Keri’s first day of 3rd grade

School is here!  I say that as a negative and positive thing.. negative in the way that we have had a wonderful summer together!  We have gone to Sea World, swimming, playdates, sleep overs, and spent lots of time together – it has been wonderful!  So, boo to school.  But, positive in the way that Keri gets to see her school friends that she hasnt seen all summer (she is very excited to see them!!), and also I get to start making Bento lunches again, YES!  This year will be different, however.  First, I now work PRN.  So, I work roughly 8 shift per month (minimum of 8, but I can work more and have worked more when needed).  This is because working full time was too difficult to do with school!  I am still in graduate school too – but no matter, I can handle my schedule a lot more easily now.. a lot less stressful compared to the beginning of this year!  Anyways, back to the bento lunches.  Keri put a few stipulations on the bento lunches.  First, she said absolutely no cookie cutters other than a cat, dog, or bird.  Awesome.  Not. But okay, I’ll respect that.. maybe.  I asked her about an Apple Lunch, she said no.. but.. it was too cute.. so.. I did it anyways.. and she was kinda sorta upset the first morning of school (oops).  I didnt mention this, btw, she is in 3rd grade – ACK!  This will be the 4th year I’ll be doing bento lunches for her 🙂  I’ll switch in between the Yubo and Planet Box, just fyi.

So, the first lunch was an apple lunch on 08/25/14.  It was a big apple sandwich with mini apple sandwiches, homemade caramel dipping sauce for her freshly cut apples (dunked in apple juice to prevent browning), apple balls (prepackaged, didnt make those), and homemade apple shaped cinnamon honey graham crackers.



Here is a picture of Keri with her Bento lunch:

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Okay.. and because I have to (cant resist), here are two pictures of Keri’s first day back to school.. Third Grade!

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And.. of course the puppy.  Oh.. the puppy.  This was a picture of Keri and Kali (puppy) before Kali got a haircut.

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Back to the Bentos!  This is Tuesday, 08/26/14’s lunch: A bird lunch!  Nothing too special here – birdy sandwiches, berry mix for the fruit, mini bird homemade graham crackers, yogurt, and circle cheese.



Next, Wednesday, 08/27/14 lunch:  Beef bites.  These were suppose to be made with pork or sausage or turkey.. I got the wrong thing.. oops.  So, I’m calling them crescent beef bites b/c I used ground beef and cream cheese.  Keri loved them!  In all fairness, there was suppose to be homemade potato chips there too.. but I forgot the potato.  Oops.  So, instead, pringles (which.. she didnt eat, I might add).  Then some crackers and cheese, and berries.



This last lunch, Thursday, 08/28/14 is my pride and joy lunch.. Homemade Spaghettios!  They are healthy, actually!  I made a big pot of them, and it was enough for today’s lunch plus 4 to freeze.. YES!  Jackpot, b/c Keri LOVED them!  I was so happy.. they have purred carrots in them.. ssssshhh – dont tell my daughter that 🙂  The spaghettios and turkey meatballs were 100% homemade.  I had to buy the noodles off Amazon, b/c I didnt know where there were any European stores near me, so probably spent too much on the noodles than necessary, but that is okay, it was worth it!  The turkey meatballs – I used the recipe linked up above, but used flax seed in replace of the egg.  They worked out beautifully!  I made mini turkey meatballs, and Keri said she loved the meatballs in particular – so yay!

turkey meatballs

homemade spaghettios

And here is her lunch that day:  Homemade spaghettios with turkey meatballs, mixed fruit, cheese pretzels and yogurt.  Huge hit!  And, I have four more in the freezer.. ready to go 🙂  Yay!



Week one.. done.  So, what you can expect this year as far as Bentos go.  Well, I’ve been “forbidden” to do cute kind of lunches.  I’ll try to squeeze some in there every now and then when I think Keri is okay with it (i.e. wont get that mad at me.. ha!) – but she loves the hot lunches.  So, I plan on making a whole bunch of new bento recipes to try out for her.  I’ve already pinned several recipes regarding soups, and different things I can freeze – make a big pot of it.. and boom, several lunches!  So, look for those.  I’m so happy she has access to use a microwave.. dont know what I’d do without it!  But, that is the first week in a wrap for Keri’s bento lunches – welcome to Third Grade Keri.. so proud of you!!


2nd Grade Bento Lunches

Oh-My!  I’m so behind!  Short pathetic back story.. then I’ll get to the good stuff!

So, bento lunches for my daughter’s second year of Montessori – 2013-2014.  A couple things changed that year.  First, I switched regularly between the plant box and the yubo lunch boxes.  I enjoyed the variety!  Second, after Christmas, Keri politely asked me to stop making her lunches so “cute” – she wanted plain / normal lunches.  Ha.  She refused to let me use any cookie cutters – so all the sandwiches are incredibly boring!  She also wanted more hot lunches rather than cold lunches.  So.. okay.  A few changes had to be made along the school year.  But, I passed my NCLEX (nursing board exam) in September, and became a psychiatric nurse in October 2013.  By law, I had to work full time for the first six months.  So, from October 2013 – April 2014, I worked full time on the weekends – man, it was hard!  I thought it was perfect at first.. I work 16 hours on Saturday (7am – 11:00pm) and do it all over again on Sunday.  Physically, I worked 32 hours, but got paid for 40 (called the Baylor shift).  It drained me!  I was completely exhausted and drained by Monday, so Monday lunches were often very boring because I hadnt been to the grocery store all weekend due to working, and I was exhausted!  And on Friday’s, Keri eats pizza – so no bento lunches on Fridays.  And, to top it off, I started graduate school in January – so from January 2014 to April 2014, I was working full time AND going to graduate school part time (2 classes) – Ouch!  Those few months in particular were the hardest, by far.  Then.. school was kinda over!

Okay – there was the backstory.  So, this post is just going to show case the best bento lunches I made throughout Keri’s 2nd grade school year.  Enjoy!

This first lunch is from 09/11/13 – puppy dog lunch.  I took biscuits, cut the dough into shapes of dogs, used black beans for the eyes and nose, and inserted a hot dog as the mouth.  There are also cut out cheese bones, and homemade potato chips in here as well.  For the fruit, it is peaches and grapes.  I loved how cute this lunch was!




This next lunch is from 09/17/2013.  The sandwich may seem plain, bu I love the colors here and the little details – from the chicks, the hearts, carrot chips, and the homemade strawberry oatmeal bars.



The next three pictures are in the month of October.. Halloween!  I was pretty creative this month – I wasnt at school yet, and was able to concentrate more in cuteness.  I love a lot of Halloween ones, but these three are my favorites.

First one is on 10/01/2013 – The first Halloween lunch of the year!  (Btw – Halloween is my favorite holiday, which is why I go so all for Halloween bentos!)  This is the Frankenstein lunch.  They are actually square chicken tacos (so.. take a tortilla, put in chicken and cheese, shape it in a square and hold it with a toothpick.. and tell the child there is a tooth pick in there and not to eat the toothpick!) – love this lunch!  (The green circles are cut up cucumbers and green yogurt).



The next Halloween lunch is from 10/02/13.  This is the ghost lunch!  I have a thing for ghosts – I love them!  I actually did a few ghost lunches, but this is one of the originals, and Keri’s favorite.  It is a ghost cheese quesadilla, homemade ghost sugar / cinnamon chips with fruit salsa in the circle, ghost cheese sticks, ghost marshmallow, and ghost yogurt.  Love ghosts!



The last Halloween lunch I’ll show you was from Halloween itself, 10/31/2013.  Yippie!  Tried to make this one fun and to emulate trick or treating – the fruit is suppose to be “candy” – get it?  Loved this lunch!



Moving on.. to Christmas!  Have two bentos to show you from Christmas.. and I’ll stop there, b/c as I said, from January to April, the bentos are quite boring due to the issues listed up above (sorry!!).  This one is from 12/02/13.  Love the white and red colors!  And, I adore the mini little circle sandwich bites – I think they are so cute cut up this way.



The last lunch is from 12/09/13. This is the Christmas tree lunch.  I wanted the pirates booty to be like snow – then you got the mini Christmas tree sandwiches, and the veggie straws as grass.  Then of course the cute little fruit in red / green colors.



Check out the rest of the bento lunches on my Pinterest board:  Bento lunches for Keri

Fox Birthday

Keri is 8 years old!!  Early on, she told me she wanted a fox birthday.  Now, she will deny it to this day.. but, the theme came from the song “what does the fox say” – we loved that song!  She gets embarrassed easily by it now, but loves it when she listens to it by herself.. otherwise, she is quite adamant that she hates that song, ha!  We have had a lot of fun with that song though!!

Anyways, so I knew from about March that she wanted her 8th birthday to be a fox / nature type of birthday.  First thing I had to do was get her outfit made.  I contacted the seller that made her Christmas outfit and wanted to know if she could make the exact same outfit.. just with a fox.  She did, and it turned out to be so beautiful!  Look at how big my little girl is!

Keri 3

I took the colors from the outfit and basically did her decorations and party around her outfit.  To start, lets look at the invitations!  I found these adorable cards at Michaels and knew I had to buy them and use them!  I also used my Create A Critter cartridge from my cricut to create the fox for the invitation, and this is what I came up with:


I had a lot of really good feedback from the invitations – a lot said it was my cutest invitation yet!  I loved them, think they turned out to be so cute!

Next, I had to work on my ribbon balls – I know from experience how long these things take to make!!  I decided this year, I would have 2 big ribbon balls, and make 6 little ones for the entertainment center.  It took me about 20 minutes to make each small ribbon ball, and about 3 hours to make each big ball.  Dedicated.. but absolutely LOVE the end result!  Love my ribbon balls!

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For the entertainment center, I made 6 small ribbon balls.  Keri wanted to contribute too!  So, she drew 6 different foxes, and put them beside the ribbon ball.  Very cute!

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My banners – Of course I had to have my classic banners!  Again, using the colors from Keri’s outfit, I made the banners “fit”.  AND, I finally discovered how to stick the banners to the plastic table cloths!  Glue dots!  Why have I not used these before?!  I have tried hot glue, double sided tape, “permanent mounting squares” (they are NOT permanent and do not stick to plastic.. at all!!), regular tape, clear mounting squares, scrapbooking tape, and.. is that it?  Well, none of that works.  The banners always fall!  So this year I thought I’d try glue dots.  Man.. I was so surprised.. the banners all stuck to the table cloths.. and STAYED up!  How cool is that?!  Glue dots rock.  Just saying.

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Food – well of course I had to limit myself to the colors of my choice.. so this is always the hardest.  I needed food that Keri would eat, matched my color scheme, and half healthy.  So this is what I decided:  mini bananas, tangerines, black & green grapes, chocolate dipped marshmallows, apples with cream cheese fruit dip, chocolate graham crackers with brownie dip, oreo cookies with mint chocolate chip cookie dough dip, banana bread, apple squares, and homemade graham crackers.  For drinks, I had bottled water, orange juice, and homemade lemonade.  Nice!  Loved the display.. as always, check this out – turned out so beautiful!

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For that backdrop – I used a sheet from Big Lots – they have a lot of really cheap sheets.  Well, when I say cheap… oh yes, I mean cheap.  Cheap in price.. and quality.  Despite hanging the sheet, I could still see the mini blinds clearly in pictures I took!!  So, I had to hang up two sheets – a thick white sheet.. with the cheaply made gray sheet on top.  It did the job for the backdrop!

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Next, on to the cupcakes and cake!  Keri wanted a chocolate cake and vanilla cupcakes, so that is exactly what I did!  Both are eggless recipes so she can have them, and I think they turned out very cute!  I used the fox from the create a critter cartridge, and made “grass” for the cupcakes.  Simple, but pretty.  For the cake, I took the design of the fox on her outfit, and made that fox.  I asked Keri what color she wanted her cake to be – she said green.. I think it turned out beautiful!  It is covered with marshmallow fondant, green as she asked.  The little flowers – Keri helped me make these!!  We stayed up pretty late one night making these little flowers.  She played with fondant while I did the cutting (well, she actually did half of the flowers, I just rolled the fondant for her) – and she helped me “glue” all the centers onto the flowers – great teamwork – and they turned out so pretty!  The only thing I had to fix was the legs on the fox.  I made the mistake of not using pure gumpaste with the legs – I used a mixture of fondant and gumpaste, so as soon as I removed the paper towel from under the legs.. they broke, ACK!  I freaked out!!  So, I had to get out the gum paste again and make them again!  Here’s pictures of the fox, cake, and cupcakes:

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And here is the table and how I decorated it for the party:

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The mantel – I was decorating this while the house keepers were here.. and had issues with the flowers.  I wanted real flowers, but the real daisies I bought wouldnt fit in the long skinny vases!  So, we went to buy these flowers, and I think they looked really nice with Keri’s pictures there!  Loved how it turned out.

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Party favors!  Oh my… I went slightly overboard.  Okay, here was my honest, original plan.  Seriously.  I had no clue what to do for party favors.  A week before her party.. I still had nothing for her party favors!  Then I realized that Keri wanted a fox / nature party (duh), and what is more nature than bird seed feeders?!  I had all the ingredients, so one night, I made 20 bird seed feeders out of my leaf cookie cutter.  They turned out really cute!  (I know I have a picture.. somewhere.. but cant find it – if I do find it, I’ll update this post to show you what they look like!)

Next, I found these milk cartons at Michaels that I really, really, wanted to work with – Had to have them!  So, I bought them and all the little accessories (tag, twine), and went for it.  I wanted to fill these up with whoppers.  So, this was suppose to be it.. bird seed feeders, and a milk carton of whoppers.  How did that turn out?  Well… I went to Michaels (I go there a lot around her birthday!), and bought some burlap bags for the bird seed feeders.  I also searched everywhere (party city, target, costco) looking for a huge carton of whoppers.  No luck.. so, I bought a huge bag of M&Ms at Party City instead.  Got home with my burlap bags.. and guess what?  The bird seed feeders dont fit.  Nope.  And the M&M bag.. yeah.. it would have taken like 6 of those bags to fill up those milk cartons, and I thought that was way to expensive.. and a ridiculous amount of money.  So, instead of returning the small burlap bags and M&Ms.. I just decided to fill those up with the M&Ms!  It worked!  And, they look cute.

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I went to Michaels (again), and bought bigger burlap bags for the bird seed feeders.  They were a little too big.. but, that was all I could find!  Again, cute!

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Then, we went to HEB, and I saw boxes of whoppers that were buy 2, get one free.  We got six boxes (they are like movie size boxes – the big ones.. so, not cartons, but still a decent size).  I made six of them work.. and filled up 18 milk cartons about 3/4th full with whoppers.  Now, let me tell you something.. these milk cartons ended up being a pain in the royal behind!!!!  They are so incredibly cute, but are ridiculous to close.  The “sticky” tape on there.. does not hold, at all.  I “closed” all of them one night, and in the morning, all 18 of them were open again.  So.. I got out my hot glue gun, and closed them again.  Well, the hot glue gun stuck to the “sticky” side.. and peeled right off.. and didnt stick.. so an hour later.. all were open again.  Ugh.  I finally had to basically gorge the thing with hot glue to get them all to stay closed, was such a pain!!  But still.. cute.

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But wait.. what about the bird houses?  Impulse buy.  I went back to Michaels to buy the large burlap baggies.. and saw the bird houses there for $1 each.  I had bird seed feeders.. I needed bird houses!  Totally an impulse buy.. bought them, what was another $18?!

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Here is the final table.. incredibly cute!

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Next, the signs.  Of course I have to have signs.  I used my cricut and created the fox to make the signs.  The outdoor sign was my favorite though – turned out so pretty.  Just as I love glue dots, I also love spray glue!  Spray glue is how I glued the paper on the poster board.. and on the cardstock – it is easy to work with, and quick to apply.  It takes a while to dry, but I just let them dry overnight and they were done.


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The last picture I’ll leave you with is my beautiful little girl holding her cake in front of the dessert table – she was so pretty, and I love this picture!  Happy 8th Birthday Keri!!

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Valentine’s Day 2014

I wasn’t quite sure what to do for Valentine’s Day this year – I was running a little bit behind, and only had a couple weeks to think of something.  Keri was really into the loom bands, and came up with the idea to make bracelets for her friends.. I loved the idea!  I found the valentine’s day card on Pinterest, and went with it – we made 21 bracelets in one week!  We had to order the red and pink bands from eBay b/c at the time, I couldnt find them anywhere locally.  (They are everywhere now.. just have no know where to look!).  We tagged team doing them, I put the bands on, and she did the actual making of the bracelet.  They turned out so cute!



Here is a close up of the valentine:



Now, I wanted to personalize the valentiens to make it extra special, so on the back this is what we did:


All of Keri’s friends loved them!  And best of all, they were not candied valentines!  They were a practical valentine, hand made, and such a wonderful personalized touch for Keri to give to her friends.

But now.. the valentine day box!  Again, short on time, and we made this the day before her valentine day party with her playgroup friends.  So, I used last year’s idea, spray painted a box pink, cut a slit, and had Keri decorate it with stickers.  This is how it turned out:




Pretty cute!  This was a cold valentines day party!!  Keri was dressed in long sleeves, but of course she was playing on the playground so was fine.. but the moms were freezing!!  Nevertheless, she had a great time and received lots of valentines:



But that wasnt all!  The next day was actually Valentine’s Day.  Of course I had something special for Keri.  Please excuse the pictures, for some reason they turned out blurry.. not sure why!  But, she received a teddy bear to decorate, valentines day stickers, chocolates, valentine date notebook, heart pillow, flowers, candied necklaces, and valentine’s day pajamas.  She enjoyed her gifts!



And that was it!  It was a wonderful valentines day – and lots of fun making these valentines!



Elf on the Shelf 2013

She’s back!  Yep, Sparkles returned and we had so much fun with her this year!  I work now on weekends, so even my husband was involved with the elf!  Here are the adventures of Sparkles for 2013.  And, great news.. I have a picture of every day this year!  Yippie!

Day 1:  Sparkles Arrival.  Today Sparkles arrived.  I wrote a nice little arrival note (okay, I took a picture of the elf.. but not this note.. sorry!) – but again, the note is basically saying Sparkles is here to have fun with Keri, report back to Santa about when a good time for him to visit would be, what kind of lights we have on the house for the sleigh team to find us, what the weather conditions are like here, etc.  I do not do the whole “elf shows up and reports back to Santa if you have been good / bad” or using the elf has a weapon towards getting good behavior.  Dont do that in this house!  Elf is purely for fun here.. and we sure did have FUN!

Day 1 - elf arrival

Day 2:  Sparkles decided to get the Christmas bows, hang them on the cabinets in the kitchen.. and hang upside down from them!

Day 2 - Hanging Bows

Day 3:  And.. begins the weirdness.  Yes, I am weird; therefore, Sparkles is weird.  Ha!  This is one happy elf.. putting post it notes all over Keri’s door!  NOTE:  If you try this one.. you will need tape!!  We did this shortly after Keri went to bed, and about 1/3rd of the post it notes already fell off – Had to tape up several before I went to bed.  The stickiness is not enough to last the whole night.. much less a couple hours!  So, use tape to put them on the door.  And before you ask, yes, my very observant daughter notices there was tape on some.. and not others.  Awesome.  SO… double sided tape, use a long piece and loop it around on the back.. whatever you gotta do!

Day 3 - Happy Elf

Day 4:  Keri lost a tooth!!  This was an impromptu elf improvise because of that.  I made the little tooth box for her a long time ago, before she started to lose any teeth.  The box makes it a lot easier to find the teeth at night!  She also gets two $1 coins for each tooth.  So, Sparkles decided that she was going to help out the tooth fairy and cut out a bunch of teeth and put in the box to get more money.  Didnt work.  Nice try Sparkles!  (Whatcha think of the note the Tooth Fairy left under Keri’s pillow?  Loved it!!)

Day 4 - Elf meets tooth fairy

Day 5:  Sparkles hanging from Keri’s slinky from the top floor.. Just hanging around!

Day 5 - Elf hanging from slinky

Day 6:  Keri wrote a note asking Sparkles for eggless donuts from the North Pole again.  So, someone woke up at 5:00am to make eggless donuts for Keri.  (HINT:  It wasnt the elf!).  Even made a tiny donut just for Sparkles.. isnt it cute?!  They werent bad donuts – they were made from the refrigerator biscuits.. just fried, and chocolate frosting.  They would have been better to eat immediately after making – but about 2.5 hours elapsed before we had them.  She still loved them though.. thought they were the best thing ever – but, she doesnt know any better since every single donut place here has eggs in it!

Day 6 - North Pole eggless donuts

Day 7:  The Cats Will Not Eat Me.  Oh yes, we brought the cats into the elf shenanigans.  You have probably seen the notes by now.. Yep, I used notes this year to communicate with Keri!  Well, this day the elf came was a very very bad mistake.. You see, Keri had a beautiful picture of Santa, her elf, etc. on the chalk board.  But, it was so early in December.. I didnt think she made it for Santa!  I thought she was drawing, so didnt think twice about erasing it.  So.. I erased it.  When Keri woke up and saw this, she broke out into tears!  She was very angry and sad at Sparkles for erasing her drawing.  Oops.  I felt so bad!!!  I tried to make light of the situation with the cats will not eat her thing.. kinda helped, but note to all parents out there.. if your child draws a picture on the chalk board.. do not erase it!

Day 7 - The cats will not eat me

Day 8:  So this note has a lengthy P.S. about being sorry about erasing her picture.  Anyways – so Sparkles decided that she wanted to take all the candy canes to feed to the reindeer at the North Pole!  Guess she didnt get out in time!

Day 8 - Elf taking candy canes

Day 9:  Sparkles returns back from the North Pole.. with all the candy canes, plus more, stating that Santa sent her back refusing to give the candy canes to the reindeer b/c they make them hyper.  Ha!

Day 9 - elf returns candy canes

Day 10:  Sparkles wraps up the TV!  It was all great and awesome.. until after she went to bed when I had an hour to waste until I could take it down and move Sparkles around!!

Day 10 - wrapping the tv

Day 11:  Okay, this one.. I have no idea what is going on here.  I was bored, didnt know what to do with the elf – so.. just set up a bunch of shoes and put Sparkles in the front.  What she is doing with the shoes.. I have no idea!  Being weird!

Day 11 - doing something with shoes

Day 12:  Sparkles raided Keri’s socks and hung them on the counter.  What, what?!  Weird little elf.

Day 12 - got bored hung socks

Day 13:  Sparkles had a rough day.  She fed the cats catnip.. and they chased her all night long due to being hyper.  Oops.  The note also mentions how awesome Keri was for helping to clean her room.. made it easier to put the socks away!

Day 13 - Sleepy Elf

Day 14:  We had a Christmas Party this day, so I needed Sparkles to be out of the way and hidden.  The only way I knew how to do this was to have Sparkles in daddy’s office!  The elf decided that she would have fun in daddy’s office making copies of herself and hanging them on the wall!  Silly elf!

Day 14 - elf making copies

Day 15:  So this one had a note that accompanied it.  In case you cant read it.. Santa came to that Christmas Party yesterday!  So, Sparkles is explaining how hard it was to keep it a secret that Santa was coming, that she was proud of Keri for sitting on Santa’s lap (Keri first cried when Santa came over!!).  She also told Santa that Sparkles is weird and crazy.  So, Sparkles is defending herself saying she is not weird.. the cats are weird.. she is not.  Love this little elf!!

Day 15 - elf in lemonade dispenser

Day 16:  We had a problem with sharpened pencils.  Seriously.  We had soooo many pencils in this house.. and not a single one was sharpened!  So, I bought a brand new pencil sharpener, and Sparkles (i.e. me) decided to sharpen every single pencil in the house for Keri.  Problem Solved.  Except for Sparkle’s little toe.. dont poke yourself with a sharp pencil, that hurts!

Day 16 - Sharpening Pencils

Day 17:  Photo shoot with bunny!!  Bunny is Keri’s stuffed animal she has had since she was about 13 months old.  She has loved this little bunny and she sleeps with it every single night.  Well, Sparkles decided to do a little photo shoot using my photo back drop of bunny!  You can see my awesome photo back drop.. sort of.  The photo back drop was there to take pictures when Santa was here a few days ago.  And yeah, the camera actually had pictures of bunny on it when we reviewed it!  Sparkles is a good photographer!

Day 17 - Bunny photo shoot

Day 18:  Seriously, what does the fox say?!??  I love this song.  I can’t get enough of this song!  When I found out there was a book coming out of this song, I knew I had to get it!  I had this planned out in a month in advance.. just waited for that book to come.  Also bought a little stuffed animal fox, of course.  Although, to set the record straight, I disagree with the elf’s lesson.  The fox really does say “ring a ding ding” – why else would there be a song AND a book about it if the fox didnt!?

Day 18 - what does the fox say

Day 19:  Do you know how hard it is to make paper airplanes?  No?  I gave up.  Yep.  I cant make them.. at all!!  I watch a YouTube video.. made one.. and immediately forgot how I made it, and gave up.  Here comes husband.. he made all the rest of the paper air planes – I wanted them all different!

Day 19 - airplane circle

Day 20:  I knew they had an elf coloring book.. and I wanted it!!  So, I used this opportunity to say “good job” to Keri for reading her book, and to get her this coloring book.  She has done quite a few activities / coloring pages in it – so yay!  (Even after Christmas, she still continues to color in it.

Day 20 - Elf coloring book

Day 21:  Talk with Furby.  Furby is annoying.  Seriously.  (And, to top it off, she requested (and got) a Furby Boom for Christmas.. b/c this Furby – the older version – was “lonely”.  Awesome.)  So of course the elf was trying to decipher what Furby was saying.. I dont think the conversation went anywhere.   All this Furby says is “blah blah blah!”

Day 21 - elf talking to furby

Day 22:  This one my husband did b/c I was at work.  At least it is a picture.. but not the best picture (sorry!) – so let me describe what is going on.  In my daughter’s art room, we have a huge bulletin board that she can pin all her artwork to.  (You can see that in the background here).  I copied 8 selfie pictures of the elf and told him to hang them on the bulletin board and have the elf look at them.  You can see one in the picture.. I promise there are 8 of them hanging!

Day 22 - elf admiring self

Day 23:  Husband did this one again.  Needed an easy one since I was going to be at work – so he set up Sparkles fishing with the fairies.

Day 23 - elf fishing with fairies

Day 24:  Sparkles said good bye!  Except, it wasnt the good bye that we had planned.  Keri caught the flu!  On the 23rd, we went to go see the nutcracker, and between intermission and the time we came home, she spiked a fever.  I knew it was the flu b/c two other kids from her class had confirmed cases of the flu just a few days prior.  So, she went to bed on the 23rd with a fever and feeling horrible.  Sparkles left her a goodie bag on her last day there and a nice little good bye letter.  Keri took it much better this year compared to last year.. no tears!  But, I think it may have been b/c on Christmas Eve when she woke up and saw this, she was still running the fever and felt horrible all day!  Nevertheless, we will miss you Sparkles – Thanks for the awesome and amazing times!

Day 24 - Elf says goodbye

As always.. I shall leave this post with a couple pictures of my beautiful little girl and her elf.  She loved the adventures of Sparkles – and I loved every moment of planning to improvising to last minute changes with this elf.  We love you Sparkles!

photo 3Keri with her eggless donuts.  Mmmmm!

photo 2

Keri coloring a page for Sparkles – Loved this moment!  She sat and spoke with Sparkles for quite some time and colored a bunch of pages for her!

photo 1

I wanted a picture of Keri with her beautiful Christmas outfit and Sparkles.. this was all she gave me, ha!

<Have one more picture of Keri and Sparkles.. on another camera not downloaded yet.  Will get that on here soon!>

Nursing School Graduation

It’s official!  I’m a B.S.N.!  YES!  I have graduated Nursing School.. I’m done!!!  But that’s not it.. I have more good news.. X 2.  First, I have a job offer at a psych hospital working with adolescent girls.  Perfect!  It puts on a lot of pressure to pass that NCLEX first time and as soon as possible.  No worries, (or.. minimal worries), I decided to take the HURST Review to get down and dirty with studying for this thing.

And what is the second piece of good news you might ask?  I’ve been accepted to graduate school!!  DOUBLE YES!!  I will be starting January 2014, and will be in the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program.  My life is so amazing right now 🙂

Back to the graduation ceremony!!  We were accelerated, so we did not get a traditional ceremony – because we are accelerated (story of our lives.. we didnt get to do a lot of things – because were accelerated, boo!)  So, we had a pinning ceremony.  I asked Keri if she would pin me, as it would mean the world to me, and she agreed!  She was very nervous when we arrived though, and didnt want to do it when she found out she would be sitting alone.  However, she was very very brave, and I am so proud of her!!

So here is how it when.  Keri sat, all alone (daddy and Grandpa were about 10 rows behind her) on the pinner side.  I sat on the other side.  I was the 3rd one in line.  I got up on stage, and the moment they called my name, BOOM – tears.  Yep.  I was the only graduate with tears – emotional sap I am, I mean.. REALLY?!  I couldnt even hold it together to walk across the stage to get pinned by my daughter!?  So yep, I was in tears by the time I met with my daughter.  She put in the cord around me (it had the pin attached) and I gave her a giant hug.  The audience (a reaction I was totally not expecting) just said “Awwwww” – Made her feel embarrassed, and me just emotional!  Then after we posed for a teary eyed picture for the photographer, Keri started to walk back across the stage, and got mixed up of where she was suppose to go – and the audience gave a cute laughter.  More embarrassment for her!  It was just so beyond cute, meant the world to me, and made me one proud mommy.  I think I was more emotional about her pinning me than anything – this was a huge step for her!  She has this fear of getting in front of people, and she did it!  Beyond proud!!

Pictures!  YES!  Okay.  Few pictures to share with you 🙂  I’m working on getting the ones from the professional photographer – so will update this post if I do buy those (we’ll see exactly how teary eyed I am when he took those.. ha!) – but here are the ones after the ceremony.

This first one is Keri putting the cord on me.. again.. outside.  Why?  Because inside, I swear to you I was an emotional wreck!!  Have I mentioned how proud I am of my little girl?!??   (Okay, to prove what an emotional sap I am – I am getting teary eyed just typing this!!  One proud momma who loves this little girl so much!!)



Picture of me and my step-dad.  I wanted this picture for two reason.  First, I have very few pictures of me and him!  Second, I wanted a picture of the two of us for my mom since she couldnt make the ceremony – I thought she would like a picture of both her husband and daughter together!


Next.. my beautiful family 🙂  You can see the cord / pin here good too:



Lastly.. my favorite picture of all – my new Facebook profile picture, at least for a while 🙂  Me and my little girl.  This was a beyond awesome day, and loved every moment of today!



Next stop.. passing the NCLEX, working as a psych nurse, then attending grad school in January!  Yay!!


Pizza & Pool Party

Yesterday we had a pizza and pool party at my mom’s house.  It was so much fun!  We invited a few friends over, went swimming, had pizza.. and best of all, CUPCAKES!  Well, okay, the best part about this event was having friends over.  It was an awesome day 🙂

I had to keep this event pretty small due to the size of my mom’s pool, but I think we had the perfect size group.  Only one friend wasnt able to make it due to an illness, but everyone else showed up!  We started at 10:00am, and the last guest left at about 4:00pm.  Wow!  You were actually in the pool for 6 hours!!!  (9:15ish to 3:15ish!)  Amazing!

Everyone swam for a bit, then.. pizza time!

Kids eating - pool party - 07-19-13

We set you guys down on the lower deck b/c of of the wasps.  Those wasps..!!  I think I was the most terrified by them since I was stung by a little one last weekend, but man.. these big ones creep me out!  I didnt see any small ones actually, just the really big ones.. wow. 

And some pictures of you and your friends.  This is of you, Hailey & Blake.  You just love Hailey!

Keri, Hailey & Blake - pool party - 07-19-13

And this is when peer pressure.. well.. WORKS!  We have been swimming at grandma’s pool for a very long time now – all summer!  We go over at least once a week to swim, and this week alone, we have been over 3 times!  I cant get you to jump off the side of the pool – you wont do it.  But, when Hailey and Alli do it.. you jump 🙂  I got video of this, but took a picture of you three girls before one your jumps into the deep end.  I’m so happy you are a good little swimmer!

Keri, Hailey & Alli - pool party - 07-19-13

And of course before everyone went, I had to get a group shot!  Love the group shots of you and your friends.. just something to always remember your friends by as well as your ages.  You guys are getting so big!

Keri & friends picture - pool party - 07-19-13

But, the highlight of the day was Becca’s new underwater camera.  It was amazing!  I have two pictures to share.. first one is of you and your friends – sooo cool!

Keri & friends underwater - pool party - 07-19-13

And lets see.. here in this picture you have Ava, you, Hailey and Alli.  But, the best pictures of the day were the individual pictures that were taken of several of you!  Carmen took this picture of you and I am so in love with it:

Keri underwater 07-19-13

Just amazing!  Love get togethers like this.  It was so much fun!

Valentine’s Day 2013

I’m behind!  The last post I posted was about the Elf On The Shelf.. and it isnt even complete.  Still working on that, promise.  Today’s post is playing catch up – celebrating Valentine’s Day!

Keri’s school doesnt celebrate Valentine’s Day – boo.  Still love the school 🙂  So, how does she get to enjoy the exchange of valentines?  This is something all children do!  Well, we do a little valentine’s day party through her playgroup – and she loves every bit of it.

I always do something special for the valentines.  The past 2 years, I have homemade valentines.  One year, I made chocolate hearts with a personalized valentine that had a picture of Keri and the friend the valentine was for.  Last year, I made valentines with little animals on it using my cricut.  This year.. I didnt have time.  I’m in nursing school!  But, there is a way to be cute.. just not homemade cute, but store cute.  Here is what I did.

In my craft box upstairs, I had these little hearts that I needed to use.  So, I took candy hearts and filled them up.  They looked a little like this:


I put a bow on them.. and secured the candy in the heart with a little band on them:


Next, I needed a little bag to put them in.  I found these adorable animal and heart bags at Target that was a perfect craft project for my daughter to assemble.  Here she is working on them.



Next, she had to personalize them!  She wrote every name of her friends on the back.  She is getting good with her writing!


Here is a picture of all the little animals together – sooo cute!



Couldnt have asked for a more cuter little project for my 6.5 year old to do!  She loved assembling these and they were the perfect age appropriate valentine day project for her.  Her friends at he party loved getting them too!  She chose the fox for her own:


But now we had to make a valentines day box to put all those valentines in!!  This is where a shoe box comes in.  Amazing how creative you can get with a shoe box!  I took a shoe box of Keri’s shoes and spray painted it pink (had to be pink, what other color?!). Next, I cute a rectangle in the lid and outlined the cute with ribbon (the cut wasnt straight, so the ribbon just hid the jagged edge of the cut).  I put jewels in each of the corners to conceal the edge of the ribbon.  I printed out her name with the cricut machine as well as a couple animals she wanted.  She wanted an orange kitty.  Why orange?  I have no clue.. had to be orange.  Okay then!  She also wanted two hearts on each side of the cat.  After all this.. it was now Keri’s turn to decorate it!



Here is the finished box.. ready for the party!



Party was a success!  Sort of.  Keri had soccer practice that afternoon, and I gave her the option of skipping out of soccer practice (where, I would actually come pick her up from school about 10 minutes early), and go directly to the party – she didnt want to!  She wanted to go to soccer!  I told her that we would be about 45 mins late to the party.. and her friends would only be sticking around for about another 45 mins – she was okay with that.. so, that is what we did.  The weather was brutal too!  It was soooo cold!!  It was an excellent turn out, and everyone stayed until we arrived to exchange the valentines, but they left shortly after.  It didnt bother Keri – she saw her best friend, Hailey, at the party and was thrilled to get her valentines!


Lovely little soccer outfit, eh?  Very valentine like.. not.  Tis okay – shows her personality I think.. 🙂  Here she is surrounded by all her valentines:



And.. when am I typing this up – May 4th, awesome.  Nursing school, BLAH – I need more time!!  Only reason why I am able to type this up now is because I have a week long break where I have the time to do so – thankfully!!  Trying to get all caught up.  Anyways, 3 months after the party, we still had valentines candy left over.  Pretty sure I just threw out that candy a couple days ago when I picked up my scrapbooking room too.

A couple days after the party.. it was valentines day!  Time for gifts!  I searched for the perfect valentines day gift to get Keri and came up with the following:  little pink elephant (which, Keri named “elfy”), owl craft, lots of stickers, chocolate covered oreo (which.. she didnt want / like, so I ended up eating it, ha!), chocolate from the chocolate factory and a cute puppy valentine necklace.  Here she is opening up the gifts:



Pretty smile 🙂


She was looking at the puppy on the bracelet here!


And.. all her gifts.  Ohh, and fake hair strips – you can see those in the picture too.  She never wore them, but they were still cute, had to get them.  She will wear them, eventually – she always does!

Well – that was valentine’s day for 2013!  A lot of fun.. and so much chocolate!!







First Week To School – Bento Lunches!

It’s been a while!  Sorry about that.. kinda been tied up with something called.. oh Nursing School? 🙂  But you dont want to know about that.. you want to know about how Keri’s first week of school went!  No?  Okay fine, bento lunches!!

First, you’ll notice a change in lunch box!  I’m still trying to get use to it.. I think I like it, but heavily missing the planet box right now (last year’s bento lunch box).  I still have it.. and still plan to use it from time to time, but right now, Keri is in love with her new bento box!  So, I’ll work with it.  She wanted a new lunch box, I wanted it to be Bento.. so, we came up with the Yubo lunch box ( – Cheaper than the Planetbox, so that was a plus, and still adorable!  The only drawback to this bento box is it doesnt keep things cold very long.. That ice pack is kinda worthless.  Thinking about changing the ice pack out to something more efficient for next week.. will have to play with it, see what fits!  But, the bento box is pretty neat and the changing face plates is another plus!  Plan on ordering Halloween and Christmas ones soon too 🙂  Oh, and one more note – I would not recommend this lunch box for kiddos in Kinder or younger.  It took Keri (who is 6 – in first grade) some practice to open up these containers!  Each container has a lid (unlike planetbox, where its a tray of sorts) – and they can be a little difficult to open, so fyi on that.

First day of school.. what to do, what to do.. Ah yes, how about a Hungry Caterpillar lunch?  I have been wanting to do this lunch all summer long.  We got this book a few months ago at Kohls (for their “Kohls Care” thing) – and I thought that would be an awesome lunch to do!  And, sure enough, others thought so too.  Google it.. it comes up!  So, I sent Keri off today with a Hungry Caterpillar Lunch!


Keri loved this lunch!  In fact, she didnt want to wake up and go to school this first day.. but when I told her about her lunch and she saw it.. it just brightened her day – love her smile!


Second day, an apple lunch.. with amazingly, no apples 🙂


Third day.. RAIN!  Can we please get some rain here in San Antonio?!  Was hoping it would rain.. we got sprinkles the other day, but I dont call that rain when it hits the ground and immediately evaporates (or sizzles, ha!) – So.. rain lunch 🙂


And for the record.. Every lunch that has had veggie straws in it, she leaves the veggie straws.  Why?!  She use to eat these things all the time and the mimic “grass” nicely!  Argh!  She’ll eat it.. just watch.. will continue to use it for grass.. she will eventually eat it!

Fourth day – pizza rolls – a hot lunch!  Remember, Keri has microwaves in her class, so she can heat lunches up.  She loves these homemade pizza rolls!


Last day (FRIDAY!) was a bunny lunch!  Was suppose to be a rainbow lunch, but forgot to get the stuff to make alfredo sauce.. (or be lazy and buy it in a jar, either way, I forgot to buy it the night before) – so.. bunny lunch it is!  Looks a tad bit different in this lunch box vs. the planetbox, eh?


As I said.. still getting use to the box, but will become more creative with these things as time goes on.. promise!  This is just the first week.  Oh, and GREAT news!  Keri lunches at school – she can order the pizza every Friday now so I dont have to send her left over pizza to school!  They changed it this year, so every Friday it is now a personal pan cheese pizza from CiCi’s and a fruit cup – perfect 🙂  So, only doing 4 Bentos a week.. but thats okay, I never took any pictures of Friday pizza days last year either b/c all you would see is pizza wrapped in foil!

I’ll leave you with this.. my little first grader on her first day of school.. I love this little girl!!


(Yes, I know the picture is not the best quality.. forgive me!  The subject though is still pretty darn cute!!)

A Sticky Subject

Keri has always been a sensitive girl – it is just how she is.. her personality.  She has never reacted to others telling her “no” or telling her what to do – she is a mommy / daddy kind of girl (mainly a momma’s girl).

In fact – Thursday, we went to the park to play with friends.  She and a friend had to go the restroom, so me and another mom went to the restroom with the girls.  There were 2 stalls – one was dirty.. and one was clean.  Keri opened the door to the dirty stall and my friend told her not to use that one, to come into the clean one.  Keri runs out of the bathroom and starts to get teary eyed that another mommy told her “no”!  I just explain to her why she said not to use that one and she was fine the rest of the evening.

But this doesnt just happen to other moms.. every now and then, her sensitive side comes through when talking with mommy or daddy.  Now, most of the time, she is extra sensitive when she is tired.. so the tired factor definitely played into this, but what happened tonight reminded me of the incident yesterday.

A friend came over to eat dinner last night.  She agreed to help me pick up an item from another friend’s house for Keri’s school (the school is doing a fundraiser in which they are soliciting donations for a silent auction to raise money, and a friend agreed to donate something.. but I never see her!  So my friend who came over tonight, who sees her and lives a lot closer to her than I do, agreed to go get the item to save me a drive).  So after she leaves, Keri goes upstairs and I go to the computer and email my friend to tell her another friend will pick up the item this week.

I was at the computer for 10 minutes.. seriously.

I went upstairs to take a shower.. and I see Keri hanging her artwork on the wall.. with glue.

Yep, glue.  Lovely.

I go over to her, compliment her artwork that she hung on the wall and ask her why she is using glue to hang everything.  She said because the scissors (plastic scissors) didnt cut the green tape on the table (we have some colorful tape that we gave to her to play with).  Uh-hmm.  Okay, but.. we dont use glue to hang things.

She gets tears in her eyes and breaks down.. she think I am mad at her and disappointed – I’m not..!  This is her art room – she can decorate it however she wants.. just not with glue!  I explain why we can not use glue on the wall – she understands and asks me to help her find the scissors to cut the tape.  We look for the right scissors, and find them.

Next, I casually ask about why she wanted to hang her pictures on the wall.  She responded that she wanted to make her art room pretty and hang the picture she brought home from school today, but I havent hung her bulletin board for her to pin stuff on the wall yet (true).  I tell her I have to get one additional board and we will hang them soon (promise!) and she can start hanging things on her bulletin board.  That response wasnt a good response..

Yep.. she gets teary eyed.. and breaks down again.  “So, you are going to take down all my art work??!  why??!” – Well, we have to hang the bulletin boards up and you can put everything right back up!  I tried to calm her down.. and decided it was best to just change the subject.

So, I address the picture she brought home from school.  I point to the beautiful picture on the wall and ask her “is this the picture you brought home from school?  Keri!  It’s so beautiful!!  And, you even added stickers on it?  How cool is that!” – She smiles, and says yeah, she really likes it.. but oh no.. not again..

Tears.  Why, what now??

“But, does that mean you dont like the rest of the pictures on the wall????”

Oh goodness.  Someone is tired!

“Oh sweetie, I love ALL the pictures on the wall – they are all so pretty!!”

Once again, I manage to calm her down, and suggest she does more stickers while I go shower.  She likes that idea.. and I set her up with stickers and go shower.

Wow.  I love my sensitive little girl.. she is my light, and I love the challenges she throws at me – her sensitivity always keeps me on my feet, makes me think carefully about how I react to situations and what I say to her.  I wouldnt change anything about her – and look.. look how proud she is of her artwork that she made at school.. and hung on the wall – with glue.  Love 🙂