Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ella's Birthday

We are not much of "planners" here in the Karayiannis house.  We are more the pack up and go type. 
However tomorrow is a BIG day.  It is the day our little girl turns FIVE!!!!!!!!! :)
How can that be?? FIVE years old?? I am fainting right now!
So, since tomorrow is such a big deal we have planned a very special day with Ella and Tyler to celebrate.
First stop...The Clay Chameleon in Paducah, KY.

Anyone who knows Ella knows that she is obsessed with anything ART...drawing, stickers, painting, cutting with scissors.  You name it, she loves it.  So we decided that this would be RIGHT up her alley.  We are hoping her and Tyler can create something special for us.  Maybe something like this...

If Ella and Tyler make us a special platter it will have the PERFECT home above our mantle in the kitchen...just sayin' :)
After the Clay Chameleon our next stop will be a spray park there in town.  There is nothing better than two little kids living it up with water and sun.  Our fingers are crossed for good weather, but there is a 60% chance for rain so we wanted to have back up plans so her day is perfect.
In case the spray park is a fail we have THIS stellar place as a back up.  YaYa's Island looks amazing. 

hello climbing huts...

hello indoor tunnel magic...
We will love you :)
Our last stop is the best place EVER for kids and that is...Chuck E Cheeses!!!!
I don't know who this will be harder on, Mom and Dad or a long day for the kids with no naps...but we will make it happen.
I still can't believe this girl...

will be FIVE tomorrow :( TEARS!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Play time and Mother's Day

It's the time of year where we are seldom inside our house.  We may pop in to use the bathroom, but besides that we are outside.  We have even been cooking out there for the most part!!! 

The kids love being outside and I am the same way.  We even had our first pool party this weekend.

Here are a few snapshots from our outdoor adventures.

Ella is slightly obsessed with climbing trees right now.  We have a couple of awesome climbing trees and she has several scrapes and bruises to make momma proud :)
 Tyler is slightly obsessed with Madagascar and his animals.  They seldom leave his side...they even play outside with him!
 We jump on the trampoline...A LOT!
 Ella does it Michael Jordan style...tongue has to be out when she does a toe touch :)
 Tyler runs around on the trampoline and tries NOT to fall off...it's ridiculous
 These two are getting so cute together though.  I often find them hugging and cuddling...even without me asking them. 
 And every once in a while I see them give a little smooch!! It makes momma's heart melt.
 Speaking of momma...Here is a quick shot from Mother's Day.  We had a nice relaxing day at my parent's house for brunch and then on to our house to host Jimmy's family.  It was a beautiful day.
 Just some of the kiddos posing on Mimo and Grandpa's swing.
I hope all the mothers had wonderful days with their families!!!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012


We have FOUR days of school left until summer break. I am so excited. I am seriously going to make a summer bucket list. The kids are at such a FUN age. This may be the best summer yet :)

To recap this week...


Monday was our cougar fun run. My friend and coworker Courtney and I pulled it off and it was great. The kids ran about 1.4 miles and got to stop at stations for snack, drink or hand stamping.

Our station was hand stamping. The back of their shirts said, "you deserve a paw on the back." Each Encore teacher left our print on the kids :)


Tuesday was our PBIS field trip to the Liberty Theater in Murphysboro. It was so neat. We got to bring our own DVD and played it for the good kids. It was really fun!!


Wednesday was our school talent show. The boys PE teacher and I hosted it and it was a blast.

The talent was amazing. So neat to see the kids talents that I normally don't get to see. Most of the talent I see is athletic :)


Thursday was Awards Day. We handed out athletic and academic awards. We definitely had a ton to hand out, but it was great :)


Friday was 8th grade graduation. To say our graduation is a circus would be a complete understatement. The kids were fantastic. So well behaved and polite. The parents and friends crack me up. I guess I just don't get all the hype...it's 8th grade, not high school :) ha ha. But it was fun to watch.

For the weekend...no plans. And I am quite thankful since the back windshield in my car completely shattered last night. It was brutal.

I guess the kids and I will spend all day by the pool

Happy Weekend to all

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I can not believe that in THREE months...
THIS girl...
will be in Kindergarten.
It kind of takes my breathe away. 

Today was officially her last day of Pre-School.  It was adorable.  She LOVED Pre-School, and I am certain she will feel the same about Kindergarten.  I snapped a few pictures this morning before she left.  And a few tears formed in my eyes.  NO WAY can she be this old right???
Tyler was so cute hugging her all morning.  He was so excited for her.  So crazy that HE will be in Pre-School next year!!! I think that will REALLY make me hyperventilate!!! Now in 9 days we can start our summer! The final summer before ACTUAL school starts for both of my babies!!!

I need to make a SERIOUS summer bucket list.  What would you put on your summer bucket list??
Leave me some ideas so that we can start a crazy summer adventure!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Ella is truly obsessed with all thing creative and artsy :) she is NOT in any way, shape, or form MY daughter.

And this one will not sit still for ONE minute to ever learn to write his name :)

His face is crusted with dried ice cream sandwich. It is bath time immediately!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Gift Ideas

Every year I get a million requests for what my kids want for their birthdays.  I always try and write a blog post noting all these ideas to make it easier on everyone.  Today is the day I will try and get Ella's done...and if we are really lucky, Tyler's too :)

Ella is ALL girl.  She loves everything princess and pink.  
She is obsessed with anything American Girl Doll, but especially clothes!!!

She has a Bitty Baby AND an American Girl Doll, so she loves any accessories that go with either one!
Like this Booster Seat:
 Her Bitty Baby has ONLY the nightgown that she came with, so some clothes for her would be AMAZING on Ella's dream list.
Like this matching swimming outfit :)

She is also obsessed with anything pool oriented.  She loves finding new games to play outside or by the pool since we LIVE out there all summer long. 

Her American Doll would love to spend an evening outdoors with Ella in this tent...
Ella LOVES to wear dresses and to play dress up! The fancier the better.
I am pretty sure ANYTHING on this entire page at Old Navy would make her swoon.
Ella wears a size 5 in almost everything.  Her shoe size is 10.5 :)

Since Ella is starting Kindergarten in the fall (insert tears here) She will need more than just dresses.  She will have to be prepared for P.E. class to make her momma proud!!!!
She could totally rock one of these skorts...also from Old Navy

Their skirt collection is UNREAL as well.  I heart Old Navy!

 They have the most adorable SHORTS collection as well.  She is definitely going to be in need of clothes for school.  Jeans, Khakis, shorts, shirts, dresses, you name it.  You can't go wrong with clothes of ANY kind!!

Back to some fun stuff.  Ella is SUPER into drawing.  Anything artsy is her absolute favorite thing to do.  She is always looking for new ways to be creative.  She loves markers and is slightly obsessed with stencils right now as well.
I can see Ella sitting and designing clothes with this stencil from Amazon...
If anyone has mad carpentry skills you could make Ella one of these "Happy Helper Towers" because she LOVES cooking and helping in the kitchen.  The project is on Ana White's website.
 I unfortunately have NO carpentry skills.  Or I would have one for each of my kiddos!!!!!

So hopefully this helps.  My kids are NOT picky and love absolutely everything.  I just figured when people ask I have something to show them.  These are her favorite things :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

A constant test...

This cutie...she is my constant test.
She is so smart and SO much work. She tests me in ways that I never thought I would struggle.
I am a very patient person...or at least I used to be. I am trying to find more of that patience every day.

Ella is easily frustrated. Lots of kids are like this I guess, but her frustration appears in a perfectionist kind if way. Anything that isn't perfect (in her mind) is sure to have a meltdown almost immediately.
Good news is she doesn't do this at school.
Bad news is she ALWAYS does it at home.
To me I find it frustrating that she clearly has control over it. I am SO thankful that she wants to impress her teachers and puts it in check. However, it would be nice if she wanted or tried to impress ME!!
Anyone else feel this way?? If so how do you handle it? What helps?? I would love to hear!!

I feel like our mother-daughter relationship is in jeopardy. I am constantly policing her. I want her to be herself, but I am trying to teach her to relax at the same time. Maybe I have to accept her father in her (very much a perfectionist and easily frustrated). But these are qualities I feel like we can tame down a bit. At least I hope :)

Love this girl :)

We have the best time together :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Home Tour Part 1...the OUTSIDE

So, as promised, I have decided to tour our home with you.  We have done so much since moving into our dream home, that I wanted to document all of our hard work.  As we pulled into the driveway the day we first looked at the house my husband saw my face...and he knew it was GAME OVER!! This house would be ours. 

Here is the before picture of our home about a week before we moved in. 

 Here is the front of our house now.

Like in the sneak peak you will notice that the main difference to the front of the house is the color of the shutters.  I was 100% NOT involved in this decision.  My husband mentioned to me in passing that he was thinking of changing the colors of the shutters...I was partially ignoring him and I came home one day and BAM...black shutters.  A very risky move on his part...but I must now give him props.  They look AMAZING!! Points for hubby.  He just needs to NOT give me heart attack next time. 

I am sure you also noticed two additions.  One one each side.  To the left is the kitchen addition and to the right our master bath and bedroom.  We will get to those later on!

The next view is a side shot of the house BEFORE...

 Side of the house AFTER...

If you go back to the before picture the main thing that you should notice is a CREEPY and I mean CREEPY little curved hallway that basically connected the main house to the "Man Cave."  It was strange, partially too far below water grade, smelly, non air conditioned and every horrible adjective you can use besides maybe unique. That was ripped out and a new kitchen was put in it's place...a fantastic and amazing DREAM kitchen. Also, boring shutters were added, but I figured I should mention them!

Before shot of "Man Cave" central...

After of man cave...

Again, just shutters and taming of some out of control plants, but happiness is all over my face for my husband and his room :)

This view is the before shot of our back yard...

 I seriously gag every time I see that picture.  These were the most overgrown, pain in the butt bushes I have EVER seen in my entire life.  The roots went down for MILES and you couldn't even see the back of the house.  NOT family friendly in ANY way.

Then move to AFTER...

Hello patios, plants, seating areas, hot tub and vision of the house to the back yard!! :)

And if you step back a bit further...

 Magical Paradise for two cute kids :)

After you see every room in this house it may still shock you that the yard was the absolute selling point.  We have trees and plants in our yard that are over 50 years old...and gorgeous.  I could have built an old southern colonial style house like this on our land that we quickly sold after buying this house...but there was NO way in my lifetime could I have replicated that awesomeness that is the yard.  More yard pics to come later.  I will leave you with this Southern Magnolia tree flower.  Thanks for visiting!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Home Tour

So I have decided...very soon I will be hosting a mini home tour on my blog.
Since our addition I have been wanting to show all the magical goodness that we added on to this ANCIENT house.
We have ripped apart and redesigned almost EVERY room in this house.  There were some disaster rooms, and some not so bad.
But, this was the first house Jimmy and I bought TOGETHER and it has been amazing turning it into a home.

I will get started immediately!!

This is the first and easiest before picture...

So you see why I fell in love immediately???
I love old houses.

Sorry this picture is crooked...I will take a better one tomorrow. But the main thing you may notice is that there is an entire ADDITION to the house on the right side.  We also switched out ALL the shutters from white to black.
I wasn't sure about my husband's choice of shutter-color until I saw them afterwards.  I can't argue...the boy's got good taste!!!

Ok one more teaser picture...

  True or False...this is in our master bath?? :)

TRUE...only now it looks like this...

So this is just a preview of our home tour to come.  Keep up and enjoy!!

It's Derby Time

We are gearing up here at the Karayiannis pad for a Kentucky Derby party. We have hit the party mother load this weekend. Kentucky Derby AND Cinco de Mayo all in one day :) woohoo!!!

We aren't doing anything to crazy. My awesome family is coming down (minus one sister) and we are going to make some delicious food, dress up, and enjoy some mint juleps.

Here is the dress I decided to go with. Each of us in our family will have on seersucker. Look out :)

While I was on the hunt for a new Derby dress these awesome numbers ACCIDENTALLY slipped into my cart. For $20 a pop I couldn't pass them up.

I may have a slight obsession with purple right now. I am excited about it! The dress on the left does have my signature color green.

That's all from me. Ready to get my run on. You should head our and hit the pavement too :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone