Tuesday, April 22, 2014

An Epic Branson Vacation

Can you believe that next month is the start of summer vacation? In just a few short weeks those oh-so-wonderful lazy days begin. This year my family is having a staycation, we'll be visiting all the attractions our home town has to offer. It will be a nice change from what we've had the last couple of years.

Last year was not my first time going to Branson, Missouri for vacation. Honestly, I don't even think it was my fifth time. Almost every year growing up that's where we vacationed. Last year, however, was the first time experiencing all of what Branson really had to offer.

There are a number of really great lodging places there. From hotels, to condos, to rental houses, to camp spots. They have whatever you are in the mood for and at some pretty reasonable prices. It's where I went on my honeymoon and the first vacation I took my oldest son on. As a family just starting out, we weren't exactly financially stable but we could afford to stay there. Last year was the first time we stayed in a rental house, though. We had a great time!

This place had seven master suites, it's own kitchen (where we had most of our meals), a living room, family room, screened it porch, and seven bathrooms. It was very hard leaving this house when the week was over.

Did I mention it also had a skee-ball and foosball table? The kids had a blast playing each other and there was only minor finger smashing involved.

The neighborhood had it's own swimming pool too. We spent most of the week right there. The toddlers even went down the water slides (with anxious parents waiting below).

No Branson trip would be complete without a visit to Silver Dollar City. Not much has changed since I was there as a child...except for all the awesome new rides they've added. You can still tour the Marvel Cave, watch some great shows, and shop till you drop. Can I recommend a visit to Brown's Candy Factory for some yummy taffy or perhaps you'd rather watch the master craftsmen at work? Either way you are sure to have an excellent time.

They even have a little kid area with rides that are perfect for toddlers or kids too afraid to ride the bigger ones. We had to visit this area both days we were at the park.

While in Branson you have to make time to go to Dixie Stampede. They put on a fantastic show while you dine. Make sure you volunteer your kiddos to chase the chickens. My niece and daughter thought it was hilarious chasing those chickens around the field.

(My chicken chasing girl)

If a rodeo style show isn't for you, Branson has over a hundred more to choose from along with numerous more family activities!

We also had a great time riding the ducks. Everyone got their own "duck calls", which was kind of annoying when the kids wouldn't stop blowing them...(what are you going to do, it's part of the experience). The ride takes you up the mountain where you get an amazing view of Table Rock Lake.

Once you're in the water, the captain lets volunteers steer the duck. All of my kids wanted a turn. At the end of the ride you can print out certificates, with your child's name on them, making them honorary duck captains.

(My little captain)

Most of my family lives in the area, so we also had a little family reunion. I hadn't seen most of my family since I was a little kid. It was great getting reacquainted.

I forgot to mention that on the way to Branson you have to stop at Lambert's. They have the best southern family style food. Make sure to catch the flying rolls! (I believe this restaurant is about thirty minutes outside of Branson.)

On the way home we had to stop for some cheese. Jeremy just had to have the habanero one (which he used on everything for about a week after). We let the kids try whatever cheese they wanted from their tester bowls. Each one walked away with their favorites. 

Overall it was an amazing vacation that we will never forget. In fact we have made it a point to go back every other year! Can't wait till next year!!

To read my day by day posts about our trip:

Rebecca Havener, My Little Devils With Wings

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Little Easter Treat

Happy Friday everyone! At least it seems like Friday since I have the day off tomorrow. Gotta love three day weekends!

In order to get into the Easter spirit I decided to make some adorable cupcakes last night. Honestly, these were the easiest cupcakes I have ever made.

Here's what you need:
Cake mix (along with the ingredients it calls for)
Green icing in the spray container (I know it's more expensive, but totally worth it)
Jelly beans
Cupcake liners

I purchased these sweet flower cupcake liners at Wal-mart. Make sure to spray them really good with non-stick cooking spray. Raise your hand if you have ever forgotten to do this step and then soon regretted it for the rest of your life (my hand is raised).

I know I will be shunned from the mommy blogging world for saying this, but I was not in the mood for chocolate last night. Gasp! I really just wanted something light and fluffy and spring-y. This confetti cake mix was perfect!

Bake your cupcakes according to the instructions on the box. Once they are done, let them cool a few minutes. Then you can make a cute little swirl pattern with the green spray icing, stick a peep on top, and add jelly beans (stay clear of the black ones).

There you have it! A sweet and oh-so-easy treat that your kiddos are sure to love. Mine sure did!

Rebecca Havener, My Little Devils With Wings

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Little R And R

Happy Monday! I missed you all last week. I had such a relaxing vacation though. I really didn't do anything and it was wonderful! Luke and I just lazed around the house all day, snuggling and watching movies. We even got to go out on a date with daddy on a week day! Who knew that was even possible? Jeremy took us to go see Captain American: Winter Soldier. This was Luke's first time seeing a movie at the movie theater and he did great (I think all the popcorn and candy helped).

The only things that actually got done last week were laundry and dishes. I did spring clean the boys' room, only because I was tired of stepping on toys. I also got some flower bulbs planted. Other than that I really didn't do much of anything. I can tell you that after a week of rest it is super hard going back to work. I didn't want to get out of bed this morning!

Now that I'm somewhat refreshed, I have loads of project posts coming up and even some themed Easter basket ideas for your little ones. So stay tuned.

It's so nice to be back.

Rebecca Havener, My Little Devils With Wings

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Tidbits

Happy Friday all! I know it's been a few days since I've been on here. I've been trying to play catch up at work so that next week I can go on vacation. Woohoo! It is a much needed vacation and although I won't be going anywhere special, I really am just looking forward to the rest and relaxation. Oh who am I kidding! We know that won't happen!!

I have been one stressed out Momma lately and I really do need to learn to relax. With mom being in the hospital, crazy work stuff, bad test results, and four children...my mind is seriously about to explode!

So, I'll be taking my week off and getting some stuff done around the house (projects really do relax me). Painting and remodeling helps get my mind off the stressful things and helps me to focus on the tasks at hand. Plus, it's time to start getting the yard ready! I'm going to finally get our potatoes and onions planted. We also have plans to finish the flower bed on the side on the house.

It'll be along this side and will incorporate the fountain and hydrangea plant. I'm really excited and hope it will be done by the time Mother's day rolls around so I can show it off (gardening makes me very happy). I just hope the weather cooperates. 

This Saturday I'll be taking Luke to go get his Easter pictures taken with baby chickens. (I hope he doesn't smother them with his love.) We always use 8701 Productions for all our picture needs. They have some really great and cheap photo opportunities throughout the year. If you are in the Kansas City area please look them up. 

They'll travel to where ever you want your pictures done and we always get our pictures back extremely fast. They will even put all the pictures on a disc, so you can print your own.

We also have a very important eye doctor appointment for Luke on Tuesday. If you haven't noticed in some of the pictures, he has a lazy eye. We tried glasses, but they didn't work. He'll have to have surgery done (this momma doesn't need any more bad news).

(Baby Joker)

I would really appreciate your continued prayers for me and my family. I know my Mom would not be as far along in her healing process if it weren't for God and your wonderful prayers. Thank you. I would just like you to continue to pray for her healing. If you could also say a little prayer for my health and Luke's, I would be eternally grateful. That's about it. I'll talk to you all in a week.

Rebecca Havener, My Little Devils With Wings

Monday, March 31, 2014

A Frozen Themed Birthday Party

I'm sure it has been every little girl's dream to have a Frozen birthday party ever since the movie made it's debut in theaters. However, it's a little harder to plan for than any other normal kid birthday party. For some strange reason, unbeknownst to me, no stores in the Kansas City area are stocking up Frozen merchandise. No one has any Frozen party favors, or tableware, or cute Frozen tablecloths. It was time for this Momma to get creative.

White and baby blue streamers from Target helped give a winter wonderland feel. I also purchased a white shiny star streamer from Party City. They looked great together. 

White and blue poufs, silver star danglers, and streamers were hung over the table.

Pretty blue star confetti was spread out all over the dining room table.

I bought some blue rock candy sticks (they look like icicles) from Party City and the glitter boxes were purchased at Walmart.

Pretty blue and silver plates were purchased at Party City. I bought the white tablecloth at Target and reused my silver table runner from Christmas. 

Who knew Target sold pretty colored gumballs? I put them in these cute plastic bowls from Party City and added in a light blue scooper (also from Party City).

The "make your own" mini sandwich station was a big hit!

As was the chocolate fondue!

We had rice crispy treats, strawberries, shortcake, and party mix for dipping into the chocolate.

We also had a "build your own Olaf" area for the kiddos.

Those marshmallows were huge! I purchased them at Hy-Vee and they were perfect for snowman building.

We were lucky enough to find a Frozen themed cake at Hy-Vee and it was delicious!

The birthday girl loved it!

We also found a pinata at Party City (it was the only Frozen item in the whole store) and we played the Frozen soundtrack in the background. The kids each took home a goodie bag with bubbles, the rock candy sticks and gumballs, and all the candy out of the pinata (because it isn't a great party if the kids don't go home completely sugared up).

Overall she was thrilled with her birthday party. It didn't matter that there weren't any character faces on her birthday plates. My advice to anyone wanting to throw a Frozen themed birthday party...don't wait till the last minute. They have a lot of items online or you can be like me and just make your own! 

Rebecca Havener, My Little Devils With Wings

Friday, March 28, 2014

DIY Your Own Headboard

I have been waiting to write this DIY post for awhile now, ever since we decided we were going to build our own headboard instead of spending mucho dinero on one. Jeremy had the day off a couple of days ago, so while I was at work he knocked out the project in an hour (he was bored).

I wasn't the one who DIY-ed this, but I will try to explain the steps the best I can.

We started out with a sheet of plywood that we purchased at Home Depot. The plywood there is color coded with lines on the ends. Ours is four black lines if you want to purchase the same thing. We also purchased two starter newel posts as a decorative touch. Then, Jeremy measured and cut the plywood to the shaped he wanted.

Next, he painted the posts white to match all of the molding in our bedroom.

After that, he wrapped the plywood in batting, then the satin black fabric and stapled it to the back of the plywood.

These little babies are suppose to be used on the bottom of chairs. They are made out of plastic and can be hammered in to place (also purchased at Home Depot). They were perfect to use for the tufting look we wanted. All we had to do was just hot glue some white fabric to them and hammer them to the headboard.

(All pictures were taken by Jeremy, not that I could've done a better job.)

Jeremy screwed the newel posts into the headboard and attached it to our existing bed frame.

There you have it, a quick and easy DIY headboard in only an hour! All materials, fabric, and decorative touches were picked out by Jeremy. I think he did a really great job, don't you?

Rebecca Havener, My Little Devils With Wings

PS. This is not a Home Depot inspired post. All project ideas and purchases were made by us. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Date Nights With Your Kids

I find it very hard to get some one-on-one time with my kids. I know they feel like they don't have a voice most of the time in a family of six. In order to spend some quality mother/kid time with them I've designated a couple of "date nights" twice a month. Here is a collection of date ideas for you to do with your kiddos:

For The Girls

1. Go shopping for new nail polish and have an "in home" mani pedi session. 

2. Go get a free makeover at a department store (I recommend this for your teenager).

3. Redecorate her room together. Take her shopping to pick out the paint and decorative items.

4. Try on outfits in a store you never pictured yourself wearing (this one is sure to get you both giggling).

5. Go to a concert together.

6. Plant a garden (my daughter loved helping me plant our veggie garden last year). 

7. Go paint your own pottery together.

8. Go to a coffee shop, order coffee or hot chocolate, and just chat.

9. Bake together (nothing beats homemade chocolate chip cookies).

10. Let her choose the date (she may surprise you).

11. Have a pajama party complete with makeovers and Disney movies.

12. Visit a craft store and pick out a project to do together. 

13. Dress up and go have dessert at a fancy restaurant. 

14. Take a cooking or craft class together.

15. Go see a play together.

16. Go window shopping and eat ice-cream (at the same time).

17. Have a tea party in the backyard.

18. Let her pick out a new movie and snacks from the store.

19. Go to the mall and have a scavenger hunt.

20. Scrapbook together (you'll have a blast going through old pictures).

21. Do karaoke together or have a dance party.

22. Go on a bike ride and have a picnic. 

23. Go roller skating.

24. Start a Mother/Daughter journal together (I actually have one of these with each of my kids). 

25. Go to a Farmer's Market and pick out a snack. 

26. Make a gingerbread house together (doesn't have to be for Christmas). 

For The Boys

1. Go to a ball game.

2. Play video games together.

3. Go mini golfing or bowling.

4. Build a lego city together.

5. Go for a hike.

6. Go fishing together.

7. Build a living room fort out of blankets.

8. Go out to dinner together, let him pick the restaurant.

9. Go see a movie together.

10. Go to a bookstore, pick out some joke books, and have fun reading them aloud to each other.

11. Go to the batting cages or go kart track.

12. Have a water gun fight.

13. Play laser tag.

14. Go to the Dollar Store and let them pick out $5 dollars worth of items.

15. Stargaze.

16. Make homemade ice-cream together.

17. Write a note to each other to open a year from now.

18. Go to the lake and teach him how to skip stones.

19. Go to Science City or a museum.

20. Go fly a kite.

21. Teach him a new card game.

22. Go to the Zoo together.

23. Camp out in the backyard. 

24. Plan and execute a random act of kindness.

25. Visit Home Depot or Lowes and build something together. 

26. Have an outdoor movie night.

Alright, now I know that a lot of these dates can go both ways. I'm sure your girls would love to go bowling and your boys would love to paint pottery. Switch it up. These dates are only here to help you get the ideas flowing. If you have any ideas you would like to add just tell me in the comment section below. Have fun dating your kiddos!

Rebecca Havener, My Little Devils With Wings
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