November 30, 2011

what's in charlotte?

So we joined Jarrod in Charlotte while he was there for some work stuff on Sunday night and Monday. We were there for about 24 hours and this is my synopsis.



Hotels.
Lots of them.
We stayed in one.
I checked for bed bugs.
There were none.
The kids ran down the hallways and got ice in buckets.
Fun.



I met the Suzette Mahoney of The Frat Pack + Me. She was just as sweet as I expected. So easy to talk to. So adorable. She chose the cutest little french cafe for us to have lunch. It's Amelie's. (pronounced Ah-ma-lees...i thought is was like Ah-meel-ia or something like that. not so.) And the Pioneer Woman was there (not Monday, but a different day) and posted about it and everything. So ya, it was good...


Suzette and I could've chatted all day, but she had to go pick up her son and my kids were in a French cafe. So you can about imagine.
Yes, time to go.
I loved meeting you, Ms. S! Next time it's IKEA time!! :)


Speaking of IKEA................
after we left Suzette, we went there.
And went there big.
If you've never been, just imagine a big, no HUGE warehouse type thing that lures you in by adorable room settings, convincing you you need to be more organized and hip. Then you keep walking and following those arrows on the floor and you pop out in this huge warehouse part and you take a trolley thing and load it up with boxes of furniture!!!!
YES! It's awesome!!


Although, is does tend to be more stressful when you're there alone with three kids
and you're trying to buy boxes of heavy furniture
and push carts (or buggies if you're in Asheville)
and trolleys
and chase kids
and carry purses
and text people
and write things down
and sign up for rewards programs so you get a discounts 
and pay
and unload
and load into your car.........................


I nearly left a kid to fit all my stuff, but it turns out I didn't have to.
And everyone was all snug as a bug in a rug. or a car.


My 24th hour in Charlotte:
Cars.
And lots of 'em.
And rain.
And lots of it.


I am getting out Christmas stuff today.
We're buying our trees (yes, treeS) on Saturday.
I thought I left all our Christmas CDs in storage in South Dakota, but I found them.
So it's gonna be a Rock Around the Christmas Tree kinda day.

Also, because I'm so Christmassy and Katy was so sweet to ask me, I'm guesting over at Scotty Boy And Katy Girl, talking about Christmas things. Go see me and say 'ello.




So ya.
Ok.
Bye.

November 28, 2011

thanksgiving with the Strahles


Thanksgiving 2011 has turned out to be a holiday of firsts. We have never spent a holiday away from our families. We have definitely never spent a holiday in Virginia. But we did both of these this thanksgiving.
Wednesday night, the kids and I picked up Jarrod from work and drove several hours to our sweet friends, the Strahles in Richmond, Virginia.
They just moved there in July from Minnesota...we just moved to Asheville from South Dakota last month, so it only seemed right that the Midwesterners -turned-Southerners spend the holiday together.


I will admit there was an element of fear to this trip. This was only the fourth time I had ever hung out with Becky. I was wondering how it would go...
would our kids get along?
would the guys be awkward?
would it be strange spending a holiday with friends?

I have to say the Lord totally and completely blessed our time together.
We had an absolute blast and my kids are asking when we're going back! (i wanna know too!)
No awkwardness, no misbehaved kids, no strangeness...
we were busy and completely relaxed all at once...
it was blissful.


I brought a couple craft projects to keep little hands busy while Becky and I cooked the big feast. The stars aligned, dinner came together beautifully, and we ate ourselves into food comas. 




The whole weekend our kids were so good. I have to say I was a little shocked on my kids' end...there's usually bickering of some sort going on at least several times a day. I'm  not sure if all they're ages were just right or what, but they were like little angels...
maybe they knew the mamas were going Christmas shopping on Black Friday.
Hmmmmm...

And shop we did! We did our little part to stimulate the economy ;)
Becky finished allll her shopping (I know, don't you just kinda hate her just a little bit...)
and I got a lot done on my list. We laughed through most of it.
While the guys were home (pacing and checking the online banking every five minutes), Becky was driving me all over Richmond finding deals and bouncing ideas off one another.
Black Friday shopping absolutely MUST be done with a friend...must!


She took me to Trader Joe's (I had never been). Here she is finding the cutest little teeny tiny potatoes ever!
We also went to this adorable little shop way out in the middle of no where.
I love little shops like this.



We left on Saturday feeling blessed so much.
Becky and family made us feel just like part of the clan. We were wined and dined and entertained. We had movie nights, loads of laughs, blessed adult conversation, and plans for our next get-together.


We have people.



And I must say, being 1500 miles from family...it feels sooo good to have people.


My guy and Becky's guy had lots of bonding time...they were to the point where they could give each other a little crap, which is always good. This is a "ha-ha-nice-pink-camera-strap, Strahle" shot. Yes, my guy had the cam...


I learned a lot about my friend. She learned a lot about me. We had some really sweet time together. She inspires me in so many ways. I just love that girl.

I love you guys...thanks for giving us some family here in this foreign country we now call home. Thanks so much for a beautiful weekend!

xo,
{alicia}

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And for all y'all, it's Cyber Monday!!
Click the pic below for a special Cyber Monday deal in my shop! Yeah!!


November 23, 2011

to grandmother's house we go? not exactly...



Being away from family for these holidays is a whole new experience. We've never done it.
This year will be weird, but hopefully full of great new memories.

I love Thanksgiving. It's like Christmas, but cheaper.
The meal and being together... I love the games afterward. The long walk.
The shopping the next day.
I am prepared to spend Christmas away from family just because there's so much to do...the special Christmas service, presents, Christmas movie, playing with your new stuff...
But Thanksgiving is different and thinking of spending our very first holiday here alone was kinda sad.








I know friends never replace your family, but sometimes they can make you feel like you've got people when your family people are 1500 miles away.
And when this friend asked if our family would want to spend Thanksgiving with hers, I was so relieved! She actually asked me before we moved...and she has just moved too. I think we both might be feeling that little pang of lonely for our peeps...so we'll be each other's.




The bags are packed, the pies are baked. My kids are bouncing-off-the-walls excited.
We're headed to Richmond!
The Stahles and the Hutchinsons will do all those family things like walks and games and shopping, as a friend kinda family. And that is good. Very good.




This post could also be titled: "So I'm Spending Thanksgiving with a Girl I Met on the Internet." And that's definitely true. But for all you disbelievers out there, you really can make real friends via blogland...real friends that feel like family.

Happy happy happy Turkey Day! See ya in a few :)

xo,
alicia

PS: I'm guesting over at KOJO Designs today...HOLY wowzas!! Kirsten is doing this fab series on handmade gifts for guys and I did a tutorial on a guy gift...go see!

Click here:

November 21, 2011

{thanksgiving banner} 20 minute goodness


Hi there...let's do a craft, shall we??
I'm not hosting Thanksgiving at my house this year...like I have for the last bunch of years. But I am going someplace fun! So...that makes it ok.
But every year I like to do something fun on the table or with handmade decorations of some sort. So I had this idea to take silhouettes and make a banner.
First gather supplies....

then, hand sketch out your silhouettes. This will take a while, but everything must be done by hand. (Or you can go get them here. :))


Just a side note to tell you how lacking in windows and good lighting the situation here is, here's a snap of where I'm doing this craft. By the balcony doors. There's NO windows in town houses, just f.y.i.



Next trace your people and cut them out of black paper.
Do however many you want, depending on how long your banner is going to be.


Now get your brown paper and cut out rectangles.
Mine are about 5 1/2 in by 6 in.
Then scallop the tops and bottoms with some fancy scissors.


Glue on your people, fold over about a half inch of your rectangle and use your glue stick to glue it over the twine...




Hang it up and smile at it...yeah! What a fun little craft!
Hope you're having a great holiday week.
I have soo much to do today and tomorrow! Better jet!



xo,
{alicia}

November 20, 2011

do you need a little cute balleria action today? okay...

I was so proud of myself after ballet the other day when I totally caught this moment.
It seems like 9 out of 10 times when I see my kids doing something so cute they stop JUST as soon as I get my camera.






 Do you know what she's doing?
She's sitting there gazing at my wedding photo in my bedroom.
So cute right?
Almost too much cuteness?? Yes, I agree.
ok.
Bye...

November 18, 2011

our {temporary} school room and a few tips from the teacher

Hi there.
Thanks for coming to class today.
I just wanted to show you around our new schoolroom in our temporary home...
it really doesn't look much different from our old schoolroom, but I'm gonna show you anyway...



We added individual desks this year. I like that they have their own place to work.
It really cuts down on the mess around time...like knocking each other's pencils on the ground, etc. Ya, they do that sometimes.



Oh my gosh, I can't believe they wrote that on the chalkboard...that is so sweet! :)
The school room is never this clean, just so you know. It doubles as a toy room too.
The closet is full of legos...so you can about imagine how clean that is.

As crazy as this sounds, I am seriously considering ditching our schoolroom in our next house. I feel like so many times we are dragging our books to the dining room table so I can fold laundry beside them or whatever. Maybe some functional furniture in the living room or hallway and we don't need to have a whole room just for school.
I don't know yet...we're here till summer so I have some time to think...and we need a house, so that's all something to consider.
We had a great discussion on my FB page, I love to hear what you think too!



So included for free in this tour is a few organizational things that I've done for a long time, and some I just started that are working great...
First my lesson plan book:


I get these planners every year at Target. They're the kind that go August-July.
I like them because they have the tabbed sides, a full calendar and then weekly pages.
So on the calendar page, I have our schedule, like ballet, church activities, etc. Then on the weekly days, I have our lesson plan. That way I can plan for a shorter school day if we're busy with activities.



Next is weekly folders.
I started doing this at the beginning of this school year and I really like it.
First I decorated 8 folders because I didn't want them to be plain ;) and numbered them 1-8 (one for each week of the quarter).
Inside each folder, I have separated papers for each day of the week. Monday thru Friday.
Also on the inside of each folder, I have paper clipped my book list for the week.
I filled these folders up at the beginning of the school year, then I do another 8 weeks at a time so all my copies are made and I don't have to think about that again...


This last thing I just added this week and I love it!
I don't know about you, but I get SOO sick of repeating things like, did you make your bed? did you brush your teeth?
Well, it's the same for school. Did you practice your cursive? Flash cards? Fact sheet?
So, I decided if the boys each had their own little checklist that maybe just maybe I wouldn't have to sound like a broken record.
SO, I made a list of everything that they can do on their own, with little help from me.
I had the list laminated at Staples and put it in a little basket with all their daily work, putting the list up front.
I love how it's been working. So when their ready for school, they can just go get to it and they know exactly what to do without me nagging reminding :)




So there you go...our schoolroom and some tips from the teacher...I have so much to learn about homeschooling. I love to glean what other hs mamas do and how they do it. If you have tips, please leave them in the comments section!

Thanks for reading :)

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