Halloween 2017! “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”

HAPPY DAY AFTER HALLOWEEN! I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable day for those who celebrate the holiday and also for those that do not. Growing up, I have never gone trick-or-treating. I got to wear costumes and go to a family member’s annual halloween party, but never door to door. My first trick-or-treat experience was as MAT had her first trick-or-treat experience. Sad I know. Luckily I had one of my besties showing us the ropes and the following year we tagged along with my sister-in-law.

Every year so far we have kept MAT and KAT in the Disney Princess theme.  Last Halloween The Empress Sisters were Beauty and The Beast. I spent hours making MAT’s Beast costume and realized then that the effort put into creating your own costumes makes a great impact not only on Halloween, but it builds up the kids excitement seeing their costumes come to life. This year I was bored with the princess idea because they dress up in that stuff ALL YEAR ROUND now.

MAT’s first Halloween 2014: Princess Snow White-Black!

KAT’s first Halloween 2015: Princess Jasmine & Princess Tiana!

Halloween 2016: Beauty and the Beast!

Knowing we wanted to do something different we were still STUMPED; especially when layering clothes for warmth is a must for us. We couldn’t make up our minds and was all over the place with ideas. One of my oldest friends from elementary school reached out and asked if the girls would be interested in some Halloween stuff that her nieces were too old for. Of course I said YES not knowing all she had, but keeping in mind the girls would enjoy seeing a box of Halloween goodies arrive on their doorstep. A box came with brand new pumkin carving and decorating kits, giant stickers, a game, and a Dorothy of Wizard of Oz costume. 

I was happy just having another option in their dress-up collection, but I didn’t think that would end up being the theme of this year’s Halloween costumes. When we reached the weekend leading into Halloween I gave up trying to figure it out and decided we are going to use what we got. After MAT let me know she was all in as Dorothy I had to quickly plan KAT’s co-star costume. Toto the dog was never an option. Call me a strange cat (pun intended), but I don’t even like them to play around as dogs in their normal play.

It would have been nice if we all could have had a family theme like I have been planning for years. Unfortunately when it boils down to it we wait until the final hours to execute a plan that we only have time to focus on the kids. Anyway, since I did not want KAT to be just one member of the posse Dorothy rounded up on her journey I figured I’ll make her the rainbow Dorothy sings about in the iconic song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. I sent my husband to a pool supply store for pool noodles and everyone thought I lost my mind this time. They couldnt see my vision. Being that it definitely isn’t pool season anymore our color selection of pool noodles were limited. So what does one do when the clock is ticking? You buy what they have and paint those suckers.

I was impressing myself with how cost effective my plan was and it was actually inspiring my creative process. I get a high on spending the least amount of money possible. I remembered we had extra cotton stuffing left over from KAT’s duvet and figured it would be dope to make little clouds at the ends of the rainbow. There was JUST ENOUGH stuffing. Whew?!  

Ok now how would a 2 year old carry a pool noodle rainbow? On a backpack! That was another project in itself. I wasn’t sure how I would attatch it to the backpack so I wanted to use an older and less expensive bag in case it needed to be sacrificed for the sake of completing the look. In the process I had to cover up the fox design on the bag. It had a good run, but there were juice stains that werent coming out anyway and it didn’t match the theme. In The Empress Mommy fashion I threw some glitter on it and brought new life to a bag that would have otherwise been tossed. Don’t worry I sealed the glitter.

Inside the backack was a Bluetooth speaker. It played “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland on repeat the entire evening. It was funny seeing the neighbors trying to figure out where the music was coming from. And that my friends is how the story of the rainbow went. Press play below to see and hear how it played out live.

 

 

Dorothy was pretty easy. However, Dorothy was known for putting on those sparkly ruby shoes and making her statement down the yellow brick road. I had to bring those shoes to life for MAT. We went to Wal-Mart to get a few art supplies and MAT spotted these adorable silver shoes. She noticed it had a heel on it just like Dorothy. My soon to be four year old saw the vision and it only cost me $14. I couldn’t have been more proud. So there I was buying my baby her first pair of heels (that hurt her feet by the end of the night… welcome to the club my child). She helped me craft these already good pair of shoes into ruby beauties. 

The down side to having your kids grow up is that the photos aren’t as easy to capture anymore. MAT had her Daddn’ wrapped around her finger and they zoomed from house to house. She wasnt waiting for her Rainbow sister to figure out how she was going to get her huge contraption on and off the neighbor’s doorsteps. Oops! lol.

I do have one final thought. Sometimes I get my feelings hurt because people think I “do the most”. I get the “I should have known you would do something like that” and it catches me off guard. I get in a zone when it comes to planning for my children and making beautiful things for them. They inspire me! They motivate me! If I am not pouring into my own children who will? I have talents that allow me to teach my children to be creative. Listen, you can buy all kinds of things these days (education included), but if it is NOT what you want then work hard to CREATE it. A cardboard box can become many things. #PeaceLoveAndSparkle

Quick Catch-Up!

HELLO WORLD!

I know it has been a while, but we have been on the go and honestly enjoying some quality family time! Between being a wife, a  stay-at-home-mommy (SAHM), and a momprenuer these days have been exhausting for myself and The Empress Sisters. I’ve done the whole stare at the computer screen for hours in college that now if I am tired, 5 minutes in front of this screen puts me to sleep even faster. So to keep this family in sync with each other we HAVE to hit the reset button… a few times.

One of my favorite things that we have gotten into was putting together my old Barbie Dream House at my parents’ house!!! We still have 2 storage containers of Barbie stuff to go through! I can’t wait to complete that project on our next trip to GG and Papa’s house so that we can share it with you all.

  

Last weekend was about Gardening 101 with GG! GG is my mom by the way. I do NOT  have a green thumb at all and I actually took these photos from the back door. The New Yorker in me never left. I DON’T LIKE OUTSIDE… unless it is bug free, spider web free, lizard free, rodent free and so on and so on and so on. About 3 weeks ago I was outside spray painting some paper flowers that I made and a not so lovely spider thought my foot was breakfast. Lets just say the antibiotics I got made me worse. My foot got bigger and I broke out in hives. So now you can laugh with GG at me tucking the girls pants into their socks to go on the back porch. LOL!

Moving on. My mom, aunt and I sometimes decorate for local events which lately I’ve had to make A LOT of paper flowers for. Not really a relaxing craft for me as it is very time consuming, but the outcome is usually rewarding. I had a few left over from a banquet and here is a glimpse of what I did with them to get them off of my dining room floor.

MAT’s Room

The girls say this prayer every night and I found this artwork at Hobby Lobby for $11 before Christmas!!!! I bought two and painted the wood frame gold for MAT and silver for KAT.

We always felt that  the wall needed more and couldn’t figure out what we wanted to put there. I am going to add a couple of green leaves in between, but so far I am pleased with the direction this is going. Guess I need to get some silver flowers going for KAT’s room now.

Here is another repurposed set of flowers that was done for a high school prom. We decorated the venue and also created a selfie backdrop for the students to take their own freestyle pictures in front of. After the prom some of the teachers got to take some home, but here is what one teacher made of her batch!

Prom Backdrop

Teacher’s Living Room Wall! Photo credit goes to her!

 

 

KAT’s Unicorn Party

Hi guys! Today I am starting with a heads-up note. Having a house party things got a little hectic. Please excuse any photos with blurred faces due to me not having time to take pre-guest arrival shots. I was still in my sweats and socks with coffee stains as guests began to trickle in. The crazy thing is when you tell people a time they usually arrive late. This time I told everyone 30 minutes earlier than the real party time and everyone came AT THAT TIME! On the bright side the kids were able to use all of the unicorn time that we had. Thanks to my personal photographer BB and my new friend Reggie for capturing these pictures!

Last year our family had a few obstacles to overcome. Some required us moving to 3 different cities abruptly all within 5 months. One of those moves was right at KAT’s first birthday and we had to cancel our party plans. So many people said “she won’t remember anyway” not realizing that only made my blood boil. Our children felt our stress. They too had to make adjustments. So this year we were determined to make some kind of magic.

In a later post I will share my handy work that I did to personalize the party decor and favors.  For now scroll down and experience the party too!

The goal was to find individually wrapped candies for the dessert table to keep the bugs away. It worked!

Unicorn Cake – Cake Couture Boutique

Unicorn Cookies – Bailey Lane Bakery

Cake Couture Boutique located in Raleigh, NC and Bailey Lane Bakery also located in Raleigh, NC provided the beautiful cake and sugar cookies. These vendors were so easy to deal with and reasonably priced. It was nice to just say “I would like some unicorns please” and get the response “No problem! I can do that”. All I had to do was pay and pick up. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezie! (Weirdest saying)

Anywho, you already know every event has its hiccups right? Aside from guests being on time (who does that?) the backdrop fell 2 or 3 times as I was getting ready. Leave it to my mother to try to rig it and not tell me. As for my amazing father who picked up the cake had to drive over approximately one thousand and one speed bumps in my neighborhood. The poor unicorn had ruffled her buttercream curls in her stable getting to us. Click on the family photo below to see a video clip of how KAT felt about Uni ( I secretly named the cake) . Oh and that cute stupid cake stand wasn’t sturdy enough for the cake. Refund please.

On to the UNICOOOOOOOOOORNS!!!

“ITS SOO FLUFFY IM GONNA DIE”- DESPICABLE ME

Many thanks to Pony Spot for providing such beautiful and sweet ponies as well as great service!

Yes it is a REAL unicorn!

Ok its a decorated horse. Use your imagination.

Meet Katy! That was my college roommate’s name… … … um I love you Katie lol (I did not name the unicorn)

The Empress KAT on her noble steed!

Intense grooming session.

80’s Prom here you come!

Considering the fact that The Empress Sisters had no nap, no real food of substance, and pretty much babysat themselves for the first half of the day I think they thoroughly enjoyed this party. Their brother-friend (friend who is like a brother) actually went home saying “we had a unicorn party and it was awesome!”. That right there folks was all the confirmation I needed to tell me that it was a success. Whether or not the adults enjoyed it (which they were considered and treated as well) , if their kids go home and harass them about unicorns then I have done my job.

Unicorn Fluff anyone?

Leotard – BeanPlantCo (Etsy), Skirt – The Children’s Place

Shirt- Marshalls, Skirt – Old Navy

Plotting her first task in her Tot-Nager Two’s

Thank You to everyone who celebrated with us and those that sent their love! We appreciate you all!

PLAYROOM MAKEOVER!!!!

We have been in our new home for almost a year now. In our old house we had a bonus room above our garage that dubbed as a playroom and a guest room. The playroom side was a bright orange and the guest room side remained a neutral shade of eggshell. While I was pregnant with KAT it was nice to lay in the guest bed and watch MAT play. Eventually it led to me watching them both play and the design of the room evolved.

I was laying in the guest bed when I took this photo.

In our new home we lucked out with another bonus room, but decided that this time we don’t need a guest room. We have small children who require a lot of STUFF. I can count on one hand how often we’ve had an overnight guest in the last three years. Im a big believer of creating your home for your own needs and likes than for other people that don’t live there. Not only that, but would you rather clean up your children’s rooms every day of toys, clothes and more toys or be able to just toss the toys in one room specifically for that purpose and close the door? I choose the latter!

So now here we are. I hated the paint they used to sell this house. Room by room we have been making this chalky taupe paint disappear. One room that drove me insane was the playroom. With the dull lighting, dull paint, and colorful toys with no special place to put them just gave me a headache. We didn’t want to invest in shelving and decor before painting. Here is a glimpse of what our current playroom looked like before. I don’t have many pictures in there because… because… well because it was just a hot mess (literally).

KAT never uses that cradle for dolls LOL!

I had an accent wall taped in a triangular pattern for months, but never went through with the design. Then one day a friend of mine called and said needed a place to crash for a few weeks and I thought, “Great. Now I have to paint and get this place organized”.  I ripped the old tape job down and took an easier route.  Here is my color palette.

Shout out to my husband’s taping skills! Im the painter *wink wink*.

These Valspar Signature colors are also used in the girls bedrooms. MAT’s room is painted in Coral Reef and KAT’s is painted in Classic Lilac.  I started with a base color, Sea Lilly for the entire room which would also be the border color for my geometric shapes on my accent wall. We chose a satin finish because in our experience it is easier to clean.  The next phase is where the fun really began! TAPING SHAPES!!! There was no method to it and to be honest deciding where I wanted to put the next line was quite therapeutic.

I painted one color at a time (2 coats).

I was so excited pulling the tape back to reveal my masterpiece! 12 hours on this wall alone was totally worth it! I couldn’t wait to bring everything back in. But first, how were we going to keep everything organized? CUBBIES! I always wanted a library of books for the girls and these ClosetMaid  cubbies from Lowe’s would allow us to create a library effect along with storage bins to hide away the hundreds of loose toys. The Mainstays Window Storage Bins I picked up at Walmart are perfect for my strong need for organization. Each bin is organized by theme (movies, tv shows, plush, kids meal toys… blah, blah, blah). The window in the bins allows The Empress Sisters to see inside for what they want BEFORE dumping each bin in a mad search! MOM WIN! Now all 4 cubbies are going to be stacked on one wall, but we haven’t mounted them yet. For safety reasons we will temporarily keep them how they are.

This temporary reading corner will become my office nook (one of a few). It would be nice to work and be close to my little empresses.

There you have it! The playroom makeover is far from complete, but the hardest job of painting and creating storage is DONE! Oh and one last thing… our old couch that we’ve had before the children makes for good seating up here for us parents. This playroom is finally PLAYDATE ready!