This is part 2 of JJ and the Princess Girls. To see more activities, crafts, and princess girls visit part 1.

JJ and the Princess Girls

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Beach Fun

I thought it would be fun to go play at the beach Sunday evening.  Annabelle started school Monday so I thought one more really summery thing would be great.
We loaded up sand toys, towels, and the girls and headed to the State Park.

Annabelle ran into the water right away!

The girls had fun "digging" a hole. 
I didn't get a lot of pictures of Annabelle because she was either in the water or behind me collecting shells.

Ariel could play forever in the sand!

She wanted to be buried, but ended up not liking.  The second time, James had her sit on her knees so she could get up easier.

Sweet Sisters!

How cute is this girlie?

She liked throwing sand the best.  Annabelle's head is proof. 

She didn't like her "sticky" hands.  She couldn't figure out why they got sandy even after she rinsed them.

Back in the waves.

Overall, this was a fun thing to do, but I've got my fill of the beach until next year.  We went once in the spring and just played in the sand.  This time the girls wore bathing suits and got wet.  I prefer just playing in the sand - it brushes off much easier.
I brought clothes for the girls to change into in the van.  When they changed, I realized I should have saved all the sand and fill a sand box.  There was so much sand in their suits.  The best part is that I had only vacuumed out the van the week before. 
Once we got home, the girls went right into the tubby - except Arianna because she fell asleep on the way home (not sure if this was a good or bad thing).  I washed Annabelle's hair and there was so much sand from Arianna dumping it on her head.  I don't think I even got it all out.
The next day I had to wash Arianna's sheets because they were full of sand since she never got rinsed off.
The beach is pretty and fun, but this is what I prefer
 A fun refreshing, clean time at a pool!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Favorite Things Party

Back in April I planned a Favorite Things party! 
I passed out these invitations. 
I love pink and green, but decided to spice it up with a little bit of yellow. 
 I really like how it turned out. 
Do you know how a Favorite Things Party works?
No, well its tons of fun and not much work to plan.
There are a few variations that you could do and next time I might try something different.
This time I had each person bring 5 of their favorite item (you love a nail polish, bring 5 nail polish bottles) for $6 or less (you can set the price limit at anything you want).
One person starts and talks about their item (if you are lucky Kerri will be at your party and go first!)
Then she will draw 5 names out of a bag and those 5 people will get to get that item.
I had everyone bring a favorite snack (makes planning even easier!)
We had lots of yummy snacks.  I didn't even eat dinner because I knew I would just like to snack.
We had a great time eating and chatting before we got started.

This part is optional, but I was hoping to have a Get To Know you, but with more in depth questions.  Ex:  Tell us why your husband is the perfect one for you.
So each person took a card.  We started with #1 and that person went first. 
They answered their question, talked about their item, and then drew names for it.
We went through the numbers until everyone had a turn.

Another optional part was door prizes.  I was planning this party for 6 weeks, so I had lots of time to pick up little fun prizes (cute printed knife, deep conditioner, nail polish/nail file, etc)
Between people talking about their item I would pull a name for a winner.

Here is our table of Favorite Things. 
We all had a great time getting together.  I know this is something I will plan again.
I think it might be fun to do a theme Favorite Things Party - favorite kitchen gadget, beauty item, snack. 
Also next time I will have everyone talk about their item and then draw names and the person can choose what they want.  I was originally going to do this, but I didn't want one item left that nobody chose.  I realized this probably wouldn't happen, but this time some people got things they weren't interested in.  Not that they were bad things, just not something they use.  I got a Starbuck's card and I don't drink coffee so I traded with someone who got a hot pink nail polish - perfect switch for us.
I hope you are all inspired to plan a party.
Let me know if you want any help planning one for your friends. 
I know they will love it and you will have a great time!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Catching Up - 11 Things Going on with the McRae Family

My computer has been fussy and not letting me upload photos.
So now that it is I am going to play catch up.

1.  We announced we are having our 4th baby.  We are due January 3, but my little babes are really excited to see me and come about a month early!
2.  We put our condo for sale for the second time.  Having another baby prompted us to do so before we had planned, but 4 children in one room really doesn't work (3 in one room really doesn't work).
If you recall, we had it for sale a couple years ago.  After a year of lots of showings and zero offers we decided it wasn't the time to sell and took it off the market.
This time we had it for sale for 12 days, had 11 showings, and 1 offer, which we accepted with little negotiations. 
The houses we were looking at the first time would not have been a great fit for our growing family.  Pretty cool how the Lord kept us from buying the wrong house. 
3.  We put in offer in this house thinking it was the perfect one for us.  It needed a bit of work, but it had the space I was dreaming of.  After submitting our offer we got word that the owner (who hasn't lived here for 1 year) rejected 2 almost full price offers and raised his price $20,000.  We didn't want to go that high because of all the work we felt we would need to do (Kelly green tubs and sinks just aren't my style).
4.  We were getting frustrated with the lack of houses to look at.  James took a half day of work and we looked at a bunch of houses.  We really like one in Hudsonville and were really considering it.  I had sent our realtor a house that I was maybe interested in.  It didn't have everything I wanted on paper, but we decided since we had the time we might as well go look at it.  That evening we decided to put an offer in.  They accepted it!!!
We close on our condo and our new home on August 15. 
Here is what my new kitchen looks like.  I will share more photos and info about the house later.
5.  Annabelle and Ariel are doing gymnastics for a couple weeks.  They are really enjoying it and having lots of fun.  Annabelle has class from 1:00-2:00 and then Ariel goes from 2:00-2:45.  We are there for awhile, but Arianna is actually doing really well waiting for them.  We bring a snack, books, and the mini dvd player.
6.  We had Annabelle's Open House/Ice Cream Social for school.  She starts August 5 and is so excited to get back.  She has only been off since June 28, but she really misses school.  I kind of do to because it forces you to have a schedule, which I really like.  she goes to a year round school so she only has July off.  We do get breaks throughout the year, which is really quite nice.
14 weeks - There is a little bit there, but not a lot.  However, Annabelle did ask me why my tummy was so big when the baby was so small.  Thanks girl!

17 Weeks - This is today.  I am definitely showing now.  I still like to wear more of a looser top when I go places though because it doesn't  look like a baby quite yet.  I am still quite sick.  I'm thinking I will maybe feel better in about 3 weeks.  At least not getting sick every morning.  I almost forget what its like to feel good.  Its worth it though and its not like I didn't know I was going to be sick.  I just remind myself that if I'm sick the baby is doing well.

7 weeks - I'm not showing yet and I am quite sick.

12 weeks - I am starting to show.  I am carrying high, which is consistent with the girls.  I don't mind this at all because it allows me to wear my own pants for quite awhile.  Still quite sick.
7.  A little view of our growing baby.
Not sure why I can't get them in a better order.
8.  My baby is looking so big.  Wasn't she just my little 5 pound peanut?  In just a few short weeks she will be a 2 year old.  Moving on from the nursery, almost potty trained, climbing out of her crib, and talking non stop.  I sure that little sweetie girl.
9.  Ariel is our spunky little girl who continues to make us laugh and double check what she is up to.  She loves to climb anything, trees, toys, people.  She will be starting her second year of preschool in the fall and is so excited.  She loves school so much.  She is a great big sister to Arianna.  She will often get Arianna involved in something such as sleepover, babies, playing house or kitchen.  She also loves to play outside with Annabelle.
10.  Annabelle loves to play outside as much as possible.  The girls love to play with rocks and dig in the dirt.  She took swimming lessons and is now basically a little fish.  She does get a little bored at home (who can blame her, I spend a lot of time laying on the couch) so she has been going to daycare with Ariel (instead of Arianna going) once a week.  Sharon takes them to the beach and does tons of fun activities with the kids.  She has really enjoyed playing with her friends.

11.  In just a few days we will celebrate our 8th anniversary.  Its pretty wonderful being married to James.  He is a hard worker, great daddy, and wants what is best for his family.  Its pretty great having a husband with such great character (and great looks too!)
Well that's all for now.  I'm impressed if you stayed on through the entire post. 
Stay tuned as I attempt to try on my wedding dress next week.  We'll see how close I come to squeezing into it. 

Friday, May 31, 2013

Fun with Ice!

I saw this idea on Pinterest (of course) and thought the girls would love it.
I took a bunch of our little toys and covered them with water and froze it.
Once it was frozen I let the girls work at trying to get the little toys out.
They used shovels, water, and throwing to try and get the toys out.
They loved it!

Arianna found a piece and thought it was a popsicle.

Monday, May 13, 2013

I Grew Bangs

Awhile ago I noticed something weird going on with my hair. 
I'm not the best at doing my hair, but I can calm it down.
I couldn't figure out what these frizzy pieces were doing or where they came from.
I finally realized that I had grown some bangs.  Most people cut bans - but I had actually grown them.
From the beginning I had been straightening them so they would lay flat.
Apparently I had fried them and they just wanted to stick out.
I asked my hairstylist friend, Rebecca, what was going on. 
She immediately knew that I had been straightening them. 
I loved that she knew what was going on with my hair right away, so I went to her to get my hair trimmed.
It had been doing something really strange, and I couldn't get it to lay right.
I had gotten it cut at a really nice salon, but when Rebecca cut it she noticed that one side was 2 inches longer than the other.  No wonder I was struggling to get it right.
She gave me some heat protector for my hair, so hopefully that will help.
My bangs have grown a little more now.  I'm not a bang person, so I can't wait until I can tuck them behind my ear.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spring Cleaning Part 1 and Part 2

This year I am taking my Spring Cleaning seriously.
I usually sort of clean things, but not deep clean them.  Except the window screens.  Every year I take those off and clean them in the shower. 

PART 1:  Bathroom
I have been spending about a week on each room. 
I am not that far along.
I started with the bathroom. 
I took everything off each shelf in the closet and cleaned it.  I went through everything in there and was able to throw away a bunch that we didn't need.
The girls were really helpful.  Not really helpful, but really cute!
I've never washed the walls before, but I felt like it needed to be done.  One morning before school I told Ariel that she could help me was the walls.  Annabelle was really bummed and asked if we could do it when she got home from school.  So we did.  All three girls really enjoyed helping me wash the walls and they did a surprisingly great job.  We were done in no time.

Yes, Ariel is wearing a swimmy diaper (2 of them actually).  She found them in the van when we were cleaning it out and decided to put them on.

PART 2:  Laundry Room
I only spent one day on the laundry room. 
I cleaned out all the cupboards and got rid of a bunch of stuff.
I dusted the top of the cupboards, which was actually more of grabbing a pile of dust and throwing it away.
I super clean the floors, even under the machines where I usually ignore.
I ran the cleaning cycle on the washer. 
 I cleaned the lint trap in the sink.  I unscrewed the lint trap inside the dryer and cleaned that all out.
Then I had James move the machines.  I knew I had some lint back there, but I had no idea what I was in for.
So in this picture you can see that area to the left.  That is where the machines aren't, so I can sort of squeeze in there and clean.
It appears that I have 5 years worth of lint back there. 
I don't think that lint tube thing was attached and the lint just stayed in my laundry room.  I was also able to find some great treasures.
I wasn't sure how to go about cleaning this. 
I thought I could just dust bust it up, but it was actually stuck to the ground. 
I had to get a wet cloth and scrub it up.  I also had to scrub the walls.
Now it is nice and clean.  I hope to clean behind there a little more often. 
I would imagine a clean laundry would be a good selling point someday.

My grandpa made me this board to go over top of the machines so that stuff (like new packages of tissue paper) wouldn't fall behind.  I have had it for one day now, and I really like it.  I put some of those things you put on the bottom of chairs on the bottom so it would protect the machines.
Arianna is always helping me with laundry.  She loves to switch it over, hang up the clothes to dry, and turn it off mid cycle so I find damp, stinky clothes. 
I have these (what I like to call) old people oak cabinets in my entire house.  My mom painted the bathroom ones (stayed tuned for that, you will feel like you are looking at pinterest!)  I am thinking a bright color for these cabinets would be fun. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Earth Day

I just wanted to take a few minutes to remember my tree that lost its life on Earth Day last year.
I had this beautiful flowering tree.
Then one day there was a piece of something tied to it. 
There was also a huge, ugly rock in our landscape.
I thought my grandpa brought it for the girls to play on.
Annabelle asked if she could take it off.
It was a little chilly, so I told her it was fine.
Little did I know that that little ribbon would determine the fate of my precious tree.
A few hours later, I heard this horribly loud noise.
Much to my dismay, there was a many hacking down my tree.
I could hardly believe my beautiful tree was gone.
When we bought the condo, the tree was overgrown.
I took a saw and cut off all the branches myself.
I have enjoyed its flowering beauty every May.
Now, it is gone and replaced with a rock.
I actually lost sleep over my tree. 
I had trouble sleeping for a few nights as I mourned the loss of my tree.
I never realized I was a tree or nature person,
but know I have a great appreciation for the beauty that God made for us to enjoy.
The girls do enjoy playing on and with the rock, but they do miss the pretty tree too.
 Happy Earth Day!
Even if you aren't a eco-friendly person like me, maybe think about what you can do that's is eco-friendly today.
God gave us this beautiful world, we need to look around and appreciation all the beauty he has given.
Today I will honor our Earth and remember my tree by doing these things:
Recycle things that are easier to throw away
Bring donations to Goodwill instead of throw them away
Bring my own bag to the store
Reuse the plastic bags I got at Meijers yesterday
Did you notice I really really loved my tree?  I will plant one for each of my children and my next house.  And maybe 5 for myself :)
My computer has been really touchy about uploading pictures, which limits my blogging.
Once I get that problem resolved, I will be back to blogging more often.