college shopping dos and don’ts

college shopping | polka dots and picket fences

college shopping | polka dots and picket fences

A lot of my time last summer was spent getting our oldest daughter ready to go to college.  Audrey had an entire list, organized by categories (she’s a very organized person for someone her age), of items she felt we needed to purchase for her dorm.  Well…never having been through this before (except as an actual college student myself), I wasn’t exactly sure about some of the items.

college shopping | polka dots and picket fences

It’s been a year now since we embarked on our numerous shopping trips, and I thought I’d share some of what I learned along the way…the DOS and DON’TS of college shopping!

college shopping | polka dots and picket fences

  1.  DO purchase the top of the line memory foam mattress topper.  It truly is worth the money!  I mean…have you ever slept on those thin, hard dorm mattresses?
  2. Speaking of bedding, DON’T wait to order your comforter.  Audrey didn’t find out her roommate assignment until mid-July, and by then most of her choices were on backorder.
  3. DO purchase sheets that fit those XL twin mattresses.
  4. DO take advantage of the PACK AND HOLD service offered at Bed Bath & Beyond.  This was a real lifesaver for us, considering how far away she went for college.  It works like this…you visit your local BB&B and choose the items you want.  Those items are set aside at the store of your choice to pick up at a later date.  Our car was already packed so tight with other belongings that it was so nice to not transport everything from Ohio to South Carolina.
  5. DON’T forget to wash the new towels, sheets, washcloths, and blankets before you arrive on campus!
  6. DON’T feel like a safe is necessary.  We were instructed to purchase one, but I discovered that Audrey rarely used it.  However, she didn’t take expensive jewelry or her good camera to college.  She usually had her credit cards and laptop with her.  She attends a small college, and the dorm rooms automatically close and lock when one leaves.  My advice is to use your judgement…you may feel differently, given your own situation.
  7. DO find out what the college provides in each dorm room.  There was a mini fridge and microwave in her room.  However, she had to bring a desk chair and a ladder for the bunkbed.  I know…bringing your own desk chair seemed strange to us, also!
  8. DO coordinate with your roommate items that can be shared.  Audrey brought the Keurig and the rug, and her roommate supplied the curtains.
  9. DON’T forget to stock up on Command hooks!  They will be your best friend, as you find that they serve a lot of purposes and don’t damage those sacred dorm walls.
  10. DO purchase a shower caddy.  A great way to keep all your toiletry items together, as you will most likely be sharing a bathroom.
  11. DO find out the amount of storage space in the dorm room.  This will help you know what to purchase…rolling under bed drawers, containers for shelves, or a storage ottoman are just a few options.
  12. DON’T think you won’t need a fan, even if the dorm is air conditioned.  A small one near your bed is always nice to have on hand.
  13. DO purchase extra lighting.  A desk lamp is essential for those late night study sessions.  A clip-on lamp is great to have for attaching to your bed, in case your late night studying takes place in bed!
  14. A bedrest pillow is so comfortable for late night reading and studying.
  15. Finally, and most importantly, DON’T worry if things don’t go as planned!  We had Audrey’s first dorm room set up and organized before she began orientation.  Yes, I said FIRST because she changed roommates two weeks into the semester…she moved into a different room with a new roommate, so her rug was put in storage and they used her new roommate’s rug.  And that bedding that was on backorder?  It finally arrived in October!  You know what they say about the best laid plans…anyway, it’s better to bring along your flexibility, also.

college shopping | polka dots and picket fences

Getting our oldest ready for college seemed like such a monumental task last summer…I’m so glad we are able to relax a bit this year.  I hope that my DO’s and DON’TS are helpful to anyone going through this process.  My final bit of advice…enjoy that time with your soon-to-be college freshman and happy shopping!

 

our visit to magnolia

magnolia | polka dots and picket fences

We visited the state of Texas last month during our spring break trip.  While we spent the majority of our time in San Antonio, we did travel to Waco for a day.  You can’t go that far and be that close to the Magnolia Market Silos without visiting this fun destination!

magnolia | polka dots and picket fences

We had a wonderful experience, and today I’m sharing my tips for visiting the Silos…

magnolia | polka dots and picket fences

  •  First, do not expect to see Chip or Joanna Gaines during your visit.  Our youngest daughter, Claire, is a huge fan of Fixer Upper…AND I just knew that in her 10-year-old mind that she thought she would walk right into the bakery and enjoy cupcakes with the Gaines family.  I didn’t want her to get her hopes up, so I set the expectations very low by telling her over and over that we would not see them there.  I’m so glad I did because there was no disappointment.  Even without a Chip or Joanna sighting, it was still a fabulous day!

magnolia | polka dots and picket fences

  • Go early or go late.  And avoid the weekends.  Now with that being said, we visited on Good Friday and didn’t arrive until close to noon!  It was crowded, but not terrible…we spent a few hours there and left to do some other things in the town of Waco.  We returned to Magnolia late in the afternoon, and it was almost empty.  We were able to enjoy it a second time, but in a less-crowded condition.

magnolia | polka dots and picket fences

magnolia | polka dots and picket fences

  • Visit the food trucks for lunch or an early dinner.  There are several that surround the perimeter of the property…lots of choices for some unique and delicious food!  Enjoy your meal at one of the picnic tables, and be sure to play some yard games and swing a bit.  Your inner child truly comes to life at this fun place!magnolia | polka dots and picket fences

magnolia | polka dots and picket fences

magnolia | polka dots and picket fences

magnolia | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

magnolia | polka dots and picket fences

  • Explore the Magnolia Market.  This is not only a retail shop, but a showroom of creativity! There are staged areas that change seasonally…I was so inspired by these that I couldn’t wait to get back to my own home to start creating.  The products are a lot of what you see on their show and the website, but it was so fun to see them in person.  They also offer FedEx shipping, in case your purchases are too big for traveling.
  • magnolia| polka dots and picket fences

magnolia | polka dots and picket fences

magnolia | polka dots and picket fences

magnolia | polka dots and picket fence

  • Be sure to check out the Magnolia Seed and Supply Shop.  It’s located in the back behind the silos…we almost missed it.  Once again, you will be inspired to work in the garden after visiting this area.  In fact, Claire talked me into purchasing items to create a fairy garden.
  • magnolia | polka dots and picket fences

magnolia | polka dots and picket fences

magnolia | polka dots and picket fences

  • Finally, a visit to Magnolia is not complete without going to the bakery.  The line can be long…45 minutes or more.  If you arrive and the line isn’t too long, head there first!  Even with the long line, I would say it is a very efficient process.  You are given a small menu and pencil to fill out while you wait in line.  And those cupcake names are so clever…Shiplap, Nuts and Bolts, and Silobration!  Once you are inside the bakery, the line moves very quickly and your order is ready in no time at all!  Then, find a table in the seating area just outside the bakery and enjoy your sweet treats!

magnolia | polka dots and picket fences

magnolia | polka dots and picket fences

magnolia | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

magnolia | polka dots and picket fences

magnolia | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

magnolia | polka dots and picket fences

We had such a great visit at the Magnolia Market Silos!  I’m so glad we were able to spend the day exploring it and making memories!

 

my texas food journal…part iii (san antonio)

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

By now, you probably know my family recently spent a week exploring Texas AND that I’m sharing my food journal of all the eating experiences we had while in the LoneStar State!  If you missed it, click here to read about Austin and here to read about Waco.

Today, I’m sharing queso, margaritas, and gelato in San Antonio!

Vaudeville…This upscale bistro is located in Fredericksburg, about an hour outside of San Antonio.  The restaurant is located in the basement, with the main floor being a lovely retail store…definitely allow time for browsing!  The menu is a combination of reinvented classics and items from local farmers and ranchers.  I ordered the V Reuben on Marble Rye, and let me just say it is the BEST reuben I’ve ever had!  They make it with pastrami, but the big difference is the brussel sprout kraut on the sandwich…so flavorful and the texture gives the sandwich a little something extra.

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

Aldaco’s…We went here on the recommendation of one of my husband’s college friends, who has lived in San Antonio for nearly 20 years.  I think it was more about the views than about the food, though.  You can sit outside on the patio from one of the highest points in San Antonio.  It was really a beautiful evening, and we definitely enjoyed the views!  I ordered the Tacos Del Mar (which are shrimp tacos) and a margarita.  The food was good, the margarita was even better, but I think it was more about the beautiful view of San Antonio.

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

Down on Grayson…Our friends, who had relocated to San Antonio from Toledo almost three years ago AND who were hosting us during our visit, suggested we experience the Pearl area during our stay.  The Pearl is a revitalized neighborhood in San Antonio with restaurants, cafes, retail businesses, live music, and a farmer’s market.  It has a really fun atmosphere!  While there, we enjoyed lunch at Down on Grayson…a casual, American restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating.  Of course, we sat outside.  And of course (because it was the weekend), I had a Bloody Mary…the BEST Bloody Mary I’ve ever tasted!!  Bacon AND olives…yum!  For lunch, I ordered the Thai Steak Salad (a mixture of marinated filet, mango, greens, and almonds) and it was just delicious.  I can’t say enough about this place…great food, drinks, and atmosphere!

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

South Alamode Panini & Gelato Company…Our friends LOVE this place, and I can see why!  The owner lived in Italy and studied as a gelato apprentice.  Most ingredients are imported from Italy, with everything else being sourced locally.  So who would have thought that we would have found authentic gelato in the middle of Texas!  I ordered the Ricotta Blackberry and the Goat Cheese, Caramel and Cashew.  I’m not sure which one was my favorite…both were soooo good!

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

Cafe Ole…After exploring the Riverwalk one warm afternoon, we were ready for a relaxing beverage and we found just that here!  After my husband and I each ordered a margarita, the server talked us into sharing their specialty 60 ounce margarita…yep, I said 60 ounces.  And since we were on vacation, we said “why not!”  It was so refreshing, and a great accompaniment to the queso and chips.  And the perfect setting…enjoying the views of the Riverwalk!

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

Gristmill River Restaurant…This restaurant, which is in an historic building in Gruene, is a multi-level structure located in a grove of trees with great views of the river below.  We were there on a very rainy day, so it was difficult to enjoy the outside…however, I’m sure the atmosphere is wonderful when the large glass doors are open to the outside.  We ordered queso and chips as a starter.  Now we ate A LOT of queso and chips during our week in Texas, but I thought these were the best…the chips were warm and homemade AND the queso had a great flavor!  For lunch, I ordered a pulled pork sandwich and onion rings.   Once again, great tangy flavor!

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

favorites | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

The Hoppy Monk…This is not your typical Texas eating establishment…not so much of a BBQ place, but more of a farm-to-table menu.  It is also known for it’s wide variety of beers…hence, the ‘hoppy’ monk.  Our friends suggested we try the chicken wings (sweet and savory and marinated in spicy gochujang sauce)…so yummy!  For dinner, I had the Ricotta and Apple Salad.  With pistachio ricotta and compressed apples mixed in red oak lettuce and lemon vinaigrette, it is definitely a unique combination of ingredients.  I did like it, and it was nice to have a salad after all the heavy food we had been eating.

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

Sub Zero Ice Cream and Yogurt…This ice cream place is more about the experience than the taste…although, it did taste pretty good!  They make the ice cream right in front of you using liquid nitrogen.  So fun seeing all the vapor go up in the air as it is created!  And I’m here to tell you the Peanut Butter Bonds was delish!

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

L Taco…Besides our friends from Toledo and my husband’s college friend, we have another friend who lives in San Antonio…I taught second grade with her way back before we both had kids and moved away.  In fact, we hadn’t seen each other in 20 years!  She told us we must have a breakfast burrito while in Texas, and she suggested this taco place.  I had the L Dumpster Breakfast Taco, which has egg, potato, beans, bacon, and cheese in it.  Interesting combination and I can say I tried it!

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

Thanks for joining me this week as I’ve shared all the food experiences we enjoyed while on vacation in Texas!  I know…it was a lot of food AND a lot of pictures!  And if you’re ever in Texas, I hope you might try some of my suggestions…

 

my texas food journal…part ii (waco)

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

If you’ve been reading my posts lately, you know we just returned from a week in Texas!  Yesterday I shared our food experiences while we were in Austin (click here if you missed it)…today it’s all about food trucks, cupcakes, and burgers in Waco!

So you can’t go to Waco without visiting Magnolia Market at the Silos!  We actually spent an entire afternoon there…even eating two meals (lunch and an early dinner) from the food trucks.

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

Hot Dog House…When you have a family of five, everyone has different preferences when it comes to food.  After arriving at Magnolia at lunchtime, my older daughters headed off together to find something they would like.  Rather than stand in two (or three) different lines, we decided to go to this hot dog food truck because we knew they would have something our youngest would like.  While I’m not a big fan of hot dogs, I thought the Demo Day Dog (love the name) looked interesting…Dr. Pepper chili, cheese, bacon, and crispy onions topped with Frito chips!  Remember, we are on vacation…calories don’t count!  It was so loaded with toppings that I used my knife and fork to eat it, but it was very flavorful.

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

Silos Baking Co…Well, you can’t go to Magnolia without indulging in one of Joanna’s cupcakes!  The line was looong, and we were told that it would be a 45 minute wait…but we didn’t come all the way to Waco without getting a cupcake!  It was actually about a 30 minute wait, and the line moved quickly.  They even give you a small card with a menu on it while you are waiting, and you write your order on it so you are ready when you reach the counter.  I thought that was pretty efficient!

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

Now for those cupcakes…I went simple and ordered the Shiplap Cupcake (thought it went well with my Demo Day Dog).  It is a vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting, topped with an edible magnolia leaf.  So rich and creamy!

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

  my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

Cheddar Box…After exploring more of Magnolia and the city of Waco, we decided to go back to the food trucks for an early dinner (since they close at 6:00).  There were so many food options, we wanted to try more!  The line for this place was so long at lunch that I wasn’t surprised that most of the items were “sold out” when we went back.  I wanted the Sweet Granny,” as did my oldest…so with one left, we decided to share it.  This gourmet grilled cheese sandwich is made with Granny Smith apples, cream cheese, cinnamon, and honey on sweet potato bread.  YUM is all I can say!

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

In and Out Burger…Now, I know what you are thinking…”In and Out isn’t a locally-based restaurant.”  You’re right, it is based in California (we actually ate at one outside of Palo Alto a few years ago)  However, we don’t have any in Ohio and when those munchies hit us later in the evening after our early dinner at Cheddar Box, we headed out for a burger.  That special sauce of theirs adds just the right flavor to the meat!  My vegetarian daughter tried fries topped with the sauce…no burger for her!

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

And that ended our food experiences in Waco!

Check back later this week when I share our meals we enjoyed in San Antonio…

my texas food journal…part i (austin)

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

Earlier this month, we spent a week in Texas exploring various cities and the sights!  It was our spring break trip with the girls…our college daughter was even able to join us for a few days over the Easter holiday.  Having all five of us together made for one happy mom!

Part of our exploration was finding local, authentic restaurants while in Texas.  I mean, who wants to go thousands of miles away only to eat at a chain restaurant that you have in your own hometown!  So we are always on the lookout for fun and interesting places to eat while on a trip.  And calories…who’s counting!  We’re on vacation, remember…

We were in Texas for a week, and that’s a lot of meals (and pictures!)!  So I’m breaking my food journal into three parts…

Today is all about donuts, chili, and BBQ in Austin!

Voodoo Doughnut…They started their donut story in Portland, Oregon, but now have five locations, including one in Austin.  There are over 90 different donuts on the menu, with fun names like the Grape Ape, Captain my Captain, Maple Bacon Bar,  the Loop, the Pot Hole…and of course, the VooDoo Doll doughnut.  And as whimsically decorated as they are, they taste just as fresh and good!  I, of course, just had to try the VooDoo Doll, which has a raspberry filling.

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

There is plenty of seating in the eclectically-decorated Voodoo Doughnuts, and SO much to take in while you’re indulging in your donut…tables that are decorated with celebrity obituaries, large chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, and a large U.S. flag painted on the wall and accented with lights.  This place is a feast for the eyes and tastebuds!

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

Texas Chili Parlor…After touring the state capital building, it was time for lunch and an employee at the capital suggested this place.  Actually, she recommended Chipotle, to which I responded…”We have those in Ohio.  I want something unique!”  She quickly directed us to this small chili place just a few blocks from the capital.  Now, if you think the best food comes from those dive, hole-in-the-wall kind of places…then, this is your place!  The decor is nothing to boast about, but the chili is some of the best I’ve ever tasted!

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

I immediately felt at home when I ordered  my standard beverage of iced tea with lemon, and I clarified it by saying UNsweetened (since we were in the south)…AND he said that’s all we serve here!  Now for the chili…I had trouble deciding what to order so I went for the “chili taster”…a sampling of three varieties.  I chose the white pork chili, the black bean and sausage chili, and the gumbo.  They were all sooo good that I don’t know what my favorite was!

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

Salt Lick…This well-known BBQ place is located in Driftwood, about 30 minutes outside of Austin.  My husband had eaten there on a business trip and brought back a jar of their sauce, but it was my first time there.  There was a 45 minute wait, and we sat outside in the rustic patio area and listened to a guitarist while we enjoyed a beverage.  Somehow, I forgot to take pictures of this area, but trust me…it had such a fun vibe!  Lots of wooden picnic tables and benches, white lights strung around the trees and arbors.

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

We decided it was a good thing that our oldest was not with us for this meal, as she is a vegetarian!  Not too many meatless options on the menu!  We ordered the “Family Style”…which is all-you-can-eat beef brisket, sausage, pork ribs, and potato salad, cole slaw, and beans.  The sausage and ribs were my favorite!  Such great flavor!

my texas food journal | polka dots and picket fences

And that was our day of eating in Austin!

Check back tomorrow when I share the meals we ate in Waco…

 

family pictures + holiday cards

It is that time of year when we actually enjoy receiving mail because it isn’t typical mail…bills and junk mail.  Instead, we love opening the envelopes to see the pretty and festive holiday cards that are sent to our houses!

My whole family (yes, even my hubby) looks forward to seeing the cards that are sent from friends and family, near and far!  It is fun to “catch up” with people we don’t see on a regular basis.  Holiday cards have come so far with the age of digital photography.  As a result, there are so many creative choices for cards these days.

I began thinking about our holiday card back in the summer.  I knew I wanted to have some family pictures taken before Audrey left for college (it had been a few years, maybe more than a few, since we had some taken).  So in between Audrey having her wisdom teeth removed, vacation plans, a business trip for my husband, and packing for college…we were able to schedule a time to have pictures taken!  And then ironically, our orthodontist surprised Grace and removed her braces the following day…you can imagine how she felt about wanting to retake the pictures without her sparkly smile!!

If you are like me, coordinating outfits for family pictures can be stressful!  I have three daughters with three different styles, and getting them to agree on something can be pure torture.  My husband is usually a good sport about this sort of thing, but I knew he didn’t want anything too “girly.”

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We (and I say “we” because I had to get everyone on board with the idea) decided to go with shades of blue, white, and pops of coral!

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The inspiration started with Claire’s white sundress with the coral tassel sleeves.  I added her metallic gold gladiator sandals and a navy blue bangle bracelet to complete the outfit.

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Audrey wore this blue and white striped off-the-shoulder dress…along with cork wedges, a gold necklace with blue tassels, and a coral bracelet.

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Grace chose a navy blue dress, coral sandals, and a white statement necklace.

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I wore white jeans with a denim tunic shirt.  My accessories included blue gingham espadrille wedges and a coral statement necklace.

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And for Phillip…he wore a white button-down shirt with blue lobster-printed shorts.  Happily, NO PINK for him!

So off we went to meet our photographer for some “urban inspired” pictures in downtown Toledo…

 

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Now back to those cards…I’ve used the website, Minted, for our cards the past few years and I’ve always been pleased.  I started looking at all their holiday choices earlier this fall when I received the images from our photo session with Julie Trust, our photographer.  She captured so many great moments on film that I just couldn’t narrow it down to one picture!

So we created a BOOK, or booklette cards, as they are called on their website.  I really liked this option for a card because it allowed space for all those pictures, plus room to share updates on our family happenings in 2016.  So I spent some time “designing” our card using their template…

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There were so many options as far as card colors, placement of pictures and text, size of pictures, border colors, envelope linings, etc. It took some time to design them so when I finally hit the submit button, I couldn’t wait to see the finished product!

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One more thing I love about this company is that they will print the recipient addresses, as well as the return address, on your envelopes!  It even matches the font used on my cards!  I know the envelopes end up in the trash, but how fun is it to receive that in your mailbox…

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I love staying connected with friends and family, so giving and receiving holiday cards is always one of my favorite parts of the season!

 

If you are in Toledo and looking for a local photographer, I highly recommend Julie Trust.  She made our photo session so easy…we didn’t even realize that an hour of time had passed.  And go check out the Minted website for cards, if you haven’t already!

 

turkey place cards

Hi, everyone!  I’m Claire, and I’m taking over my mom’s blog today.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays…probably because my birthday is around it.  I was even born on Thanksgiving!!  This year, it’s the day before.  I’ll be 10 years old.

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One of my favorite crafts is these turkey place cards for Thanksgiving, so I’m going to tell you how to make them.

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First, you need…

  • pinecones
  • red felt
  • candy corn
  • pompoms (I used black, but any color will work)
  • feathers
  • wiggle eyes
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun
  • AND some cold water, in case you burn yourself with the hot glue gun like I did

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Take a pinecone and some feathers, and squeeze the glue onto the pinecone and stick a feather in it.  Add about 5 more feathers with the glue.

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Next, glue some wiggle eyes onto the pompom.

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Add a piece of candy corn to it for the nose.

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Cut a gobbler out of the red felt, and glue it on the pompom.

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Finally, glue the pompom onto the pinecone.

Be careful…this is when I burned myself!  Ouch!!!

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Type the names of your family members, and print them on card stock.  Cut them into strips and put them in the pinecones.

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That’s it…all done!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

halloween care package

Last month I shared a fun and preppy care package that I sent to my oldest daughter who started her freshman year of college this year.  If you missed that post, click here for the details.

I love putting surprises in the mail to her, and I think she likes receiving them…although, I did tease her when she was home for fall break that she’s taking them for granted!

Today, I’m sharing my latest care package…a Halloween care package.

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First, I decorated the inside flaps of the box in much the same way as the other package, by adhering cardstock to them.  I used orange (of course) and a black and white pattern of clocks.  I thought it was appropriate since this is a countdown box, of sorts.

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Some adhesive letters were put on the box flaps, giving the package a name…THE 13 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN.

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Wording was added to the box flaps, with instructions to open one “trick or treat” each day until Halloween.

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Next, I filled the box.  I wrapped 13 surprises in brown kraft paper and tied them with baker’s twine.  Then each one was assigned a number.

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The directions say to open #1 on October 19th and then one each day.  That means #13 will be opened on Halloween!  A box of 13 fun surprises for the days leading up to Halloween!

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All that is left to do is seal the box and mail it!

And wait to hear when she receives it…

 

 

 

 

college care package

With my oldest daughter off to college, I find myself sending care packages to her about once a week…after all, being a college freshman can be a big adjustment at first!  And receiving a box filled with goodies in the mail can brighten anyone’s day!

 

I had some fun assembling her latest care package, and I thought I’d share it today…since hopefully, she has received it by now and I won’t spoil the surprise!

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Most teenagers and college kids enjoy the preppy clothing sold at Vineyard Vines.  You know that store…the one with the pink whale emblem and the “every day should feel this good” slogan.  It is one of my daughter’s favorite places to shop!

So I used the preppy pink whale idea to decorate the box…

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With a few simple supplies…white alphabet stickers, blue gingham checked paper, glue dots, pink and blue tissue paper, shredded paper (pink, blue, and white), and the Vineyard Vines pink whale stickers…I was able to create a fun box in which to place some goodies.

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First, I cut the blue checked paper to the size of the top flaps of the box.  I adhered the paper to the four sides of the box top with the glue dots.

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The next step was to add the white sticker letters to the box flaps to write the message…

EVERY

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PACKAGE

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SHOULD BE

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THIS GOOD

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Then I added the whale stickers to each side of the box.  Adorable, right?

Now it’s time to fill the box!  Place some of the shredded paper in the bottom of the box.  Then wrap the contents of the box in the tissue paper and pack it neatly inside.  Add some more shredded paper on top, and you are ready to seal the box with packaging tape.

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I added a bit more of that blue gingham paper and a pink card stock whale to the outside of the box for more whimsy.

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I wish I could be there to see her open it!  I’m sure she will enjoy the contents of the box, and hopefully the box itself!

college send off

Well, it’s official…my oldest daughter is a college student!  We ALL survived the college move in day last week.  Just a few tears were shed…and not all by me.  It will be a time of adjustment for our family (Audrey included), but I feel good about where she is and the care she will receive while at Furman University.

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The weeks leading up to her departure were filled with buying items for her dorm room, packing, and just trying to squeeze in as much quality time together as possible.

Her birthday is the beginning of September, and I’m so sad that it will be the first one that I won’t be with her to celebrate…so I planned an early birthday/ college sendoff celebration for her and our family the weekend before she left for college.

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Before we left for dinner at a local restaurant that she has been wanting to go to for a while, I surprised her with six presents.  What she didn’t know was that each gift represented a letter to spell FURMAN.  It took her a bit to figure that out.  The first two presents that she opened were the A and the U…she thought we were spelling her name!

Of course the gifts were wrapped in Furman colors…purple and white.  Inside each box or bag was a clue as to what she was about to open.  Once the gift was revealed, there was another piece of card stock with a letter on it…those letters eventually spelled out FURMAN.

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She opened them in random order, but I’ll share them in F U R M A N order…

F is for FOOTWEAR.  She had asked for these boots earlier this summer, and I think she was truly surprised when she opened them.  It was the last gift she opened, too…it was fun to see her excitement!

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U is for umbrella.  I love this small one that I had monogrammed in her college colors…perfect for throwing in her backpack on those rainy days!

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R is for Rogers…Jack Rogers sandals.  I know, I took some liberty with the alphabet here.  I really wanted to have a custom pair made for her in her school colors, so I worked it in there.  Aren’t they super cute and so southern?

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M is for magazine subscription.  This girl snags my People magazine when it comes in the mail every week before I can even read it!  I know she will miss reading it, and it’s always fun to receive mail…so now she has her own subscription being sent to her at college.

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A is for athletic shorts.  She’s looking forward to biking and walking the paths around the university, as well as checking out the physical activities center.

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N is for notepads.  What college student doesn’t need them for their desk!

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My rhyming skills may not be the best, but I know Audrey appreciated my efforts (and the presents).  It was a special night for our family to be together before she began her new adventure…college!

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And I’m so glad Furman is just SIX letters!