Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Gold mining and face stuffing across Georgia

I love Atlanta.

We are having an amazing time.

We are here for "business", Tony is in training.

For me a vacation isn't a vacation without sand and waves or large characters, princesses and rides.

We do day trips to places that don't have those necessary things but not full on vacations, so its been nice to explore somewhere I wouldn't normally head.

As I said in my previous post, I've always wanted to go to Georgia, so its pretty cool to have an extended stay.

We home school so we are also always on the look out for fun educational things to do or just things to broaden their horizons - and mine. Pre Tony I didn't travel much at all.

Aside from touring Target daily *its 4 minutes from me how can we not* and all the Joanns of the area... I'm still working on my boutique and the Frozen slam has hit like an avalanche in orders, we have visited a few places on our list of to dos.
                                                                 this is actually Hobby Lobby
                                                                                we've been hitting it up a bit too.

Last weekend we headed up to Northern Georgia to Dahlonega Ga to the Consolidated Gold Mine .

Its about an hour north of Atlanta and was part of the original gold rush in America - before California.

This gold mine boasted a huge vein of quartz ( where there's quartz theres gold) . I believe what the tour guide said ( i saw it online too but can't find it now to confirm everything is vague that I'm finding)  was that normally a vein of quartz is about the width of a pencil and this one was 24 inches. or feet. I don't know really but the number 24 keeps popping in my head.

In any case, they mined half a million dollars worth of gold in ONE day. I don't even know how much that would be today.
                                                                         The glory hole

It is the only mine you can tour in the area and the tour really is worth seeing.

Extremely informative and the guides are also funny.

The kids learned all about rock formations, gold mining, tiny bats that actually were cute and didn't move, working conditions in a mine back then and technology advances.

         he's entertaining!

The mine companies used a lot of their profit to install a new technology in the mine - electricity. Unfortunately the wires weren't insulated so many died from running into the wires.

They also learned about the toll it took on the miners (mining itself not the electricity) how most all were deaf because of the dynamite, and died young because of all the toxic dust they inhaled - all for a dollar a day. (1.50 if you were the dynamite poker and he got paid daily because, well he may not last the week)

I believe 350 ish died in that mine, some children because boys aged about 6-10 ( 10 and up already were miners) were employed as arm tappers alerting the other miners to get in the safe area because they were about to use dynamite.

Couldn't yell because they were deaf and they need someone who was small enough to run quickly through the mine so young boys were the pick.

You get to see the glory hole where they mined the largest amount and some relics of the past, the rails are still in place and some of the wagons are in the mine along with other fixtures that are original.


   rail for a kind of trolley car

This door was built by the London Gate company in the 1200's. Doc asked "and what were the British in the 1200's?"

A grown woman answered "our overlords"

Um no.

Correct answer: Short. so duck when you walk through.

Pretty cool gate - but sad for the dumbing down of 'Merica.

                                                      Look we're  in the Tower of London. ish

After the tour you go up and they give you a pan of dirt to sift for gold included in the cost. Its neat for the experience but you get a few flakes. Clearly not worth the cost but the tour is well worth that. From what I read many people who want to pan for gold for real go to Crisson gold mine . Price is the same for the little pans but without the tour. However apparently their big buckets you can purchase have more gold in them. Consolidated also has the larger amounts you can pan but we werent interested.

                                         If you look really closely you'll see gold.
                                                It looks like sparkly         fish food
                                                           Lots of water. Itty bitty flakes
                                                    She got the most. Can you see them?

                                                           Thinks she's going on a shopping spree.

We did however purchase a bucket of gems to grub.

That was more fun for the girls because you can feel the big rocks as you scoop them out. Just like playing in a sand box.

They did good apparently for the bucket size we got. They got some onyx, amethyst, rose quartz plus several other rocks.

Apparently the amethyst and rose quartz are typically in the next sized bucket up that also you usually get rubies in sapphires in.

Considering the appraiser knew what size bucket we had gotten by the rocks we showed her and mentioned that the few really nice rocks we got were in the larger buckets typically, they obviously seed the buckets, the more you pay the better the stones you get. But still it was fun for the kids for $15. The more precious bucket was $30 and we will do that one if we go back because we won't do the tour again nor pan for gold. They really enjoyed the gems so we'd be willing to pay more for a bigger bucket and apparently nicer stones.

                                                                      bag o rocks

They did get ones that could be cut and put in jewelery but we didn't  explore that option this trip since it was already costly. Maybe we will bring them back with us next time.

We finished the day (after a stop at an awesome outlet shopping plaza) at Tony's choice.

Big Pie in the Sky pizza in Kennesaw Georgia.

It was featured on Man V Food for a huge 11 pound pizza challenge and Tony always talks about doing a pizza challenge...

                                            She didn't get any she was too slow.

If you go here know the pizza is REALLY good and its really thin. Not horribly thin but wood fired pizza style.

Tony got a 20 " and for some reason thought that would be enough but he should have gotten a 30.

Of course we ordered a second pizza when they inhaled the first (and waited an hour for the second to come out. They are BUSY!) and so they ended up eating 40" of pizza so i guess the 30 wouldn't have been enough either.

Maybe they should do the challenge. you get one hour for 2 people to eat the challenge pizza. Its full of meats to make an 11 pound pizza. They may be able to do it...

It is very tasty and I assume we will eat there again while we are here. Its like a mile from LivviRae Lingerie - the hilarious gals from Double Divas that was on Lifetime ( i think sadly it was cancelled but Im hoping not) .  By the time we got the second pizza they had just closed so I didn't make it there so a Kennesaw trip is in order.

Like every place we've been so far it looks to have enough to merit the thirty minute trip too so may as well.

Of course our standards aren't high. We have a Walmart at home and thats about it so we are easily impressed.

Oh we also ate at the Cheesecake Factory for the first time. Okay food but great cheesecake as I am sure everyone in the world.

Like I said we have nothing in the area and I don't even know aside from 3 hours away where we'd find a Cheesecake factory, maybe Pittsburgh, but thats still 1 1/2 hours. We are deprived.

Her face sums up mine when I saw the bill. Maybe that's why we haven't gone. I mean if it was just the two of us no kids, I would eat there but $85 for so so food is cray. The cheesecake was extremely reasonably priced though . That one was $7 and enough for all 5 us to be like no you finish it please. We will definitely be getting at least some cheesecake from there while we are here.

We love Atlanta!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Song of the South

I love the South. I really really do.

I always see the Southern hospitality you hear about, people are just warmer and more open here for some reason.

I have a theory that the warmer, sunnier weather gives them more vitamin D thereby making them a nicer population.

Or maybe they're more traditional and value traditional values and traits like hospitality more so than the northern counterparts.

I don't know but it is different for sure.

Since Tony is in training in Atlanta we joined him and I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Atlanta.

I have always wanted to go to Georgia.

I have no idea why.

My idea of a vacation only involves a beach or an oversized Mouse wearing red shorts.

But, for some reason I've always had a desire to visit Georgia.

I think I just love the looks of the big old plantations *and yes I know how awful plantations were , I mean them now not romanticizing the slavery era*

Or maybe it was because I watched a lot of Designing Women as a kid, but Georgia always held an allure for me.

But I didn't really consider Atlanta to fit into that, I assumed being a large city it would more have the attitude of a New York or DC, cities I'm familliar with - and while I think New Yorkers get an overly bad rap, they still don't possess southern hospitality.

Delightfully, Atlanta has surprised me.

At least where we are located, it isn't overwhelming at all. It reminds me of where Tony and I went to college - a city that had everything but still had a small town feel. And manageable traffic.

We've had a lot of fun so far and it seems safe where we are. The girls and I venture out on our own without feeling uneasy.

I prefer driving here than back home.

I have serious stress driving at home. People just drive poorly, so many with no driving skills and also very inconsiderately and aggressive.

And its a small area with no traffic - should be a breeze.

Here, we are driving on six lane highways which would normally  make me a bit panicky because I get claustrophobic in a sea of cars but people are driving at a nice speed and no one tails anyone. There is that nice space that people are taught to drive at between cars but rarely do.

No one is swerving in and out of lanes just to get a little bit ahead or cutting people off.

You don't have to hold your breath wondering if you;ll be able to get over when you need to because one the aforementioned space and two they'll let you over.

Its been delightful.

I assumed I wouldn't be going out much because I hate tense driving conditions but even though I don't know where I'm going I feel at ease.

The people are so warm and friendly and full of personality.

Ive determined we need to add at least five minutes buffer time per store or location we are visiting if we need to be on a schedule because every place you go someone will want to talk for a good 5-10 minutes. Theyre just genuinely nice and conversational. Just warm and friendly.

We love it.

And of course the weather is so nice. I can't take much more cold. Cannot take it. Its been a bad winter and we all hate the cold.

If my kids at least enjoyed the snow I could get behind it, because it would be fun but since they hate despite all kinds of ideas we've tried to do with them, its just a miserable time where my kids are stuck inside far too long.

It hasn't been as warm as it was supposed to be which is disappointing but at least I see no snow and its not bitter. Its like spring time and a few days have been summery. Hopefully there is more warm weather this week because its glorious. I love warmth!

I'm surprised at how huge Atlanta is.

There are so many beautiful suburbs that are large and cities unto themselves.

The area we are in now has more shopping than we'd ever need, all of our favorite stores and more all of our favorite restaurants. If we lived here I think we would only have to leave this little area for entertainment, Im assuming  but haven't looked into it, that most would be located more downtown.

We've explored several of the close suburbs and the all seem to have nearly as much as this one, so it seems most of the suburbs are little self contained cities . Its  great.

And for a city, its a really beautiful one.

Dogwoods lining the streets, everything very clean, its all surpassed what I had in my head for Atlanta and has the southern genteel look and feel that I wanted to see in Georgia.

One thing missing - Southern accents.

People mostly sound northern, I assume being a city there are a lot of business transplants.

When we headed North you heard some but I want to hear people talk like Julia Sugarbaker.
"Yesterday, in my mind's eye, I saw four women standing on a veranda in white, gauzy dresses and straw-colored hats. They were having a conversation. And it was hot. Their hankies tucked in cleavages where eternal trickles of perspiration run from the female breastbone to exotic vacation spots that southern men often dream about. They were sweet-smelling, coy, cunning, voluptuous, voracious, delicious, pernicious, vexing and sexing... these earth sister/rebel mothers... these arousers and carousers. And I was filled with a longing to join them. But like a whim of Scarlett's, they turned suddenly and went inside, shutting me out with a bolt of a latch. And I was left only to pick up an abandoned handkerchief and savor the perfumed shadows of these women... these southern women. This Suzanne. This Julia. This Mary Jo and Charlene."
                                                                     - Julia Sugarbaker
*yeah I'm pretty sure my ideas of Georgia all come from Designing Women*

We have time here left so perhaps we will find some southern talking women.

but hopefully not these ones.
They talk with a Southern accent
but with a bite.
But I would love a pic with
Nene or Phaedra just
because my friends
would find it hilarious.
Whats the tea hunni.
 My kids are loving it too, despite being in a hotel room that is really no bigger than a normal hotel room except it has a kitchenette. Emphasis on the ette.
When they wake up and go to sleep they tend to fight. Otherwise they're doing really well.
They keep asking if we can move here.
And depending on who is reading this from my home area some are probably saying well if you hate it here so much why don't you move there.
And its not that our area is awful, it just doesn't offer our family things we want really. 
Some people are really happy there and I think that's fantastic, but our family spends a lot of money travelling places to accomplish even simple things we want so it doesn't really fit us.
I think a lot of people that grow up there are the small town nostalgics. I know my mother always called me names like I was too good for anything just because I wanted to see something outside of the county lines growing up even though that is completely normal . 
And there are a lot of people who fiercely defend the area. 
I just don't find a lot to defend, but that's just us, and because of things we are interested in and enjoy.
Tony and I aren't nostalgic about areas, we get attached to people but not things. I don't feel any fondness for my old high school but I carry great memories of child hood friends and shenanigans that make me smile when they cross my mind. 
We don't have any favorite local restaurants where we are regulars. 
We don't care about the local high school sports teams, and don't get excited for wins.
Those just aren't things that interest us so that nostalgic feeling doesn't kick in.
I guess we are more practical and see things from that sense.
We enjoy plays and exploring new sites, the kids love historical sites and museums and aquariums and zoos. We love new adventures and warmth great restaurants and shopping . I have to drive well over an hour just for a stinking target! Target!

We love concerts and amusement parks, hockey games and beaches.

Its just that our area offers none of it and even the whole safe small town vibe has left the area thanks to the prisons - I assume, people blame them for the increased crime gangs and drugs, I'm just going by the popular rationale.
(there are lots of historical sites that we've visited many times, although they all do require travelling we do enjoy the somewhat nearby historical sites)

Jobs are scant and the outlook is bleak.

Even though he has a great job, Obama killing the coal industry has killed a lot of his opportunity, he used to get a ton of overtime but theyve cut that off in an effort to make up for the loss of revenue from coal. 

Its just not an area that offers us anything , nothing personal to those reading out there who want to be offended by my practical analysis.

I know a short stay anywhere can seem lovely because you don't have the everyday dealings, but we've also lived else where and know the grass sometimes is greener elsewhere.

The best thing about where we live now is our house and its location. 

We live in a big beautiful farmhouse on one of  his family's farms, which is near his parents which is great for the kids.

Its away from neighbors mostly with lots of beautiful land. Its absolutely gorgeous and such a blessing to raise our girls there. 

I can see us living there forever just for that house and land. I know we won't have a better property than that picturesque lot (except in winter, in winter while still beautiful its a nightmare with snow drifting continuously in our driveway and whipping winds. still pretty though...)

Now if only I could move that house and plot of land to the south....

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The State of the Careys

I haven't blogged at all consistently in a year. Boo.

I have been rather busy with my etsy shop. I found favor right away on there and consistently had my items listed on the front pages for the coordinating search results. That and not charging a ridiculous amount like most of the sellers on etsy has granted me a good deal of business. It takes up a good bit of my time and when I don't have a rush of orders Im trying to figure out something new to put in the shop in case my last bit of popular items turns out to be a fad.

All of that has taken what time Id usually blog. So since i have a bit of time now I thought I'd do a Carey state of the union post...

Laci is getting old. Shes a tween (when did we get this word anyway) but seems like a teen more and more boo hiss.

I remember thinking when she was like 2 that kindergarten was sooo faraway as I listened to my neighbor lament her daughter going to kindergarten. And now shes double digits . If we didn't home school she'd be in junior high. JR HIGH!  She's old and thereby so am I.

I'm not sure where the time goes. AT.ALL. Its terribly cruel how quickly our kids childhoods fly by. I can remember her getting diaper rash and now she's getting pimples. Luckily only one at a time but it is fodder for Ella to make fun of her. Who needs school bullies when you have sisters right?

Her voice even seems older sometimes. I don't like it :(  I'm not going to pretend Im super cool with my kids growing up. I'll be the one grabbing on to the last vestige of child hood kicking and screaming along the way.

Some things are cool though in that we can relate on things and talk on an older level. I started reading Sherlock Holmes books because I became Obsessed with BBCs Sherlock and since our kindle accounts are shared she started reading it when it popped up on her kindle. Things like that are nice, but I'm still not loving her oldness :(

She has similar interests as me that age- she loves mystery things, she likes Nancy Drew, and while I don't remember reading her I loved mystery books, still do. I remember for a few from that age my friend and I had a young detectives club (hey kristie : ) ) .

We would write in code to each other and solve mysteries. You know MYSTERIES. like things we totally made up but they were mysterious. We also did things like spread baby powder around her moms house looking for fingerprints. Im sure she loved us for that. We'd ride our bikes around town *because life was safer then thank you* looking for mysteries and protecting the unknowing masses from dastardly deeds. We even questioned random hooligans we'd run into.

Yep we were dorks. But we had loads of fun and we all know dorks grow up  to be the coolest.

Right now we are planning her birthday party that occurs so soon- end of august.

Nancy Drew theme and its gonna be killer.

I haven't decided if there will be a killer but there will be a mystery to solve.

Because we're awesome thats why.

I'm already sewing deer stalkers.

Whats a deerstalker?

Its a Sherlock Holmes hat!

                                                                                             ^ he wins the who wore it better contest

She wants the kids to wear deerstalkers.
Its too much lol.

I did find a nice houndstooth fabric with gold shimmers throughout so they'll be totes fab as they solve mysteries. BTW no baby powder for fingerprinting will be in the party favor boxes. Except maybe the ones they get handed as they head out the door. That's right. revenge for all the play dough you've people brought as presents to my kids parties!

She still likes little girl things like American Girl dolls and she tries hard to believe in Disney magic. She totally spotted Pooh's zipper years ago *can't we hide that better?!* but I think she still believes the princesses are real. Or did. I don't know. She has a crazy mother who acts like its all super serious so maybe.

 We do photos in my wedding dress as a growth chart . I knew one day it would be depressing. That day is here :( she's big enough now to stand in it. The first time it swarmed her. No I dont have the wherewithall yet to see a side by side :(  Maybe I will save that for her wedding day. Ill make sure someone is handy with the xanax.

Ella is Ella.

 I am not sure there are even words to describe her. Shes got  a lot of personality built up behind her crazy smile.

Shes super into fashion and can put together some cute looks and walks around like she's on a runway in Milan. She's also taken to daily wearing of tiaras so. yeah. Shes' gonna be fun as a teen.

She really pays attention to clothes. All her dress up costumes have to be handmade because Disney can't make their own designs correctly according to her.

She is of course correct. In an effort to save costs , I assume, they've pretty much made all the princess dresses cookie cutter not taking into account what they really look like on screen.

She's my chief consultant for the fairy tale section of my shop.
                                     For real.

I take her fabric shopping and let her pick out the fabrics. She knows how they move in the movie and the hues and shades . How the skirt should fall where the bodice should end.

I pattern test for a pattern designer who has started doing lots of princess dresses and for my feed back I consult Ella on what to tell her. Her thoughts have been invaluable!

She's whiny and tattly still and I have a feeling the whine will be permanent. She's just drama. And while the drama is oh so fun in areas its not fun in the negative aspects but to get the fun dramatics you have to take the not so fun so its a fair trade.

In exchange we get lots of shows and weird stories, the best expressions and excitement.
She likes to snuggle and says really sweet kind things.

She's also just crazy.

Her imaginary friends have lessened their appearances but we do still at times hear stories about the Noone family. Mr and Mrs Noone hail from Australia with several children. When they first came when she was two they were kind of jerky but it seems like they've all ironed out their differences and now pop over for a spot of tea. Mr Noone may have been nasty because he took the rap for a lot of things Ella did for a good year.

Sarah the eagle died and came back from the dead so shes pretty fantastic.

The deer family is my favorite. Mostly because theres a flock of like 20 (idk is it a herd? ) and they all have some form of Bob in their names. I don't usually get through the listing of the names to hear what theyre up to.

Millie the mermaid comes around too but not much. She may have died. I haven't kept up on imaginary deaths.

She is pretty creative.

A couple days ago I kept hearing her belt a tune something about "you said forever but now you're gone" with a catchy hook. I even started singing it while I cleaned. Then I called for her and called her Selena (she likes Selena Gomez, the two or so songs shes allowed to listen to anyway) and she wanted to know why I called her that. I told her bc she was singing a Selena Gomez song for the last hour.

"Oh I wrote that" she said. What?! It was really good. Had I known it was hers I wouldve recorded her because of course now she can't remember it.

I think she's definitely going to be our creative one. Im not sure which direction she will take or if she will find a way to combine them but she's got an interesting future ahead.

I think this Valentines shoot captured Ella pretty well. She poses herself btw lol.  Totally fun fashion that works and at the  supa chic girl at the same time weird crazy nerd who does the oddest things - especially her wild dances she breaks into for no reason with abandon with wild eyed looks -  this is Ella.

Layla is monstrous and a paradox.

She is
 All. the. bad.

I know you aren't supposed to call kids bad blah blah new agey feely stuff. but she really is.

 But she is SO. SWEET.

Therein lies the paradox.

She is a mean little bugger who loves nothing more than making Ella mad and then biting her for being mad. Shes three adn still bites - but only Ella.

She yells and throws fits and does not know the meaning of wait a minute.

She will ask you over and over and over and over and over FOR THE LOVE before you even have a chance to but in and answer her.

She will not be put off.

She's always been that way and the only way to get her to stop is give her what she wants.

This kid is a leader.

Tony always joked her middle name was going to be Esther.

I mean I love Esther and all -a strong wise woman who becomes queen and saves her people. Esther is amazing.

Her name is so not.

But this kid is an Esther if Ive ever seen one.

A pastor who didn't know us held her one time and looked at her and said "She's an Esther. Wow she is gonna be a leader"

he did. and I was like now Im going to hear  "I told you so FOREVER"

So even though we didn't choose the name the traits are there.

 And let me say. Baby Esthers are so daggone draining!

I know one day shes going to be some amazing something in charge of  people- like shes in charge of  our entire household now - but dealing with them at the already irrational toddler/preschooler age is life sucking.

Everything has to be done to her specifications on her time line.  I can't even explain the angst that ensues if you make her wait for orange juice.

She micro manages everyone including me. I have to give account for where I am going where I have been and why it took x amount of time. She knows the inner workings of my body because she demands to oversee everything I do.

Ella is the victim most often of this. Ella can't do anything without Laci or Layla telling her what to do. And you know what, she listens to Layla. Older and bigger and is domineered by this pint size Glenn close in Devil loves Prada character we have under our roof. And thats been for two years nearly.

I knew when she was born and she'd scream at the nurses for trying to move her arms- like scream immediately like  a beast from the depths and turn a shade of crimson that no baby should be  and then cut that scream off as soon as they stopped touching her - that we were in for it. I  was worried something was wrong with her honestly when I watched those displays in her first few days but nope she just knows what she wants and wants it now and to perfection.

She has not changed.

God help us all.

She asks daily to move Disney world. Not just visit. Move.

Don't think for one second this sweet face wouldn't throw Cinderella out on the curb and take over that castle.

 Look out cindy
she knows where you live and she wants that castle
                                        Notice she didn't pose with her in the castle picture. She was measuring windows for drapes while we were distracted. 

While she does just the most awful things to her sister and blatantly disobeys EVERYTHING we tell her and destroys everything in her path and throws the BIGGEST angstiest fits (still turns red) 

She is the sweetest little thing. She loves to hug and snuggle and give you a million and five kisses all in the same one spot of your face. 

She grabs my face in both hands and says "I just love you. Your face is so cute."

She gives her sisters these genuine and grown up sounding compliments applauds them for character traits and gives them tight neck squeezes. 

 Im not sure how so much beauty and beast reside in such teeny package but its no wonder her personality is explosive!

 Beauty                                                             &                                   Beast

                                               and "Vampirate" that's what she said she was lol. A Vampirate. 

                                            She kept running in and with an ARRRR she'd steal random stuff and scamper off. When I found her treasure chest she would bite me to protect it which I suppose is the Vamp part....  I think this is actually an accurate portrait of her innerself. Ive never seen anything more capturing of Layla than this right here.

On the grown up front:

I'm my own sweat shop but I love to create so its great to do so on someone else's dime. I love sewing- taking this flat piece of fabric and turning it into a 3 dimensional useful item that is pretty to boot is so fun and fulfilling. 

Layla thinks I possess something called Mommy Magic (ok that MAY be because my answer to every how question from her is "mommy magic" but I'm a little propaganda bc Tony has taught them that everything is because he's awesome. )

I love being able to make things for the girls as well and the fact I taught myself is affirming. I do wish I learned much sooner, but all things in their time I suppose.

I recently started making our bread. 

Bread at the store has sooo much junk and terrible stuff in it anymore that I'm not sure you can call it a food item.

Bread is flour, water, sugar and yeast. That's IT.

Why have generations been telling us its too hard just buy it?

I mean I had a serious fear / no way i can make that complex surrounding bread. 

So do my friends.

I think its a conspiracy among the older generations that we know all our computery stuff so bread is their domain and they kept us in the dark.

Its SO easy people. 

And SO good. and better for you.

I'm going to do a post soon on my favorite recipes.

My kids love me for it too. Theyre more excited for homemade bread than cake. 

Layla tells me " Your mommy magic is so deewicious mama"

That is as fulfilling as life gets I think.

I told Tony the other day: "I came into this marriage with no skills at all and now look at me, baking our bread and sewing clothes. Not a bad return on your investment"

Hes also upgraded me to chef status from just a cook. So apparently I'm rocking it in the kitchen.

Probably why we need to lose weight. gah.

Tony is headed up the CSX careeer ladder. He isn't talking much about it but he's taking initiative to further his career and make a better life for us - and him.

The threat of getting called up as an engineer really sucks. He holds a position now where he works locally and doesn't have to go out on trains which is nice for us - and I think him. I mean I hear a hotel a few nights a week and Im thinking i can get my sanity back, but he tells us he wants to be home. 

If he gets called as an engineer he will be back out on the road.

We currently in Atlanta while he trains for a new position in the yard. He'd manage things I don't know if its techncially a manager position because most train talk makes my ears bleed just like the words I need to go to Joann Fabrics does to his. But its a promotion hes an overseer of sorts and it opens doors to other opportunities. Hes also talking about finishing his business degree which will open more doors for him within the company.

People have a  lot of negative to say about CSX and really things are a mixed bag at conductor level- great benefits but a lot to deal with and threat of firing daily - but they have great programs to raise up the employees that have the wherewithall to do so .  They really do try and better their employees and give them opportunities to move up in the company, that used to be pretty common but seems to be dying out as everyone is insistent on everyone going to college so its nice to see a company that does a lot ladder climbing from within its own ranks. 

Not sure what all is in store for us over the next year or so while he decides what to do but its nice to know there are options.

On the adoption front we are stalled. 

Haiti is going through its own growing pains and things are changing often often often. 
Also do to all the things on Tony's end career wise and not sure what is going to be going on for him the rest of this year talking to people who know the adoption world and my agency we've been the best thing is just to wait on our homestudy til January. Somewhat frustrating because we were waiting for Haiti to pass their new laws and thought for sure by THIS January we'd be well on our way but thats not what is happening.

It is better though and really with the state of Haitian adoption what it is right now when we start up next year we really may be no further from getting a child than if we started this January. There are just a lot of messes being cleaned up (while they create more...) apparently the learning curve to a change in policy is steep so progress is quite slow. 

It will turn out for the best.

Sometimes I wonder why we were called and with such urgency to adopt last year when we weren't going to make headway but God knew what all was going to happen and he knows our personalities and what all would be opening for us too and how it may affect our decision to adopt. 

Also, lets be real. 

Layla is so much still. I don't know how I or this little Haitian child would deal with her.

Its best for us all if she has time to calm down.

Like that's going to happen...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Do you wanna have a Birthday?

So, of course my girls and I are obsessed with Frozen like the rest of the Disneverse.

Initially, Ella was just going to have a small party because we were also doing an American Girl store trip and since we live in Middleofnowhere, USA that involves a bit of travel and expense.

However, once we OF COURSE landed on the Frozen theme - small became a relative term.

Fortunately, she has a mama that likes diy and so it didn't take much *financially* to make the Frozen Fantasy party to take shape.

I worked for a good two months on things, here and there between etsy orders and pattern testing  and I had a friend whose daughter also had a Frozen party who has a cricut so I lucked out on her paper crafts.

I took  inspiration from various Pinterest pins and some of mine and Ella's own creative ideas and love for the movie, and her party was born!

I had to make something with sparkle sticks! so we did olaf bottoms dipped in blue chocoate and sparkly sprinkles. Not just any candy stick will do for a Frozen party! Grab a set here

                                                        In the background are olafs noses
                                                          and dip. I found little diamonds for table
                                                         decor at Michaels in the floral section they
                                                        added some amazing sparkle.
                                                       In the upper left background are blue
                                                     chocolate covered pretzel sticks with sparkly sugar

 Melted Snow men drinks. Donut holes in coffee
bottles filled with milk with a cute scarf.

 I made an icecream cake with hardtack blue spears like Elsa's castle with characters on top. Our my disney princess Elsa and Anna sat beside it. They're very pretty dolls 18" tall for $50 at Target. Your best bet now is probably online since everything frozen flies off the shelves!

 My husband was able to snag some great leftover Christmas trees in Frozen colors. I printed out a party banner and used an irridescent streamer back drop for a backdrop for the food table.

Check out my party kit for easy party planning. Print off your entire
Party from invitation to thank you notes at a super low cost here

 Styrofoam balls served as snowball photo holders. I used photos from the movie and personalized them to Ella. Water bottle labels are also included in my printable party pack.

Ella wanted a lit canvas with Let it go on it surrounded by snowflakes. Available here . Its hanging in her room now. Along with her name portion of her birthday banner.

 I have to say, she got the Anna/Elsa castle as a gift mainly because i wanted to use it as decoration :)  In the background is Elsa's ice punch, blue Hawaiian punch, sprite and ice cream snow balls. I painted snow mounds on the punch cups.

Last minute we decided to do bracelets as party favors. They turned out so pretty. I did more Elsa's because the girls all seem to like her better, but I think the Anna colors are prettiest. Grab some here. I also had goody bags that said "do you wanna build a snowman" available in the printable party kit. The kit contained mini marshmallows for bodies, chocolate chips for eyes and buttons and pretzel sticks for arms.

 And the big surprise.....  I love this shot of her opening the door.

                                                 and the look of wonder :)
                                            then she announces like its no big thing "Elsa's here"
                                        she knows how to keep her cool in front of royalty.

                                            Elsa came!

                                                 Elsa soon finds out this Anna is not going to
                                                   let her out of her sight!!1

                                                      Two annas and an Elsa

                                         Layla wouldn't leave her alone. Dressed as Anna she had lots of questions for Elsa. She really wanted to know why she kept striking her sister with ice and how she felt about it.

                                                     Ella put her cape and Anna hat on over her Anna costume for                     some                          Frozen sister pictures 
                                           And then did a costume change into her Elsa!
                                               They look like twins ;) 

                                                              Happy little birthday girl

                                                 Elsa helped with Frozen makeovers doing
                                                 icy manicures. While I did Elsa and Anna
                                                   styled hair and make up.
                                                   Guess who got chosen more for makeover style
                                                          Anna or Elsa....

                                                     Layla had more serious movie points to discuss
                                                    with Elsa. This was after she made her eat with her.
                                                   Layla went and reserved a seat for Elsa and then turned around
                                              and stared impatiently waiting for her to make her way to her.
                                             Layla waits for no one. Not even Disney Royalty.

                                                Pretty paper chains and snowflakes hanging from the
                                                 ceiling gave the room a Frozen palace feel.
                                                  Elsa helped with the gifts. And even the allure
                                                 of a Disney princess faded when Ella got her hands on presents!

                                                   Some last hugs before Elsa had to head off
                                                 back to Disney.

                                                Making Elsa Crowns from foam and painting them

                                                                   I made a disneybound version
                                                               of Anna .
                                                                   Some of the visiting royalty
                                                            attending princess Ella's celebration.

                                                          Frozen friends.

                                                           Having a wardrobe malfunction
                                                                                                     We had uncrustables solely

                                                                                                             for the "isn't it crazy we finish

                                                                                                 each others sandwiches " line. I even
                                                                                                found a photo to use as the food card.

                                                       cousins and frozen sisters
                                                          Anna stuck in her sisters snowstorm
I have a new Elsa dress available now. Unfortunately I didn't have a pattern or much of an idea for one before Ella's party but this one worked out great! Layla who was the only one not to have an Elsa yet got the benefit of the first real Elsa costume and she wont take it off. Its much more screen accurate than the ones Disney store is selling.

I'm also doing birthday parties now to raise money for the adoption. I have packages that range from  princess makeovers up to party entertainment and full theming and decorating. Since I have an abundance of Frozen party items this theme is currently going for less than others! contact me for info.