Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Kinder, Gentler Halloween

Bank situation solved: 2 empty Polaner All Fruit jelly jars (it doesn't have high fructose corn syrup in it...can you send sypathetic thoughts to hubs? sometimes I think I drive him crazy when the grocery list has more do-not-buy notes on it than actual items I'd like to purchase for us to eat) washed out, de-labeled, slots punched in the lids. I decided I wanted the girls to see the money in their banks and thereby perhaps be motivated to save it. Homemade banks working for now!

Actual conversation between...um...our "friends" this weekend. Yes, our friends related this story to us. This in no way, shape or form happened in our car...you believe me, right??

Person #1: You do realize you put a plastic bag on a 7-year-old's head?

Person #2: You do realize you left a 7-year-old with a plastic bag on her head in the car while you picked up the hot-n-ready pizza and Crazy Bread at Little Caesar's?

Person #1: ...shutup...no more pizza for you

So what had happened was...S was Snow White and we used some of the Halloween hair color in a can to make her red/orange hair black. And, while this hair color seems semi-permanent on skin and bathtubs, it sits on hair like a fine powder threatening to "poof" off at the slightest provocation.

So in order to keep it under control on the car ride home from the fall festival at church one of the adults in her life may or may not have given her a Bi-Lo grocery bag to put over her hair.

And the other adult may or may not have left her and her 5-year-old sister (a red and yellow sunflower) in the car while picking up dinner at Little Caesar's. I have it on good authority that they were alone all of 10 minutes...and that they are both alive and well today...

Please don't call whoever gets called about kids alone in cars with plastic bags over their heads...my "friends" would be so bummed.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

You're 3 feet tall and still pick your nose; you don't scare me...much

(Note: We want to get the girls started on an allowance, so they are going to need a bank of some sort for saving their quarters. These are $5 at Old Navy and are serious contenders, but then I start to think about it:

Ooo! Sparkly piggy banks! They'll love these!

Wait a minute...they are both going to want pink...and it's going to be a pain to try to keep up with whose pink bank is whose. Hmmm...maybe I make the pink one a special reward?...no, that could totally blow up in my face.

Ok, I'll get the pink sparkly one for myself, and I'll get silver and green for them...or would they like silver and gold better...

Why is this so hard! If only they had a purple one! Then I'd be set! Yeesh, this parenting thing is hard.

I still don't have banks for them.)

Oy, what a two and a half weeks it has been.

Friday, 10/2: S and C move in.

Monday, 10/5: S and C go to their new school and hubs and I suddenly become responsible for two little girls with HOMEWORK...I thought I was done with homework when I got that diploma a few years back...

Friday, 10/9: We celebrate one week with the girls with dinner at Pizza Hut! This is the first meal S and C have eaten outside of school or our house all week...this makes me happy! We are meanies and only give them water to drink, not the requested Mello Yello and pink lemonade...can you imagine?? Now relax, there will be plenty of time for sodas later...

Saturday, 10/10: We eat lunch at Sonic where they have their weekly desserts. S has a chocolate sundae and C has a strawberry sundae. We visit mom-in-law in the hospital. Her best friend is there and offers to watch the girls while we get more clothes from their house and buy school supplies. $84 later...we are appalled. C really needs 20 glue sticks?! Are they eating them for snack or something?!?! We buy 6 glue sticks, with 3 going with each girl. And when we get back to the hospital...C proudly brandishes the Dr. Pepper she's been given. See, I told you sodas would show up somewhere.

Tuesday, 10/13: I realize that I am reaching a breaking point. I haven't yelled or snapped at anyone yet, but I can feel its not far off. I start to take everything personally...I'm SURE S is taking 4 hours and 92 gallons of water to brush her teeth because she KNOWS how much it irritates me. C interupts me while I'm talking to the neighbor because she KNOWS steam will come out of my ears. I tell everyone who will listen that my full-moon transformation is about to happen and they better stop me or stand back. I pray...a LOT. I truthfully answer the woman who has been in the hospital for 3 weeks (mom-in-law) when she asks me how its going. Woman in Hospital is so comforting and encouraging...I feel like a selfish, whiny, brat. Dang it...

Wednesday, 10/14: I pour it all out to my mom, and she talks me down from the ledge. Lets me know it's ok to feel annoyed. Tells me not to beat myself up. The girls get in the car after school, and I am, very unexpectedly, a new woman. Go ahead, say my name 327 times, challenge each and every boundary I've given you, tell me a few fibs and definitely tell me how, since you've eaten chicken livers before and you don't have good taste, you really can't eat the mushrooms in the lasagna...I can take it.

Wednesday is not a breeze, but hubs and I handle it. Thursday morning is not a breeze, but hubs makes the lunches and has them waiting in the fridge, and we got to school early enough for me to walk C in...she'd been asking me to for 2 days.

Sunday, 10/18: We are finally ready for church only to look at the clock and realize we'd have to take the girls to their classes late as the current sermon series isn't appropriate for them (The Elephant in the Pew; this week's focus: pornography). I've done the late thing and its one thing for me to do it to myself, but I really really really want to avoid doing it to them, so we decide we aren't going. I'm feeling grumpy and guilty about this and I tell hubs I'd like for us to do something together to enjoy the beautiful fall day. Being the amazing hubs he is, he finds a local hiking trail all of 15 minutes from our house, and we spend a lovely couple of hours throwing rocks in the lake, picking up leaves, looking at colorful mushrooms and hiking through the woods in the gorgeous sunshine. My soul is recharged.

Can I just be a witness that God is good? Talking to wise people, praying like crazy and working together with my man results in postponed full-moon transformations and much happier Insta-Temporary Parents.

WE (using our huge network of support and leaning on God) CAN DO THIS!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The ball is rolling...

Mr. Bouncy Ball!
Originally uploaded by moiht
...or bouncing, as it were.

We met with the guidance counselor at S & C's current school earlier today. The meeting went so well! She was very helpful:

--C is in montessori which has limited spots, and we wanted her to be able to return to montessori when they move back in with mom-in-law. Counselor said she didn't see that being a problem; yay!

--We wondered about the best way to ease them into living with us and going to a new school. I wondered about driving them an hour one way to their old school for a few days after they moved in with us. Counselor said since they know hubs and me and have stayed at our house, they would probably be fine starting in their new school right away. We'll drive them by the school this weekend to show them where they'll be, and they should be much more comfortable Monday morning. Yay!

We talked to the new school today, and they will be ready for the girls to start Monday. We meet with the counselor at the new school tomorrow afternoon to make sure everything is in place.

And tomorrow evening we'll be moving two little girls into our pink guest bedroom (the one with the snot on the walls).

Looking forward to the adventure!

The Ghost of Christmas (Presents) Yet to Come

(Picture: aMacHan)

I've been thinking ahead to Christmas...which is only 84 days away!

We don't always get S and C stuff for their birthdays and Christmas as they have so many toys already. In the past we have avoided giving stuff by giving experiences. One year we took them to Monkey Joe's; last year we took them to the Georgia Aquarium; I still owe S a trip to a tea room for her 6th birthday...and she turned 7 this past August...it's official: I'm the worst sister-in-law ever.

Anyway, I've been brainstorming what to give the girls for Christmas, and I think I've got it: a trip to see The Nutcracker Ballet!

Its in early early December, and it might be just the thing for S & C! They love all things pink and princess-y and The Nutcracker has all that plus some excitement, too.

(Picture: daviduweb)
I mean, just look at this picture. What pink-princess-loving little girl wouldn't be beside herself with delight at a night of ballerinas in tutus?!?

I was introduced to the story of The Nutcracker very early in life, and I love the story, the ballet, the music, all of it to this day. I can see us getting all dressed up for the ballet and going somewhere for hot chocolate and dessert before...I would have loved that as a little girl! Shoot, I would that love that now as a big girl.

On the other hand the SC Children's Theatre is putting on the play Dear Santa, and it sounds pretty cute...and it could give the ballet a run for its money...
But I'm just so excited about the Nutcracker!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Great Expectations and other fantasies

(Picture: lovedaylemon)

Thank you so much for your encouraging comments on my last post. It's so cool to send something out on the web and have other people respond; it makes my day!! Thank you!

My mind has been racing making plans for the time S and C come stay with us.

I have such GREAT expectations for their time in our home. Here is a list of what I want to do:

-Set up routines: morning, after school, bedtime

-Cook together

-Let them choose a couple recipes each month to make.

-Give them household responsibilities appropriate for their ages (5 and 7).

-Read aloud a chapter per day from a chapter book most days of the week.

-Read them a bedtime story each night.

-Watch very little tv.

-Pray with them everyday.

-Learn about God every day.

-Feed them healthy foods for the majority of their meals with us (I'm expecting there to be a pizza night or two...or three).

-Engage them in some sort of physical activity most days of the week--walks around town, trips to the park, tossing a ball around...got any ideas for me??

-Encourage their creativity and their desire to learn (this is a bit vague...I need some concrete strategies).

-Listen to them.

-Chill out and enjoy them.

I feel somewhat hesitant to share all this with anyone because I hear parents so often say things like, "You'll see when you have kids of your own, " and giving the impression that its foolish to have expectations of doing much more than shoving food in mouths and playing chauffeur. I don't want to resign myself to the idea that there will be no time to have fun (like the kids in the picture above are having)!

Do I need a reality check? Do you have some advice or wisdom regarding day-to-day life with kids? I need it!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

God is good: Or "Seeing his hand in the crazy times"

(Picture by caity sparkles via Flickr)

So you see that last post, there? Where I talk about what a great weekend we had with some precious little girls? Yeah, that one. I wrote it last Monday and had it set to auto-post Tuesday morning. Ummm...

Those little girls may be coming to live with us for the next few months.

Their mommy broke her leg Monday evening. She is also Hub's mom and single mom to these two girls she has adopted from within the family.

When she got to the hospital she found out she was diabetic.

Surgery to put a plate and pins in the leg on Tuesday evening went very well. But they didn't like how fast her heart was beating. So Thursday they sent her to the bigger hospital nearby for a heart catheterization.

Friday during the heart cath they found blockage in the heart and immediately sent her in for emergency triple bypass surgery.

Her birthday was Saturday (see festive picture above).

She is doing very well. She got to talk to her girls by phone yesterday for the first time since that eventful Monday night.

When a leg is broken the patient walks using crutches or a walker, putting much of the weight on the arms and none of the weight on the broken leg for 8 weeks.

When a patient has their chest opened up for surgery they cannot put more than 5 pounds of weight on their arms for 6 weeks.

Her unbroken left leg needs to seize the day and really come through for her. I'm believing in YOU, left leg!!

Thankfully my God is a very big God, way bigger than the problem of figuring out rehab with only one weight-bearing limb.

My God takes the very bad situation of a broken leg and uses it to help doctors find diabetes and heart disease lying in wait, undetected, ready to do their worst when least expected.

My God prepared hubs and I for the possibility of taking care of two of the cutest little girls you'll ever see. I was driven to find out ways to make their weekend stay the best it could be. Now I know who was the Driver.

My mother-in-law, Hubs and I have been surrounded by love and support from our friends and family. So many people have been to the hospital to see her or wait with us during surgery. More people than we can count are praying for her. She'll need every prayer she can get.

She'll need a lot of fight in her to get through the coming weeks. But she can do it. Her God is bigger than everything she's about to face.

Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." I see God working the crazy things that have happened these last few days to Mom-in-law's good because she has given her life to him, put her trust in him, and she loves him.

So the girls might be staying with us until their mom can take care of them again by herself.
By the way, yesterday I discovered snot wiped on the wall of my pink guest bedroom right next to the futon bed where the girls slept...the futon that has a full box of tissues on the arm next to where their heads were. Bless their hearts; I will be discussing with them how that will never happen ever again.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Close Encounters of the Kid Kind

S and C in their Easter dresses April 2009. Picture by me.

Be warned: this post is definitely of the rambling discussion/analysis type.

This past weekend Hub's little sisters came to stay with us: S is 7 and C is 5. It has been over a year since they stayed last, and that last visit was more of a battle than a fun time with cute little girls. I was determined that this visit would be better.

I did my homework. We really like Supernanny Jo Frost, and we take notes for the future when watching her show; we used her house rules, naughty seat and bedtime routine. I went online and found some strategies for getting kids to eat food that is good for them. I also wanted to spend more time with them than I did last time, so I decided to involve them in whatever I was doing: meal prep, chores etc. I felt armed and ready.

And the weekend was great!

We went over the house rules as soon as we got home on Friday, and I only had to remind them once or twice about the rules the rest of the weekend. No one had to sit on the naughty seat all weekend. The bedtime routine worked very well, though I think I'd like to have a very small nightlight in their room next time and an option for separating them if they won't settle down and go to sleep.

When it came to mealtimes I used the philosophy I found in a comment on this Momversations blog post: We (the adults) decide what and when, they (the kids) decide if and how much. I also resolved to have them as involved as possible in making our meals because I know my palette expanded once I started working with ingredients and cooking for myself.

We made black bean and cheese quesadillas, hummus and pasta salad chock full of veggies. They helped cook on the stove top, practiced their cutting skills (supervised of course), used the microwave, used the food processor, tasted the ingredients. They were excited to be involved, and I was glad we could spend time together in a way that made all of us happy (I have forgotten how to enjoy the fine art of playing dolls, so a lot of time spent that way would be very hard on me).

There were zero mealtime battles this weekend. They were given a plate containing one or two bites of each of the foods we were having with the meal and told that they could eat if and what they wanted to, but anyone wanting seconds of anything had to present a clean plate. And there was no bribing with dessert because there was no way we were subjecting ourselves to those little cuties hopped up on sugar. They had about 3 ounces of chocolate milk Sunday morning and that was it for the sweet stuff.

Last night when we met Hub's mom to hand them over she said, "Kimberly, why are they wearing mismatched clothes!!" I told her that was one area I left to them; we were so strict otherwise we had to at least let them decide what to wear. And we were strict as far as I (a women who has no children of her own) can tell, but the boundaries resulted in a fun weekend in which they knew what was expected of them, and we were all free to enjoy each other.

Was it a perfect weekend? Goodness, no. Someone (I'm pretty sure I know who) drew on the car seat with white crayon; someone blew her nose on Hub's towel (after being told repeatedly to use a tissue, not her bare finger), lied about it and only admitted to it after a very calm, yet serious, heart-to-heart about trust and responsibility (as in once you blow your nose on someone's towel you need to put it in the clothes hamper and get them a new towel); they poked and bothered each other etc. Basically they were 5 and 7-year-old kids.

Was I perfect? Goodness, no. The one time when the naughty seat was not an option and the situation was particularly intense I threatened spankings on bare behinds unlike any spankings they had ever previously received. Hubs let me know later he thought that was a bit extreme. I agreed. I was very calm and spoke in even, measured tones when delivering this threat and thankfully they did not test me, but I'm sure I can come up with a better alternative should that particular situation come up again.

I told Hubs that while they have certainly matured since we last spent a lot of time with them, I'm pretty sure I have changed more than they have which was key to us having an enjoyable weekend.

As enjoyable as it was Hubs and I were definitely beat when it was all over...glad to see 'em come and glad to see 'em go :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Baby Pictures

I've mentioned my brother before. He's a pretty good guy and doesn't deserve what I'm about to do. But am I going to let that stop me?

While in Arizona last month my grandma scanned a few of her pictures for me:

There's little bro with dad and me. That wrinkled forehead tells me he's thinking away on something important. Maybe the formula for world peace.

See that woven couch we're sitting on? When I was little I loved to take my safety scissors and cut threads and pull them out of the woven pattern. It did not occur to me that I was vandalizing property. It was just something fun to do! Right along with the scratches little bro and I put on the hood of car using metal poles (I have no idea what they were from) to scrape off the ice one winter...we just knew we were being the most helpful children ever.

Brother's face here says, "Oh god, grandma...why are you standing there taking pictures? This maniac you left me alone with put a bow on my head. Save me...please...for the love of all that is good". Circumstantial evidence points to me planting the bow, but that bow looks way too perfect to have been made by a 6-year-old...could there have been Mom-involvement here?

"Mom, I know I'm just a fat little baby boy and I can't talk yet, but please tell me you see the desperation in my eyes. She's making me look at her jewelry!! I should not be subjected to this torture just because I can't walk away." You can see just to the left of my arm a section of upholstery that had an encounter with me and my safety scissors.

And here he is some 21 years later, graduating college. So proud of you bro!
I am very blessed that we are close. I guess he forgave me for the hair bows and the jewelry and that time I dressed him up in my dance class outfit...he was just the prettiest little 3-year-old in that ruffly skirt, I couldn't resist. :D

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A little of this, a little of that

I'm here today with a meandering post of pictures taken with my phone.

Here we have Oscar. He is an at-least-6-year-old dachshund (we got him from a shelter and couldn't be sure of his age then and people are always saying he looks older, so maybe he is). Here is Oscar's morning routine:

-Get out of little dog bed beside people bed
-Follow Kimberly to see if food will be immediately served.
-Sit and stare at Kimberly to see if this will induce her to immediately serve food
-Give up; find the softest possible place on the couch
-Move only when food is served

When he's really full of himself he likes to make a small complaining "uhhhhh" sound just under his breath if you disturb him when he is in such a state. Like, if you ever so softly stroke his silken ears...he goes "uhhhhhhh...uhhhhhhh...." with each breath to make it clear that you are surely causing him mental and emotional, if not actual physical, pain. He is spoiled, and its a mystery to me how he got that way.

I love me some Oscar.

We saw this product in a store that was going out of business. Anything look strange to you?

How about the 4-year-old with the mustache? Maybe he's in some sort of a costume, but that isn't readily apparant to me, so I rate this picture "Weird".

My favorite colors as a little girl were pink and purple. Can you imagine the hyperventilating had I seen this car way back when? (On the right just behind The Pink and Purple Wonder you can see the front quarter panel of my beloved light blue Blazer. Aren't you glad I told you?)

This was enjoyed by Walt and me this past Saturday at the delectable Grits and Groceries. This is:
Miss Linda's Scallops: Pan Seared in a Lemon Caper Sauce with Cheese Grits, Mushrooms and Chopped Bacon.
Yes, all those words need to be capitalized in order to convey the delicious-ness of Miss Linda's Scallops. They were preceded by Hattie Mae's Tomato Pie and followed by a slice of chocolate chess pie. Can I please go back next Saturday and every Saturday after that??

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

How 'bout them Cowgirls...

Despite my daydreams of being a cowgirl that title really has nothing to do with me or what I'm doing except that I am in...

(This is my grandma's purse)

the Wild West visiting my wonderful grandparents for a week.
They live in the honest-to-goodness desert: sand, saguaro cactus, cholla (pronounced "choy-uh") cactus, all manner of other cactus, bunnies, quail, javalinas (wild desert pigs), coyotes and a high yesterday of 111 degrees. I love the desert, even in August!
I've been tagging along with Grandpa on his 6 am two-mile walk. This is not stroll, folks; we were pushing a 15-minute mile pace. Don't think that sounds fast? Go outside and try it, and then let me know what you think. And then turn 79 and tell me what you think. He is in better shape than I am!

Here's a bit of what we see on our walk...

And a bit of our dinner last night...

And here's Aflac.

He earns his keep bobbing around the pool dispensing chlorine to keep the water nice and sparkling clean. He was up for a performance review, so we went for a post-dinner dip to conduct research. He's doing a great job.

Yes, I could get used to life in the desert. Except they did tell me the power was out for 20 hours a few weeks ago...so as long as I had a generator on hand to keep the AC running, I could get used to life in the desert.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Viva Las Vegas!

I recently ran away to Vegas for almost two action-packed days. A college friend got married at the Flamingo hotel, and I had to be there! From her pink save-the-date card to her pink invitation (pictures to come!) to our stay in the Flamingo Hotel (how much more pink does it get??) it was a wonderful love-filled weekend.

I left my house at 4:06 am to head to the airport where a pirate was waiting at my gate. I am not kidding you. Here's the only picture I had the nerve to take with my phone:

From his black hat complete with jaunty pheasant feather over his long red hair in multiple braids to his slouchy leather boots he was a PIRATE! We finally started boarding the plane, and as I got closer to my aisle seat (18-D) who do you think I spied sitting in 18-F? Have you ever flown to Minnesota with a pirate two seats over?? Someone sat down between us otherwise I might have actually worked up the guts to ask him if he was a real pirate or only pretend.

My connecting flight to Vegas had me next to a grandfatherly Asian gentlemen who used to go gamble in Vegas 5 times a year...but now he only goes once a year or so...can you say HIGH ROLLER. (Although, why was he flying coach...) He was very nice and bought my lunch for me (you know those airplanes charge you to for everything now...pretty soon we'll have to put in a quarter to use the bathroom on board), and he and his son had the driver from their hotel drop me off at the Flamingo which saved me $12 on a shuttle van. Ladies, I promise I was on high alert and didn't just go with these guys without really making sure I felt ok about it...I was praying under my breath the whole time, and I didn't feel God trying to warn me it wasn't safe.

I got to the hotel and met up with the bride-to-be and a couple other friends around 1:30 pm VEGAS time, and we got lunch at Burger Joint right there in the Flamingo.

I had the salmon burger with cucumber dill relish and sour cream on a homemade pesto bun...yes, it was sooo good.

Then it was time to lay around one of the Flamingo's pools--there were at least 3--all of which were crammed with TONS of people hanging out. And the water was FRIGID. Of course the high temperature for the day was over 100, so in comparison to the air temperature warm water would probably have felt frigid. After we waded around and lounged on our chairs for a while it was time for dinner. The bride and groom treated all their wedding guests in town Friday night to dinner and cocktails at Bahama Breeze just down the street from the Flamingo. I can't even tell you how much fun we had combing through the extensive cocktail menu, reading about all sorts of fruity concoctions, picking what we wanted and then passing each around the table for samples. I had a caipirinha, a lemon hurricane and half of a mojito. They were SO good! The buffet dinner was also delicious, and by the end of the night I couldn't eat another bite.

We hung out with the bride for a while after dinner. I know what you're thinking: bachelorette craziness in Vegas, right? Wrong. I for one was pretty much less than zero fun for the bride. A bunch of us ladies took her to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville (also in the hotel) for drinks on the patio overlooking the Strip. I was still full from dinner, so I didn't get anything to drink, but the tiredness finally hit me and I felt like such a zombie that when a friend ordered chips and salsa I ate some to see if they would help me wake up/actually be fun. Incidently the chips and salsa were very good, and I highly recommend them if you ever find yourself at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. They did not help wake me up, so about 10:30 two of my roomies and I headed back up to the room to rest for a bit. We rejoined all the ladies in the bride-to-be's room around midnight and then about 1 am I had to call it a night. As I dragged myself in bed around 1:15 am it dawned on me that with the 3 hour time difference it was now 4:15 am at home, and I had been up for 24 hours (minus a 1-hour nap at 11 pm)!! I am just not fun enough to do that kind of thing anymore.

Wouldn't you know my eyes popped open at 6:56 am Saturday morning...our room full of 4 ladies was up, dressed and ready to go by 8 am. We were SO proud of ourselves. We went with the bride to the Paris hotel for breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi and oh-my-gosh it was SO good. I definitely want to go back when hubs and I make our Great Las Vegas Adventure Trip of a Lifetime.

I had the eggs benedict special which consisted of a perfectly toasted, chewy english muffin topped with lobster, roasted yellow pepper, poached egg and tarragon hollandaise sauce. Oh. My. Goodness. So good. Even the hashbrowns which looked pretty normal tasted fantastic.

I got to have some of this lusciousness, too. I can't remember the exact description but the words "carmelized" and "berries" were used along with a couple other seductive adjectives. And there was creme fraiche involved, too.

These were the Skinny Pancake special to supplement the other types of Skinny Pancakes on the menu. Wonder how skinny I'd be if I had these with any sort of regularity.

While we digest our delicious breakfast I'll take a break and bring you the rest of the Excellent Vegas Vacation very soon. Fun stuff!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Summer time, Beach time!

Between the craziness and the laziness my blog is suffering from major neglect. I still love you, blog! I still love writing and reading!

Here's a little update: We went to the beach! Last week was a furlough week for us and what better to do during a week when one is not being paid than to go somewhere and spend money!?! Not much is better, that's what! We tend to go to places where there are lots of things to see and do (Savannah, Seattle, Chicago, Asheville, etc), but this year we decided we wanted to go somewhere warm where we could sit around and not be pressured to see/do/eat everything. We settled on Myrtle Beach after we went to Priceline, bid on and won four nights at the Sheraton Convention Center hotel 2 1/2 blocks from the beach for $55 a night!!! Can you believe that deal!!!

We swam and sat under a big beach umbrella and watched people and watched the Wednesday night fireworks at the 2nd St. pier and ate and hit TJ Maxx and Ross on the way in and went to MagiQuest (I read about this online and, being a Harry Potter fan, SO wanted to go...hubs humored me, bless him...we were definitely the only people over the age of 12 without kids in tow)...

The 2-story castle at MagiQuest
(Photo: lickyoats)
...and went clubbing one night (we discovered techno music makes for super fun dancing; for real!) and cruised Ocean Boulevard looking at all the hotels and houses and got "HOT NOW" Krispy Kreme doughnuts and went shag dancing at Fat Harold's...it was such fun, and we can't wait to go back. I have lived in South Carolina my entire life and have never been to Myrtle Beach that I know of (except a 2 night stay 9 years ago at Garden City Beach just down the road). I'm glad I've remedied that problem.

I really enjoyed driving along Ocean Boulevard looking at the larger fancy houses and smaller fancy houses and cute beach cottages on the north end and hotel after hotel afterhotelafterhotelafterhotel (really, its crazy) on the south end, many of which have that kitschy-retro vibe and have been around for years. My favorite was the...

Cutest sign!

This trip only increased my love for the beach. I just know that someday I will have my own dreamy little cottage by the sea, and until then I will fill my house with shells and sand and these beauties that I can make with my own two hands...

(Photo: Heather Bullard)

Cindy has a tutorial for making a shell wreath like hers.

(Photo and wreath: Cindy at My Romantic Home)

In other news I'm very excited to be going to Vegas(!!) for my friend's wedding this weekend. Yay for weddings! I've never been to Vegas, and this will be a very short trip, so I will definitely have to go again and take hubs with me.
Here's hoping you are having a lovely summer time!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

In the Good Ole Summertime...

Ah, summer.

Time for a little bit of this...

from our local strawberry patch sliced, sugared and eaten with Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream (the only vanilla I've ever wanted to eat plain).
Perfect time for this...

Squash that hubs grew (yay, hubs!) and grilled with olive oil, salt and pepper; and fennel rice salad I made (the leftovers were great; I didn't have scallions so I left them out). What a lovely summer meal.

The other night we realized it was time for this, too...
Green tomatoes and squash from our garden fried up just right by the Mr. YUM!! Hubs, have I told you lately you're the best hubs ever?

This plate is ALL hub's doing: squash and green tomatoes he grew and then turned into fried green tomatoes (with some jarred marinara sauce), fried squash, grilled squash and squash casserole.
Is this man good or what??!
Summer + Hubs makes for a very lovely time indeed.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Blog posts I've enjoyed

(Picture: ___Ally via Flickr)

Where does the time go? I have so many projects to do and pictures to take and posts to post...for now I'll share a round-up of some posts I have really enjoyed recently:

Surprise benefits of an uncluttered life -- this is hub's and my goal in housekeeping. We want to have a comfortable house for us and one that is ready for guests whenever they should appear. We are still working toward this!

Do you have a big 'But...'? -- there are excuses for anything and everything in life. Nothing changes when we use excuses, but the potential for great things to happen when excuses are let go is just too big to ignore. I am working on getting rid of my big 'But...'!! Literally and figuratively!

Everyone can learn to be organized -- there is hope for me! Actually I've come a long way from where I used to be, and this post is very encouraging as I continue on my quest for organization in all areas of life.

Are you an unclutterer? -- not fully, but I'm working on it! Clutter can take on many forms, and I don't want to fool with any of them.

(Picture: Country Living via My Sweet Savannah)

~for the birds~ -- Oh, how I love bird cages! This post has some great eye candy.

You never know what will inspire you next. Keep your eyes open and notice the little things!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Oh, the conviction

(Photo credit: fensterbme)

So I got on the scale several weeks ago after not getting on the scale for several months because of a dead battery. The scale's dead battery, not mine. And I was NOT pleased with what I saw. And I already knew I'd been eating too much and that my clothes were feeling tight, so the number shouldn't have been a surprise, but don't we hold out hope that things will be different than we know them to be? In so many areas of life? I do. I still walk in the door after work hoping my fairy godmother has dinner all ready for us.

So I'm back to weighing in once a week, monitering my portion sizes and my calorie intake and fitting in exercise where I can. I still eat pretty much whatever I want; I just have to pay attention to how much I eat.

Several weeks ago I signed up for daily "Devotion for Dieters" emails from Crosswalk (they have all sorts of daily devotionals), and today's was REALLY good. Let me share it with you:

June 2

1 John 3:2-3
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Sometimes we fool ourselves into believing that to be like Jesus means to act like Him or think like Him or pray like Him, and we ignore that we should try to look like Him, too. We don't know that Jesus was thin, but we can be confident that He was not overweight, because He preached moderation and denounced gluttony. He cared for Himself, and He called others to care for themselves, also. How wonderful it would be to be able to stand face-to-face with our Lord and to mirror Him in both His spiritual and physical perfection!

Today's thought: When people look at me, I want them to see Jesus!


Yikes! Is that clear and specific or what!

Here are some sites that I've found to be very helpful in my journey to learn about health and proper nutrition:

My Pyramid website
What Would Jesus Eat by Dr. Don Colbert

God, help me to drink my water today and savor my food and partake of the proper amount. I want people to see Jesus when they look at me!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

1 Year of Pink Saturday!

Happy 1st Birthday, Pink Saturday! Beverly made Pink Saturday a group event one year ago, and aren't we glad? Check Beverly's site How Sweet The Sound for tons more posts on pink!
I took a stroll through my archives to see what I could find...

June 2007: Pink suitcase, estate sale near Cross Hill, SC. I love how the light reflecting off the suitcase is turning the concrete pillar behind it pink. The lady who owned this suitcase also had...

A pink and purple kitchen! What a fun lady! This part of the house was closed to the public, so I got the best picture I could from a distance, and I'm pretty sure I got fussed at :)

Sunday, August 19, 2007: Orchids at the Palo Alto, CA farmer's market.

Thursday August 16, 2007: Glads (I think) at the Medford, Oregan farmer's market.

November 2007: The Birthday Queen, I mean, hubs trying out a wonderful pink product at Swoozie's in Greenville, SC.

May 30, 2009: Hubs will have his revenge in this life or the next when he finds out I've posted this picture.

What a wonderful Pink year its been! Thank you, Beverly!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Easter Egg Garland Swap

Jennifer of Artrageous Afternoon hosted an Easter Egg Garland swap several months ago, and after a great and yet-to-be-posted experience with a Valentine card swap I jumped at the chance to trade more paper art. We each decorated 5 eggs and sent them to Jennifer who shuffled them up, put them into banner form with a ribbon and teeny clothes pins and sent them back.

By Amy Wald

Who made this one?? It wasn't signed! And they went all out decorating side 1 and...

Side 2; lovely!

By Melinda of Melinda's Fabric Fancies; here's her post about some of the eggs she made.

By Joanna of Sweet Finds; here's her post about the eggs she made.

Who made this one??

Here are the eggs I contributed to the swap.

I had to make a 6th one for me to keep of course! As you can see I tend to be pretty precise in my paper art; I'm working on being a bit more relaxed and free form. It's a process, and I'm excited to see where I end up!

I wish that all the artists had labeled their Easter eggs; as you can see there are couple that were blank, so I have no idea who to thank.
This was such a fun swap and now I have a wonderful piece to add to my Easter and spring decor. Thanks to Jennifer and to each of the talented ladies whose lovely Easter eggs I received!