Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What Not To Blog...

I feel like I need Stacie and Clinton for my Blog. If I ever went on "What Not To Wear" I'd just go ahead and throw all my own clothes in the trash and beg Stacie & Clinton to shop with me from day one - oh and then Nick with my hair - Help me please oh god of the scissors!

Anyway - I feel the same way about my blog. I have NOT THE FIRST CLUE! I chose blogger as it was free and easy. I chose the pink template because it was - well - pink. I did think I was very clever when I got my genius hubby to modify the html so that the block was wider and I could post pics without them overflowing the text frame.

Now though I'm here in this blogworld nearly 3 years and things are different. I've rewritten and redirected and repurposed and re-goaled (new word) my content, but I have NOT redesigned.

I am overwhelmed by all of the tools and tricks and hosting sites and social networking and feedburner and analytics. I am trying to read and study and learn it all, but honestly I think my brain might explode. I am a very smart girl - there is just so much really great information out there it's difficult to know where to begin.


Please please pick me for an Extreme Blog Makeover!

I am on the brink of real change and a makeover feels right; necessary. I am grateful and hopeful for the opportunity to enter the makeover contest. Thank you for offering such a grand prize to design-challenged (clueless) gals like myself - really.

Oh and friends, if you feel so inclined nominate me in the comment section of THIS post (you're tired of pink too aren't you?).

I'll keep you posted!


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

6 Random Facts Meme

Paper Dolls for Boys tagged us all for this Meme - so here goes:

1. I sang in several choral groups in college under the fantastic direction of Dr. Z and now I have an incredibly difficult time singing in a church choir because I am such a COMPLETE choir snob.

2. I CANNOT see those stupid Magic Eye pictures - even after hours of standing in the mall staring during the early 1990s. Come to find out it's b/c of a eye-dominance problem that I cannot see them - I still maintain that there is nothing there.

3. I like to make more than one (sometimes many more) of any craft I make because I like the production and assembly process. One of those personality tests (you know the ones you take to find out if you have any personality) would probably determine that I am well suited for factory or assembly line work (don't know though - never taken on just in case it tells me that I in fact have no personality).

Yo-Yo's galore
hence nearly 350 yo-yos made over the past two weeks

4. My first car was a Yellow VW SuperBeetle that was made the year I was born; I still miss it.

5. I don't believe that hell is a place so much as it is a state of total separation from God.

6. Toast is one of my favorite foods.

7. (for bonus points) My SIL once told Casey and I that being with us was like living in a musical because we spontaneously "Burst into song."

I didn't find that difficult at all - my life is pretty random.

I'll keep you posted!


Monday, July 28, 2008

Menu Planning Monday

I am sorry I fell off the planet last week. The kids and I are recovering from a summer cold - nothing major just sniffles really, but when you're tired from a week of running - even sniffles will take you out.

That's ok - Casey is well (thank goodness) and he ordered pizza and brought us burgers (and aleve) when we needed it. He's the VERY BEST and I am a very blessed girl!

Feeling much better this morning I've tackled menu planning for the week - I even assigned days and planned ALL the meals - I really do work better with a plan.

This Week:
Banana Bread (homemade - can you believe it Andrea - I baked)
PB & J Sandwiches with grapes
Grilled Swordfish w/brown rice and mixed veggies & cut watermelon

Oatmeal with Maple syrup
Cheese Pizzas (make your own)
Maple Glaze Pork Tenderloin w/roasted potatoes & peas

Toast w/Jam
Leftover Pork Tenderloin
Chicken with Corn & Potato saute and green beans (a Rachael Ray, but I can't find it online to link)

Oatmeal (Pancakes if Casey works from home)
PB & J with fruit
Chicken Noodle Soup (homemade)

Biscuits w/Jam
Leftover soup
Steak with baked potatoes, green salad, and peas

Sausage & Egg Scramble w/biscuits
PB & J Picnic after Fernbank visit
Dinner Out

For more menus and ideas visit HERE - LOTS of inspiration

I'll keep you posted!


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Andrea!

Today is my friend Andrea's (blogless) birthday. I wanted to make it really special for her as it's kind of a crappy time of her year emotionally (NOT birthday related)and she's a wonderful friend. I've been making little things for a while now and today I finally go to put it all together and deliver it.

Here are some REALLY crappy photos of what I made:
Before Bucket
The "before" shot

Be-ribboned Buckets
The "during" shot. The buckets are inspired from HERE

Bucket Gift
The Assembled gift package

Gift Overview
And the Contents: Handmade Card Set, Silk Kimono Tote Bag, Stitch Marker made from a vintage typewriter key (wrapped in tissue), Taste of Home Cookbook, and an embroidered Tea Towel. I had so much fun making everything that I can't wait for two friend's (both Danas) birthdays in August.

I'm sorry for the crappiness (new word - like it?) of the photos. I had 4 minutes to shoot, before we ran out the door to:
Drop the Kids at Bible School @ 6:00
Run to Michael's for magnets I thought I had at home
Run Gift to Andrea's (whilst assembling magnets - from the kids)
Get back to church to see the Bible School Finale by 6:45

We made it - barely.

I'll keep you posted!


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

WFMW: The Bees Have It

So I'm still making yo-yos and I cannot WAIT to show you what I'm making, but as the project is still rather amorphous wait I shall.

I was making yo-yos and dealing with knotty thread - UGH! So I went out and bought this:

Beeswax Helper

Quilter's Beeswax.

I was so desperate that I even paid full price at Jo-Ann's - which just isn't done (it was not pricey - it's the principle).

It is all natural beeswax and if I was in the neighborhood I'd have picked up a small bit at the healthfood store, but - you know - desperate!

The Bees have done their duty (thanks Bees) and now my thread glides through the fabric like a dream.

I'll keep you posted!


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Am I the ONLY One???

I mean is it really only me that didn't know PROJECT RUNWAY SEASON 5 began last Wednesday?

I mean it's ok - I have TiVo and episode one has aired about 97 times since then, but come on - I thought we were friends. Buttheads - why did no one tell me (Andrea you are excused)?

I forgive you, but understand - this will not be forgotten.

I'll keep you posted!


Monday, July 21, 2008

Menu Planning Monday

"Seaweed Pasta"

Yesterday's lunch of "seaweed and barnacles with coral sticks and topped with sand" - using the imagination to make spinach noodles with butter, bacon, & Parmesan more exciting.

The Report from Last Week: The crockpot meals were really good and so easy. We especially likes the fried rice. Unfortunately I didn't get the chance to try out the cheesecake, but I'm keeping that recipe filed in my mind and will make it soon.

The "theme" this week is quick and easy. Vacation Bible school is every night this week and Homeschool Expo is Friday so it's going to be quite hectic.

The Menu:
Make your own Pizza
Pepper Steak
Chicken & Rice stir-fry
and Sandwiches - probably more than once.

Quick and easy has it this week. Rachael Ray favorites return next week and we bought some swordfish steaks, at Anna's request, that I'll also get on the menu.

Please check out really great menus HERE at Menu Planning Monday central and remember the link is always on my sidebar.

I'll keep you posted!


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Week in Review

It's been a week of "slacking off" around here - easy to tell by the late hour of today's post. We had a very good time doing too much of each of the following:

kid art july 2008
(Click on the photo to see the notes)

*Visiting the pool in the evenings

*Reading silly stories and (finally) picking The Boxcar Children back up

*Making yo-yos and sewing by hand

*Playing legos

*Playing Wii

*Reading Jack and Jill (Alex Cross #3) - me NOT the kids

*Watching 90210 (again me NOT the kids)

*Buying and then eating lots (ok REALLY lots) of gourmet food from Harry's and Krispy Kreme (YES - KK IS gourmet)

*Watching movies from Blockbuster (because I can't find two that I need to return to Netflix)

*Painting with watercolor crayons

*Going to lunch with Grampy and then playing in his HUGE (and doggie-poo free) backyard.

*And right now the kids and Daddy are at the movies seeing Wall E (thereby giving me 2 hours of blissful silence)

*Writing and sending cards to friends

In the midst of all this playing I did get some household things taken care of - like:

*picking up the Honda from the shop (again, but hey it's still cheaper than a car payment - and it was just the battery Praise God!)

*Re-hanging Grampy's curtains and helping him with the computer

*Registering the kids for Bible School (which begins tomorrow evening)

*Registering the kids for a homeschool art program offered by our church

*Cleaning up the den and dining room (ok, we did that today because after a week of playing as listed above it was a TOTAL disaster area)

*Deciding (mostly) on the homeschool method and curriculum we will use for the next few years - more on that later.

*Oh and I blogged for you guys EVERY day this week (it's really for me as I LOVE each of you and the comments you leave and the blogs I read daily).

WOW - when I list it all out like that I guess there wasn't as much slacking as it seemed - now I know why I'm so tired at the end of the day - Phew!

Thanks for all your love and support this week - it is fantastic. I truly enjoy your friendship.

I'll keep you posted!


Friday, July 18, 2008

Thoughtful Friday

Scruffy Puppy A

Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.
H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)
Be sure and view the Thoughtful Friday Flickr Pool.

I'll keep you posted!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thank You, Thank You, and Thank YOU!

I just received an award! Wow - the only other thing I've ever won was $5.00 for a halloween costume in middle school (and that was a LONG time ago). Bethany over at Red Yarn (don't know why you weren't already on the sidebar girl, but you're there now) nominated me for this very important and very prestigious award.

Truly - Thank You!

I am very honored to be noticed. You see, my main love language is Words of Affirmation (if you haven't read it PLEASE do - it will help communication with others so much). I am working to change the focus of my life and my blog is reflecting that so it REALLY means so much to be noticed. The love an support of my friends (old, new, face to face, and online) and my dear family are so very important to me (cue blinking red light and Oscar music NOW). I appreciate each and every one of you.

Speaking of each and every one of you - now I get to pass the award along:

AmyN - a true friend who always teaches me about "rising above the fray" and is my favorite person to give stuff to (btw - she keeps the best stuff a secret).

Andrea - who doesn't have a blog, but in my book doesn't need one because she's the best already!

Blogless Laurie - who is no longer blogless and ALWAYS makes me laugh

KnittyD - who I miss in the podcast realm and with whom I share a passion for beagles

Nina - who is a beautiful lady inside and out. She's got a remarkable eye for photography and I admire her confidence in following that passion into her own business.

"Grumpy" - who isn't, but rather is a great deal of fun and quite charming.


Kirsten*can - who always reminds me that I *can* too

Thanks to all of you and so many many more who keep me in stitches and tears and wrapped in love and inspiration everyday.

So please - just a few tiny "rules"

1. The winner can put the logo on their blog.
2. Link to the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you've nominated.
6. Write an acceptance speech in the style of the Academy Awards, thanking everybody's mother, father, sister, brother, aunties and uncles and kitchen staff at your favorite restaurant!

I'll keep you posted!


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

WFMW: Yo-Ho Yo-Yo?

(a Pirates life for me!)

This week what's working for me is my Yo-Yo maker.

Yo-Yo Maker

Seems silly, but I totally LOVE this little plastic contraption.

I love fabric yo-yos - they are happy and I always make them in the traditional way - you know, trace, cut, turn the hem under whilst sewing, etc. I've seen the yo-yo makers and poo-fahed them thinking - "I already do that" and "why fix something that isn't broken?" Let me say something that you won't hear from me too often (quirk of being a control freak) I WAS WRONG! This little plastic wonder makes creating yo-yos literally a snap - as in you snap it together trim your fabric, stitch stitch stitch and tie - DONE!

Now I realize that the yo-yo makers are not that new, but as I stated I was reluctant to change (a recurring theme in my life) AND I'm cheap so the circle pattern I had (cut from an old notebook cover) seemed preferable - boy was I wrong (did I just say that again?). Enter last week the convergence of a Hobby Lobby sale and a friend having a rough time = IDEA and all sizes of the yo-yo makers in my bag.

Currently I am turning 5" squares (which I already had - that's the "green" part for today - use what you have) into hundreds of yo-yos for a surprise project I'll tell you about soon and I'm having more fun than I should (it doesn't take much huh?).

Yo-Yo's galore

For some really astounding yo-yo creations please look here, here, here, and here.

Please check out more Works for Me Wednesday ideas HERE - it's a great group of bloggers with some good ideas.

Speaking of great bloggers - help a friend of mine out and treat yourself to some really beautiful handspun yarn. AmyN has been working hard and posted lots of handspun in her new Etsy shop - guys this stuff is GORGEOUS and so soft. Go. Now. What are you waiting for?

I'll keep you posted!


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ever Have a Do-Over?

We all have those days when we get up late and everything just seems edgy and off all day long. You know the ones - the days when you yell at the kids, snap at your husband, and are rude to the telemarketer [although just doing her job - she's got a sucky job - sorry if that's your job] who calls and interrupts while you're trying to get dinner on the table and you only answered the non-caller-id phone because you thought it was your husband calling to say (please God) that he's almost home. On such days I often go to bed wishing for an old fashioned "do-over."

Yesterday morning Anna woke up early (for Anna) and was quite charming - UNTIL Toby graced the scene. Once Toby woke up Anna became - well I could tell it was going to be one of those days. In an effort to squelch the beasties I sent my eldest (all of 7-1/2) back to bed for a "do-over." I told her she needed to lay in her bed a little longer to see if she could adjust her attitude and start the morning over with a new and better one.

Yay Mom! It worked (this time anyway) - my brief moment of brilliance.

Grace to all of you needing a "do-over" and prayers to help you (help us all) through those days, OH those days.

I'll keep you posted!


Monday, July 14, 2008

Menu Planning Monday

The Week of The Crockpot

If, like me, you don't know about Stephanie over at A Year of CrockPotting you must go visit her site (WAIT - finish reading this first).

This week, taking my cue from Stephanie and the Taste of Home Slow Cooker cookbook, I'm going to use the time-saving crockpot every day.

Our menu for the week:

Meatballs & Gravy with Rice (carryover from last week)
Turkey Slopy Joes
Golden Chicken & Noodles
Crockpot Fried Rice
Crockpot Lemon & Dill Salmon
Super Easy Crockpot Spaghetti (no mushrooms)
Crockpot Cheesecake

We'll give it a go and I'll let you know how things turn out. Now, to decide what I'm going to do with all the time saved.

Please check out everyone's menus (really great ideas) HERE.

I'll keep you posted!


Friday, July 11, 2008

Thoughtful Friday


I THOUGHT it was going to be easier (more than a little hassle of trying to get the account swapped over and the temp phones exchanged).

I THOUGHT it was going to be quicker (I knew we'd be in line for a while, but I didn't anticipate being there five hours).


But it IS very cool (and I KNEW it would be).

I'll keep you posted!


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

WFMW: Cheap & Cheerful

It's not a new idea.
It's not my original idea.
It IS a good idea.

muffin paint

It's just an old muffin tin that I picked up at the thrift store. I only paid a quarter for 2 of them (its friend is around here somewhere). The kids love choosing a paint color for each cup and I love not having to find and deal with lots of separate jar or cups (just waiting to spill). Also, with the low stance and wide open access both kids can use the paints at the same time - one less thing to bicker about - Yay Mom!

Muffin Paint 2

I love "re-purposing" ideas that are so easy and helpful and CHEAP on top of everything else. The muffin tins are simple to clean (just give a rinse) and if they get too grimey I just toss them in the dishwasher.

Please check out LOT of wonderful "Works for Me" tips HERE.

I'll keep you posted!


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A Rose By Any Other Name...

I found this today on my friend Amy's blog and am blatantly lifting it from her. Thanks Amy.

What Amy Means

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.

You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.

You have the classic "Type A" personality.

You are confident, self assured, and capable. You are not easily intimidated.

You master any and all skills easily. You don't have to work hard for what you want.

You make your life out to be exactly how you want it. And you'll knock down anyone who gets in your way!

You are a free spirit, and you resent anyone who tries to fence you in.

You are unpredictable, adventurous, and always a little surprising.

You may miss out by not settling down, but you're too busy having fun to care.

And while my rather genteel friend probably would NOT knock people down I probably would (it's not pretty what that says about me). Oh well, there's always room for improvement right?

I'll keep you posted!


Monday, July 07, 2008

Menu Planning Monday

I took the weekend off - didn't really plan too, but that's how things turned out and it was really nice. Back to reality and getting in the groove for the week.

I'm trying not to heat up the kitchen and reverting to lots of standard, easy favorites this week. I think the family (kids) is tired of trying new things for a while. This week will be only one new recipe (carried over from last week) and lots of standby favorites.

Stuffed Baked Potatoes
Chef Salads
Tuna Salad Sandwiches (PB & J for Toby)
Tamale Skillet Pie (got pre-empted by an improptu cookout last week)
Turkey Burgers
Meatballs & Gravy with Rice

It will be nice to only have to break out a cookbook one time this week AND I only need to pick up milk and celery at the grocery (honey can you do that on your way home?).

Be sure and check out the wonderful menus and recipe links HERE.

I'll keep you posted!


Friday, July 04, 2008

Thoughtful Friday

America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

I'll keep you posted!


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

WFMW: 5 Ingredients to a Clean Green Home

Everyone and their brother is out to sell the good, better, BEST do it all, kill it all, clean it all product. While those two imaginary maids are scrubbing your shower for you what exactly are they doing to the environment? Do you REALLY know what's in there? Are all those chemicals really safe? Sure they WORK, but at what cost to the environment, your body, not to mention your wallet?

There are many many people out there who can tell you exactly which chemicals are harmful and which are safe and what products to avoid and how it's all affecting our water and air and body; I am not one of them. I do know that my family (meaning mostly me) is sensitive to petro-chemicals and artificial fragrances. I have allergic asthma and tend to get migraines so I am really careful about what I bring into our home.

I need simplicity in my life as much as possible and using the same products all over the house is much simpler than trying to figure out what to buy for which application, etc. When I can keep things simple, safe, AND cheap then you've got one happy mommy! Here is what I use to clean my entire house:

1. Vinegar (about $2.00/gallon)
2. Baking Soda (about $3.50 for a 4 lb box)
3. Borax (about $4.00/box)
4. Salt ($0.50 the cheapest you can find is fine)
5. Lemons (or lemon juice) (about $1.75 for lemon juice)

oh and one more ingredient - a little elbow grease.

So for less than $12.00 I have all my basic cleaning needs covered AND I'm not going to die from mixing bleach and ammonia ie: comet and windex (yes you really will die if you do that. Chlorine gas IS fatal) or have chemical soup in my home. I also don't have to buy some marketing genius' (really true marketing genius) "green" cleaners @ $5.00 a bottle.

For natural home cleaning "recipes" and methods look here, here, here, and here.

small confession: I do use those clorox throw-away toilet cleaners because the thought of a germy toilet brush sitting in my bathroom is more than I can stomach eeeeeewwww!

I'll keep you posted! AmyDe