Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Lego Birthday Party

This past weekend we celebrated our youngest's birthday with a Lego themed party.  He chose this theme fairly close to his party date so we didn't have a whole lot of time for planning, and our budget was tighter than normal this year. I think we managed to pull off a super cute party even with those constraints. 


I found some cute patterns online to build the birthday boy's name out of Legos, but we couldn't exactly decide which size Legos the pattern was for... so we ended up doing our own thing to build his name out of Duplo sized blocks. We also built two 8s to make the mantel look symmetrical. I also got some plate and cup sets that came with the banner and tablecloth.  I ended up with two of these sets.  I also got this favor bag set, and these add-ins for the guests. If I had it to do over again, the add-ins were too small for the kids to even really make, so I'd opt for these instead.

If our budget had been larger - I would have looked into this photo prop, these photo props, this pinata, these balloons, or this additional decoration set. 


I was able to find this free resource to print Lego paper -- so I printed them on a pack of 5 different shades of paper that I found here.  I took the paper and cut it into pieces and put this pattern on the wall, under a large Minecraft village that Tyler had made. I also put some of these blocks around our TV, because the party was mainly held in our living room/kitchen area. Given more time, I might have put them in some other areas around the house too.




This was Tyler's cake this year, we did not make it like we did last year.  He really liked it though. 


A couple of our friends that were coming are doing the Keto diet, so I wanted to make sure that there was plenty of food for them to eat as well as keep it simpler this year for our budget.  In parties past, we've always served a full meal for the most part... but this year it was more finger foods.  Tyler made fruit sticks with grapes, cantaloupe, and strawberries.  I thought about adding pineapple as well, but you could do any sort of fruit that you like.


We also made a meat & cheese tray with turkey chunks, summer sausage, salami, cheddar cheese squares, and colby jack squares. We had some extra space, so we served olives with it. For those not eating low carb, we served some Ritz crackers on the side of our meat tray. Our next item, is a Vegetable Tray with Ranch Dip -- we included: carrots, cucumber, mushrooms, broccoli, and celery in the tray.  Tyler requested Charleston Cheese Dip because it's his absolute favorite. 


We serve the Cheese Dip with pita chips.  Then we made two forms of Greek Salad -- a green salad version, and a pasta salad version.


Here is our sweet birthday boy who had a wonderful day surrounded by people he loves the most. Eight is Great, and he is SO happy to finally be the same age as his brother for the next 6 months!

Friday, October 5, 2018

Made by August Lane


At Made By August Lane, we make custom t-shirts and custom promotional/gift items! Let Debi and our team help you make your special item dreams come true... if you see it, we can make it! 



Also, check us out on Facebook and Instagram - where we often post our newest creations that are available for order before we can get them loaded onto the website. 





 

These are some of our designs -- several of them I own personally, but we can make anything your heart desires. Debi is the mastermind and the most amazing designer -- and she can make all sorts of shirts, tanks, jackets... mugs, doormats, water bottles, and we are now breaking into the market of welcome home gifts for realtors. The welcome home baskets are going to be awesome with a door mat, mugs, kitchen towels, and potholders all stored in an amazing large bucket -- each item personalized for the family.

40 Things About Me

A couple months ago, I turned 40 -- and I thought it might be fun to share 40 things about me... some you might know and some you might not.

 


  1. Growing up, I was the youngest sibling - and cousin on both sides of my family. 
  2. At age 25, I became the middle child of 5 when my parents adopted my younger siblings. 
  3. John and I met online - before it was a real thing... three different times before it stuck. 
  4. The first time we met, I scared him off by sending a photo that made me look too young. 
  5. We were married when I was 23.
  6. I cried through our entire wedding ceremony because I was so nervous about facing the congregation. 
  7. My first semester of college, I attended the University of Alabama, and remember it fondly even though at the time I thought I was miserable.
  8. I had a 12-year long career in non-profit fundraising and data management before having the boys. 
  9. In college, I interned for Children's Miracle Network and fell in love with helping people through charities. 
  10. While working with Children's Miracle Network, I worked on their annual telethon... it was amazing and exhausting.
  11. I was the only Ring Dance coordinator (think, 7 proms with different themes & entertainment all happening at the same time) my senior year at Texas A&M, it was a huge undertaking, but I learned a LOT about myself that year. 
  12. My senior year at A&M was the year of the Bonfire Collapse, and I've never been more proud and humbled of my Aggie Family than I was during those excruciatingly painful days. 
  13. I began a new job on September 11, 2001 -- and watched the events of that day unfold on a television in their lobby before being sent home for the day. 
  14. I was supposed to fly to Chicago on September 12, 2001, for a trip with my sisters and stepmom, but that trip never happened due to the closure of all the air travel at that time. (I've still never been to Chicago.)
  15. Two of my favorite places that I've ever been are - New York City and Washington, D.C. 
  16. In the summer between 7th & 8th grade, I went on a 3-week long bus tour of the West Coast with my school. 
  17. When I was very young, my grandfather had his own airplane so if I wanted to visit... I'd call him and ask him to send the plane to get me. 
  18. I couldn't be more grateful that I was able to grow up without social media... I can't imagine if the antics we lived back then were on social media. 🙅
  19. I won my first computer at my after-prom party... I actually won a stereo but traded it with a friend for the computer & that's the computer I had when I met John. 
  20. I am allergic to saltwater -- and apparently my own sweat if it stays on my skin for too long.
  21. As a small child, I wanted to be a marine biologist, which would have been problematic with my saltwater allergy. 
  22. After an 8 year battle through infertility, James was born.
  23. Tyler was born 6 months later after an intense pregnancy.
  24. I was 32 years old when they were born.
  25. We moved to Memphis for a couple of years when the boys were 9 & 15 months old. 
  26. I've suffered from migraines since high school.
  27. My first mini-stroke was in January 2013, and I spent several days in the hospital because of it. 
  28. We moved home in October 2013, and I had a second mini-stroke in my Dad's driveway. 
  29. In March 2014, I finally was diagnosed with MoyaMoya Disease.
  30. I had two brain surgeries in the summer of 2014, and the first one mostly cured me of daily migraine headaches and periods of not being able to control my muscles.
  31. We chose to homeschool because of some learning challenges that James deals with. 
  32. I used to make beaded jewelry as a side business.
  33. I've tried several MLM companies, and while I love the products... I am just NOT cut out for that work. 
  34. I've always dreamed of writing a book, and I'm now making it happen! 
  35. I'm a self-proclaimed planner junkie... I need a 12-step program.
  36. Baking and cooking relax me, but meal planning stresses me out. 
  37. Reading is one of my favorite past-times, and I try to read between 35-50 books every year. 
  38. I love giving gifts, but birthdays and Christmas stress me out because I want to get the perfect gift for each person. I'm never confident that they will like the gift. 
  39. In 6th grade, I won a solo singing competition... but I quickly retired afterward. 
  40. Last but not least... and I take a lot of heat for this one... but I'm not a fan of bacon or seafood. I will tolerate bacon in recipes, but I'd never crave it. 





Wednesday, October 3, 2018

2019 Powersheets are COMING!

If you've been around this little piece of the web for any of the last couple of years, you'll know that I am a serious fan-girl of Lara Casey and the Cultivate What Matters Team.  They make the most amazing intentional products from their Write the Word Journals to motivational postcards you can send to your loved ones. It is this time of year that I love the most for so many reasons... one of them being the NEW Powersheet Collection release!

I seriously love my powersheets for so many reasons, but one of them is that they allow me to work through a series of worksheets designed to help me figure out what goals matter most to me. Now, I've fallen victim of overloading on the goals in the past, but I'm learning how to edit myself over time. One main issue here is that it is okay to not fill in every single line on your tending list each month... I'm a work in progress, Y'all.

I'm going to take you on a short tour of my goal refresh for the fall season...


To start your refresh, you're given these boxes to examine different areas of your life. Starting at the top of the left page going clockwise on the page - Health, Friends, Spouse/Significant Other, and Family are given a rank from 1 to 10.  You're then allowed to explain why you chose the rank you did, then a space to write what you're saying YES to in the coming season, and what you're saying NO to in the coming season as well. On the second page, you work through - Finances, Spiritual + Personal Growth, Work, and Recreation. After this two page spread, you're given space to choose up to 10 new goals for the season. 

You're allowed to do this within the 1 year dated workbook each season - Spring, Summer, and Fall - in addition to your initial goal prep work that is a 60-page journey toward uncovering the things that matter most to you. (at least it was 60 pages in 2018 -- they likely have added things for the new year.)


After you've finished your refresh -- or each month -- you'll find a blank tending list page that you can tear out and place somewhere meaningful for you. Maybe it's in your day planner or taped to the fridge or bathroom mirror... where ever you need to place it to keep you chipping away at your goals. I personally leave them inside the Powersheets and set it next to my day planner so that at the end of the year, I can pack them away and have a record of all the goals I set and progress made in the previous years.


Here is my list for October 2018... I left several lines on the weekly and daily goals blank because I'm focused in on some bigger monthly projects this season. I've got some checking off to do, but still LOTS of progress to be made!

Now, let's talk about the 2019 collection... there are SO many new products coming out on October 24th at 10AM Eastern -- you will absolutely want to make a note in your planner to shop that day! I'll make sure to come back and drop some links and share some more products for you to look at in the days until Launch Day. For now... let's talk covers.

In past years, there has only been one cover for the 1-year version -- and they've had a few choices for the 6-month versions... this year, however, there is only 1 version for the 6-month sets (a neutral cover) and FOUR covers for the 1-year versions!
Multi-colored (Funfetti)
Pink

Teal
Yellow

I am torn personally between Multi-colored and Teal... which one would you love to have in your hot little hands on October 24th? In addition to this, Lara has designed a Cultivated Homeschool Planner that I plan to print and take to Office Depot to be bound. It's completely free and customizable for how you need to plan your homeschool, but what a blessing for no cost at all! I do hope you'll join in the movement and Cultivate What Matters in your own life!

Monday, October 1, 2018

FreezEasy Programs

Y'all, I want to tell you about one of the BEST freezer cooking sites out there, FreezEasy! This site has some amazing monthly meal plans available, or you can also build your own plan based on your family's preferences. The greatest part is that she has something on the site for everyone's dietary needs - from Paleo to Whole Thirty - From Gluten-Free to Dairy Free... she has them all covered. Each recipe will also tell you how to swap out things where it's needed to make them fit your allergy or diet guidelines. You can also go, here, for a FREE Freezer Meal Success Guide.


The greatest part is that once you build your plan, you can immediately print out the shopping list, prep list, and get everything into your freezer within a couple hours of returning from the store! The genuis part of this site is that you can also adjust the size of the recipes to the number of portions you want - so it works great for small or larger families. 

I highly recommend joining this site, and taking advantage of all that freezer cooking can save you on those busy school nights... you can be prepped and ready as sports practices pick up and things get busier as the fall moves on. 

I've used this site for a long time, and have some recipes that have become tried and true family favorites -- the Pollo Asado -- is a GREAT addition to our recipe list. Another couple that we have loved has been the Lasagna Bake, and the Greek Chicken Bake. I'm working through some more of the freezer to Instant Pot meals right now because that is such a convenient way to prep meals rather than having to thaw it out in advance. If you're new to the Instant Pot style of cooking - there are also an Electric Pressure Cooking 101 class and the My Efficient Kitchen class offered as well. 



In addition to the regular freezer plans -- she also has a great resource in the Stork Your Freezer programs for new Moms. I would have LOVED to have been given a shower where people could have filled my freezer full of all sorts of meals for when my babies were born. There are so many ways to work this style of shower, but if I could have left meals for the new mommy while also coming home with some of my own... how GREAT would that be!? My vision for that would be to have people double up on a meal in their plan for the mom-to-be, and then take the rest home... and if every couple of guests chose a different meal plan... even better!

Here are the different meal plans to choose from for Stork Your Freezer Showers:


  
 



Last, but not least, Erin also has a Grocery Budget Makeover program that will rock your world. I've taken the course, and LOVED it. I'm still whittling down our budget, but I can't recommend this program enough to those that need it.