate's room came together thanks to a friend who was in the process of updating her daughter's bedding from young girl to preteen. 

This area is definitely AC's favorite.  I used this Hoosier cabinet, given to us by my mother when we got married,  to create a desk/ art area. 

Lyla James and Mary Connor's nursery...a very talented friend painted their monograms above the cribs.  One thing I have learned with 2 sets of twins is that it's better to not have anything removable hanging over their beds!

A collection of favorite things-  oil painting done by T's late great aunt, newborn pictures, lamps my very patient mother stalked while I was on bed rest.


Window Boxes

Hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day yesterday!  The little sweets and Todd planned a perfect day and made me even more thankful to have this sweet family.
My gift was just what I wanted....Todd made window boxes for either side of the front door!  Since we had our house painted a few weeks ago, I have been pricing window boxes.  The price tag was pretty hefty since the windows are an unusual size and the boxes would have to be custom made.

  I love them and couldn't have asked for a better gift!


A Treat for our Teachers

With the school year wrapping up, I have been on the look out for ideas to treat the wonderful teachers we have had this year. When I tasted this chocolate chip cheese ball at a birthday party lasted weekend, I knew I had to pass this on.
If you make this, be warned.....you will not be able to stop eating it!

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 cups mini semisweet chocolte chips
(I mixed chocolate and peanut butter chips for the one I made for our family...also very good!)
Serve with Graham crackers and strawberries

Beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract until combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips.
Wrap in a large piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate 2-3 hours.
Before serving, shape into a ball and wrap in remaing chocolate chips.
 For the teacher's lunch at the big kids' school
 and a more mobile version for the little girls preschool teachers.

Making a Bog Garden

When we moved in this house almost 6 years ago, we were so excited it had this shady garden area with an established koi pond, arbor, and patio.

These pictures were taken just a few weeks after we moved in and as you can see, AC and B,who were 3 at the time, were smitten with the pond and fish. 
The excitement faded when we had to replace the liner and fish 3 different times over the next couple of years thanks to falling tree limbs and critters who loved getting in the pond and eating the fish.
At this point, we were ready to just fill it up with concrete and forget it,but my mother had the brilliant idea of adding a fountain and creating a bog garden within what was the pond.  We started working on it last summer, but we had a hard time finding a fountain that was inexpensive, fit the informal feel of the area, and could accomodate the huge pump we had bought for the pond itself.

After playing around with a few different ideas, we settled on a large galvanized container for the base and a flower pot for the top.  A few coats of aged copper spray paint later and we have a fountain we love for less than $30!
We transplanted some ferns and hosta from other parts of our yard and added other moisture loving plants like calla lilies, and astible, and Siberian Iris. 


One of the big home projects on our list for the year is exterior painting. 



It isn't a familiar word at this stage of life, but sometimes I manage to channel the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants old me and y'all, Friday I was channeling away. 
This momma was needing some time by the ocean.
So after making a reservation for the weekend and informing Todd we were leaving in about 1 hour, we threw some things in suitcases and headed for the beach.

Sometimes the best times are those that are thrown together at the last minute.
And even though we came home to full-blown chaos, like having the painters show up Monday morning to paint the house and we had no paint because I was supposed to do that Friday afternoon, it was so worth it!