Weekend Adventure Awaits

“All practices and games are cancelled this weekend.”

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These words strike excitement and a brief impression of FREEDOM deep down in the heart of almost every sports parent!  Not that we don’t love watching our little (or not so little) ones play the sport that they enjoy, but when you are constantly running here or there, juggling everyday life with practices, games and dirty uniforms, a little surprise like this is music to our ears!

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When I read the post on the soccer complex’s web page Thursday afternoon I could hardly contain myself….”Let’s Go RIGHT NOW” was my initial thought….oh wait, Elle is still on a field trip and the kids have school tomorrow and oh yea…I have to work tomorrow!  Still, my mind is racing with all this freedom my family can experience this weekend.  Yes, it is supposed to rain ALL weekend, why do you think soccer is cancelled….its okay though, we have rain coats,  galoshes and a sense of adventure!!

 

The million dollar question…what type of adventure will be undertake!?!  I have written before about my love for the mini-vacation, so I am sure we can figure something out!

To be continued…

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What type of mini-vacations/adventures do you enjoy?  What would you do with a weekend of freedom???

The Sisterhood of Mothers

“You were teaching me before I ever knew it…Welcoming me into the Sisterhood of Mothers”

Isn’t it amazing to be a woman!  I have had such a crazy few weeks between the everyday life of running my business and household, helping out with a women’s gathering at church, becoming an “auntie” again and Mothers Day; I am all sorts of charged up on the glorious state of being a woman and even more…a Mother!

In reflecting on the blessing of motherhood and of being a woman, whether you bear children or not, I am reminded of one incredible phrase…

“I am who my Creator made me to be…Worthy”  fb_img_15266087273901700557613.jpg

This past weekend made me want to celebrate and recollect on all the amazing women in my life who have helped to shape me into the person I am today.  Women that God put in my path that were examples of grace and compassion, strength and poise and most importantly, love.  I also gained a realization that my impact on other women , including my daughters and surrogate daughters (aka my basketball team), is of great importance and I count the opportunity as a pure blessing each and every day.  It is in fact their presence in my life that reminds me of the person I continue to strive to be, of who I believe my God has made me to be.  It is certainly a call to action or in some cases inaction!

20170506_1540192074152420.jpgI was raised by possibly the strongest  woman you can imagine.  She was gritty and tough when she needed to be. She maintained a career (even changed careers to better provide for my sister and I), developed a loving home, somehow managed to accomplish all the regular mom goals with two super active kids all by herself, taught us the importance of faith and raised my sister and I to truly believe that we could accomplish anything we put our minds to if we were willing to work for it!  It is quite remarkable thinking about how she managed everything….I can’t imagine functioning day to day without my Husband helping out!  Even more so, she lost her own Mother at a very young age to cancer; her support system and friend.  It makes me truly thankful to have the blessing of my Mother to be a presence in the lives of my children.  I gift for which I will be forever thankful.

I am also very grateful for other amazing women that I have come across at all stages in my life that impacted me in almost every way.  A grandmother that shared a love for simple pleasures like the miracle of growing flowers in your garden and great-grandmother who was not only an entrepreneurial pioneer in her small community but also the matriarch of our family and had no problem keeping my grandpa in line, even as a grown man.  The mothers of many of my friends in elementary school and high school who welcomed me into their homes and whom gladly would have cared for any need I had and knew my mother did the same for their daughters; one of which could also give a glare to us teenagers in the back pews of the church on Sunday morning that made everyone within its path take notice and start shouting “amen!” Our pastor’s wife in the small country church I grew up in that loved so deeply and shared an amazing relationship with her Husband; multiple teachers in the elementary and high school I attended that taught me passion for topics I was interested in and how to turn that passion into a career as well as the importance of social conscience – the tiny community in which I grew up knew how to take care of its members in times of joy and in the depths of despair. College friends who warm my heart by just keeping in touch and seeing this families grow!  My first “real” boss when I was straight out of law school was an outstanding mentor, she was accomplished yet humble, very poised and stringent with detail but also kind and caring, especially to those within her inner circle, and super supportive as I took the first steps of independence in my legal career. The ladies in my women’s group at church that I have only recently met, but have given me an outlet like no other, that brings me closer to God and the woman and mother I was meant to be each day just by being around them and sharing our crazy family stories or kid catastrophes! And finally, my own two daughters and basketball team, which I have had the true blessing to watch grow into amazingly wonderful young women and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them or how they will impact their communities, families and the world!

It is abundantly clear to me that being a woman is of great importance; even God ordained Mary to be the mother of the Savior and his supreme supporter even until the end.  Mary was trusting of God and his plan, courageous, strong in character, and accepting of her role in this life, even if it wasn’t easy or popular! Isn’t that what we as women strive to be; whether we are blessed with little tornadoes in our homes or not, we all have the ability to impact others around us in positive ways – and in the same ways God called Mary to impact the world.

So my friends, welcome to the Sisterhood of Mothers or maybe better put the Sisterhood of Strong, Courageous, Compassionate, Loving and Impactful Women…go forward and support the women in your life, love them, and be a woman whose presence will positively influence the lives of those around you.

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A Letter To My Niece About the First “Best Day” of Her Life

Georgia Alice,

Today is the day! You are about to become a big sister! I want to tell you a story about the first best day of my life and give you a few tips as this momentous day unfolds for you!  Over the course of your life you are going to have several days that are turning points that can clearly be label a “best day” – your wedding day, the birth of your children, baptisms and TODAY…without a doubt the day that God has chosen to give you a sister is going to be the first “best day” of your little life!

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The day your momma was born was certifiably the first very best day of my life.  I gained so much more in the instant that she was born than my four year old self could have ever imagined.  I remember most of the events that lead up to your momma making her entrance into this world; my favorite movie the night before with Granny and our cousins, a walk around the garden with Granny – it would be my last as an only child and the excitement of seeing her for the first time through a tiny glass window in a hospital door.  I remember being upset that I couldn’t hold her immediately and that my dad hadn’t lifted me up high enough to get a really good look at her!

The day your momma was born was the day that I came to understand, without a doubt, that God answers prayers, even those of a little girl.  You see, when I was not much older than you I prayed for a sister; Granny thinks it was actually my grandmother and great-grandmother who talked me into it.  I suppose they were hedging their bets – “from the mouths of babes…”  Either way, He answered; He sent directly to me, not only a sister but a best friend.  I knew from that day forward that she was mine and I have never thought of her as anything else but an answered prayer – a gift from God!

It was also the day that I learned that I could love another person more than myself and care for them in that way.  I could not stand to see your momma upset or hurt.  Granny will tell you that it was difficult to punish her as a child, even when that punishment was earned for doing something rotten to me – it broke my heart for her to be in trouble – so I would try to reason with Granny as to why she didn’t deserve the particular punishment.  (This was a skill I developed way back in my childhood that proves to be valuable to me today!) I learned to be protective of her until she was old enough and tough enough to beat up her own big kid bullies on the bus!  I  learned to be encouraging to her as I wanted her to be happy, strong and loving towards others.  I wanted her to know without a doubt that I was and will always be in her corner, by her side and there for her in any and every way possible – I love her that much!

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The day your momma was born, I learned how to have a best friend, a play-mate and secret keeper for life.  I understand that not everyone is blessed with a sibling but I am beyond thankful for mine.  I am so happy for you, Georgia Alice, that you are about to meet your best friend.  Take care of her.  Love her beyond words, even when you aren’t necessarily happy with her.  Let her vent to you when she needs to, you are the only person in life that she will be able to do this with and she will listen when you need an outlet as well. .  Tell her the things she needs to hear, even when she doesn’t want to hear it – but do so in a loving way.  Be honest with her – always.  Take her places with you, I know that she will always be tagging along; you will come to appreciate this and miss it when you become adults and she isn’t living in the room next door.  Never hesitate to drop everything and go to her if she needs you – she will do the same for you.  Share your toys with her, and later clothes, by doing this she will learn to be giving to others and she will always share with you – it will have been the only thing she has known.  Do not let people tell you that “sisters fight” and “resent each other”; of course you will have disagreements but she is a blessing to you and your life is better for having her in it – do not allow anyone to tell you otherwise. Also, your mother will not tolerate bickering with your sister so just accept it, figure out your differences, knowing that while you will not always see eye to eye, no other person on this Earth will support you like she will. Tell her you love her often! After all, she is a gift from God straight to you – your parents think that Graeson is theirs…really she is all yours!

I count myself as blessed to have the opportunity to be here with you as you awake this morning and start your day  – you don’t even know it yet, but God is blessing you today!  I watch as you have loved on Sam, your momma’s faithful old dog, and rocked and cared for your baby doll.  You are going to be an amazing big sister!

 

Auntie Jess loves you GA – I can’t wait to meet your sister but most importantly I can’t wait for you to meet her!

 

It’s Festival Time Ya’ll

Here in the South, we love a good spring/summer festival especially if it involves local music and craft beer and wine!  We had the privilege last Friday night to enjoy our little town’s local festival, Field Fest 2018 – the first of 4 installments – and it did not disappoint!  Yes, it rained almost the entire time but that’s just how it goes sometimes…you are best to pull up your rain boots and have fun anyway!

 

We love this time of year…gatherings of people, having fun, shopping, enjoying local music and consuming craft beer or homemade wines!  Husband and I decided last night while musing by one of our first bonfires of the spring/summer in the backyard that we want to attend more festivals this summer!  Field Fest was a great way to get started!  There are also at least 3 festivals I’d wanted to attend last Saturday, the first Saturday in May; but of course we were in the gym all day at a basketball tournament…gotta love being a sports parent!  Go Fury!

A few of our favorite local festivals and music events…Field Fest in Bluefield, Virginia the first Thursday of June, July and August; The Budbreak Festival in Mt. Airy, North Carolina (see my post last year about “boy bracelets” we had an amazing time at this one last year), The Spring Fling at Shelton Vinyards Winery in Dobson, North Carolina. (Delicious wines and a beautiful property paired with tons of local crafters and music…what could be better?), Trail Days in Damascus, Virginia (a dirty trail hiker homecoming) and the Highlands Festival in Abingdon, Virginia. (This one has made some changes in the last five years or so but it is still a really nice week-long event featuring crafts, demonstrations, antiques and an opportunity to see a play at the outstanding Barter Theater or Stage II.)

What are your favorite festival?  We are up for suggestions and new adventures!

Backyard Plans 2018

With a blog name like “A Backyard Life” one would think I post often about my backyard but that’s not always the case.  In fact, I have been neglecting it all together this season.  The winter chill has been relentless this so-called spring and I have not had the desire to forge into cleaning out and planting in our outdoor space only to have frost, wind or snow kill plants, blow things away and freeze me to death in the process.  Also, I am diligently trying to keep our basketball program’s spring training group motivated and spending MUCH more time in the gym and weight room than ever before!

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Hopefully though a break is coming this week!  While it is the end of April and normally I would have flowers blooming by now, I hope to get started planting and landscaping so that we can relax and enjoy the space!

A few projects on deck for this spring/summer:

Clean Out – I swear our yard gets every bit as cluttered as our tiny house!  The constant wind and rain hasn’t helped keep things tidy either, blowing in trash from all directions!  Part of our clutter problem is also that like our house, we are OUT OF SPACE; the outdoor buildings are full, the storage bins are full and our back porch is littered with things that have no where else to go….it is the perfect time to purge and get rid of some junk!

Flower Bed Building and Maintenance – This is really just an annual task to maintain the existing flower and shrub beds and I have vowed to myself to plant new annuals each year! I also use this time to fill planters with perennials.  I can’t help but think of and feel a connection with my grandmother when planting flowers.  She loved her flower beds and gardens and loved sharing this with me!  One day, when we no longer have kids running through the yard and need green space I will fill the ENTIRE yard with flowers and shrubs!  One Day!

Front Porch and Curb Appeal – I confess that we do not spend much time in our front yard; it isn’t private at all as its close to the road, and we do not enjoy the space.  I do however at least try to keep it tidy as this is the spot where most guests enter our home. The biggest eye sore is our front porch; the concrete is deteriorating and it generally looks like a mess!  I purchased a cute plastic outdoor rug in an attempt to hide it last summer but I am afraid we are going to have to buckle down and fix it already!  Our plan to remedy this situation inexpensively is to deck over it….we will see how that goes! Since I am not skilled at decking a porch on my own and am at Husband’s will on this one, I’ll keep planting flowers on the porch to distract from it until we get to that project!

Outdoor Kitchen and Grill Area – Now this one is our favorite and I anticipate we will tackle this little project first!   We have a small patio in the imprint of an old single car driveway that we have filled in with pavers.  Last year we purchased and installed a grill canopy for our grill/smoker.  This year a Blackstone Griddle is on my Husband’s wish list and we are in need of a new dining table.  I want to make the small space more efficient; we try to cook outdoors as much as possible in the summer months!!

A Clothesline – I have been hinting to Husband about this one for MANY years now, hopefully this year will be the one!  I love the smell of line-dried laundry and it conserves energy too!  Our poor dryer could use the break!

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What are your favorite outdoor projects?  I have a Pinterest Board full of ideas!  (Backyard and Garden).  We have a little sunshine trying to peek through today….I can’t wait to get started!

 

School Lunch Ideas

84….That is the number of school lunches I have left to pack before the school semester ends and my kiddos are home for the summer and my grocery budget has a little breathing room!  Packing lunches for 3 “kids” on a daily basis is not an easy task and thanks to new school dietary regulations my kids won’t even consider a hot lunch at school!  Even more daunting, my so-called kids are 17, 13 and 7; not all of them are eating the same thing, so the days of 3 PB&J sandwiches are long gone!

Our son hardly eats at all; he rivals Ralphie’s little brother in A Christmas Story, even the little piggies could not get him to eat a piece of fruit or take a bite of a veggie!  So, for Hayden its a cheese sandwich or a pizza Lunchable and a mozzarella cheese stick everyday! Yes, I know that’s two cheese items but as long as he is eating something I don’t complain because he is more than happy not to eat at all!  I also include a granola bar (which he only eats on occasion) and a Carnation Instant Breakfast.  I have determined that if he refuses to eat, at least he can drink some decent stuff for his little body!  The struggle is real with this kid!

Our older girls are athletes and I try to pay special attention to pack them a lunch that allows them to properly fuel their bodies for practices and performance after the school day is complete.  We also try to ensure they are getting “good” foods and less carbs and junk.  Here is a list of the foods I pack for them:

 

Big Girl Lunch:

Homemade chicken salad with crackers or croissant

Spinach salad with cheese, croutons and bacon or pepperoni – I founds the cutest little dressing dispensers)

Pasta salad

Sharp cheddar cheese with cashews and cranberries or raisins (This is a substitute for the Sargento Snack Breaks – saves a ton of money)

Fresh fruit or a cup of fruit in 100% juice.

Granola bars

Sandwiches (Christina, our oldest is now our only PB&J eater!)

Gatorade/Water

Yogurt and granola

Carrots and ranch dip

Homemade brownies  made with Organic Greens

I am always on the lookout to balance things they will eat with healthy and nutritious snacks that will fuel their bodies through the rest of the day!  What are your best school lunch ideas for big kids or adults??

Personal Organization Binder

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I LOVE to feel organized!!!  A simple statement I know but when you are juggling a full-time job, business ownership, family, home, coaching and trying to maintain some semblance of personal time, aka this blog, “organized” can seem like an unattainable status.

I have posted before about my love for to do lists ( you can check that out at Surrendering to the Insanity – A To Do List Confession) and their importance in my life but even my cherished lists can get a bit messy and hard to maintain when I have 3 separate notepads going and one gets stuck in my basketball bag, one gets used for homework at the house and I confuse one with my notepad in Court and lose track of the page the all-important To Do List was located on!  I find myself constantly re-copying these lists and spend more time getting organized than actually accomplishing anything on the list!

I may have found a solution though…I hope!  While nursery shopping with my sister at Michael’s last weekend I stumbled across a cute little organizer binder with accompanying notebooks!  Genius!!

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The binder gives me the ability to divide my To Do Lists by category in different notebooks that are kept together, in one place, and virtually impossible for me to misplace!! And, how cute and stylish it this!?! (Also, the floral design helps soothe my desperate need for all things spring, even though its STILL below freezing here!)

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I have a notebook for menu planning.  The pre-printed pages give me the ability to plan weekly meals and write the groceries needed for each meal on the back.  I simply take the book into the grocery store and shop right from the list on my menu!

 

The second notebook is entitled Thoughts which I use for notes, prayer requests and inspirational thoughts!  This is super helpful for all catch-all information that would otherwise be lost in the sea of my purse!

 

I also included a notebook that doesn’t have holes punched but fits nicely into the binder which I use for blog ideas and “Things I want John to Make for Me.”  Yep, I have a Pinterest board with that same title….not sure he is a fan though!

Now, to the real meat of my new organizing friend…the To Do Lists!!

The first is simply entitled To Do, I use this one for all things that need done for our family, house or personal stuff.  I include appointments that I need to schedule or housework that is nagging at me.  The pages are conveniently labeled with headings to help me direct me where things need to be listed:  Errands, Housekeeping, Emails, Phone Calls, To Buy (which I changed to To Do), Appointments & Activities, Business and Misc.    Very cool huh! Half the work is already completed for me.  It is convenient to carry over tasks from one week to the next without losing track of the list!

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The second To Do List notebook is entitled Projects which to me really means WORK!  I list all of my weekly work tasks in this notebook, specifically office work and things I need complete other than appointments and court dates.  The pages are divided weekly by day with 5 blanks for daily projects or to dos.

 

Finally, there is a good ol’ fashioned To Do List in the back.  I use this one for basketball and urgent matters!

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The binder is a bit bulky to carry around, and I am still fine-tuning the process but it would be difficult to misplace and the feeling of having everything I need to do or think about at my finger-tips is amazing!

What types of organizational tools are you using to curb the crazy??

Happy Organizing my friends!

She’s Got Skills – How Female Athletes Prepare for Life Beyond the Gym

As we come to the conclusion of Christina’s first club volleyball season I find myself feeling very blessed for the amazing experience she had while a member of this team.  The players, coaches and parents were all extremely positive and as a result Christina grew as a person and athlete.  We are looking forward to her school season more than ever now!  As I reminisce about this spring and the fun we have had watching her play I am reminded of the important skills that female athletes possess that prepare them for life beyond the gym or field.

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time-management-3Its tough being a woman in this world!  We have careers, run households, raise children, volunteer and remain active in schools and our communities and do all this while trying to maintain a sense of self and reach our individual goals!  Doesn’t that sound exhausting?!?

When considering my own experiences as an athlete and now raising daughters and coaching other female athletes, I have come to understand how the skills female athletes cultivate on the volleyball court or other athletic arena can be the foundation of skills they will need to be productive and successful business-women, mothers and leaders of the future!

Teamwork – The ability to work with other women.  I have heard people in workplaces say time and time again that women do not work well together.  I find this statement utterly ridiculous!!  Women, just like men, are smart, creative and have the ability to work well with co-workers, regardless of their gender.  I do think though that an athlete understands the importance of a close connection with those in which she must rely upon to accomplish her goals.  Teamwork makes the dream work, baby!  And who better to understand the importance of that statement than a female athlete that has been battle tested and put through what seemed like unimaginable feats with her teammates.

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The ability to sacrifice for the good of others.  An athlete understands sacrifice – plain and simple.  She understands how to put her body on the line for her teammates that she loves.  She understands that achieving a goal may require her to sacrifice free time, social groups, physical appearance and a perfect manicure!  Being a woman in today’s society is no different – we sacrifice to grow our careers, we sacrifice for our families and we  give of ourselves for our communities.  Currently, I am so far beyond the need for a haircut that I can consider a new longer hairstyle; all because I have not had a free moment lately to hit the salon.  The demands upon my free time for my family, home,  law practice, basketball team, and now this blog are tremendous!  It seems like a norm though, as an athlete I was always giving up something for basketball or my teammates.  I learned that if I loved the game and my teammates it really wasn’t a sacrifice at all, but rather a labor of love and I never thought twice about it!

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We discovered just before we were set to leave for Christina’s last volleyball tournament that she was having pain in her knee that had become more than annoying!  We took her to an orthopedist who explained that her hamstrings were tight causing the pain on the inside of her knee.  Otherwise, she was cleared to play – as she could – which to any athlete means…”Yay! I’m cleared to play!”  And she did.  We could see her fighting through pain during games and applying ice and ibuprofen to aid in reducing inflammation in her knee between.  She was a trooper!  And while I never advocate for a parent to push a child to play if he or she is in pain; I understood the life lesson that this situation provided our 17 year old daughter.  Sometimes, life is tough and it hurts (either physically or emotionally) but we must push through for those that we love and in order to achieve our goals.  Had Christina chosen not to play last weekend (and the choice was hers), her team would have been VERY short-handed and may have had to drop out of the tournament.  Her decision to play through the pain and sacrifice her body showed maturity and love for her teammates.

The importance of positive communication.  I give a speech at the beginning of basketball season each year about positive communication.  I remind my players that one phrase, communicated with different inflection and body language could have polar opposite effects on the person hearing the statement.  My example:  “Come on ladies, you’ve got this!” versus “Come ooon ladies!” (insert eye roll and foot stomp).  One of those statements is encouraging to your teammates and co-workers while the other is condescending and dismissive.  Its a very similar statement that could change the entire momentum of the game or your relationship with your teammates.

As mothers, communication with our families is really no different.  A question to Husband…”Have you done the dishes today?” is nothing more than a question unless I am adding body language and emphasis on words that indicate my annoyance with him (Why haven’t you done the dishes today?)  Positive communication is so vital to any relationship – marital, familial, career-related or friendships and it is an often over-looked trait that needs to be properly developed…the power of positive communication!  Being part of a team requires CONSTANT communication with ones teammates and on successful teams that communication is always positive.  That is not to say that situations do not arise that require a leader to step up and energize their team by challenging them to preform better or work harder, but an effective leader has the ability to energize her team without tearing them down!

The understanding that improvement and achievement of goals requires time and dedication.  Most athletes understand that putting in minimal time and effort is not enough to truly achieve goals.  Successful teams contain athletes than have a desire to put in the TIME and WORK required to grow, improve and exceed their goals!  In the same respect, growth and success do not happen over-night.  A female athlete understand that both require her to be dedicated to her craft and to spend her free time in the gym or weight-room rather than at the mall or texting with friends

wp-15232857102221808897985.jpgAs adults, we come to understand that any goal we want to achieve will require us to give of our time and be dedicated to our cause.  Whether our focus is on advancing our career, raising healthy, happy and loving kids, fighting for a cause that we support or a little bit of all three we have to understand that advancement in ANY of these avenues WILL require that we give of our time and energy to see it through!  Why do you think us ladies NEVER have free time!!

Go with the flow and accept the challenge set before you.  When I made a plan to attend law school after I completed my undergraduate education I NEVER in my wildest dreams planned to do so with a brand new baby girl along for the ride!  BUT, that is exactly what happened.  I began my first year of law school 8 months pregnant and scared to death of motherhood  – who had time to stress about starting law school!  I had to dig deep within myself and recall times in which I had to play a position I was unfamiliar with or guard a player bigger and stronger than me.  I find every situation to be better if you can turn it into a basketball analogy!  So, I loaded up my new born baby and hit the books!  Now that she is 13 and I have been in the practice of law for many years, I hardly remember those hard times.  In fact, I laugh at the fact that while my classmates were freaking out over Contracts class our first year, I was just going with the flow and wondering if I had bought diapers or was out of baby formula!

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I am sure I could go on and on about the positive attributes athletics can provide to young women (and men) but I will wrap it up for today!  I loved every moment of being a female athlete and I am so happy that my daughters have had the ability to be a part of teams and garner these same positive experiences that will help to shape them into the young women that seem to be appearing before my very eyes!

The Great Bedroom Switch-Up 2018 – Our Teeny Tiny Master Bedroom

FINALLY, after much ado we have completed the Great Bedroom Switch-Up of 2018!  As you may recall, I first posted about our bedroom space dilemma a couple months ago.  Our teenage daughters could no longer function in their shared downstairs bedroom and after much debate, Husband and I downsized!  You can read about the beginning of this little adventure here:   The Great Bedroom Switch-Up Part 1…The Attic Master.

It has taken us two months, mostly because we have been out of town a bunch on weekends due the the girls’ travel volleyball and basketball seasons, but we FINALLY completed our new and improved, albeit tiny master bedroom!

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We had painted the space when we moved the girls upstairs a couple months ago and Husband refinished a small-scale dresser that fit perfectly into the downstairs bedroom.  The dresser is a staple in the room and Husband did a fantastic job re-finishing it to my exact specifications!  You can read about his efforts in A Quick Dresser Re-Do in Our New and Improved, Slightly Smaller Bedroom.

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I really only needed to decorate the space and figure out what to do with our clothes!  I moved Husband’s clothes into the bedroom closet, he has less hanging clothes than I do and we managed to squeeze his in the little closet, next project – reinstall the closet door!

I purchased a lovely 8’x10′ indoor/outdoor rug from Sam’s Club for less than $100.00. Steal!! It is as beautiful as a higher priced option but doesn’t quite hold dog hair and is MUCH easier to clean!  It also fits perfectly under our full size bed.  Thankfully, Husband and I don’t mind to snuggle!

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Overlook the atrocious bedding! I still haven’t found exactly what I want yet…

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We used a floating shelf in lieu of a headboard. We found this one in the clearance aisle!!

We added a floating shelf above the bed along with a hand-me-down night stand that fit perfectly in the room.  I also convinced Husband to hang our small television on the wall adjacent to the bed.  This was an endeavor because the walls in our home are plaster and SUPER difficult to hang heavy objects!  So far, so good!

Overall, I am beyond pleased with our little makeover!

Warm Up Already! 5 Ways to Embrace Spring Fashion In Chilly Climates

Monday morning my family found ourselves basking in the warm sunshine along the shores of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina before we loaded up and drove home from our holiday weekend vacation; when we arrived home later that afternoon – temperatures were 30 degrees cooler and the wind was whipping along the mountain ridges and through the valleys – not ideal spring weather!  In fact, the weekend before we spent Sunday afternoon sleigh riding in over a foot of snow with more predicted this weekend!  Really!?!  It’s April! Can we stow away the drab winter clothes already!  This momma needs sunshine and short-sleeves!

Tuesday morning I was back to work and perplexed as to what to wear!  Is it appropriate to still wear black pantyhose or tights post-Easter?  What about my over-coat?  Wonder if I have one in a lighter color – I am tired of the black and grey check pattern!  I refuse to allow plunging temperatures to stifle my Spring style!

So, I offer you 5 Tips for Embracing Spring Fashion in Chilly Climates: 

1.  Enjoy Some Spring Color

My winter wardrobe tends to be a little dark.  I have multiple pairs of black patterned tights and at least 3 black dresses!  I also wear way more maroon than any one person should – it’s our school color and I try to coordinate with my team!  However, basketball season is over and the sun is shining, even though it may be a bit deceptive!  It is time to bring on the color!  Yellows and pinks, blues and greens all pair perfectly with tan or grey cardigans or blazers.  These vibrant colors even look great with those staple black pieces!

2.  Keep Warm with Light, Colorful Scarves

I don’t know about you but I have a serious scarf addiction!  I have scarves of all lengths and colors, patterns and weights!  I have to confess though, the heavier winter scarves get way more attention in my scarf basket.  Now is the perfect time to give some love to those cute little,colorfully patterned, scarves that have been buried in the bottom of the basket! Wear them untied or loosely wrapped for some extra protection from those not-quite-Spring breezes!

3. Punch Up Your Handbag and Accessories

Nothing says Spring like a new handbag!  Whether you are searching to find the latest style from the runways or digging out an old-faithful from your own stash, giving up that tired winter bag for something fresh is beyond gratifying!  As for me, I did both!  I found a small, bright yellow, cross-body that I couldn’t pass up a few weeks ago – I have been waiting anxiously for the slightest peek of sunshine and a weekend adventure to break it out!  I also unearthed and blue and pink floral arm bag from my closet; its a little larger and perfect for volleyball tournaments and everyday stuff  that I need to carry around like monster trucks and essential oils!

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20180406_0931561326595103.jpgDon’t forget the accessories!  Spring is the perfect time to bring out a little bling and color in your accessories!  Its a great time for larger pieces that your bulkier winter clothes would have over-shadowed or hidden completely! This necklace set was a gift from my momma!  I LOVE handmade jewelry!  Wearing this makes me feel like I carry a little part of the artist with me! You know I love a story!  Spring fashion also provides great opportunity for statement accessory pieces; large or small, an interesting piece of jewelry can completely change an outfit!

 

 

 

4.  Layers Upon Layers My Friends

We have all heard the old adage of “light layers” – well sometimes sayings like this are old because they are tried and true!  Spring fashion in the mountains is all about layers!  Its giving up the down coat for the down vest or heavier pea coat for a cardigan and rain jacket!  I love my cardigans as much as, if not more than, my scarves!  In fact, I have an entire cardigan wardrobe – thicker ones for winter and light-weight pieces for fall and spring!  Cardigans of every shape and style!  My new favorite Spring layering find…a polka dot Sorelle Rain Jacket from RD Style that came in this month’s Stitch Fix box…I can’t wait to wear it!

5.  Change Up Your Products

Spring is the perfect time to change up your skin-care line and try new looks or products!  There are tons of great blog posts out there with product reviews and suggestions to get you started!  I read a great article today by Abbi Chalk at http://simplyabbi.com/2018/04/march-makeup-the-top-three.html.   She rated her top three glowing skin care products for March.

If you are like me and winter has left you pale and ghostly, I recommend adding a little color to your skin too!  I love self-tanners…there I said it!  While I do not subscribe to dangerous tanning beds I do love a good spray tan or self tanner!  There are so many good products out there now that moisturize your skin and, contrary to popular belief, will not turn you orange!  My favorite at the moment is actually Banana Boat Summer Color, Self Tanning Lotion. You can pick this up in most grocery stores or pharmacies for about $6 and it works as well as the expensive brands!  Its self-adjusting color goes on evenly and fades just as evenly.  Like all self-tanners, it does require a little practice and finesse in the application process.  Basically, I recommend going light on knee, ankle, elbow and wrist areas and ALWAYS wash yous hands after application! If you aren’t convinced or worried about streaking go for the professional spray tan and use a self-tanner for maintenance!  I prefer the Norvell brand of professional spray tans and maintenance products!

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Finally, Spring represents all things new and fresh…so pack up your heavy winter perfume and search out a new Spring scent!  What better way to uplift your spirits than with a new aroma swirling about you!  You could even try essential oils such as wild orange and rosemary!

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There you have it!  5 tips for embracing Spring fashion for those of us still enduring plunging temperatures and the occasional snow flake!  Hang in there my friends – those short sleeves and sandals are in sight!

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