Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ailey's Most Recent Stats

Ailey went to the doctor yesterday for an overdue well visit and vaccinations. Here are her stats:

She is 19 1/2 lbs and 30 1/2 in.

She's such a little thing! This could work for her though because she can pack some food away! She is my grazer, though....she just snacks all day, which is a good habit to be in.... Now, if only I could follow suite!:)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Best Realtor EVER!!!

I feel terrible that I haven't done this before now! I have to tell everyone here in blog-land about the most fantastic realtor anyone could possibly ever find. Her name is Cher and she's just amazing. Let me just give you the down-low on what she had to deal with concerning us and I think you will agree that she went WAY above and beyond what most realtors do.

First of all, we were looking in the $50,000-$65,000 price range. We did NOT want a fixer upper. We wanted to be able to move right in and be able to live in it with little or no repairs. We were using my VA Loan approval and they are VERY picky, so she had to deal with that, too. They have so many restrictions it would make your head spin. For the most part, houses in the price range we were wanting are major fixer uppers and usually foreclosures which have a tons of repairs needed, which the VA stipulated have to be done BEFORE closing, which usually the bank that owns the foreclosed property won't allow. Yeah, so now you are starting to see, right? Okay, so Cher showed us close to 30 houses, could've been more, I can't even remember any more, it was so many! She didn't get any money up front, only when we closed. She explained in great detail the whole stinkin' process in and out. We were newbies and didn't really know what was going on at first. She was super tenacious and was sending us any listing that looked like it might be a possibility and then any of the ones we decided were worth looking at she would show us. She also worked with us on our schedule as she was able and was so understanding about our kids and fussiness and eating times and nap times....She's worth her weight in gold, I tell ya! I'm not going to bore you with the crazy details and ins and outs of our 3 failed contracts and how she never got deterred or slowed in any way by that or how she kept on with the same zeal throughout the entire time or how she just pretty much became part of our family.... I won't bore you with all those details, no, I'll just tell you a bit more about her as a realtor.

She knows her stuff, people! Here is her info:

“Always There For You"

Cher Hislop, Realtor®


Top Gun Graduate

(254) 654-0090



ERA Colonial Real Estate

777 Indian Trail

Harker Heights, TX 76548

(254) 698-4300, Ext. 150

(254) 698-4498

You see all those acronyms under her name? Those are all the certifications and designations she has and here is what they stand for:

ERS- Relocation Specialist (can network with Realtors nationally and
internationally to assist buyers & sellers around the world)
ABR- Accredited Buyer's Agent (extensive training to assist buyers in the
process of purchasing their dream home)
Military Trained & Certified- (I need to change to this since I can work
with ALL military mortgage companies not just USAA)
GRI- Graduate Realtor Institute (Less than 10% of Texas Association of
Realtors 90,000 members have earned their GRI!!)
RCC- Residential Construction Certified (extensive training to deal
specifically with new home construction)
NAR- National Association of Realtors (not every Realtor belongs to this
elite group!)
Top Gun Graduate (an exclusive ERA training course which deals with sellers
and listing properties)
Seller's Security Plan and Buyer's Security Plan are also exclusive ERA
training courses as well.

She goes out of her way to stay current and knowledgeable about her business. She works crazy-hard for her clients and all in heels! Now that is talent!:) She's very personable and honest and she makes finding a home a non-dreary task. She's also so NOT a snob when it comes to price range. We've run into that before. We told a couple of realtors our price range and they all but laughed in our faces. Yep. Cher is not like that at all! She puts the same energy and enthusiasm into finding a $60,000 house as she does a $260,000 house. She has an amazing work ethic!

She also helps out with rentals if you are not looking to buy. Another service she provides is placing you with a realtor out of state if you are moving out of Texas. She very much cares for her clients!

So, I highly recommend her (if you haven't already figured that out;) and encourage you to give her a call.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Robot Birthday Party Bash

Its taken me nearly a month to get this post done, but I thought I would share my Robot Birthday Bash planning. Of course, there are pics from the boys' party, too.:) I found so many neat ideas online and am so grateful for all the people who shared, that I want to share, as well.

The boys had their party on June 5th and this was what was included in the party:

For Games/Activities, we did a Spare Parts Scavenger Hunt, colored Robot face masks, Robot Freeze Dance wearing the face masks, made edible robots out of marshmallows and pretzel sticks, Pin the Button on the Robot and a pinata.

For food, we had hot dogs labeled "Robot Fuel Cells", cheese puff balls labeled "Ball Bearings", chips and guacamole labeled "Computer Chips", chex mix labeled "Nuts & Bolts", fruit and veggie tray labeled "Robot Bits", dressing for veggies labeled "Robot Grease", Punch labeled "Robot Oil", condiments labeled "Spare Parts". I also had sweet and unsweet tea and water on hand. We had a robot cake and cream soda icecream to top it all off.

There were take home goody bags for all the kids, too.

Here are the "recipes" for the punch and cream soda icecream:

Cream Soda Ice cream

60 oz. Cream Soda
2 cans sweetened condensed milk

Pour ingredients into ice cream maker. Pack ice and rock salt in alternate layers around canister and plug maker in. Depending on how hot it is, it should take 30-45 mins. Basically, you want to wait until it stops mixing and your canister start spinning. That means it has thickened all the way. :) Keep an eye on your ice level and add more along with more rock salt as it melts to keep it as cold as possible!

Party Punch

2 liters lemon-lime soda
container of lime sherbet
jar of maraschino cherries in juice

In a LARGE bowl, pour entire jar, including juice, of cherries. Add all of the soda. Stir slightly. Dump entire carton of lime sherbet. Again, stir slightly to combine all ingredients somewhat. This punch looks a bit scary, but believe me it tastes great! Plus, it does a great job masquerading as robot oil.:)

***Bug Note*** One of our friends who attended the party said that she went to a party where the hostess had hung ziploc bags filled with water up around the food and it kept the flies and mosquitos away. I hung some up on our front and back porches and so far it seems to be working!

Here are the websites I found very helpful. They gave me lots of ideas!

This is where I found the robot face mask: http://www.womansday.com/Articles/Crafts/Robot-Mask.html

This was where I got inspiration for our robot pinata:

This is our pinata (it was taken before I had attached all the strings at the bottom...totally forgot to take a pic at the party):

Our robot is a pull and tug pinata instead of the traditional smash and grab kind (3 and 6 yr olds running around with a stick...yeah.;), so I found this on how to play tug and pull: http://www.pinatas.com/How_to_Play_Pull_Pinata_Party_Game_s/39.htm

This was also good source of info for making your own pinata: http://www.aokcorral.com/projects/how2sept2006.htm

This lady threw a robot party for her son and she has some great ideas: http://momtoz.wordpress.com/2009/02/23/zs-big-robot-birthday-bash/

I found this printable invitation and modified it : http://familyfun.go.com/assets/cms/pdf/printables/0407_martian_invite21.pdf

Here is the modification: Editable Invite 1 PDF

I found several robot clip art and coloring sheets by googling "robot coloring sheets" and just sifting through the image results, which I used for my banner and table decorations. Here are just a few:

Here is the robot banner I made:

I just put two holes using a hole punch on either side of each letter and each robot and then strung them on wrapping ribbon alternating robot, then letter ending with a robot.

This lady's blog is where I got my goody bag ideas and she has the templates for the bag toppers and also some invites that she created herself fo' free! :

For the table "center pieces" I got the idea from watching one of the episodes of the Dugger family when they were giving a baby shower: she took a roll of toilet paper and wrapped it in tissue paper. I just added some balloons on bamboo skewers and stuck them down in the middle of the wrapped tp :).

Found this site of a robot party and used her idea for labeling the food:http://karaspartyideas.blogspot.com/2009/11/robot-birthday-party.html

This is the itinerary, food labels & spare parts labels for the scavenger hunt:

I basically raided my recycle bin for the spare parts objects and then just covered them in foil and taped the labels on them. I then had one of the guests who arrived early hide the "parts" around the yard for the kids to find later.:)

To make the robot marshmallows, just get a bag of the stick pretzels, a bag of small marshmallows and a bag of large marshmallows. You just have the kids put the marshmallows on the sticks whatever way they want to make Marshmallow Robots....then you eat 'em!

For the Pin the Button on the Robot, I just drew a robot on poster paper and colored a red swirling button on him and then duplicated that same button on some paper glued on both sides of a circular piece of cardboard. I got one of those decoratable masks in the craft section at walmart and glued a piece of black felt over each eye hole. NO PEEKING!!!

For the cake, I googled "robot cake" and sifted through the image results until I found this one: http://www.cookiemag.com/food/party/2009/03/robot-party-setup?currentPage=3 . I just love this cake! I really wanted to try and make it, but when I showed it to Braden along with several other robot cakes, he showed next to NO interest in this cake. He wanted a much more colorful one! So, Braden and I got on the computer and came up with our own cake idea. Check it out below. You can also use the 2nd page on the template to print out a t-shirt transfer. Just a warning, though, I did that and then washed the shirts and the transfers peeled off in various places. :( :

Here are pics of the actual cake:

Now I know this cake is not super smooth, but before I smoothed it out using the neatest technique I have come across, it was VERY lumpy! Basically, the icing is a crusting buttercream and you let it crust up and then take a Viva paper towel and lay it on top and very gently and lightly rub your hand over it in small circles and it smoothes it out like a bakery style cake! The video demo is below.

It doesn't look exactly the way the paper one does, but it comes pretty close!

Viva paper towel method for smoothing icing video:

Now we have birthday pics for your viewing enjoyment:

Friday, June 4, 2010

A jewelry-makin' I have gone

I did it. I leapt in. I couldn't help myself. It started with a desire to make someone I love a very unique gift and well, its not stoppin' there!

Where before, I would peek into Hobby Lobby's or Michael's jewelry and bead aisle and avoid them with trepidation, I now purposefully tread. I have a mission and I have bead needs!

I'm not going to put a picture of the gift set I made because it is a surprise and I don't want to spoil it. After it has been given, I will put it on the blog. I do, however, have several other "pieces" I have made. I will admit that I did see some similar in a catalog and because they were crazy expensive, I decided I could make them myself, tweaked to my taste, of course. Oh and I'm thinking I will still have a jewelry party, cuz hello! free jewelry!;) So, here they are in all my novice handiwork:

This is a pretty long necklace. The beads are actually a smokey, gray glass, but the way the lighting was, it looks like its amber. Oh, well.
I think I'm going to end up modifying these earrings because they are just too long and heavy for my taste.

This was the second set I made.
The necklace is super long and I wrap it around my neck twice and it still hangs to about mid abdomen.
I thought these turned out pretty cute.

The bracelet had to be restrung a couple of times, but I finally got it to work! Yay!:)