Tag Archives: niece

TT & Val Day

Standard
TT & Val Day

Hello!! At three and a half years old, I thought this winter would be the perfect time to teach my niece, Val, how to ice skate. For a long time, Val used to say that skating would be “too scary” and didn’t want to try it – and that was totally fine! This winter, however, she said that she would like to learn and I had grand plans of taking her to an outdoor rink in Cuyahoga Falls this past Tuesday afternoon. To both of our disappointment, the rink was closed (Naturally) on our treat day but that didn’t stop us from having lots of fun together anyways!

image_50403585(4)image_50728961(2)image_50461441(6)image_50412801(1)image_50429953(8)image_50443265(7)

^^^ That last picture. πŸ™‚ The taste of sweet success!

After informing my sister that skating wasn’t going to happen, I told her that I would just watch Val at my parents’ house for the afternoon. Kristen let me know that Val had little wooden bird boxes to paint and has also been wanting to bake brownies and I thought that sounded like a great time! As soon as Val arrived, we got to work on painting and she did so awesome. She finished most of an entire bird house by herself but then got distracted by our dog, Archie, so TT and Momo had to finish things up lol. We decided that the bird houses are probably too small for birds but will be perfect for fairies and butterflies. ❀

Once our group effort masterpieces were done, it was time to make some brownies and Val was very excited. She loves to help her mom bake and they are constantly bringing cupcakes and cookies to my parents and me and Johnny. For our baking process, literally all I did was measure out the liquid ingredients and Val did everything else. She poured the ingredients, cracked the egg, mixed the batter, and filled up the pan by the spoonful all by herself. I was so impressed!!

While our brownies baked and cooled, Val wanted to lay down so we watched a few episodes of Paw Patrol to recharge. That really did the trick because after resting we had brownies to frost and sprinkle. For this, all I did was dollop the frosting on the brownies and showed her how to spread it with a spatula and she was a quick study in this too. After Val perfectly applied rainbow sprinkles to our bakery, I asked her what she wanted to do next and she said “Eat the brownies!”. Lol, that was very easily arranged and I could tell that she was so proud of her hard work. πŸ™‚

Even though our TT and Val day didn’t go accordingly to our original plan, we still had the best day together. I love my lil BFF so much! ❀

How old were you when you started playing a sport? What is your favorite sweet treat? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Guest Star OOTD Bloopers

Standard
Guest Star OOTD Bloopers

Hello everyone and welcome to the third and final blooper reel from my Thanksgiving OOTDs! Today, we’ll be looking at the craziness from my Guest Star OOTD and it is one of my favorite photo series that has been created for lifewithlilred. The outfit was, of course, on point but it was the best because my darling niece, Valerie, wanted in on the photography fun too! Val makes me proud every day but this just hit different – especially considering that there was a point when she refused to have her picture taken. Look at her now, stealing the show!

Just TT being and looking crazy

image_50454529(3)image_50741505image_50437633(4)

TIMBERRRRRRR

image_50429441(3)

Lol, Val holding on for dear life

image_50433537(1)

This picture cracks me up!!

image_50750465

She’s coming in hot and…..

image_50725633(1)

Nails it!!

image_50449665(2)

Valerie is my lil bestie and everything is infinitely more fun (And tiring!) when she’s around. Every day that I get to spend with her is special and whenever I’m feeling down, all I need to do is think of the funny things that she says and does and it never fails to make me smile! She is my partner in crime for Taco Bell and Mexican food dates, story hours, slumber parties, and now OOTDs! I truly think we have a future influencer on our hands and that time might be coming sooner than later – she puts her own outfits together every day! #proudestTTever

Every moment from mine and Johnny’s three day Thanksgiving extravaganza was awesome but having Val be a Guest Star was one of my favorite parts. Being an aunt and uncle is such an exciting adventure for us and I cannot wait to celebrate Christmas with our sweet nieces and nephew. Only a few more weeks!! ❀

What is one of your cherished holiday memories? What puts you in the holiday spirit? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Frozen At Playhouse Square Review

Standard
Frozen At Playhouse Square Review

Hello! This past weekend, I went to Playhouse Square with my dad, brother, and Val Gal to see a matinee showing of Frozen at the KeyBank State Theatre. I have never seen the movie the whole way through but it’s my niece’s favorite and Playhouse Square always puts on amazing shows so I was excited! There were things about Frozen that blew me away and other parts that were… not so much.

Regardless, it was SO special to accompany Val to her first ever live theater performance, which she loved. In fact, she asked if we could go again tomorrow! She was also dressed up in her Elsa costume and it was adorable seeing all of the little Anna and Elsas walking around. πŸ™‚ Now, let’s get to this review starting with the good:

image_50456065(1)image_50392833(2)

Although a majority of the acting and singing in Frozen was great, the best thing about the show was, easily, all of the wonderful special effects. The lighting, set design, and flying pieces was true theater magic. This production used techniques that I had never seen before and, honestly, didn’t even think were possible. I had no idea how they were going to create the eternal winter landscape that Elsa created but it really did look like the entire stage was encompassed in snow and ice.

A huge credit should be given to the production team because this show would not have been nearly as good without everything that was accomplished by them. The set was so elaborate and visually beautiful and the lighting and soundscape enhanced everything tenfold. Now that I think of it, the only things that “wowed” me were all production related.

While some of the actors kind of missed the mark for me, there were a few performances that really stood out. F. Michael Haynie who played Olaf was spectacular and a formidable puppeteer too. I didn’t know how they were going to create the talking snowman and a to scale version puppet was cleverly used. It worked perfectly and Haynie played the part so well.

Evan Strand played Sven, Kristoff’s reindeer, and this was also another head scratcher for me. It’s not like they could have used a real reindeer for the show and most animal portrayals by actors can be kind of lame. However, the costume that was used for Sven was one of the best that I have ever seen and I almost thought that it was an actual reindeer at first! His physicality was spot on and I was very impressed – I think he outshined Kristoff completely.

Caroline Bowman as Elsa was pretty good, although I felt like she was a bit boring. Her time on stage was kind of lackluster and what shined during “Let It Go” wasn’t her but the incredible production behind it. Lauren Nicole Chapman as Anna also left A LOT to be desired. She was SO. Freaking. Annoying. Her voice was also very shrill. Granted, I haven’t seen bits and pieces of the movie in a while but I definitely don’t remember Anna being like that – maybe I’m wrong!

Because there aren’t too many original songs in the movie Frozen, a majority of the numbers had to be created for the stage. I liked a fair amount of them and enjoyed “Let It Go”, “In Summer”, “Fixer Upper”, and “Monster” the most. I will say that there were times when it was difficult to hear/understand the actors so that took away from some numbers that I could have potentially enjoyed.

Some of the songs really dragged the show on for longer than I thought was necessary, though. For example “Hygge” sung by Oaken and company was kind of a hot mess. I get that productions more geared towards children have to throw some things in for the adults BUT it felt inappropriate for the kids in the audience. It was, hands down, the cringiest part of the performance.

There were times when Frozen was hit or miss and that’s fine because the biggest success of the show was how much fun Val had. I am thrilled to have been able to share in my love of live theater with her and can’t wait to do something like this again!

What is your favorite musical? Have you seen any good shows lately? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Bubble Pop Craft

Standard
Bubble Pop Craft

Hello! This past weekend was a whirlwind because my sister just had another beautiful baby girl! I am so excited to be a TT of three and my Val Gal is over the moon to be a big sister. While the little miss was making her grand debut, my dad and I watched Val over the weekend. We had an absolute blast playing outside, going to see a dance program, and making a super fun bubble craft!

When I was little, I could stay outside picking dandelions and blowing bubbles for hours and Val shares the same sentiments. On Sunday morning, it was very dreary so we couldn’t play outside. But, in the recesses of my brain, I remembered a craft that I had seen on Pinterest by Broogly that was sure to keep her occupied. Check it out:

image_50739713(1)image_50407169(1)image_50440961(2)image_50416897(4)

What You’ll Need:

  • Bubble soap
  • Food coloring
  • Paper

What To Do:

  • Mix food coloring and bubble soap together
  • Blow bubbles over your piece of paper to create your pop art. The longer the bubble sits on the paper, the deeper the color will be.

This bubble pop craft was so easy to put together and Val and I spent over an hour and a half making six masterpieces for her baby sis, uncles, and grandma. While this is definitely a better craft for doing outside, we were able to make it work with minimal mess by placing beach towels over the kitchen floor to blow bubbles on. The mess actually came after the project was complete when I accidentally knocked into Val and blue bubble soap spilled all over the floor. WHOOPS lol.

Not only was this craft entertaining but it was educational too. I got to teach Val all about mixing colors to make new ones and she assisted in helping me make purple and orange bubble soap. I loved how her orange turned out! She would tell you that the purple was the best and, as always, it’s her favorite color. ❀

The next time we make this craft (because there will for sure be a next time), hopefully the weather will be nice enough to do it outdoors. I plan on getting bigger sheets of paper and think that it will turn out really cool if we use one of the automatic bubble blowers. Do give this craft a try if you have little ones – they will love it!

Where do you find fun crafts for your kids? What crafts have you made together this summer? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

A Stroll In The Garden OOTD Bonus Pics

Standard
A Stroll In The Garden OOTD Bonus Pics

Hello everyone and welcome to some bonus pics from my Stroll In The Garden OOTD! This is neither here nor there but, as I type this, there is something stuck in my eye and it’s super uncomfortable/annoying. Happy Monday, am I right? ANYWHO, this little OOTD was shot by my dad and he did a bang up job! And, something very special happened afterwards so let’s get to it:

image_50755329(2)image_50422529(1)image_50736897(1)image_50451713(2)image_50747905image_50473217(1)

My niece, Valerie, was over when we were taking these pictures and was outside with my mom while my dad was snapping pics. Val is my lil BFF and she is always joined at my hip whenever we are together so it was pretty amazing that these pictures could even happen! Now, normally, Val refuses to get her picture taken so we were all shocked when the unthinkable happened… She said she wanted to take pictures too!

After a few more minutes of OOTD pics, I was able to take Val’s pictures and it warmed my cold, bitter heart like no other. We all knew it was because she wanted to be doing what I was doing and it was just so freaking cute. Her and I ran around the backyard finding good patches of grass because, oddly enough, she didn’t want pictures by flowers. She showed off her cool dance moves and took her TT’s directions well when she felt like it. πŸ˜€

I couldn’t wait to share the pics that I took with my sister and brother-in-law and they were equally as surprised from Val’s apparent change of heart for getting her picture taken. Val makes me proud all of the time but this moment is definitely in my top five. Maybe we have a future blogger in the family?!

Do you like having your picture taken? Or do you prefer to be the one taking the pictures? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Accessory Story: Handmade Necklaces Edition

Standard
Accessory Story: Handmade Necklaces Edition

Hello! A couple of weeks ago, my niece made my mom and dad the cutest necklaces with Blues Clues pendants on them. I’m not going to lie, Johnny and I were pretty jealous that we didn’t get one too. So, the next time we watched her we asked if she could make us some necklaces and she said yes! They are absolutely adorable and my mind is blown by how much necklace making technology has improved for children. Check it out:

image_67227905image_50417409image_67179009image_67194881

I loved making necklaces when I was little… Until it was time to tie the string together, that is. Without fail, my necklace would end up falling apart and always resulted in frustration. I had to share the necklaces my niece made because 1) How could I not? and 2) The rubbery necklace strand is literally fail proof.

When my niece gifted my parents with their new bling, my dad’s came off and it happened in slow motion when it fell to the floor. I was positive that the beads would be flying off and tears would start to fall. But that wasn’t the case! The end of the necklace strand has two thick posts with one being hollow to attach the sides together. This change in width catches the beads every time for hours of jewelry making fun without the possibility of a masterpiece being ruined.

The amount of options for toys, clothes, TV shows, and everything in between has grown exponentially since I was a kid. These necklace strands are definitely one thing that I wish had been invented in my youth! I can’t wait to rock my new Blues Clues necklace and this improvement to jewelry making will be a fun activity for your little ones come summer break. πŸ™‚

What was your favorite activity as a child? How about your favorite childhood TV show? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Here I Am!

Standard
Here I Am!

Hello everyone! It has been a minute since a new OOTD post because your girl needs her hair done! Thankfully, that problem will be solved soon and I can’t wait to show you all some perfectly spring OOTDs ASAP. In the meantime, here are some pics of yours truly and some of my favorite people to tide you over until then:

image_50413313image_50419713image_50427393(2)image_50403841(3)image_50424065(1)image_50414081

^^^ Can you spy one of my new tattoos?! πŸ™‚

This past Sunday, we celebrated our darling niece’s third birthday a bit late because the weather has been wet and cold here. What was originally a party at a park turned into a get together at my sister and her partner’s house and, of course, Johnny and I had to step out in our best. This also meant all of the car selfies as well as pictures of me and Johnny when he refuses to just smile for the camera! *Massive eye roll* lol.

Our Val Gal’s party was a great success and it was so nice to see old friends and meet new ones. Johnny also finally got to meet some of my extended family who I haven’t seen in forever, which was awesome. We were surrounded by good company, good food, and lots of love and it’s safe to say that three year old Val knows how to throw a rager! πŸ˜€

Be sure to keep it posted on lifewithlilred for brand new OOTDs, book club reviews, Johnny’s unsmiling face, and all of the usual shenanigans this month. ❀

What do you like to do when your family gets together? Are you a smiling or silly face making selfie taker? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Happy Day!

Standard
Happy Day!

Hello! This past Sunday was a wonderful, happy day with my family because we celebrated my niece’s third birthday. It seems like just yesterday that my sister brought her home from the hospital and I was in all of the feels. I didn’t think I would be so emotional but then I found myself crying not once or twice but THREE times when we took Val to her first movie at the theaters to see Sing 2.

Prior to seeing the movie, Val enjoyed a huge present haul from her TT and Uncle “Ohnny”. She loved all of her new Mini Mouse gear, pop up books, and a ukulele from Johnny. He got her a purple one and a black one for himself so they can have lessons together. How sweet is that?!

After lunch and lots of playing, we headed to the movie theater for Sing 2. None of us have seen the first one but that didn’t matter much because what is there to know about animals singing? I must admit that Johnny and I weren’t chomping at the bit to see this movie. We were definitely more excited about Val’s first movie theater experience. However, by the end of the flick we were eating our words because it was pretty much the cutest movie ever.

Long story short, a musical theater group are putting on an intergalactic themed show for a not so nice entertainment bigwig. The songs in the movie are mostly current popular hits including songs by Billie Eilish, The Weeknd, and Shawn Mendes. Not to mention that Bono of U2 (our family favorite band) does a voice in the movie which we were all stoked about.

Sing 2 opened with “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince and we were all hooked from there. I was getting super invested in this movie and when Bono’s reclusive character had some struggles, I couldn’t help but shed a few tears. THEN, Johnny and I were surprised to hear one of the characters singing “Could Have Been Me” by The Struts. We absolutely love them and I started crying again not because it was sad but I was just so happy lol.

Finally, I cried three times a lady at the end when the space themed musical wrapped up with “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2. We were all singing along, including my little niece and it just melted my heart. My dad even shed a tear or two! Meanwhile, Johnny just laughed at me because I literally cry during ninety percent of the movies we watch. It truly doesn’t take much!

We all had the best day celebrating my best girl and I have been looking back on it fondly all week because it was such a Beautiful Day… See what I did there, U2 fans? By the way, if you are looking for a fun family movie, I can’t recommend Sing 2 enough. Just have some tissues at the ready because you may or may not cry too!

What is the first movie you saw in theaters? What is your favorite animated movie? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Sticker Surprise

Standard
Sticker Surprise

Hi! This past Friday at work, I was having some coffee and thought that I had spilled some on my hoodie. Yes, it’s finally hoodie weather in Ohio and I am LOVING it!! When I looked down, I noticed what I thought was coffee but, to my surprise, it ended up being a sticker that my lil niece had stuck on there back in the springtime:

I couldn’t believe that this tiny butterfly (Her favorite!) sticker had stayed on for that long because it was barely hanging on by the time I noticed it. The sticker withstood me putting it on and running out into the cold and windy morning to my car. I am so glad that it did because this Sticker Surprise was just what I needed after a super long week at work.

I have been insanely busy on the ol’ blog and I had been getting up at 5:45 every morning last week to get things done before going to my other job. By the time Friday rolled around, I was completely exhausted! Looking down and seeing a sticker from my niece on my hoodie turned a normal day into something special. Despite being drop dead tired and all, I had a great day because I had the best pick me up in the morning.

Feeling down or worn out? Always look for your own personal butterflies to help turn things around! It’s the little things, right? ❀

What makes you smile? When do you normally get up for work? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Target Run

Standard
Target Run

Hello! I have not been in a store just to browse since the beginning of the pandemic and you guys have no idea how much I have missed it. For a while, I was only going grocery shopping and I stopped doing that a few months ago, opting for curbside delivery instead. Now that I am fully vaccinated, I feel much more comfortable running errands so when my sister texted me last Saturday morning asking if I wanted to go on a Target Run, I couldn’t say no!

Kristen picked me up with my niece, Valerie, and I was so excited because Target is Val’s favorite store and I have never been there with her. Such good taste at just two years old! It seems so simple but that small outing that lasted a little over an hour was enough to make me insanely happy. It was, finally, a warm spring day in Ohio and driving in the car with Kristen and Val with the sun shining and music playing on the way to Target felt like the first semblance of normal I’ve had in a long time.

I am just as surprised as all of you that my first window shopping trip in over a year wasn’t to TJMaxx but Target is a close second and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. We even ran into Jared’s really quickly after our Target trip so I could check on the progress of my wedding band and it is looking amazing. Kristen and I are planning on doing another shopping excursion soon because we are both in need of new summer clothes and I can’t wait. Here’s to many more safe outings all summer! ❀

What have you missed the most during the pandemic? Which store is your happy place? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah