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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Hall Fall Photo shoot

One thing that is fun about being a photography enthusiast and owning a decent camera is that you can always have a photo shoot.  It's even nicer if that said photo shoot can take place in your very own back yard.  One not so awesome thing is when you have nobody around to take the pictures for you so that you and your husband can be in the family pictures. Semi pro problems.  Oh well at least my husband doesn't mind if I shoot 3 of the most handsome fellas in the south!

A big fat shout out to for making such awesome, flexible, cleanable, lastable ties for my little guys!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween for cheap

Just a few of my favorite and cheap costume ideas over the years.  I hope you can find some cheap and quick solutions for the anti-superman, Disney character costumes that are expensive and let's be honest                    
 So I saw the popcorn costume idea on pinterest.  This cost me $1.50 because I had popcorn, a helmet and hot glue and paint.  I simply sprayed the box white and then taped it off and painted the red with some sample paint and a small brush. The smurf was just about as cheap.  I got the beanie for .97 cents at Walmart and the stockings for 2.50 then I used Halloween makeup for the body
 These wise guys were a cheap costume that won them "BEST COSTUME" at 2 different Halloween parties. This costume entailed church clothes, sticks they found in the woods, hemp for the suspenders, eye liner (for the wrinkles) and the only things that were actually purchased were the mustaches and the white hair spray.  The mustaches could have even been drawn on, but I decided to splurge!
 1st up Nacho or NACHOOOOOOO The sweats were purchased at Walmart for 3.48 The undie looking things were actually leggings that I found at Khols in the girls section.  We cut the bottoms off and used them for the "boots" and then as the underware part.  It was actually a headache because I couldn't find any RED underoos anywhere! I bought the shoe laces at Walmart for 1.50 but later found 6 pair for 1.00 at the dollar tree, but since I only needed 1 pair and didn't feel like driving back to wallyworld I relented.  The "cape" is a red t-shirt I bought at the dollar tree. As for the "ELF on the Shelf" I bought a red turtle neck at Walmart for 3.48 and half a yard of felt for 1.50.  I then ran ALL OVER TARNATION.  If you're a mom then you have been to tarnation A LOT!  I couldn't find white gloves.  Finally I located some at a Dollar General.  They came in a 3 pack for girls.  I took the white ones and gave the girly pairs to a friend.  The pants were also a problem.  I couldn't find all red sweats, or pants.  I checked Target, Walmart, Dollar General, Family Dollar, The Dollar Tree and Kohls all to no avail.  I finally found some that would work at the Good Will.  for 2.50 my mom had the hat in her Christmas décor and we fashioned a strap to keep it on his head, which he only did for a little while.  There is a lot of running around to do when you're trunk or trick or treating.  I won't go into the phantom since it was mostly store bought, but we used his church clothes instead of buying a full outfit.
 This is a couple costume that tricked everyone including Jeff's mom.  She literally had NO IDEA who we were when we knocked on her door.  This was easy peasy.  Again Jeff wore his church clothes, stuff a pillow in his shirt and found his old missionary tag.  He even scrounged up these glasses in one of his boxes in the garage.  Why he's been carrying them around and where did they come from we may never know.  I bought myself a wig and glasses at the dollar tree and a skirt and jacket from the D.I. which is a thrift store.  The whole thing cost me 20.00 but that's only because the wig was like 15.00 Jeff's was practically free except for the white hair spray  We won "BEST COUPLE" costume at the Halloween party we attended.
 This one is easy because the kids had to go as "book characters" for the school parade.  This is the same year they were old men so I wasn't about to go buy some costume.  We bought 1 cape and had the other from some other costume.  Church clothes AGAIN glasses from the Dollar General Halloween makeup for the scar, but I could have made it with nail polish.  The wands were sticks they found.  Both costumes cost less than 12.00 and they loved being this nemesis duo!
 Oh McCoy!  This is a pinterest score.  A cardboard  box, red duct tape and Dixie cups with a little bit of hot glue.  Total cost 6$ He loved ALL the "treats" he found that night.

The wolf is another easy "storybook character" for school parades or places where they can't wear a mask or go shirtless ie; the smurf and Nacho. My son has wild and crazy wavy thick amazing hair so we just teased it and sprayed it and with eye liner colored in his eyebrows, nose and "facial hair" Then I hot glued pieces of a wig that we had in our Halloween bin onto his shirt and bottom of his pants.  The hair comes right off.  You can either rip the hot glue off or cut the hair and toss the shirt in the washing machine.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Enfamous or famous pinewood derby

There comes a time in  a Mormon boys life when he enters the scouting program and gets to compete in the PINEWOOD DERBY. (any boy in the scouting program) This is a milestone and something both father and son look forward to.  Jeff and Cru probably procrastinated a little on this first derby but what I was most proud of wasn't the amount of sanding, going back and forth to different stores for correct supplies, painting, putting on wheels or even time spent together working on this derby car.  NOPE! It also wasn't Cru racing the winning car (which he didn't) he came in 3rd place LITERALLY every single race. Kind of hilarious actually.  No matter which lane and no matter who he raced against it was 3rd every time.  What I as a mom have been concerned about and worked on has been Cru's ability to accept defeat with grace and sportsmanship.  He is passionate.  I love that about him.  I do not need to light a fire under him to get him to compete. He is all fire.  The problem is if he doesn't win he breaks down.  He cries.  He makes excuses and gets way too emotional about the details. While I think attention to detail can be important and even "game changing" I also think sometimes and maybe often times attention to detail is more of a vice because the attention to the details become a distraction on the greater goal or point of competing in the first place.  We didn't build the perfect car.  We didn't build the winning car, but by building a less than great effort of a car Cru learned a lesson.  He came in 3rd.  He didn't win.  He didn't even get to race in the final heat.  But what he did do, was congratulate the winners.  He didn't do it merely out of obligation he did it because for perhaps the first time ever he understood what competing is all about.  Their are always winners and losers and it's important to never always be one, but sometimes both.  That makes perfect sense to me if not to anyone else.  He was happy.  He understood that he could have worked harder, but he didn't make excuses or dwell on those imperfections instead he smiled.  He lit up while racing and when his car wasn't on the track he continued to light up while his cousin's was (who won the whole shebang).  I've seen him catch the 20 yard pass and run for the winning touch down as time ran out.  I've seen him kick a penalty goal and blow it past the goalie.  I've seen him win race after race against teammates, cousins and friends and although of course those things make me proud of his efforts and even some of them have brought me to my feet cheering louder than anyone else, nothing has brought more happiness to my soul than watching a personality trait start to take hold in my son.  A trait that does not come natural.  I saw true development and I've NEVER been more proud or pleased with a result of competition than I was with my perpetual 3rd place finishing racer and 1st place beginning person!
                                     On a side note, how cute is this little scout?
 My contribution to the race car themed snack.  Saw it on pinterest and it was easier than baking something and the kids even helped me make these guys.  Don't worry we sanitized hands several times during the making.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mid life crisis turned into mid century modern

Chairs are my FAVORITE redo.  I may have mentioned that before. I found this gal in the Goodwill and brought her home for only 5$ I purchased this amazing fabric from Joanne's and a can of spray paint. 

 Yep that is all it took to bring this chair out of depression.  It was a super comfy chair and great bones it just needed to actually be something someone would want to sit on and put in their home.  I washed the chair down and let it dry then reupholstered the fabric.  I then took the chair outside and spray painted it.  I think I only used half a can and then boom it has a new life. 

I actually really liked the look with the chair the same wooden color mid tones and the new fabric but thought it would be harder to sell since it's sort of funky and non traditional so I had to paint it black.  But black ALWAYS sells!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Not to beat a dead horse but...

Where on earth did that saying come from? I'm going to google asap.  Okay so I know the whole easy burlap wreath thing has been discussed, but as much as I liked my finished product it didn't feel all the way finished.  I kept wanting to tie a BIG huge beautiful bow on it or a ribbon like all the wreaths on pinterest.  But while I was a the dollar store I saw these cute little butterfly clip thingys.  2 for a dollar? Pssht I can afford that.  So it is EXACTLY what my little wreath needed. What do you think?  No seriously what do you think?  I get lots of traffic on my blog but NEVER any comments.  What the heck people?

Friday, October 3, 2014

TRicK or TrEaT

I'm not usually super crafty.  I, like most mommies and creative minds do love pinterest as much as the next gal, but I usually just pin and then pin more things.  This fall I decided to do some more crafts.  I wanted things that would last more than a year and I wanted to TRY to make them myself.  I've already blogged about my burlap wreath so with some of that left over burlap and after pinning a BUNCH of cute ideas for fall décor I decided I could manage something I could be proud of.  And that's just what I did.  I took old decorations mixed with new and even original to my family decorations ie; pictures of my kiddos dressed up for Halloween.  I'm not suggesting that idea is original to my family only that my kids themselves are original to my family. 

After so much pinning I finally decided on a craft I could manage. I actually didn't get my ideas directly from another blog or even something I had seen, but a compilation of a bunch of spectacular ideas. So I  cut my leftover burlap from the wreath project fabric into squares. I had some acrylic paint lying around the house, which isn't a great idea with 3 little boys.  I pretty much dodged a bullet with that.  I bought a stencil pack at Walmart for around 2.50.  When I was all finished with the stenciling and I held up my project I felt like there was something hmm how should I say this, ugly about it.  It was too flimsy, and wimpy looking so I got out some construction paper and cut squares out then I hot glued the burlap to the paper but only the top of it.   I then hot glued the top of each square to the hemp twine.

The rest of the mantle needed some help. I didn't go overboard and in my house we don't really do a whole lot of "spooky" not for like religious reasons or anything.  I just haven't ever really been a fan of gory or scary.  What can I say when I was a pre-teen I watched the Nickelodean show "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" And that was about the scariest thing I could handle.  So anyhoo I blew up a few pictures of my favorite monsters and goblins... my own kiddos over the years dressed up for Halloween or just dressed up for fun.  It was the perfect addition to my fall/festive/Halloween mantle.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014


So when I say easy peasy what I actually mean is frustrating and frustrating.  It should have been easy and it will be easy next time.....if there is a next time.  I wanted to save mula by DYIng a burlap wreath  I ended up spending just as much money and a lot of time. First I ran out of burlap then when I got more burlap I realized (of course only after finishing) that it was a slightly different shade of burlap, but enough to be noticeable. So I had to pull that off and since I had used hot glue instead of pipe cleaners to tie on the different spots it was completely ruined.  But anyways.  I used a youtube video to help me make my "easy to do burlap wreath" It turns out it was sort of easy I just get impatient and want to start before I have all my ducks in a row.  I recommend on a 12" wire wreath buying double the burlap because worst case scenario you have some extra burlap lying around, waiting for your next "easy to do burlap project"

The burlap was 5.95 at Walmart and I used 1 1/2 spools.  I avoided having to use pipe cleaners by tying the end on the lowest wrung towards the middle in a tight knot and then weaving and fluffing with a twist after each weave. 
Here are the steps
#1 Tie a knot with burlap around the closest to the middle wrung. 
#2 pull burlap through the first gap. make sure burlap is folded if it is a wide spool. 
#3 Next twist the burlap and pull through in opposite direction through the next wrung.
#4 Keep adjusting and fluffling and perfecting until it's just as you'd like it to be.
I super glued some parts of the burlap to the wire wreath just to make sure it didn't get too curious and start venturing off of the wreath

Sunday, September 21, 2014

It doesn't have to be drastic to make a huge difference... see post below to believe me

Friday garage sale with my boo! I like Friday garage sales because it seems more casual and laid back.  I know ALL garage sales are casual, but you know what I mean.  Saturday garage sales are crazy full of inspectors looking for just the right trinket they can put in their no doubtedly already cluttered home.  That sounded judgemental or stereotypical but that's because I have those people (whom I love to the moon and back) in my family. So on a sunny Friday me and my baby daddy went to a huge garage sale.  Among the seas of trinkets and memorabilia I found a cute and unassuming bench in the corner with stuff piled on top of it.  Why am I giving this bench a personality and storyline??  Uh I'm not sure I'm just being dramatic I suppose, but I digress.  Anyways this bench was sorta average and boring, but I knew I could find a way to give her a 2nd chance at life.  So the inspiration began....
See what I mean.  Kind of dull or at least plain.  But I like her legs.  She is sturdy and reliable. Now she needs pizazz.  If you follow my blog at all or at least check it once in a while you'll now I'm all about color.  Hence the pizazz.  So I went all out, with pizazz but did nothing drastic.  I painted her legs with a tester paint and added a couple pillows that I found at world market for half off and now she is ready for the ball.  Or at least she is ready for my entry way. This took me all of 15 mintues

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Jumpin on a jet plane

My family had THE MOST amazing ( I realize that word is completely over used but that doesn't change the definition and trust me it fits ) summer EVER.  We had a plan.  It was as follows... Have fun, embark on a "love where we live campaign", make memories, and document those memories.  So that's what we did.  To the fullest.  I think we maybe had 3 days ALL SUMMER LONG where we stayed home.  We didn't spend an exorbitant amount of money or go anywhere fancy but we #lovedwhereyoulive like it was our job, and it sort of was. The summer truly started for us when my little brother got married. 
Everyone we love came into town and celebrated with us and it was, wait for it... AMAZING!  We reunited with our downsyndrome brother Andy who lived with us for 7 years while I was growing up.  We went to watch him play baseball at something called the miracle league.  He came to Sunday dinner.  Sunday dinner at my parents (especially in the summer) is a very big deal.  It's huge and there are lot's of visitors, travelers and people passing through and they are ALWAYS welcome.
Our kids reunited with cousins who live in far away states and friends who are like family that had moved away.  We had beach trips, dance parties, backyard baseball games, water balloon tossing competitions, pool parties, sleepovers, boat rides to little islands and movie marathons.  We filled every moment with family and fun. 

We made so many memories it was hard to remember them all.  Which is why I'm so glad I had made #4 an initiative of ours... and I used the # to mean number, not hashtag.  Documenting these memories is so important if not annoying for those posing for my endless picture taking sessions. I know these years are few. The kids will get older, they'll grow up, the magic will still be there but it will lessen and fade a little as new things peak their interest and they go in different directions, but for now they love every single thing about their time together.  Sure there are grumpy kids who didn't get enough sleep the night before, or sunburnt shoulders and backs or rainy afternoons where we have to resort to electronics in order for chaos to remain at a minimum, but that's life and that's great. When the festivities of all the families and friends settled down I was a little worried I'd feel lost, and lonely.  Of course I was sad to say goodbye and see loved ones go but I had already vowed that I would #lovewhereIlive this summer... yes that time it was meant to be a hashtag.  So that's what we did next.  We went canoeing in shem creek, here in Mount Pleasant.  Where we saw dolphins and collected shells and got a workout.
Afterwards we went to Sonic where we completely took over the joint and probably gave any teens the best form of  free birth control in the world.   Again the kids loved it so much.  We came home one night after Cru's scouts to about 5 bikes laying down in our driveway with neighbor kids we'd never seen before playing basketball in our driveway.  Before we knew it there were 15 kids, boys and girls playing a summer night pick up game.  We went to the beach weekly and usually two or three times a week.  Why not?  It's fun and free and my favorite place on the earth.  Our car will never be the same it could be a mini beach itself with all the sand we brought back with us each time, but who cares.  It's about making the memories.  I served in my calling at Girl's Camp teaching the 14 year olds about camp certification.  We also went on something called high adventure and we went out to little place called Morris Island where we took the girls shark fishing.

I look forward to girls camp now as a leader because #1 It's actually the coolest place to go and so it's like a mini girls retreat and #2 I see the importance of bonding with the girls and them finding strength in one another.

Jeff also served in areas concerning the youth.  He did a lake retreat and also spoke at a youth conference with 400 kids.  We drove to a smaller town in S.C. named Beaufort and we walked around the historic district with our kids.  We met with Jeff's uncle and had dinner, watched the kids play and ate ice cream.  Cru entertained families and tourists with his hand stand skills and we soaked up every ounce of that day we possible could.  It was a great time for Jeff to spend with his Uncle Dwayne, who is the only living relative left on his father's side. We met a group of salesmen who were working here just for the summer.  A bunch of guys and a girl in their early 20's and they quickly became part of our little family.  We lent our home and our hearts to them.  We helped them #lovewheretheylived and enjoy SC.  We went paddle boarding through Shem Creek where we again saw dolphins and other beautiful sights. 

The boys jumped off of docks and rode on our paddle boards with us. We enjoyed the beach with new people and stayed up late into the night talking.  I forgot I was in my 30's because I was living life like a college student  Staying up late hanging out all day sleeping in and enjoying every ounce of life. I can't count how many times we utilized our greatest freest resource of fun.. the beach
  We also had some difficult times.  We thought we were chosen to adopt a baby girl and became very  close to the birthmom.  We skyped and messaged on facebook and through text messages and phone conversations.  We made plans to expand our family and take on a new life in our home.  We flew her here to visit and see where the baby would live and how the baby would live.  We treated our guest like family.  Including her in everything we would normally do. She turned out to be nothing we thought.  She was deceiving and callous.  She used us and threw us and our feelings into the garbage.  She lied about being pregnant, she put on a show featuring herself and to hell with what would come afterwards. We went on a family vacation to Missouri to visit cousins and my sister, which she ultimately ruined because she told us our baby was stillborn on our 2nd day of vacation.  She had mastered the art of deception and knew all the right things to say to our questions.  We had to tell our boys that their little sister had died and wouldn't be joining the family. 

We did still go out on the family boat and to fun restaurants and to a professional baseball game to see the Kansas City Royals play, which we loved.  We went out to their family ranch and went fishing and shooting guns. 
I loved being in the great outdoors with nothing really around.
We got to see their beautiful temple up close and experience so much quality family time, but it was dulled due to the sadness that was weighing on our hearts.  We found out it was all a lie, but not until the vacation was over and we were at home.  We had so much support and encouragement and love poured out to us that we quickly bounced back and felt stronger than ever.  We did a news story about her deceit and spread the word and found other couples.  Jericho Road came to do a conference here and Jeff and I spoke at one of the meetings.  We talked about our bodies being temples and how they are not our own and that is a lie Satan tells us so that we think we are making choices that are of no consequence in the eternal spectrum.  But we talked about how we are bought with a price and that price is Jesus Christ' atoning blood and sacrifice and that our bodies are on loan from our creator and we need to house our spirits with clean temples and return them to our Father spic and span. Of course none of us can do that without our Savior Jesus Christ and his atonement which makes it all possible.  Jeff and I also celebrated our 10th anniversary!
The last week of summer we went up to the lake house, which is a trailer and took 2 boats and 2 jet skis out.  We jumped off of diving boards and then went through the locks and in the Tail Race canal and jumped off of a rope swing! 

The kids loved it and believe it or not this frady cat even climbed the tree and swung down on the rope swing into the lake.  It wasn't graceful but I DID IT!!! That's huge for me.  I'm afraid, deathly afraid of heights and even seemingly little heights that 4 year olds aren't batting an eye at. We stayed at the lake until the sun went down.  It was magical, maybe and probably the very best night of the summer.  It was the perfect ending.  But for me, Kayla Hall I hate endings so then there really aren't any perfect endings because I hate them so much.  School started the college kids left, my brother and his new bride who quickly and easily became one of my favorite people left, my kids were gone all day and I felt empty. Sad. Alone. Hollow.  I should have felt alive rejuvenated and ready to take on the world, but I felt myself feeling lost.  I was trying to be proactive.  Serving others, going running, exercising spending quality time reading visiting the beach and hanging out with my amazing (there's that word again) husband but it really wasn't until my bestie called me up and said "Please grow a wild hair and come see me in San Diego this week" that I felt alive again. So talked to my dad who has buddy passes and I jumped on a jet plane and flew 3,000 miles at a mintues notice and went to see her and her family for an extended weekend.  We soaked it all in.  Talks by the outdoor fire, watching The Wonder Years and going on a journey to our childhood, eating popcorn and milkduds and M&M's, baking monsterous cookies, doing a short run for charity, window shopping (or barn shopping) beach walking and lots and lots of therapeutic talking.  It was a blessing to be able to make that trip happen.  Sometimes the stars really do align and for that I'm grateful!

The best part is I could have written forever on all the good times of each part of our summer. I could post 25 more accompanying pictures to go along with stories. I could NOT however write that long about the gloomy, sad or hard times.  That's something to treasure.