Glow Party 0007

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
So we threw a party this past weekend.  Man, where does the time go?
Braeden turned SEVEN [07] and I keep looking at him thinking where did my baby go?!
He is SO grown up, independent, smart and FUHN -NEY.  Seriously, the kid will make you laugh for hours on end. 
We opted for a GLOW party at Urban Air Trampoline Park close to where we live.  I left the party idea and theme up to Braeden completely and together we picked out some fun decorations.
If you're hosting a Glow in the Dark party, I extremely encourage you to use optic fiber lights.  They are pretty inexpensive and make a huge impact on the overall table.  We had multiple people ask us throughout the night where we bought them and if they could take photo of our table.
The d├ęcor was complete with Glow stick necklaces, bracelets and shutter shades [because I had to throw these in somewhere!]  We had neon colored cupcakes complimented by neon plates and cups.  And just for fun, goodie bags and pop rocks.  It was hysterical watching the kids try pop rocks for the first time ... their expression their faces ... priceless!

The party was utter chaos, but the kids had a great time, and that's really what it's all about! 
I am overwhelmd with joy to see all the kids show up to his party.  School friends, sports friends and now neighborhood friends.  It makes the move that much easier to see your children happy.

Oh and props to our personal assistant Cody, who worked to make the party perfect! :)
Happy 7th Braeden!
Here's his invite if you're curious ...

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Meanwhile, over the Weekend ...

Thursday, October 23, 2014
Two pretty significant things happened over this past weekend ... and yes I know it's Thursday and I am JUST now getting around to posting about it.
1.  Our House SOLD!  We closed and packed in one weekend and it was INSANE!  Everything was thrown in boxes and trucked all the way back to Texas.  It feels incredibly good to be "home." However, with half of my items in storage and half in boxes in another apartment, I am feeling pretty dis-shuffled.  I am currently living in two separate apartments - one we have to be out of by the weekend, and the other will be our home for the next six months.  I keep thinking to myself - remember when I said I could live anywhere for six months?  Well, I am already having anxiety about the new place, even though I know we will be just fine.  It's small, but at least we have our own furniture and items to make it feel a little bit more like Our Home.
So that was HUGE.  We'll officially break ground in the next month and we'll start the 128 day process until a finished house.  I can not wait!
2.  Secondly, Breaden turned SEVEN.  Okay really, how does this happen?  It was just a few years ago when he was completely dependent on me, and now I can feel him slipping away.  I seriously feel like he could leave for college next month, he's so independent.  He is an amazing kid who has taken this move great, made really wonderful friends and has had a positive attitude! Friday is his Glow in the Dark birthday party ... he is just "a little" excited! Seven is going to be a great year for him, I just know it!!!  Happy Birthday Braeden, I love you more than words itself! 

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I'm All About that Brick, 'Bout that Brick

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Yep - We have a House Plan, We have a Lot and NOW, we get to start DESIGNING!
First on the list - The Brick.  It seems like it wouldn't be a hard decision.  I mean, how many different brick colors could really be out there?!  Umm........ A #$%& ton .. that's how many.
I don't think I can even see straight.  After staring at brick after brick, your eyes start playing tricks on you.  And then all of a sudden, you think ALL brick is ugly.  You start off completely excited and ready to make executive decisions, and then ... well, let me tell you.  You start looking a writing down conservative options of houses you already like.  Then you start trying to narrow colors down and during this process, you start hating everything you have picked out because they are all running together.  You're driving and driving and driving, angry and indecisive.
I think part of the problem is that Ryan and I opted to forgo the optional stone upgrade, therefore, the entire house will be one brick color with nothing breaking up the overall look of the house.  We did this for a couple of reasons.  #1. Our thoughts were to save a little bit on the outside and put more money inside the house and 2. We really liked the way the house looked without it, unless we decided on a different elevation. But for this particular model, we thought it would look just fine.
So - because we have a house with no stone, we didn't want to just like the brick, we wanted to LOVE it.  Make sense?
You know what will REALLY drive you crazy?  When you find two houses who used the same brick color and they look completely different ... because there is that much variation.  GREAT.  Just when you thought you found "the one."  At this point, we have selected a brick and are crossing our fingers that it comes out something like this ... yes we are very scientific!  

[disclaimer: this is not our house, this is just the color of brick we have decided on.]

This color of brick is called Old Dominion by ACME.  Although the house is different than what ours will look like [find our model here] the house is all brick like ours will be.  The garage and front door will be in the same location as well.

I'll be posting a few key pointers for those who are getting ready to go down this road in the following days.  If you do choose to go down this road ... I'll pray for you :)

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How to Guide to Choose the Right HOUSE Plan for YOU

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Choosing the right floor plan for your family is a hard decision.  Sure you can walk into a million open houes and model homes and pick and choose what you like, but actually making the decision can be tiresome.  Not only is it a decision you can not change but it's one of the first decisions you have to make when building your home.  No pressure ...
I am by no means an expert, but I did recently go through the process.   Any while I am not sure anyone is completely 100% sure about their choice, I am sure this list below will help you feel more confident and educated while deciding on your home and floor plan!

The Pampered Mom's TOP 5 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Floor Plan
1. Start by making a list of items that are non-negotiable for you.  This will help eliminate floor plans that do not fit your criteria.  For instance: The Hubs and I knew that we wanted an open floor plan, 4+ bedrooms, laundry on main, and a garage in front.  After looking at a few model homes, this list did get quite larger, but it was able to narrow down our choices.
2.  You should probably have a good idea if you're leaning towards a ranch, 2-story, basement, etc.  I realize this is different in each area, and what the land actually can hold.  We moved from Missouri to Texas and in Missouri - just about EVERYONE has a basement.  In fact, it's odd that a house does not.  Here in Texas, no one has a basement, but they have a Media Room instead.  It's important to do your research.  You also don't want to build a house that will look completely off in your particular area.  I knew I wanted something that would resale quickly if needed, therefore, I made my decisions based on my style and the surrounding area norms.
3. Once you have narrowed down some selections, you'll want to take a look at a few.  If you have access to open homes or model homes, go into as many as you possibly can to get a feel for what your style may be.  It's important that the homes feels "right."  It doesn't have to be the one, changes can always be made during the building process.  We have all walked into a home and we just know "this isn't going to work for me."  And trust me, that's a good thing!  That once again narrows down your selection!
4. When you have just a few choices to choose from, now is the time to start thinking about FLOW and the details.  I went into a model home earlier this year and saw that right off the mudroom was another door which led to the master closet.  I just kept thinking to myself, how nice would it be for The Hubs to come home from work and come into the house from the garage and walk right into his closet!  I also saw where the laundry room had a door to the master closet as well, which I think is genius!  I looked at a lot of homes and what I realized is that I put a lot of emphasis on entertaining.  Therefore I wanted the flow from the dining room to the kitchen to the family room to be easily accessible, open and inviting. Ultimately, this factor narrowed down my search to just a few!
5.  Ask questions!  I can stress this enough! Unless you are physically building your own home, ask questions to everyone.  When The Hubs and I had are last two choices, we started asking questions to everyone we could, from neighbors, builders, to schools, etc.  You want to make sure you're building in an area that is going to be right for your family.  You want to make sure you're lot and builder know exactly what you are expecting and any upfront concerns you have.  Do research on the builders and the Company.  This is a HUGE investment and you want to go into this process knowing as much as possible before they begin!  Know you plan, know exactly what comes with the house and what are upgrades, know the price of the upgrades you choose.  Ask Ask Ask!
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We have Land.ed

Wednesday, October 8, 2014
First comes house plans, then comes land! 
It was made official this week as our chosen lot was labeled "SOLD" from Available!  Woo whoo!  I am relieved that we are making baby steps to building a house!  The wait continues as we are in the very early stages still of building.  We are looking at a March or April completion date.  Which sounds SO far away, but it will be completely worth it.

This photo pretty much sums up how excited our entire family is to build our home!

Next up in the process ... Brick, and exterior colors!


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Stella & Dot Holiday Collection 2014

Tuesday, October 7, 2014
If you're any thing like me, you wait until the last minute to start thinking about Christmas Gifts.  It's something I would rather change and take care of before I realize everything I wanted to get is already gone OR I can not get the item shipped to be in time.
Don't let it happen to you this year!  Think about all the women in your life.  Your Mom, Sister, Aunts, Mother-in-Law, Sister-in-Law, Cousins, Besties ... and get them something they will actually USE and be in LOVE with!
TOMORROW, the Stella & Dot Holiday Collection will be available to order through my site. I am already finding gifts for all my girls on my list!  I can't wait to see their face when the open these pretties!!!  And don't forget about yourself ladies!  There is always a party to go to around the holidays!  These babies will transform that LBD that you have worn to other occasions, and they won't believe it's the same dress!  You've been good this year - do something for YOU!!

to order, please visit: Natalie's Holiday Shop

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State Fair Texas Style

Thursday, October 2, 2014
Oh a whip this past weekend, we decided to check out the Texas State Fair.
I for one have been a regular at the Missouri State Fair, going almost every year since I was little.
The Texas Fair, the largest in the country, was actually a very pleasant experience.  The first thing that I noticed was that it was EXTREMELY clean.  Also, everyone working from the front gate attendants to the clean up crews, were so helpful and sweet.  I actually feel like they were as excited to be there as we were.
The kids of course has a wonderful time and I am already planning our trip next year since I will know what to expect next time.  Like, um, maybe eating ONE meal before we get there.  Geez, the prices at the fair are out-of-control!  It was the only downfall I thought.  The rides were great, the food was good, the shows and free attractions were entertaining for the kids, but the prices ... you'll be lucky if your family can get out of there for under $200.00.  We just about doubled that, and honestly, I feel like we didn't really get anything.
Thankfully the excitement, shows and rides were enough to win the hearts of the boys, so totally worth it!  So glad we decided to go!

I forgot to mention that we were able to catch a few songs from Lucy Hale of Secret Little Liars!

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