Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Time Waster

Since last Tuesday night/early morning, someone in my family has been sick with a stomach bug.  Yuck.

My family should have had this in IV form.
The crazy thing is that it was a virus and we all know viruses don't act the same in everyone.  In our case, we had some with fever, some without...some throwing up, some not...all feeling the crud.  The only one who escaped the grasp of this most recent round of viral invasion was my little guy.  Guess what he has? 
He has Fifths Disease.  Sounds scary, but really it is a virus that can cause fever/aches/runny nose, but usually it has no symptoms.  Then your child ends up with a red rash on their face/arms/trunk that make them look like they have sunburn or have run a marathon.  It's harmless to most, but pregnant women shouldn't be around little ones with Fifths.  Good for us, we don't have any expecting friends. 

That's my past 8 days.  

Today, for the first time in a what seems like a  loooong time, I'm by myself.  The kids are healthy and busy elsewhere and my husband is at work.  Time for me to play with my new time waster....

Silhouette SD!!!!  

So many bloggers I follow use this for things they make and I was always so impressed.  With my house all to myself,  I finally got it out of the box (where it had been sitting since late February) and set it up.  

It was as easy as I had read online- and this is coming from a total technology dork--and I'm already excited about the things I can make for my kids.  

Here is my first project.  

I decided to start small and easy.  Really easy.  

I think it came out pretty cute, even if it is only words I typed on the screen and stuck on my IKEA bucket.  Next I'm going to do something for my son's preschool class for Easter.  I saw some cute buckets at the Dollar Store.  Wonder what I could do with those?  

 Can you hear my husband sighing and rolling his eyes right now?

Sitting here for an hour, playing with my new toy was a nice distraction.  Now back to reality and laundry.  

Laundry doesn't sound like nearly as much fun.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Spring is here.  I can't believe it since it was just Valentine's Day and now here we are getting ready for Easter.

What does Spring look like where you are?  Here is what it looks like in my neck of the woods.....

My ornamental cabbage has sprouted yellow flowers, the pansies are looking pretty happy and evidently I planted day lilies at some point because they just popped up in the last week.  Yea me!

Now I don't want to intimidate you with my mad gardening skills.  Let's look at my Easter decorations.

I warn you, don't get bowled over with their awesomeness.

Here is my basket of Easter eggs.  Notice the strategic placement on the front table.  So easy-going, so casual.  Almost like I found them and just plopped them down right there and forgot what I was really going to do with them.

My entry stoop.  Please pay special attention to the dead plants in the planters. I think the wilted brown flowers add just that extra touch of comfort to an otherwise formal entry. Also note the haphazard way in which the egg stakes are placed in the planters.  Some might use the word "whimsical" when describing my planters.  Others may use the phrase "the egg stakes look like they have been used as weapons and then stuck back in the planter before mom saw them being used as weapons".  Either description works.

This is the only truly creative thing I've got going on in terms of Easter decorations.  All I did was hot glue Easter eggs to a hay wreath.  It's held up pretty well.  I think this one is about 7 years old.  I've had to re-glue some eggs over the years, but it still serves a purpose and looks good against my black door.

No Springtime decorating in the South is complete without a generous sprinkling of wonderful yellow pollen.  And it is tailor made for a lazy cleaner like me since it is pointless to clean anything outside (front porch, back porch, windows, etc) until the pollen clears.  That won't be for about a month.

Too bad that excuse doesn't extend to the inside of my house!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Big Pink Ball

I am Piper and this is my ball.  I have tamed it.  It stays by me. It is mine.

That big foot attached to that girl just kicked my ball away.  You can tell by my expression I'm a bit ticked.

Come back, Pink Ball!  Come back!!

I will wait until you are quiet and resting and then I will sneak up and pounce on you with my super stealthy puppy pounce.

And if that doesn't work, I will just try to eat you.  

Girl, Girl!  Stop my Pink Ball!  
No, wait.  Don't kick Pink Ball... Don't Kick Pink Ball!!

Pink think you are safe resting there in the grass.  But I'm coming closer and are mine.

I'm spent.  

Here's hoping your days are as relaxing and enjoyable as a puppy's.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I can't believe it is already Wednesday.  This week is flying by and I'm not done with half the stuff I wanted to do.

I'm having to text my best friends.  It's hard to have conversations over text.  I can't get my humorous anecdotes across in 140 characters!

Let's get to it.

In this season of Lent, what are you doing (if anything) to prepare your heart?

Many churches suggest giving something up or fasting for the 40 days leading to Easter.

We attended a church where the pastor encouraged everyone to add something to their lives during Lent...daily quiet times, listening to Christian music, turning off the tv and doing something else with that time, even daily exercise was a suggestion.

On a site I visit, A Holy Experience, Ann Voskamp shared of a candle holder her son made for Advent that he added on to for Lent.  It was a spiral shape and you moved a candle one spot for each day of Lent (or Advent).  I'm sorry I couldn't snag the glitches on my end, but if you jump over there and search around, it is a really neat idea.

On a more practical note, Cheryl of A Pretty Cool Life, shared an idea she saw on some blogs to purge a bag a day of stuff you don't need any more.  Kind of a jump start on Spring cleaning or just a nice practice to start for decluttering your home.  If you do one bag a day, that is 40 bags of stuff you thought you needed out of your home!  I liked that idea and may jump on that one.

I love the Lenten season.  I love the reflection, the challenges and that it leads to my most favorite of all holidays, Easter.

Even Piper is getting in on Lent.  She's getting dog training lessons.  She and I are doing them together and I have to learn to growl.  It's classic.  Evidently I have to practice my growl.

And let me tell you, it will take the whole 40 days of Lent to get this sweet faced puppy on the right track.  Cute only goes so far in this house.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Book Signing 101

For all who have not been to a book signing, this is for you.
Boy do I wish someone had sent me some tips before I dragged my two daughters up to the Big Tall City for a book signing with......

The Pioneer Woman!!!!!

Since I'm such a giver, and I don't want my friends to go into these situations blind like I did, let me share my knowledge of book signings with you starting with how they run--or at least how this one ran.

The Borders book store gave out wristbands to everyone attending the book signing.  For this particular event, you didn't even have to have one of her books.  You could have just waited in line and said "Hey!" to her and she'd have been thrilled.  I didn't buy her newest book, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels,  but I did have a copy of her cookbook and brought that instead.

Each wristband had a letter (A, B, C, etc etc).  Evidently the store started handing out wristbands at 2pm that afternoon.  This would have been great to know since our letter was I.  (We arrived at 5:30pm and the event started at 6pm).  There were about 30 or 40 people per group.

Rule Number One: If you don't get a number/letter early, bring something to do or you'll be left to snapping self portraits of your children and random things...

See my kids?  This was after about an hour of sitting on the floor.  The things I put my kiddos through....
In my defense, they both enjoy The Pioneer Woman's blog as well as her tasty recipes, AND when she, her husband and two boys got off the elevator, we were RIGHT THERE TO SEE THEM!! I'm a dork. I know. But I was honestly more excited to see them than I was to see Bon Jovi. Seriously.

Rule Number 2:  Since most book signings will probably draw a decent crowd of people, be sure to come with people you like to hang out with.  My girls and I had a pretty good time and since it was in a book store, they roamed around and looked at books while I held our spot in line.  

This is the line of people in the "I" group.  What this doesn't show is the line we letter "I"'s had to get into in order to make our way to P-Dub herself. Think Disney World Space Mountain during high season except the line was all women.  Lots of girlfriends, book clubs and families.  Everyone was super nice and very patient.

Rule Number Three:  If at all possible, I'd leave the babies at home.  Really.  Truly.  This may be just me, but there were a TON of babies at this event!  Everyone knows P-Dub loves babies, but  unless you were in an early group, you were waiting hours and hours.  At one point we all saw this:

I could only get 3 strollers in my picture---there were about 12 of them all together.  The moms were rocking the strollers while their husbands waited in the line.  The moms joined their partners when their turn came at the signing table. Needless to say, there was more than a little crying going on.  Again, this one may be just me, but I say anything that may mess up a baby's schedule is not worth it.  They were cute, though.

Rule Number Four:  While waiting in line, have your kids do things for you.
While we were waiting, I noticed P-dub's husband, Marlboro Man, was also signing books.  As a side note, their two younger sons were also there and were signing books too--it was adorable.  Anyway, in the cookbook there is a picture of his face.  I asked my middle daughter to run over there (since I couldn't leave the line) and get him to autograph his face.

Here she is, being brave, asking Mr. Pioneer Woman to sign on his face (which he did).  My daughter came back and said he was as nice as we thought he would be.  He asked her about what she did at school and wanted to know what she liked best in the cookbook (the chocolate cake).  Again, a gracious guy.  And she was thrilled he actually signed the page.

Rule Number Five:  If you're waiting in line for a looooooong time (like 4 hours) to get a book signed, take that time to write down what you want to say to the author.  That may sound completely dorky, but believe me, you'll be glad you did.
While I was waiting, I was thinking about asking her how long it takes for her to write a blog post,  if she cooks a lot, takes pictures a lot and then spaces her posts out over a few days,  exactly what kind of yoga pants she wears because they seem to wear like iron for her, and if she got a chance to see the aquarium.  Plus, if I'd really been on the ball, I'd have gotten her a pair of MY favorite yoga pants by lululemon.

When I get to the table, all that comes out of my mouth is "We love your chicken spaghetti recipe!" and "My daughters' were excited to see that your girls are tall too!".  Not the most memorable things to say.

I did, however, manage to get this...

and this....

and this....

I look like a crazed fan and she looks gorgeous.  She was gracious, sweet, engaging and involved my girls in conversation about cooking and soccer.  For the few minutes we were with her, she was nothing but the best.  We were all hungry and tired, but so glad we waited it out and we left on a complete Pioneer Woman high.

And look at that picture.  We're totally BFF's now.  completely.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Green Juice

2 years ago my husband took me to the most incredible resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

Rosewood Mayakoba is fantastic and if you're looking for somewhere to go for a weekend together OR somewhere to take the family, this is the place.  Really, I can't say enough about the resort or its employees.

One of my favorite parts of our visit was breakfast.  I ordered their Green Juice every day we were there and felt so fancy.

It was a wonderful green color--not sickly looking at all-- and tasted light, fresh and fancy.

Ever since then I've tried other green juices and have been disappointed.

They have tasted like grass, looked like stagnant pond water with algae floating or had no taste at all.

By the way, trust me on the algae one.  I actually ordered a juice cleanse that was delivered daily in its own little cooler.  All I had to do was drink the juices provided every 3 hours or so.  The green one had wheat grass in it.  No biggie.  I'd had my share of gross drinks in my life.  I could just chug it.


One sip and that gag reflex was working overtime and I poured the whole thing out.  What a waste of money.

Back to the yummy green juice.

I finally went out and bought myself a juicer...

Meet my Breville juicer.  I bought the mid-priced one since I didn't think I'd be juicing 24 hours a day.  It has worked wonderfully well so far!  This picture is after juicing apples this morning for my girls.  Fresh apple juice rocks.

I've been experimenting with different green juice recipes lately.  Some have had promise, some have brought back that gag reflex...don't do those.

The recipe I've found that works for me is this:

Grab the my case, spinach, green apples, pears, a few grapes (because I had them and wanted to use them, but they are NOT necessary), and lemons.  You can also add celery or cucumber, but I didn't have those handy.

First, cut the lemon and take out the pulp part.  My juicer won't juice the rind.  Some might, but I'm not sure on that.  I used a whole lemon, but you can just use half if you like.  The lemon gives it a fresher taste.

I also cut up my apple into quarters because it was pretty large.  Usually, though, I can just pop apples in the shoot and juice away.  The pear goes in next.  No need to cut it, just wash it and put it in whole.

This is an awkward photo, but I wanted to try to show you my handful of spinach.  It is about 1 1/2 cups...otherwise known as a good handful.  My hand looked gnarly today, so here it is spread out on my counter.  Plop it all in and watch the juice turn a pretty green color!!

This is what is left after you are done juicing.  This actually was after two recipes.  The bag is a gallon food storage bag--not a ziploc.  Looks gross, but it doesn't smell and is pretty dry.  If you compost, this would be awesome.  Since I do not compost, I just dump it in the woods in my backyard and pop the bag back in the machine.  The bag also saves me having to wash the pulp catcher.

Final result!!  Isn't it pretty? My recipe makes enough for one good sized drink or two regular sized drinks.  Yummy!!!

Let's get ready for spring and all that it involves....shorts, sleeveless shirts and (ugh) bathing suits.

Happy Mardi Gras!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Wait, I'm Not Cool?

I never thought it would happen, but today my daughter told me I wasn't cool.


I've always considered myself, for better or worse, to be a much cooler adult than I ever was a student.

How could I not have been cool with such large hair?  Feel free to laugh...I know I am.  Hey, it was the 80's. Big hair was in, right?  Hello?   Who's with me?   ((crickets))

I listen to cool iPod app has everything from Lady GaGa to random musical selections from movies to Michael Buble.

I try not be too dorky in my clothing choices.
But to be fair, I looked like this when we were out today...

Little man was sick and for most of the day we snuggled.  Here we are waiting at the doctor's office.  We are both looking pitiful.  Not pretty. No makeup.  Breakout happening on my 39 year old chin which I'm strategically hiding...
By the way, what is that all about? I thought once I hit 30 my days of using Clearsil would be over.  But nooooooo.  I'm still crusing the zit cream section of the grocery store. Maybe my oldest is on to something with the not cool thing...
On a normal day I make some effort to at least wash my face before going out.  I'd look more like this...

 ( I used the hipstamatic app on my iPhone. It makes it look as though my skin is pretty and I have makeup on. Everyone needs a hipstamatic app.   I really don't have makeup on.  I was too lazy to try today.   I haven't even showered.  I did put deoderant on and brushed my teeth before I took my oldest out.  Too much information?  Just keeping it real, my friends.)

But Not Cool?

It's so blatant.  So cold.  So very much a blast to the past.

Now this isn't some tirade about how I was misunderstood in school blah blah blah.  I had a  great childhood.  No major traumas.  I don't think I was in a clique, but I did have a close group of friends in high school...maybe that was my clique? I just can't think of how we would have been categorized since we weren't jocks or cheerleaders... maybe "The Regular People"?

Anyway, my daughter's revelation came to her  as we sat at a stop light,  me dancing in the car to a pretty great Usher song, and it did cause me to pause and think....

Am I uncool?

 The opposite of what I think I am?

The very thing I had hoped NOT to be?

I probably am totally NOT cool to her.  But in my mind, my daughter doesn't have to think I'm cool.  I'm not trying to be her friend.  I'm her mom.  And maybe it is what daughters do--- at some point they come to their own ideas about coolness.

And that's a good thing.

Unless she decides that Justin Beiber is cooler than me.

That most certainly is NOT cool.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Wow.  It's been a while.  What have you all been up to?
We've had Winter Break. (Because evidently students these days can't be bothered to go to school an ENTIRE month except for March...but that's just me thinking crazy stuff...)

Ever since our week off, I've been trying to play catch up and have been failing miserably.

Let's review and get an apology out of the way because these pictures were all taken on my iPhone.

The Beach and my feet.  At this point I'm not feeling behind at all.  I'm listening to the waves, enjoying the 70 degree weather and relishing the fact that I did NOT have to wear a bathing suit on this trip to the beach.
It's the little things that make me happiest.

I saw this over my pink toenails.  Yes, I make the kids run sprints on the beach.  I'm a drill sergeant.
That is a joke, people.   

I'm still pretty good, but in the back of my mind I've got all sorts of things starting to spin.

Back me up, all moms out there....we're pretty much always thinking of what we need to be doing or planning for in the next days/weeks/months.

We get home and my daughter's birthday is quickly approaching.  Our sweet friend wants to make and decorate cookies with her to take to school for a special treat.  So we do the cookies...

And since I'm a perfectionist, I want them to be packaged neatly.  This means I stay up and get the cookies packaged like this...

This whole time I'm solely focused on getting the cookies done because then I'll get to check it off my To Do list.  My laundry is not getting done.  The dishes are not getting done.  I don't even think I'd been to the grocery store at this point.
That last one meant that we were eating out or eating whatever we could find in the cabinets.  Cereal for dinner, anyone?

I'm still thinking of my daughter's birthday party, she wants a marble cake with chocolate icing, the 3 kids we've invited over have NOT responded yes or no so I'm wondering if and when I should call them to find out what the hold up is, my laundry is not doing itself and we've finally run out of milk.

On top of it all, I had read about making your own laundry detergent and how it can save lots of money. I had all the of which was Ivory soap.  I grated the soap, added the other stuff and was pretty proud of myself.

I put the dishes and bowls I used in the dishwasher and headed to the laundry to tackle the mountain that was growing daily.

Now, there is no picture of this part (because I was mortified) but stay with me.......

Imagine your dishwasher.

Got it?

Now imagine your dishwasher vomiting up bubbles.  Lots and lots of bubbles and suds and bubbles.  All over your kitchen.  And they smell surprisingly like Ivory soap.  Got that image in your head?

That was my kitchen.  In my effort to save money, I was sure I'd just ruined my dishwasher by putting in the bowls and graters I'd used without first washing off the excess soap that was stuck to them.  That meant that there was double or triple soap in the dishwasher  when you add the actual dish washing liquid.

It took 3 extra runs of the dishwasher to get rid of the bubbles and the soap smell.  Perfect.

Let's move to the laundry, shall we?  That was the reason for this exercise in futility anyway, right?  To save money?

Yours truly didn't grate the soap finely enough because I ended up with clothes in my washer that had big clumps of Ivory soap on them.  It took two extra washes to get those off.  Real money saver.  Let me tell you.

So here we are.  Dishwasher finally working normally, thanks to the LACK of extra Ivory soap residue. My bottle of Tide sitting proudly on my washer, waiting patiently for me to use it.  The mountain of laundry is now a mole hill.  And my daughter's birthday celebration with my family went off pretty well.

I'm still behind, but now at least I can check off more stuff from The List in my head.
And that along with an ice cold Coca Cola makes me very happy.