Celebrating the Red, White and Blue

We are beginning "one" of my favorite weeks of the year.
The celebration of our country's birthday, family
gatherings, cookouts, friends visiting,
fireworks, sparklers, watermelon ice-cream.....
Really, what's not to love.

We are extending our celebration and having our 1st Annual Extended
Family USA Birthday Celebration on the 12th.  So that means two weeks this year!!!!!

Since it's at our house I'm beginning to "fancy" my house up a little.

In January I did  a post on my Winter  Snowball Wreath  along with the

  original source of my idea.

I've used that wreath for other holidays including Valentines and Mardi Gras and
St. Patrick's Day.

For Fourth of July I decided I needed more punch of colors but still using the same idea
and this is what I came up with:

I used Patons Cobbles yarn (a wool blend) from JoAnn's because I like the fullness
of the balls it creates. 

8.99 each (before coupon) and it takes about 3 total.
I used 40% off coupons for each. 

 Greening Pins from JoAnn's that you can find in the floral/wreath section.

4.99  (before coupon) Straw Wreath from JoAnn's 
I used a 40%off coupon.

Ribbon was from JoAnn's.  It was in the 70% off bin for
4th of July decorations and cost $1.18.

Total Cost was right under 25.00.

Wrap yarn around three fingers somewhat loosely 10 times for smaller yarn balls
and 20 for larger ones.  I used some of both.  It's totally whatever you like.

Cut a piece of yarn and tie a knot horizontally around the yarn.

Cut the loops to make your balls.
Once they are made, you will likely have to do a small amount of trimming to shape it.

Loop the pin through the yarn securely.

Fill in until you can't see the straw wreath.  I've seen some people wrap their wreaths
first with material or ribbon but I didn't find it necessary.

I love the way it turned out.  Originally I wanted blue yarn balls included in the wreath
 but the particular kind of yarn I used didn't have that color option.  
So I included a blue star bow and I'm happy with the out come.

#1.  It mimics a flag
#2.  I can use it at Christmas in the room I decorate red and white.

Below are pictures of how I added touches to my Winter Snowball Wreath
for other holidays.

Thanks for joining my today.  I'll be back with some other decorating ideas for the 4th.
What fun things are you doing this year?

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Happy Birthday Brody Bear

I'm very late posting Brody's birthday.

Brody turned 4 in June.  This year he had a Ninja Turtle Birthday Party.
It was at a movie theater where they saw a Ninja Turtle movie and had games and
treats.  The boys got to act out lots of ninja turtle moves.  Even though I wasn't
able to be there, I got several pictures of the fun.


Brody's best Ninja Turtle impression.

Miss Ashley made his Leonardo cake.  A big hit.

Raphael and Leonardo, really.  Just ask them their names.

After the party the family celebrated with yummy mexican food.

Brody at 4 is .....

plays t-ball and is starting soccer
 doesn't like for mommy to leave him at Pre-K (at all)
but once she's gone he likes his class
is mommy's boy through and through
loves ninja turtles
his alias is Leonardo
likes his longer hair and curls and has no interest in cutting his hair
likes trains
loves the color blue (he is leonardo after all)
is very fond of sweets
loves his big sister
his best friend is Caleb (Raphael)
has a fun bunk bed
did I say he loves ninja turtles  :-)
loves to go to the farm with Dad

I love you Brody Bear.  You are such a cutie pie.
Thanks for all the facetime tours of your toys.
Nana loves it.


5000 miles, part 2

Now we are off to Nebraska.  It was the first time I'd ever been.
We were there to visit Floyd and Ginny.  Floyd was Mike's pastor for many years
in North Carolina and they were very good friends to him.
After a life time of hard work they retired this January and we wanted to be able to 
celebrate that with them.

We had such a fun visit and Mike got to touch base with 2 of Floyd's children who
are grown men with families now but were boys when Mike met them.
He's always telling me stories of the fun they all had together.

On our first full day there Chris, Dawn and their lovely girls came over and they
all made us a delicious dinner.  As a matter of fact I'm pretty sure I spent a good
amount of time eating.  We had some amazing meals from a family that really knows who to cook.

We spent the day exploring their new city.

Now I'm normally not too much of a "Buffet" kind of girl unless of course it's one of Disney's 
amazing Buffets but let me tell you Valentino's was delicious.  Their salad bar was out of 
this world fresh with lots to choose from and even had a selection of numerous 
pre-made pasta and meat salads that were wonderful.  There was a hot food bar that had
 lasagna, chicken, vegetables, etc.  Kind of like an Italian version of 
down home cooking.  I didn't try it but it looked great.
And of course they had a whole dessert section which I did try.  Yum!
Very reasonably priced, great service and cute decor.  
If only they had one close but it seems to be a chain in only Nebraska and a couple
of surrounding states which is probably better for me as I might find an occasion or two or three
to go alittle to often.  If you find yourself in the Lincoln/Omaha area, you have to give it a try.

The next day we drove into Omaha.  It was not at all what I was expecting.    

We visited the Heartland of America Park which was beautiful.

We passed by an amazing Morman cemetary in another part of town.  It was beautiful
with rolling hills  and unique headstones.  Since we were driving and on our way to meet
Floyd's family for dinner I didn't ask to stop.   I would so interesting to know the story behind it all.  
That's what I love about visiting new areas and learning their stories.

Just a couple of shots below of the city.

We met Floyd and Ginny's youngest son, John Paul and his family for dinner 
at a restaurant called HuHot Mongolian Grill.
I love a good Mongolian barbecue and this was d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s.
Thank you Floyd and Ginny for treating us to such a great day with family and friends, 
beautiful scenery and delightful food.

Again, HuHot seems to be a local chain and not in our area.  Bummer.

This is Floyd and Ginny's sweet house and it's on such
a lovely tree lined street.  What a great place to begin the next leg of their
journey we call life.  

Floyd and Ginny
We had such a wonderful time visiting and are so happy for you both
in your retirement.  We are looking forward to the next time we see you.
Maybe on a visit to Florida?

We woke up early the next day and headed off to our next destination.

Have a blessed day!