Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Photo Dump Wednesday: Busy Busy

The last couple of weeks for us have been ultra-super-mega BUSY!!! Try saying that 3 times :-).

As I have stated in the past, we are hosting Christmas this year and in an effort to do that, we decided to partially finish our basement. However, this is wicked expensive. So to save some, we are doing some DIY things in areas where we can. 
The Saturday before last, we spent ALL DAY in the basement doing the ceiling and that took FOREVER! More on that later. 

Let's just say that the weekend wa so busy that by the time Monday rolled around, I was very happy for the break!
One morning last week, after I got up to do some work, JAE came in and decided to be the Sheriff. Check her out in her Sheriff Callie cowgirl hat. How sure is she?
This girl is a born model! She just loves to pose :-). 

Trying to smile and say cheese at the same time :-). Her morning smiles are the best and everytime I see her and her sister smile, I say "thank you Lord for these blessings" in my head. For truly, they are wonderful blessings.

So, back to the basement. I promise to do a full blog post on the before and after. But for her, I figured I might as well share the pain with you. 
Instead of putting dry wall on the ceiling, I wanted to leave it all exposed and paint it all white. However, J was not really thrilled with this idea. 
Back to the drawing board. I went scouting on Pinterest (seriously, I plug this site so much that they should be paying me!). I found a few ideas and we decided to build on them.

We went to Home depot and purchased sheets of plywood. Then we had them cut to the specs we wanted. Note that while the sheets were relatively cheap ($14 per sheet), we had to pay $0.25 after the first 2 cuts. Each sheet gave us 11-cuts. So the added up. The total cost came up to about the same as what we would have paid for the paint. 
However, J liked this idea more so we went with it. 

Saturday was spent nailing the slabs to the exposed beams. We got through most of the basement. We ran out of wood so we have to get more to finish up the job. Then the last step for the ceiling will be to paint it. 
We are hoping to finish putting in the wood by this weekend. took so long that my baby fell asleep! We had to work around her. Even the loud noise of the power drill did not wake her up. That's how tired she was.

By the end of the day on Saturday, I had achieved my highest steps in a while! Check it out. 
Both J and I were SOOOOO TIRED that all we could do was stay in bed the next morning and watch church online. 

Since we were home the next day, we decided to keep it low-key and only do absolutely what we needed to do to prepare for the week. 
While making lunches for the week, JOE decided to entertain me. She rolled down their rollercoaster and said "howdy cowboy!" At first, I didn't notice what she had done but then I looked up and saw this sight. As tired as I was, it really made me smile.  

Evenings are so much better when I am able to take a selfie with my girls. But why won't they smile though? I say smile and they stick out their tongues. What gives?

After dinner, we all play together. Then it is upstairs to get ready for bed and helping the kids brush their teeth. 
One evening, while J and I got ourselves ready for bed, I looked out of the bathroom to see why they were so quiet and I was greeted with this. 
Apparently, our bed is the most comfortable place to watch the ipad. Often, JOE is in our bed doing that and JAE is on the floor with her legs crossed in the air. 

Last week Wednesday, our neighbor's kids came over. JOE and JAE had A TON of toys to play with. But of all the toys, they chose to play with pool noodles. It was all out war in the house. Hearing all of the laughters and screaming really made my heart feel full because it reminds me of my childhood playing with my siblings. Being from a big family, it was almost always noisy.

PROGRESS PROGRESS!!! Yes, I had to bold AND underline that! Why? Because I am seeing my weight loss progress in the mirror! I got a few Spring/Summer dresses to wear to work and this was one of the dresses I wore last week. I think it is my new favorite dress because it is just so flattering on me! :-D.

In addition to all the work around the house, I have also been busy with orders and ideas for AyoBE Boutique.
First, THANK YOU SO MUCH for all your support. Your sharing my posts, commenting, liking them all make a HUGE difference because others are able to see them and it reaches more people. I definitely don't have the number of friends that view my posts on Facebook or other Social media so BIG THANKS to you all!

Here are a few things I have worked on in the past couple of weeks. 

Since my boutique focuses on Africa, I decided to do something fun for everyone. This art will look ABSOLUTELY beautiful adorning a nursery wall, office wall, family wall or cubicle wall. Elephants are supposed to bring luck. They make excellent and unique gifts as well. 
Go check it out here.

Hakuna Matata comes from the movie The Lion King and the words are Swahili for "no worries". Well, do you know Nigerians also have a pidgin saying for "no worries"? It is "No wahala". Pronounced "no wah-hah-lah".

Why use the same saying as everyone when you can stand out and be different? These tees are now listed on our website here and will make a thoughtful Father's day gift. 

While you're at it, why not "say it with a card." Include a beautiful African Print card for dad to tell him just how cool he is! These cards are one of my favorites. 

After the very busy last couple of weeks, it was nice to sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful long weekend. 
We decided to head over to NC to visit with my brother and his family. We always have a great time and since JOE and cousin C are only 4 months apart, they always have the best of times. 
Here are some of the pictures from our weekend. Also, I have posted a video here you can view of our drive back home. 

Sitting on their front porch enjoying a tasty ice pop. This pop was the size of her arm when she got it and she devoured it!

The kids spent 2 days at the pool. Here is my parent's oldest grandson and the youngest grand-daughter. JAE LOVES her cousin B. She was all about him and followed him everywhere. It is just so cute! And he does so great with kids. Gosh...I can't believe how much he is growing. I still remember when he was born and in a year, he'll be starting high school. HOW???

And JOE and her cousin C. Everyone thought they were twins!

With my other nephew A. I love this kid! He is just so smart and thoughful and always wants everyone to be happy. He helped me with the girls and was very considerate of the fact that they couldn't do everything he can. 

 Sunday at the pool after Church. They LOVE LOVE LOVE the pool. Now, I just need to find a way to get them swimming lessons without having to deal with hair issues every week. HELP!!! I need ideas.

After the pool, it was lights out for this little one. She was so tired that she could barely finish her milk. And she LOOOOOOOVVVVEEESSSSS her almond milk.

Saturday night was a little bit of a challenge. At 8pm, I looked at my fitbit and had only completed 6200 steps. I wanted to just crawl into bed and sleep but J encouraged me to step it up. So I got out of bed and decided to do some steps (playing music in my head...thanks to taking step classes for like 8 years). And I did some lunges too. I was tuckered out!

I did pretty good with my eating over the weekend and stuck to my steps goals. I also did my steps on Sunday since I figured I'd be spending most of the day on Monday in the car driving back. 

I'll update my weight loss in my next post. I missed my Friday and Sunday weigh in since I was not home. I know I made some progress and I am eager to see the numbers reflected on the scale. More on that next week. 

I hope you had a nice long weekend and I hope you had some time reflecting on why we have Memorial day. It is not a day to honor the living but a day to remember those who paid the ultimate price for freedom. I am reminded on such occassions that freedom is not free. 

Remember always to be kind to strangers!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Photo Dump Wednesday: Mother's day 2017

I had an awesome Mother's day. The entire weekend was really nice. Not as relaxing but it was nice to be with family. 
On Friday evening, my sister and her co-worker came over and stayed the night since they were was in town for training. JOE and JAE were so happy to see my youngest sister and had a blast with her. 

On Saturday morning, I decided to try out a pancake recipe I found online. I was really excited about it. I was hoping it would be a good family recipe that everyone would enjoy since it employed the use of coconut flour which is high in protein and lower in carbs. Well, let's just say it DID NOT live up to the reviews I found on Pinterest. This was quite possibly, THE DRIEST pancake I have ever had. J said it was tasty after he added maple syrup. But I can't vouch for that since I am on a low carb, high protein diet. 

My first clue that this was a disaster in the making should have been when I put it in the pan and it didn't clump together like it should. 
The one positive though is that I LOVE the smell of the coconut flour! Now, I have to find a recipe that works with it because it does have a very nice flavor.

I am still doing great with my workout and healthier eating plan. I completed week 4 on Atkins phase 1 last week Friday. And honestly, my initial carb cravings have really reduced. 

For mother's day, I received very nice gifts from J, the girls and J's parents. 

I got my favorite Kona Hawaiin coffee including other items that I absolutely love. 

This coffee is turning me into a coffee snob :-P

On Sunday, in honor of mother's day, we all wore purple and pink (the girls had more pink than purple).

I love the little scarf headtie I wore on my hair. I realized after I got ready that I didn't have a headband to match my outfit so I made my own :-).
If you'd like a tutorial on how to make this, please leave a comment and I'll be sure to post a video on my YouTube channel. It is wicked easy.

Since we were going to meet up with J's parents for brunch, we decided to go to the early service so as not to miss out on my mother's day blessings :-).

Early service meant that we were at the restaurant before they opened. So after we filmed our weekly Sunday Family Chronicles, J let JAE come up front to "drive". 

JOE and JAE consumed A TON of bacon and the apple juice they had was WAYYYYY too sweet for them. We often dilute it but with all the chaos around the very busy restaurant, we didn't and let's just say, the girls were VERY hyper when we got home. 
So we decided to let them play around in the backyard while we enjoyed the warmer weather.
It was mother's day afterall so I decided to stretch out. I don't think J was very impressed. I mean, this momma needed a feet rub!

I was enjoying the nice weather :-D.

A meltdown in the making. She wanted to turn on the bubble machine while her sister was still playing at the sandbox and because I said no, she proceeded to take the machine and walk away.

Her awesome big sister went after her but JAE was having none of it.

Needless to say, JAE won. We closed up the sandbox and turned on the bubble machine. They enjoyed trying to catch double bubbles at once :-).

Backyard fun.

I want to say they took a nap afterwards but that was a futile effort. However, the most important thing is that we got a chance to be together as a family and that's al I could have asked for on Mother's day. 

On Monday, I had my annual physical. Does ANYONE enjoy having those? I feel like there is never any good news. While I am thankful for mostly good health, there are a few things I need to work on. Including continuing on my weight loss goal. I have to go back again in 6-months for a follow up. Hoping I'll have much better numbers when I go back. 

I also had a busy week working on items for AyoBE Boutique. 
These beautiful gift bags are an ideal way to give a gift. Bags can be used as welcome gift bags for party/wedding guests.
Better still, let us do all the heavy lifting for you by getting a gift from our store and having us mail it to your recipient.

This beautiful picture frame will showcase your memorable moments beautifully.
Customization is available!

Our beautiful print blouse is the perfect way to dress up comfortably this summer.

Celebrating a friend or family member? Say it with a beautiful handmade card.

Birthdays are made even more beautiful with these unique and elegant customizable cards.

Our Kente picture frame is sure to impress.

And incase you don't follow me on Instagram (you should be 😁), check out my baby in the African Print Pocahontas dress. She was really channeling Pocahontas here.

Check out my not so little baby! I'm constantly amazed at how quickly she is growing. 

Have a wonderful rest of the week and remember to be kind to strangers!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Photo Dump Wednesday: Mommy Daughter Date and more

The last couple of weeks have been truly busy but I wouldn't have it any other way. 

A few weeks ago, JOE asked for a mommy daughter date with just me and her. I had been planning on doing it but time just got away from me and things kept coming up. So when she asked, I immediately put a date on our family calendar and set out to plan something with her. 
I gave her a choice of pottery painting, nails or shopping. She wanted to go pottery painting. So I scouted around and found a few places not too far from us. 

JOE is really very crafty and creative so it was no surprise that she chose pottery painting. Check out her "alien baby egg" using an empty Easter egg, a pipe cleaner and a pom pom.

So on Saturday, after I got my exercise in, we got ready and headed to the pottery painting place. It was our first time at this location but we enjoyed it so much that JOE said this is where she wants to have her birthday party. Now, I have to be creative with her party theme and the location. No worries...I am sure it'll come to me between now and then. Thankfully, the date for her birthday is still available.
When we got there, she immediately said she wanted to paint a unicorn. For some reason, she is all about unicorns right now. 
So we looked for a unicorn for her. That's the other thing this place had over the last place we went. Lots of fun selection to paint at reasonable prices.

JOE found her unicorn and went to work.

I often tell the girls I love them from the earth to the moon and back. So of course, this cup was the first thing I saw and wanted to paint. 
While I was there, there were a few people painting for Mother's day. J, take note for next year ;-).

Anyways, here is JOE's "masterpiece!" 

We left it there and will pick up the glazed pieces next week Saturday. I'll post pictures after we pick them up.

Afterwards, we went to Rita's. I can't believe I actually went there and didn't get anything for me! Thank you Atkins! :-). 
Anyways, JOE said she wanted the chocolate custard and chocolate frozen ice with sprinkles and reeces pieces. 

Because it was quite a bit chilly that day, we decided to sit in the car while JOE had her treat. She loved it in the front seat and wanted to ride home there but I explained to her that the law requires she be in the backseat :-). 
She loved her chocolate custard but didn't much care for the chocolate frozen ice. So I had to separate it out for her and ended up tossing it. the self proclaimed no waste mom has decided to NOT treat my body as their garbage can by helping them finish their food. It can be struggle but I am doing it :-).

Check out JOE's happy face. It was such a treat to hang out with her. I love that she is very opinionated and is just a very well rounded kid. She is kind and smart and is soaking up so much knowledge on a daily basis. My daily prayers and wish for her and JAE is for God to bless them and continue to guide and protect them. 

Afterwards, while waiting to pick up our late lunch/early dinner, JOE and I decided to do a lip syncing video. Check it out. I have heard this song TOO MANY TIMES!!! And obviously got too excited :-).

Like I said, the last few weeks have been busy. Here is a sneak peak of the new top AyoBE Boutique will be offering soon. It isn't listed on the site yet but stay tuned!

I love to make items I or my kids can wear and love. This top is no exception. It is absolutely beautiful. I love the color and the style. I had a few tries as far as the style goes and finally decided on this one. 

The perfect warm weather top. Chic and comfy.

After pottery painting on Saturday, J and I focused on doing work in our basement. To save some money, we decided to paint the walls ourselves and put up the accent wall. 
It took a lot longer than we anticipates since the girls also needed attention and we had to learn to use the sprayer we got. Needless to say, we were bone tired by the time we went to bed. So much so that we didn't record a vlog on Sunday. Especially since we knew we had to get more of the wall done on Sunday after church. 

So I MADE a matching headband for the top above. Of course, I had to wear it on Sunday to Church. Check out our family Sunday car selfie with me wearing my beautiful headband.

And here is a sneak peak of how I spent my Sunday afternoon. This is the accent wall and I LOVE it! It was A LOT of work. To the tune of 4 hours. I didn't factor in the time to measure when I first came up with this concept. But overall, it turned out great. I'll post final pics in a future post once the basement is completed.

Hope your week is going well so far. Have a lovely weekend and remember to be kind to strangers!


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