Cars and Ribbons

Friday, August 24, 2012

Back to School Ideas

So the first day of school is coming and you have tons to for clothes, shopping for school supplies, special First Day of School dinner, Teacher Gifts, etc.  Where to begin?  Well, take a deep breath and handle one thing at a time.  Here are some tips to help you get things done.

School Clothes-I only buy a couple outfits for my kids at the beginning of the school year.  They still have some outfits we bought earlier in the summer that will fit.  When the temps start to cool down, then we'll go buy their fall clothes.  But there are some cute, easy to find outfits that are in style right now for kids.

Source: via Karlee on Pinterest

School Supplies-This can be a chore in itself.  We bought school supplies weeks ago before there was a mob at the store.  We found our supplies at either Target or Office Depot.  You can also order packs through most schools or already bundled at the grocery store.  These packs are a little more costly but eliminate lots of stress.

First Day of School Dinner (or breakfast or lunch or snack)-I always let my kids pick whatever they want for dinner.  It's their special day.  In fact, I have a special after school snack ready and then later we have dinner.  I have something great planned for this year. Here's a look at what we did last year.  Here are some other ideas:

Teacher Gifts-There are soooo many cute ideas for Teacher Gifts. I don't remember this always being so popular, but I see it a lot now. I think the teacher always enjoys getting gifts and it probably makes their day really special as well.

These are just a few ideas to help you make the start of school a little smoother. The internet has lots of great info too. Hope everyone has a great First Day of School!!!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Shine Your Light Candle Gift

My son was recently promoted at church and now attends the elementary Sunday School classes and Service.  However, I am so sad to see him leave the Preschool area, where he's been since he was 6 weeks old!  There are some special teachers that have taught him just about all of his life, so we wanted to give them a thank you gift.

I saw this very cute idea on Pinterest and decided to make our own version.

I went to the dollar store and found some cute candle jars and nicely scented candles.  I cleaned the jars with some glass cleaner to get rid of all the smudges.  I unwrapped the candles and just left on the top plastic cover.

I made some cute labels to stick to the jars with double-sided tape.  It says 'Thank you for shining your light into my life. -Matthew 5:14'.  Here is a simple version you can download or edit as you choose.

I also trimmed the edges with some special craft scissors.

I tied some twine around the bottom for a little extra touch.

It's a very simple thank you gift that is perfect for a special teacher.

Sharing this candle at these fab parties: 
Debbiedoo's Blogging and Blabbing, The Better Mom, Skip To My Lou, Home Stories A to Z, Crafty Texas Girls, Growing Home Blog, Elizabeth & Co., Uncommon Designs Online, Kristen's Creations, At The Picket Fence, Simple Home Life, Great Fun 4 Kids Blog

Friday, August 10, 2012

Branson Travel Reviews: Part 4

Hands down, my favorite show EVER!!!  This show started in my area and I know some of the people involved with it.  They were on America's Got Talent and the wives of one of the tenors runs a children's theater a few miles away from me.  I don't even know how many times I've seen this show, but it never gets old.  When I saw they were going to be in Branson the same time we were, I couldn't wait to take my kids to see it for their first time.

These 3 men are all classically trained tenors, performing at opera houses around the world, and have THE most amazing voices.  The show is full of silly humor, but the singing is phenomenal!

We sat in the 3rd row to the left of the stage, but had a great view.  I don't even know how many costume changes they go through, but it's hilarious.  Can you guess what song they are singing with these outfits?

Long live the King, even through Rednecks.

My daughter's favorite part of the show.  They are singing "You Light Up My Life".

And then, it went dark.  In the theater world, when you hear the expression "Broadway goes dark", it means there are no shows playing for whatever reason (weather, political reasons, in honor of someone).  Well, the Wednesday night we saw this show, the Branson strip went dark and not on purpose.  Just before intermission, all the power went out in the theater.  At first, we thought it was something new to the show, but all techies started coming out with flashlights and telling us the generator that had been running because of a storm had a hose bust.  Just so happened the storm affected most of the other shows in the area as well.

The great thing about these actors is they're great ad-libbers.  The guy in the orange is the writer and creator of the show.  He came out and talked to us, joked with us, told stories, and said they would do some a capella singing for us.  We actually turned the flashlights on our phones and shined them their direction so they could kind of see us.  They still sounded phenomenal!

We were told we could come back and see the show another night for free or see any other show playing in the theater.  That was a very easy decision for us.  We came back the next night for free and sat second row in the center.  Great seats!!!!

This is the narrator of the show.

Love the short shorts.

Doesn't this just look funny?

My son's favorite part of the show.

At the end of the second act, they come out as themselves and sing.  I get chills every time.

They tour all over the place and is a must see!!!

Showboat Branson Belle
This paddleboat dinner and show is a family favorite.  It's the one thing the kids talked about doing again since we were on it 2 years ago.  Once again, we got front row seats (thank you to our Welk reservationist!) and enjoyed our close-up view.

The dinner was delicious.  This is the kids meal:  chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, and green beans.

This is the adult meal:  chicken with cream sauce, beef tips, mashed potatoes, and green beans.  Plus, everyone got a corn roll, salad, and unlimited lemonade, tea, water, or coffee.

The kids dessert:  vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate syrup, chocolate cookie crumbs, and gummy bears.

The adult dessert:  key lime pie with a layer of raspberry filling, whipped topping, and drizzled with caramel sauce.  It was all soooo good!!!

There was a pre-show during dinner and then we were free to roam the boat until the  main show started.  The views were amazing.

The kids loved watching the big paddle.

The main show was very entertaining with the Showboat Band...

...a jazz piano player...

...a violinist...

...and the Showmen Singers.

Great food, great entertainment, and we enjoyed it all.

Montana Mike's
We asked the concierge at our resort for her recommendations on a great steakhouse and this is the name she said immediately.  So, we thought we'd try it out.  I wish I got pictures of the food because it was so good.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  The portions were very generous, the food was fantastic, and the restaurant had a great atmosphere.  Craig got the 8 oz sirloin and said it was tender and juicy.  Kaitlyn and I shared chicken smothered with bacon, mushrooms, cheese, and a honey mustard sauce.  So delicious and we were so full!  But you'll have to do a long workout to burn off all those calories.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Branson Travel Reviews: Part 3

For a really fun afternoon show, we decided to check out Buckets N Boards.  It's 2 guys that have their own percussion routine and it was A-MAY-ZING!!!!  We were lucky enough to get front row tickets so we got to see everything up close.  They were entertaining, funny, and so talented.  I really hope they tour in Texas.  It's something we all want to see again.

They played on buckets (hence the name)...

...they played recorders, with their noses (BTW, the one in the blue offered me one of his recorders after sticking it in his nose-I declined)...

...they played a neon drum set, in the dark, while wearing a neon wig and glasses...

...they played an entire song using squeaky dog toys...

...they got serious and played guitars and sang some sentimental songs...

...and they danced.

This review does not do the show justice.  Go to their site or Facebook page and see if they are touring to your city.  It is a must see!!!!

Grand Village Shops
More shopping!  Branson is full of unique little shopping areas and this one is my favorite.  It's a bunch of little specialty shops that surround a beautiful, quiet courtyard.  Right in the middle is the Big Rocking Chair.  So cute!

My favorite store is Kringle's Christmas Shop.  It takes up 3 store spaces and has every kind of Christmas decor that you can imagine.

They had a clearance table (YES!) and I found 4 of these black and silver striped ornaments.  They were originally $3 each and marked down to $1.50 each.  I snatched them up because they would go great with my white Christmas tree.  When we go to the register, they were marked down another 80%!!!  I bought all 4 ornaments for $3.  I love great deals like that!

Mel's Hard Luck Diner
One of the restaurants in the Grand Village Shops is Mel's Hard Luck Diner.  A 50's inspired diner, it offers something very unique as you enjoy your meal.

The servers sing!  And not just walk around singing for fun, whatever song comes to mind.  An instrumental track starts playing and they all take turns walking around, with a mic, singing a song.  They've all recorded their own CD's, so it's a way to promote their music.  Some sing just show tunes, another sings Disney classics, and lots of them sing Christian or Gospel songs.  My favorite part is when one female server started singing "Amazing Grace/My Chains Are Gone", 2 more servers sang harmony, and they would stand still and just praise God while singing.  In the restaurant!  With customers watching!  I love seeing people boldly sharing their faith like that.

There's a fun gift shop full of unique antique and 50's items, as well as CD's from all the servers.  It's something definitely worth checking out.