My Favorite Things This Week 6/24-6/28

Summer is really in full swing in our household. We are going to the pool, kids are enjoying camps, bedtime is later and no alarm clocks.  A few things that I love about the summer is that I can wear less makeup, read more books and the new  summer TV shows.

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Thanks to being outside more often my skin gets a great summery glow. I do always wear SPF on my face. In my birch box this month I got a mineral powder. I have never used one. I normally just dabbed some press powder on my oily spots. Well, one swipe of this magical powder by Youngblood helps control the oiliness on your skin throughout the day. It seriously makes my fresh look so fresh. For everyday I just swipe some of this on, a little mascara and lip gloss and I’m good (Thanks mom for great skin genes!). You can also apply more on your face throughout the day to freshen your look. I have also used it when I am going out and have more make up on and it looks great I love it! To find out more about this great product click here.

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I am only on page 50 of this book and I am recommending it to the world. This is a must read for all teachers and parents. Especially for parents who have a special needs child. Kristine Barnett candidly and thoughtfully shares how her family has dealt with what God has put in their path. She is a pillar of strength and I cannot wait to read the rest! Click here to read more about this book.

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(pic source)

Under The Dome is a new 13 episode series produced by Steven Spielberg and Stephen King. It is based under Stephen King’s book of the same name. I have always enjoyed made for tv shows of his books. Who can ever forget It, (click here if you want to refresh your memory). I first like that it’s 13 episodes. Ever since Lost I have been weary of these types of shows, because I don’t want to invest that amount of time again in that kind of “high maintenance” (you miss an episode you missed so much or you watch an episode and you are more confused than before) type of show. The basic premise is that a small New England town all of a sudden gets shut out from the outside world in a dome force field. This invisible force field showed up out of nowhere, hurting those in its path and encasing those inside it’s parameters. The first episode was really good. It introduced the characters which are now going to have to decide how they are going to survive this situation. There was one subplot I could do without, but other than that this show holds promise for me. The daily beast has a good review. Click here to read, but beware it has spoilers. Click here to view the trailer.

I am going to try to make this a weekly post. Mention a new things that grab my fancy during the week. Hope you all have a great weekend!

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10 year old Dance Party

Today is my oldest’s 10th birthday so I thought it would be appropriate to write about the awesome birthday party we gave him about a month ago.  A few months ago we decided to have a big class party for our son, especially since it is his 10th birthday. I asked him what he wanted to do. He said he wanted a dance party and that he wanted to invite the girls from his class as well. I totally thought we could have fun with it. Since his birthday falls in the summer, we decided to do it the Friday before school let out. It also worked because it was the week of their state test and we thought this was also a good way they could unwind and just let loose after 3 days of intense testing.

We first looked for an invitation. I wanted to find something unique and cool. I googled the phrase VIP party invitations. I found some cute ones on printvilla.com. Click here to view the one we chose. For a while we weren’t sure where we would have whether in our garage or in our house. After much deliberation we decided to do it in our great room. Since our floor plan in open with our kitchen and formal dining room, it was easy to just isolate that space. It was also plenty of room for 20 some 4th graders. Once we decided on the space, all the ideas for decorating came very easily. We decided to remove all our furniture in our great room except for the TV. We got black plastic tablecloths that we put all over the walls and windows in the great room, so it would look more like a “dance club”. We made a red carpet VIP area where I took pictures of the kids with my son as they arrived to the party. For the rest of the decorations we got everything in neon colors and we got a ton of confetti for the drink table and present table. We bought this really cool strobe light that really gave the dance club effect. It was on for the entire party.  We also got glow sticks for the kids to wear at the party. They could make them into necklaces or bracelets.

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IMG_2440 IMG_2443 IMG_2444 IMG_2445My main concern for a while was, “What are we going to do with this kids for 2 hours?!”. I made a fun playlist (all clean versions of course), but I knew they were not going to dance the entire 2 hours. We decided to purchase a karaoke machine (which our son decided to pay for with his own money, because he wanted to contribute to his party). I wasn’t sure whether the kids would want to sing, but I figure we could ask. That karaoke machine made the party. That is what they did for most of time. I had other games planned (limbo, stomp and pop, name that tune), but the kids were having so much fun playing and signing that we only played musical chairs. Let me tell you that even at 4th grade they had a lot of fun with it. Another thing the kids loved were the loose balloon and beach balls we put on the “dance floor”. I bought one of those mini helium tanks. Let me tell you it was so worth the $30 we could fill up about 36 balloons. So much cheaper than if I bought them at the party store. The kids had so much fun running around playing and kicking the balloons.  Thank you to my friend Meagan that came and helped blow up the balloons!

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All the hard work, time and money we put it was worth it when our son came up and told us it was the best party he could have ever had! His classmates also had a fantastic time. A lot of memories were made. I was really happy we did this for him!

10th birthday party play list

Harlem Shake-Bauer, Jai Ho, I Gotta Feeling-Blackeyed Peas, Runaway Baby-Bruno Mars, Sweet Nothing-Calvin Harris (feat. Florence Welch), Fight For Your Right -Beastie Boys, Call Me Baby-Carly Rae Jepsen, Forget You-Ceelo Green, Titanium-David Guetta&Sia, Good Feeling-Flo Rida, On The Floor (feat. Pitbull)-Jennifer Lopez, Don’t Stop Believin’-Journey, California Gurls-Katy Perry, Cha Cha Slide, Party Rock Anthem-LMFAO, Thrift Shop-Macklemore, Can’t Hold Us-Macklemore, ABC-Jackon 5, Thriller,Wanna Be Startin Something, P.Y.T, Don’t Stop’Till You Get Enough-Michael Jackson, What Makes You Beautiful-One Direction, Give Up The Funk-Parliment, Give Me Everything, Feel This Moment-Pitbull, Gangham Style-Psy, We Found Love-Rihanna, Don’t You Worry Child-Swedish House, I Knew You Were Trouble, We Are Never Getting Back-Taylor Swift, OMG-Usher, Kung Fu Fighting, Glad You Came-The Wanted, Scream and Shout,#thatPOWER-will.i.am, Runs House-Run DMC

A Night of Music

We are really lucky to have the Carolina Philharmonic in our small town. They do wonders for our local community, not only bringing us wonderful music, but also funding programs that cultivate musical interest to children. My oldest was lucky to participate in the Junior Orchestra class the Philharmonic sponsored this past school year. Like many schools, his elementary school fell victim to  spending cuts, unfortunately shutting down the orchestra program.  To the fill that void, the Philharmonic sponsored a weekly class to 3rd and 4th graders free of charge. My husband and I strongly believe that our son’s musical education doesn’t just end with practicing at home and going to his class once a week. Being exposed to live music and seeing other musicians play their instruments is a key element to that education. He and his classmates had the special opportunity to actually play a long side with the Carolina Philharmonic last month. It was a very special moment for all involved.

I was happy to find out that for their June concert the Philharmonic planned on doing their concert outdoors and play movie scores. This bode well for our younger son who is currently OBSESSED with Star Wars.  This concert was also in conjunction with opening a new memorial park in our town.

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Since the tickets were free (another bonus), it was first come first serve basis. We got there early so we could get good seats and also enjoy a picnic dinner. The weather was gorgeous we couldn’t have asked for a better night.

IMG_2556The selection of music was from notable movie scores from the last 50 years of cinema. They played scenes from the movies as they played the scores, which provided a really nice touch. It was a very well done classy performance. There was a lot of talent on that stage. It’s really nice that even though we live in a small town, we still get big city talent.

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Sometimes the best memories are made when you think outside the box. I was a little hesitant to take our 5-year-old, but he really surprised us on how engaged he was throughout the entire performance, and not just merely the Star Wars portion. We all had a great time and look forward to attending more performances in the future.

 

Be Prepared

This past Thursday we had a pretty powerful storm that moved through our area.  Its strong winds knocked down trees and power lines, leaving us without power for 18 hours. We made the best of it. Luckily I had bought some Coleman lanterns. They really saved the night, along with the trusty crank weather radio.

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We spent the night reading, playing monopoly and card games. The kids had fun. This event did make me aware on how unprepared we were if something bigger had occurred ( I wouldn’t last long in a zombie apocalypse). I always have emergency water (not enough to last longer than a couple of days), lanterns, flash lights and a weather radio, but that’s it. Luckily all of our electronics were charged, but I did have to go back to the car to recharge my phone. If we had gone more than 18 hours without electricity we would have been in trouble. This made my husband and I to go out and add more to our emergency box.

Here is a list we made: Emergency Kit List

There are also a lot of alerts you can set up on your phone to get you the latest weather alerts in your area. I know most local tv station apps have them. My favorite is the Red Cross Tornado app.  It’s free!  Hope you all don’t experience any bad weather this summer, but if you do it is better to be overly prepared than under.

 

Crab Cake with Mango Cucumber Couscous salad

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Hello June! Now that summer is upon us, I am on the look out for food that is lighter, crispy and full of those summer flavors. I also like to take advantage of all the fruits and veggies that are available at the farmers market.  I was looking through the local paper and in the weekly Relish magazine I found the Israeli Couscous with Mango Cucumber and Cilantro click here to view. It looked perfect for a summer side dish, not only does it take care of the starch, but also the veggie part of the meal. I decided to pair it with a crab cake. I went with my mom’s trusted recipe.

Mami’s Crab Cakes (makes 4 cakes)

1 container of fresh lump or claw crab meat,  medium red pepper minced, 1/4 cup of minced red onion, handful of italian parsley or cilantro, 1/4 cup of light mayo, 1 cup of bread crumbs, Old Bay, salt, pepper, olive oil (I used chipotle flavor olive oil for a little kick).

1) Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in pan. Once heated add onions and red pepper and sauté until cooked through and soft. Set aside and cool.

2) Put crab in large bowl. Look through it for any extra shells. Add mayo, breadcrumbs and mix with hands. Add about 1 or 2 tablespoons of Old Bay, dash of salt and pepper. Mix throughly with hands. Now add the pepper and onion and a handful of chopped parsley or cilantro. Mix again thoroughly.

3) Heat remaining olive oil (about 2 turns in pan). Take crab mixture and make into patties. You should have about 4 depending on the size you make them.  Place gently in pan. Heat each side about 3-4 minutes or until browned. Be very careful when you flip them over.

4) Serve with a lemon wedge and enjoy!