Bramell, Party of Five: April 2013

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Twin Tuesday

It's Twin Tuesday...or is it Freaky Friday?  The kids insisted on trading pj's last night.  Boy Twin looks smashing in the Dora jammies with the ruffled sleeves, no?  Silly, silly kids.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

RazorFest, Part 2

My three little piggies ready for RazorFest--Oh yeah, I tweeted this pic to our AD Jeff Long and he totally gave me a retweet.  

Here are the rest of our photos from the Champions for Kids' RazorFest last weekend. The weather was perfect for getting out to see the sights and enjoy all the booths.  

Of course, we spent a good part of our time in line for the face painting and the jumpy house, which is totally the norm for my kiddos.  And we also spent a good bit of time running for the potty.  In between, we got to visit a lot of fun booths and get free samples of things like Elmer's glue, toothpaste and Rice Krispies Treats...yum!  

This event is nine years old and I cannot believe we've never been before.  Seems like in the past the weather has not cooperated or maybe, just maybe, taking infants out to play wasn't on the top of my list.  But we'll definitely be going back again now.

On a run to the potty, Girl Twin got to see Elmer the Bull.

The world's largest spoon? Definitely the biggest one we've ever seen!

Girl Twin Barbie--it's the next big thing.

I heart my boys.

Look! It's Tusk.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Our Visit to RazorFest 2013

Here in Hog Country, college football is a big deal.  That means when the annual Razorbacks spring scrimmage rolls around, people show up!  Nine years ago, Champions for Kids organized a family event to go along with that spring game.  I've always wanted to go but never had the chance until now. And I'm so glad that we did.

Champions for Kids is an organization that promotes living a healthy lifestyle, particularly for children.  This means being healthy in mind, body and spirit.  The group is also trying to teach members of the community to seek out simple ways to help this process.  They work all across America to show people how doing a small, simple project can make a big impact.

My favorite simple project that I saw was at the Elmer's Glue booth. At Elmer's, they encourage people to gather school supplies and donate to schools/children/shelters that need them.  They suggest getting input from a local teacher to find out what the needs of the community really are, because nobody would know better than a teacher.  It's also important to get the kids involved in a project like this, to help them understand that people working together can make great things happen.

Part of our RazorFest activities was participating in the food drive going on.  Big Sis helped me gather up some goodies to get ready to go.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to talk to my kindergartner about what giving food to others means.  We talked about how we are guilty of wasting our food, when others struggle to have any.  We talked about why it's important for us to give, because we have plenty.  I hope other parents at RazorFest were able to have the same important discussions with their kids.

After dropping off our food items, we walked around to check out the booths set up in the parking lot at Razorback Stadium.  There were kids throwing footballs around, jumping in bouncy houses and picking up tons of free product samples. I stumbled upon the National Federation of the Blind booth, where this lady (below) was making bookmarks written in Braille.  What a unique idea!

Here, at the Habitat For Humanity booth, kids were able to sit down and do some crafting.  Normally, this is something that Big Sis would jump all over...but the little ones were not patient enough to wait.  I love that they are promoting an activity to keep the kids' minds sharp; I definitely prefer my kids to do a craft project over sitting in front of the TV.

All of my kids loved that we saw a bunch of different mascots.  Besides Tony the Tiger, we saw the Chick-Fil-A cow, SpongeBob, Elmer the Bull (Elmer's Glue) and several more.

We stayed at RazorFest until the festivities ended. Then it was time for the Red/White scrimmage.  The Hogs won!

With my kids being so young, I was a little afraid that the message of RazorFest would be lost on them.  It was definitely obvious to the parents what was going on--serving others, getting involved in the community and teaching healthy habits.  

So, I was really pleased to have this conversation with my kids as we were walking away from the event--

Me:  Did you guys have fun today?

Big Sis:  The toothpaste was my favorite part.  He was funny and he told me to keep brushing my teeth. And we got some new toothpaste!

Girl Twin:  I had a good day!

    • I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and Champions For Kids. #cbias #SocialFabric All opinions are my own and those of my famliy. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

It's Twin Tuesday

Over the last couple of weeks, I've really seen the twins' imaginations take off.  It's been so fun for us to watch them play pretend and start mimicking what they've seen Big Sis do.  

Playing house is right at the top of the list.  Bis Sis is always the mommy, Boy Twin is the daddy and Girl Twin plays the part of the baby; they walk around the house with Big Sis saying she's "going to work" and that she'll "be home soon."  Every time I hear them screaming, "MOMMY!" I take off running only to find out they are playing with Big Sis.  I was even told, "No, not you mommy. Her mommy!".

Yesterday after we dropped off Big Sis at school, the little ones were playing house with their Beanie Babies in the back seat.  I could hear lots of little chatter going on, and looked up in time to see the Beanie Babies kiss each other and say "bye bye."

What a sweet, fun age we are at right now.  Well, mostly sweet.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Big Sis Bragging

A couple of weeks ago Big Sis came home from school with some BIG news for us.  She got recognized during the morning announcements at school for doing so well in reading!  I didn't get the full explanation, but it seems that each day the teachers choose a student or a few students to be recognized in front of the whole school. 
She was so excited!  And, of course, her daddy and I are SO PROUD. She is reading short, simple books to us every night.  I hope that by the time first grade starts, she will be reading like a pro.

Monday, April 15, 2013

My (sorta, kinda) Random Act of Kindness

When I think about what "random act of kindness" means, I immediately think of someone paying for my meal or drink at a drive through.  That's just what I've always associated the term with, until recently.
As part of my work with Petit Jean Meats, I was given the opportunity to perform my very own random act of kindness.  In the process of brainstorming what I'd like to do, and for whom, I thought about many things.  Above all, I wanted to do something nice for someone who needed it.  But I also knew it might be a tad awkward to approach the homeless man outside our nearby grocery store and hand him a ham.  And, if I cooked him a meal, what would he do with the leftovers?  I'm being serious.  I'm practical like that.
So, I decided to make a meal for the youth at our church.  Each Sunday, the youth groups meet for dinner and Sunday evening events at church.  They often need the adults to provide dinners for them, so I thought this would be a perfect chance for me to pitch in and help.
With my trusty little kitchen helper, we made enough hammy sliders with cheese to feed a small army.  I also made a double batch of Rotel dip, and some homemade chocolate chip cookies to go with the sammys.   I threw in a few bags of chips, and it was done! I kept it simple because I know what I would have wanted when I was that age...and it wasn't a casserole! We delivered the goods to a very happy and appreciative group of kids and adult helpers.



This was a fun way for us to do something to serve others. I had to admit, it felt a little bit strange spending so much time in the kitchen that wasn't for my own troops.  But it was also quite soothing.  I love that it was a good lesson in being a servant that I could teach to Big Sis while she helped me in the kitchen.  Strangely, I didn't get her picture until we got to the church. Her reward for helping was getting to try out the brand new playground that just opened last week.  She gives it two thumbs up!
Disclaimer: I am a member of the Petit Jean Meats Blue Diamond Club. Through this affiliation, I get to try out products, and give my opinions on new products and branding for the company. My opinions are my own and honest reflections of how I feel. I was given product for this #PJActs, so that I could have an opportunity to pay it forward to someone else.  No money was exchanged.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pinterest Made Me Do It--Easter Edition

During Easter weekend, I got a double dose of Pinterest Made Me Do It.  I'd pinned a couple of cute ideas and just waited for the perfect time to try them out.

First, our Easter Peeps cake.  It turned out beautifully and was fun to make.  Just remember, with little helpers, everything takes longer than it should.

Here's our cake:

And, here's the original link where I got the idea:  Peeps Cake

Our other project of the day was coloring our Easter eggs with Kool-Aid.  I'd seen this floating around Pinterest and Facebook, and really wanted to try it.  I grew up using the traditional dye and vinegar to color eggs, so I was interested to see if the Kool-Aid would work.  And, I wouldn't have to worry if the kids drank it or spilled it. 

The kids were totally into coloring the eggs.  Girl Twin was over it quickly, and went to take a nap. But everyone else liked using the Kool-Aid.  We give it two thumbs up!  If you want really bright colors, you have to leave the eggs submersed for a long time.  We, of course, are not that patient.

Here's the LINK.

Supplies needed:  Kool-Aid packets, water and cups or bowls to dip in.

Even the big kids like to color eggs!

Some of the finished product!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Easter, Part 2

Before we left town for Easter weekend, the kids were able to have egg hunts at school and daycare with their friends. That made me happy.  However, it made me sad that we were going to miss our church egg hunt on Saturday; it's always a fun time.  

With the weather being crummy and the ground sopping wet, the kids weren't able to have a proper Easter egg hunt while we were out of town.  We did have a very lame indoor hunt at TP's house; it was so much fun that I forgot to get out the camera. 

Surprisingly, I also had to field some rather curious questions about the Easter Bunny before bed on Saturday.  The conclusion is that if you believe it is, then it is.  Let's just say, nobody objected to having a basket full of goodies on Sunday morning!

As our luck would have it, just as we were loading up for the long drive home, the clouds parted and the sun was brightly shining in the sky.  Thanks to Daylight Savings Time, we were able to get the kids home in time for a couple rounds of egg hunting before dark.

Our sweet neighbors also brought the kids over a bag of treats each.  They always do nice things for our kids for all the holidays. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

It's Twin Tuesday!

Just a quick update for today.

For Girl Twin: The nasal spray that the pediatrician gave her for the snoring is helping! He said it is a steroid spray that should help shrink her adenoids a little so she can breathe better.  It's still a temporary solution until we can see the ENT, but thankfully, she is sleeping so much better this week! 

She is doing very good using the potty, though has had a couple of accidents at daycare this week. Also, she is still asking for a diaper when she needs to do her Number 2 business...Big Sis did the same thing, so we know she'll get it soon enough.

For Boy Twin:  He is going potty like a CHAMP! He owns that potty.  We are so proud of him!  His piggy bank is filling up very quickly because, of course, we aren't above paying them to poop in the potty.

It seems to me that he is also hitting the terrible 2's.  I'm seeing more tantrums, raging and fits than before.  As with Big Sister, the "terrible 2's" were really 2.5 to 3.5.  Here we go, I guess!!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Easter Weekend Getaway

We decided to load up and head to the Hardys' house for Easter weekend.  It turned out to be mostly cold and rainy, so we were stuck inside the whole time.  Trust me, this is not good for children who've been buckled into car seats for four hours!  We got a visit from Grammy and Nanny on Saturday, which we all enjoyed.  However, the kiddos were wild and cranky.  To kick off our festivities on Saturday, we baked a cake and colored our Easter eggs, which they all liked helping with.  We ate some good food, visited and colored lots of pictures while we watched it rain outside.  At that point, I was wondering what on Earth we were going to do with those dyed eggs since we clearly weren't going outside to hide them!

TP and Jonathan have worked so hard on the addition to their home.  It turned out so nice! I just wish I had taken a photo to share.  Their garage was already built in, but unfinished, when they moved into their house a few years ago. Now, they can enjoy having a new den and lots more space for Baby Hardy to explore.

Grammy and TP helping color the eggs.  Nanny always manages to hide from the camera!

After about two eggs, Girl Twin was over it.  She went to the couch and napped while we finished.

A little sibling sweetness in the midst of the chaos!

Pop came over to visit us on Sunday before we had to head home.  Look at all this attention he got! And I promise, my dad's eyes are open...he will love this picture.

Nothing but trouble right there!

I think they are two peas in a pod.

One last photo before loading up to leave.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Winner Announcement

The winner of the cooking/grilling prize pack from The Spice Hunter is Ms. Alitha Smith!  She is a classmate of mine from grade school; haven't seen her in 20 years. Congratulations, Alitha! I know you are going to cook up a storm with all these goodies.  Start checking your mailbox...

Thanks to everyone else who entered to win my giveaway.  You can still try some of these great products--at a discount! My blog readers can go to and get 25% of your entire order online!  If you spend over $25, you will also qualify for FREE SHIPPING.  I promise, you will love the quality and taste of these spices, marinades and cooking mixes.
I've also found out that Duke's Mayo is available locally at The Fresh Market store in Rogers, or you can shop online for that, too.

Disclaimer: The products mentioned and pictured above were given to me for the purpose of sampling for this blog giveaway. All opinions are my own and I have not received any further compensation for this promotion.
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