Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Dance Intensive {2012}

For the last three weeks - we have been up early to get Lexi ready and drive her to her summer intensive. Over 30+ hours in the car ... 90+ hours Lexi spent dancing. Monday through Thursday it was ballet, tap, jazz, modern, lyrical, and hip hop classes. Fridays were spent in choreography after an hour long Zumba class and one hour spent at the barre. Not to mention the 320 crunches Lexi had to do each day before she got to leave to come home.

I knew this would make or break Lexi's love of dance but, every day when I picked her up she would jump into the car exhausted but, smiling and telling me how she could not wait to go back the next day. Lexi gave up being able to go to camp, playdates with friends, and lazy days at the pool.

I enjoyed seeing the small improvements in Lexi's technique that she would come home and share with us each day. Two weeks in Lexi was able to do all of her splits and an amazing side arabesque. There were sore muscles, headaches, and painful toes.

Loved seeing all the hard work culminate tonight at the Summer Showcase the studio put on. We were able to see two different ballet dances, and one from each of her other dance classes.

Also, loved meeting Lexi's friends from the past three weeks. Such sweet girls and nice families! Two of the moms sought me out to let me know how much their daughter's loved Lexi and really were hoping she would dance at the studio next year. Lexi was made to feel so welcome from day one ... from the older girls, like Lexi and Ava Mae's new friend - Margaret {who is off to dance at Ballet Magnificat tomorrow} to the girls Lexi's age who accepted her into their group of friends immediately.

Lots of prayer and discussion now to decide what we will do this fall. We know no matter what Lexi will be back to dance at Impact next summer {and more than likely Lexi will take some ballet classes this July} and eventually we will make a move there - just need to make sure it is God's timing. If it is not God's plan for this year we will continue to dance at our current studio - that we still love! It was the perfect place for Lexi for the last few years and still is for Ava Mae.

Pictured below, Lexi with the ballet school director and one of her teacher's this past week.She called Lexi her little super star and was really hoping we would make a move to her studio. She also gave us some really good things to think about moving forward with ballet for Lexi.

Pictured above Lexi with one of her new good friends from the ballet school. I think I heard about this cute girl and two other friends every day.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Our Summer ... So Far

Two words ... baseball and ballet. That has been our summer so far! Devin and Lexi are loving every minute of it! Ava Mae seems to even be enjoying all the time we spend together in the car shuttling Lexi back and forth to summer dance intensive {10+ hours a week}. I let Ava Mae pick the playlist from my iPod and we sing and chat for 2 hours each day.

All-Star summer baseball has been an experience ...some good, some bad but, Devin has thoroughly enjoyed it. Personally, I love the relationships he has formed with some of his teammates. And, we have some amazing families on our team that I have enjoyed hanging out with. Of course, there are always going to be bad calls by umpires and unruly fans but, the good experiences have definitely outweighed the bad. I did not think I would ever say this going into this season but, I may actually miss going to tournaments on the weekend, when it is all said and done. The things I won't miss - having my husband stressed out before games about coaching, the amount of laundry baseball creates, or the combination of late nights and early mornings for tournament games. On to Districts this weekend for us ... Go Knights!!

Lexi has one more week of summer dance intensive before her Showcase performance.  She is learning so much and I have already noticed a marked improvement in some of her technique.  I love the fact that each day when I pick her up {after she has danced for six hours} she has only wonderful stories to tell ... no drama! A nice change from our last year at our current ballet school.  A huge bonus has been that one of Devin's teammates has an older sister who dances at this studio and Lexi and Ava Mae have just fallen in love with her. This girl was so sweet and helped Lexi immensely her first week at summer dance intensive - when she knew no one.  What a wonderful Christ-like example for my girls to look up to. Lexi is really wanting to continue dancing at this new studio and would like to dance in the company. We will see - lots of prayer and discussion on the part of my husband and I before that decision is made. I am excited to see the Showcase in a week!

So that is our summer so far, great experiences though, I am looking forward to a more relaxing July. We have lots of friends who are missing us and we are missing them! Time to spend some days catching up at the pool.

I am linking up this post to the Homeschool Mother's Journal ... stop in over there to see what other homeschool families are up to this summer.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

{Recipe} : Best Ever Banana Cake

With a recipe title like that I just had to give it a try! Ava Mae and I have been trying to come up with activities to keep her busy while Lexi is spending the month in summer dance intensive. I had four over ripe bananas sitting in our fruit basket that I was going to toss out and then I remembered this cake recipe.

One warning, it is not a quick recipe but, it is so super yummy! The only substitution I made from the original recipe was to replace the buttermilk with fat-free milk - making the cake a little bit lighter. Also, I ended up using a store bought whipped cream cheese frosting rather than the homemade frosting the recipe calls for.

The cake was a huge hit in our home and my girlfriend's two year old daughter also loved it! It reminds me of banana bread - just a little bit lighter. Make sure you follow the recipe's slow cooking approach at a lower temp. It seems those who tried to speed things up ended up with a mushy center to their cake. Ours turned out perfectly - so good I hardly even had any left to get a good picture of.

You can find the recipe here at

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What Do You Crave?

Thanks to my friend, Robyn, I am now a part of the Cravebox community. What is Cravebox ...
"Cravebox is a wildly popular product discovery service that puts crave-worthy products into the hands of our lucky Cravebox Members. Each month our team of Cravebox Curators scours the earth for the best of the best, and carefully prepares boxes that arrive at members’ homes."
For me it is a fun surprise on my front door once a month! You never know ahead of time what you are receiving. This month's theme to the box was Taste of the Tropics. A perfect box for summer! Pictured above is the box I received, inside were the following products:

Sunsweet Plum Amazins

Tree Hut Coconut Lime Body Scrub ~ amazing scrub!

Guylian Belgian Chocolates ~ loved these chocolates!

Skintersection Intense Repair ~ perfect for dry heels!

Lipton® Tea & Honey To Go ~ delicious drink mix!

This was a fun summer box to receive ... the body scrub has been perfect to use in the shower after a day at the pool, the Skintersection cream has helped my poor dry cracked summer heels, and we have all enjoyed the dried plums, Belgian chocolates, and the Lipton drink mix.

Here is a link to learn more about the fun products {don't worry you don't have to blog to receive a box} and to learn how you can become a member of the Cravebox community.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wordless Wednesday : {Signs of Summer}

Even with little effort on my part signs of summer are abounding around our home ... pictured above the bunny who visits our blueberry bushes each day. Under the category of edible garden our blueberry bushes, mint and pumpkin are all growing nicely. Our local farm that grows blueberries lost them all in the late April frost we had this year. I was so sad to hear that and it makes our bushes even more valuable - we will have to continue to chase Mr. Bunny Rabbit away.

Our flowers are doing well too ... though I need to get a few more planted soon. Time has just gotten away from me this year. Hope to have a few more flower boxes planted before too long.

So much for "wordless" Wednesday ... at least fewer words than usual.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wordless Wednesday : {Game Face}

The craziness of our summer has not allowed me much time to sit down and compose a blog post but, I wanted to share this photograph for Wordless Wednesday.

I am entitling it "Game Face" ... it was Devin pitching in our first game of All-Star Tournament Season, this past Saturday. Normally Devin is pretty relaxed and just has fun when pitching but, I think he was pretty stressed taking the mound for the first time outside of our park. Thanks to one of the other parents on our team who took my camera and captured this for me ... I was too nervous to watch and definitely would not have been able to hold the camera still enough to snap this.