Springtime in North Alabama (And GIVEAWAY!)

Snow, tornado warnings, frosts, 80 degrees all within a 4 week period. Does that sound like a sci-fi film or the end of time?

Welcome to Spring in North Alabama.

Really. Within the last few weeks we have experienced at least one day of every season. This brings back some not so fond memories of April 27, 2011, when an EF-5 Tornado traveled from Hackleburg, AL to Tanner, AL. (That’s approximately an 75-80 mile trip that the tornado covered in about 30 minutes. Talk about MOVING!) It entered Lawrence County where I live on one side and crossed the entire county before exiting into Morgan and Limestone counties. A nightmare followed for many days, weeks, and for some it has continued the last two years. It had been a very long time since a tornado of that magnitude had occurred in Lawrence County (the 1970s to be exact), and people were unprepared from lack of TRUE awareness. This resulted in the loss of lives and the people who survived were left without food, necessities, etc. I want to help you prevent this in your lives if you live in an area known for tornadoes. Even if it takes thirty years before another one pops up.

NSS Tornado Awareness Month

April is tornado awareness month, and I am partnering with National Storm Shelters to give away a FREE Emergency Preparedness Kit to help spread Tornado Awareness. If you would like to enter to win the free kit, please fill out the contact form below. Winner will be drawn at random.

You can also download their Emergency Essentials Checklist HERE. (Make sure you have adobe reader installed.)

Or if you want to view a complete Tornado Emergency Guide, you can receive one via email by visiting their website.

As we are getting full swing into spring and tornado season, I hope you will join me in making sure you and your families and friends are prepared this year.  It is always better to be over prepared than the opposite.

Have a great weekend!

A Frozen Birthday Party

frozenFrozen_castposter

On New Year’s Eve, we took our daughter to the movie theater for the first time! We were a little nervous. It was going to go one of two ways: really great or really terrible. Thankfully, it went really great! She loved the movie and we really enjoyed it too. Our daughter’s birthday was coming up in February, so I had thought, “how cute would it be to have her birthday party in the Frozen theme?!” She had gotten some Frozen dolls and toys for Christmas even before we watched the movie and loved them all. This would be cute with Elsa and Anna Balloons, etc.

Wrong.

Guess what? Disney or whoever is in control of decorated party supplies STILL has yet to release official Frozen party decor. Ugh.

But I made it work! I spent hours on the internet and learned that I am not alone in wanting to plan a Frozen themed party! So I gathered different ideas that I liked and created my own version.

Below you can see where every little girl got to go home with a princess crown, and could be Elsa or Anna (our daughter’s favorite is Elsa).

frozen crowns

But of course, there were quite a few little boys that were coming and I didn’t want to leave them out! So they all got to wear reindeer antlers and be Sven the Reindeer from the movie! Both the crowns and antlers were tied around the kids’ heads with matching ribbons.

frozen svenThis link is where I found the inspiration and templates for the crowns and antlers. http://www.sisterssuitcaseblog.com/2013/12/disney-frozen-party-ideas.html The materials I used were craft foam from Wal-Mart, brown felt to attach to the foam (because that was the one color craft foam that Wal-Mart didn’t have), and thin ribbon.

We also had a craft area where the kids could color pictures of Elsa and Anna, make a door hanger with the Frozen characters, and glue together their own Olaf snowman to take home.Olaf

When it came to other decor, I mainly just decorated the tables and left it at that. I mean, children in attendance were mainly under the age of 5 with the exception of maybe 3 others. They did not care what the place looked like. We did silver, blue, and white balloons. 3 on each table attached to a metallic blue/silver weight. Then I used decorative diamonds, and silver and blue star confetti around the centerpieces. Here are two views of it:

frozen decor frozen table decor

Looked festive without going over board for a three year old’s party. I can get a little excited with the party planning ideas, but I am still realistic with what is REALLY necessary. My next concern was food. Food is the main reason most people end up enjoying or coming to the party. Ha! So I wanted kid friendly, Frozen themed, and enough for adults as well. Whew. I really managed a little of both. We had the common party things like meat and cheese tray, bags of chips, a tray of sliced strawberries/oranges/apples, and animal crackers. Then we had a table with sugar cookies with blue icing, a tray with marshmallows and pretzel sticks with vanilla icing and blue sprinkles, blue jello, blue cupcakes, and blue lemonade. (We also offered bottled water and juice drinks). Last year I totally went over board with the quantity of food.. and we took A LOT of it back home with us. This year, I bought just enough and the only thing extra we took home were some animal crackers, chips, and a few cupcakes. Woohoo!

Frozen cupcakesOh yeah, on the food table there was fake snow everywhere. (:

Frozen foodHere was some of the blue/Frozen themed food!

I got there early to decorate, so when our daughter came in and saw it she was in awe. Which made me happy. She told us “dis was the best party! I can go to the ball now!” (Apparently that had something to do with the fact that Elsa and Anna were princesses?) Whatever, as long as she had fun.

Have you thrown or considered throwing a Frozen party? How did it turn out, or what are you considering to make it more fun? (Hope the official supplies are released when you decide to throw a party in the future!)

Snowmageddon 2014 in Alabama

Okay, so I have always thought, “I like to get snow every now and then.” Correction: I like the thought of getting snow and I like it when it snows ONE inch, then melts by the next day. When we REALLY get snow, I’ve learned that I actually hate it. I hate having to drive in it. As southerners, we just aren’t accustomed to these weather conditions. Other than play in our yards, we do not know how to function in winter storms, and that was proven as a fact last week when it snowed on February 11th and 13th in North Alabama.

Honestly, we all thought that the 11th was bad when it snowed maybe 1.5″, but at least it had melted by noon.

snow2-11-14

khloe snow angel

As you can tell there wasn’t even enough snow to cover the ground when our daughter wanted to make a snow angel. We had so much fun, though! It was too powdery for a snowman, but we used the snow on our cars and patio table to make snow balls and had a snow ball fight. By mid-day it was all gone, and we were looking at normal Alabama winter conditions.

Tuesday brought cold, cold, COLD rain in the early morning. By noon, however, it had turned to sleet. I left work early that day just to avoid icy roads and crazy drivers. I pulled in my driveway around 3 p.m. as it started to snow. When it started snowing, it literally NEVER STOPPED until after 11 p.m. I was a little disappointed at first. The ground was so wet from all of the rain, that nothing was sticking. But as the temperature dropped, things started to change. The first picture is when it finally started to stick to the leaves and grass around 3:45.

sticking2-12-14This second picture was around 5 p.m.! That’s how much snow we had gotten total the day before!

5pm 2-11-14

Here we are at 9 p.m. As you can see, snow was still coming down hard. It continued for another TWO HOURS. I seriously don’t remember getting this much snow in North Alabama. I’ve heard stories, but I was either too little to remember or not born yet. That’s how often it happens. My sidewalk is almost invisible! Our driveway had already been that way for a while.

9pm 2-12-14

I also got to mark something off of my 24 Before 24! Making homemade ice cream! When I put that on the list, I thought this would enable me to make an excuse for purchasing an ice cream maker this summer! Well, we made SNOW CREAM! We didn’t have any condensed milk, so we made do with a bowl of snow from our patio table, milk, sugar and vanilla flavoring. Then we crushed up some Butterfingers and added them, making it like a Blizzard! (:

snow cream

We spent Thursday morning taking turns between playing in the snow, breakfast break, and warm up breaks.

Below is what too much snow can do on a poor pine tree that isn’t accustomed to 4-6″ of snow!

fallen tree

My daughter thought the snow was so amazing. (:

snow driveway

Below is my sad attempt at a snow angel. Ha!

snow angel

Of course, later in the morning I had to drag myself to work. I hate driving in icy conditions, and when 6 inches of snow has fell, even with roads grated, people lose their common sense. (Then again, people tend to do that when it sprinkles in July. They suddenly forget how to drive.) But it was definitely worth a few hours of fun with my family!! My daughter sometimes runs to the door and says, “No! We’ll never get to see the snow again!” I promise her there might be more next winter, but I am silently thinking, I don’t want anymore like that for a year or two! Ha!