Monday, April 26, 2010

Wishin' and hopin'

...that I will be the lucky duck picked to join Serena as her special guest for this! She's going to pick one lucky blogger (or Tweeter, Twitterer, whatever you call it) to be her guest on set-up day and at the special vendor night before her big famous show. Seriously, I would just keel over from the excitement!

You'd better bet your bottom dollar that I would gladly fly out to beautiful Washington to be a part of The Farm Chicks Show! Oooh, I'm crossing everything I've got, hopin' I get picked!

Friday, April 16, 2010

New tunes.

I'm not too proud to admit that I was a big fan of Jason Castro on American Idol. His new CD just came out this week, so here you go.

I really like this song. Apparently it was featured on Jason and Molly's big Bachelor wedding, but I'm not gonna hold that against it. Ha.

And I just noticed today on iTunes that there is a new band -- the Court Yard Hounds -- made up of two of the Dixie Chicks.

Hmmm. Interesting. I used to be a big Dixie Chicks fan, at least until they could no longer keep their traps shut and went all disrespectful to the President. I wasn't down with that, nosirree. You can have all the opinions you want, and heck, they can even be different from my opinions (shocker, I know), but being downright ugly and disrespectful to the President? Yep, not cool in my book. Their mamas should've taught them better.

Anyway, since that fiasco I haven't been such a fan, which is a shame since they always put out some pretty decent tunes. So, of course, I'm intrigued by this, especially since they'll be minus their most outspoken (and obnoxious) member...

I'll be sure and let you know what I think when the album releases.

Bedtime stories.

Recently the boy and I started reading chapter books together at night before his bedtime. Most every night after his pajamas are on and his teeth are brushed and he's rinsed his mouth with fluoride rinse (he is soooooo proud of his "moufwash"), we both curl up into the denim rocking chair in his room to enjoy a chapter or two. We initiated this leap into chapter books by making a homemade bookmark specially for these nighttime readings, covered in scribbles and stickers galore. The boy absolutely treasures his little bookmark and holds onto it dearly while I read to him. We started out with this dragon book with three stories in it.

Although I was quite the bookworm as a child (and still am), I had never read those stories, but we both loved them.

The next book we tackled was a short chapter book from my childhood -- "Puff the Magic Dragon" -- the story from the famous song, based on the TV cartoon special I remember watching on TV in the 1980's. I'm pretty sure it would have been one of the treasures I brought home from my elementary school's book fair. Remember those? Oh, I used to salivate when my teacher would pass out the little paper catalogs and carefully star my selections. I remember saving up my money specifically for these book fairs, and I was always so excited to purchase my books. When my boy saw the cartoon version of Puff and Jackie Draper on the cover, he was insistent that we read it next.

Now we are into the "Mercy Watson" stories by Kate DiCamillo, the same author of "Because of Winn-Dixie" and "The Tale of Desperaux". I had seen her books in my local bookstore and purchased a couple to take with me to a booksigning at our main library downtown. Even though my son was only a toddler at the time, I went to the booksigning by myself armed with my two books and stood in line to get them signed. The event was specifically geared towards the kids and teenagers in our city and their families who were there specifically for the creative writing contest awards ceremony, which I sat through only because I wanted to get those books signed. I'm so glad I went. Her speech was very interesting, and I was glad to meet her in person. Even though my son still doesn't understand the concept of owning books signed by the actual author, someday he will think it is way cool that his mama did that for him, or at least I hope he will. It ended up that she was only supposed to sign one book per person, but she was kind and went ahead and signed two quickly for me while her editor looked on, glaring down her nose at me. Who cares. I was so excited!

Since then I have collected a few more of the Mercy Watson hardbacks via Paperback Swap.

They are quick little chapter books (we can usually breeze through half a book a night if we really wanted to), but that makes them especially perfect for my little guy's age. The illustrations are so darling, and the writing, of course, is quite witty. Right now we're in the second book.

So, what's on your bookshelf?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Smile and the world smiles with you.

This week, no, this month, no, this year so far, has really thrown us for a loop over here. Change is a-comin' to our little household, and there's a bunch of great big scary unknowns out there. There are so many, many factors that are causing stress in our little family, it's almost funny, but not really the laugh-out-loud-ha-ha-type.

If you laughed I might have to punch you in the face.

Just kidding.


Anyway, I'm sure thankful to have my man and my boy to jump into these new unknown adventures with, but it doesn't change the fact that I've been stretched pretty thin lately. If I were to rate my current stress level on a scale of 1 to 10, I'd have to put it somewhere around a 39. It's none too pretty, folks, but at least I've got Jesus. I mean, really. He and I have spent a lot more quality time together lately, I'll tell you that. The last time I remember being this stressed out was five years ago when everyone died (okay, not everyone, but it was bad, I kid you not). If you're unfamiliar with my 2005, just read the first paragraph of the blog post and you'll get the jist. 2005 was a lemon, trust me.

But, despite the stress that our little household has been under, I still know how to count my blessings. I've always been a "glass half full" type of gal no matter what. Drown me in sorrows, and I'll probably still have a smile plastered to my face somehow.

Thus, presenting the top 10 things making me smile this week...

1. Mr. Bubble bubble bath -- It's all about the little things, folks, and I'm pretty happy that there isn't a big jug of Elmo bubble bath or Thomas the Train bubble bath or what have you staring me in the face when I walk in our bathroom. No, my boy is happy as a clam with good ol' Mr. Bubble, and that classic pink bottle always makes me smile.

2. the PBC & B sundae -- from our old stand-by Freddy's. It's a simple equation, really. Vanilla custard + peanut butter cups + bananas = heaven. One bite and you'll forget all your worries. Or you can at least camouflage them under your fat. Haha.

3. My old pal Emily (and I can call her that since we're the same age and have been friends since the 6th grade) is waiting to find out if she's going to be a mama to a girl or a boy. She and her husband are in the process of adopting a baby from Ethiopia, and they are currently sitting at the top of both the girl list AND the boy list, so it's truly going to be a surprise when they find out! Can't wait, Emily! Just think, you're ALREADY a mama. You just haven't found out who your awesome kid is, but he or she is probably already in this world somewhere!

4. This awesome new cookbook I borrowed from my library. Dang, girl. Not only can that Trisha Yearwood belt out some tunes, but the girl knows how to cook. Good ol' fashioned country delicious butter-up-your-thighs cookin'. I can't wait to try some of these out.

5. Right now is the cleanest, most uncluttered my house has ever, ever, EVER been. Oh man, am I ever enjoying it.

6. Good books to get lost in. I just finished this one a couple of weeks ago (so, so very good), and right now I'm reading this one. (Side note: as far as the happiness searching goes, I'm quite grateful for the fact that I know where to find the ultimate happiness -- in Jesus, and don't you forget it -- but this book, so far, seems to be a great read in discovering new ways to give yourself a kick in the pants and get your life more together. I could always use some of that.)

7. Pistachios. Yum. Oh, and avocados. Double yum. But not together.

8. My kid. He really is the best thing ever. Tonight, with tears rolling down his cheeks, worried about how we were going to get a splinter out of his little hand, he closed his eyes (no prompting on my part whatsoever) and prayed out loud that Jesus would help fix his hand and get that splinter out. (I guess he trusts Jesus more than his mama with the evil tweezers in her hand! Ha.)

He is seriously the BEST.

9. Did I mention that my house is CLEAN? And UNCLUTTERED? Even in the drawers and closets and everything? Ahhhh. It's so awesome and simple and relaxing right now that it deserved two spots on my top ten list.

Drumroll, please...

and without further ado, guess what I found tonight, while sitting in the field at my son's soccer practice?

10. My FIRST EVER genuine bonafide FOUR LEAF CLOVER!!!!

There was practically no searching, folks. I just looked down next to my toes, and there it was. I'm now a believer.

What about you? Anything making you smile lately?

Friday, April 9, 2010

I Anthropolo-gized.

Anthropolo-gize: to do one's best to transform something ordinary into something extraordinary and look like it came straight from Anthropologie!

Finally, my iPhoto program cooperated and I was able to get these pictures uploaded. Here's us in our Easter duds from last weekend:

Oh yeah, matchy-matchy all the way this year.

Here's the story:

I originally ordered this dress from Anthropologie.

(I apologize for the tiny photo, but it's not on the website anymore, not even in the sale section, so all I could do was copy the photo from my account of past orders.)

Anyway, for the price, I wasn't thrilled with it, so I decided to return it. In the meanwhile I had ordered fabric that I hoped would coordinate with this dress to make into ties for my guys. (Ah, I'm such a poet.) So now I had the issue of no Easter dress in the cards for me and pink floral fabric for my men. Yep, I'm that awesome.

So I did a little digging in my closet and unearthed a dress from a few years ago that I hadn't worn in a while. Basically it was an Anthro-knockoff that I had found at one of those teeny-bopper stores, Charlotte Russe maybe, and since I had missed out on the original Anthro dress (which I think was a couple hundred bucks), I snatched it up for twenty bucks or less. I wish I had the picture of the Anthro original to show you how closely it resembles the original, but I don't. I do remember that it was a very popular dress that year.

Now the thing about Anthro-knockoffs is just that -- they are usually quite cheaply made, and this little dress was no exception. There was no pretty lining, and the adjustable spaghetti straps broke the second time I wore it. Not great, but at least on the outside, it really looked like the original, and since I had saved at least $150 or so by purchasing the knockoff, well, that was good enough for me. Besides, the original wasn't available at the time anymore, so I couldn't have bought it anyway.

Time to use my noggin'. I snipped off the spaghetti straps, made new wide halter straps out of black cotton fabric I already had (which is so much more flattering anyway than those spaghetti straps), added two rows of ivory crocheted trim to the bottom (a total of $3 from JoAnn's), and pinned on a silk flower corsage from this other Anthropologie dress in my closet...

...which just so happened to match the peach color in the tie fabric perfectly. Love it when that happens. So on my end of things, Easter cost a little sweat equity and $3. (And yeah, I know, it doesn't exactly seem like that peach flower pin would go with this dress, but it did. It came pinned on smack dab in the middle of that green silk cumberbund part. I thought the dress looked better without it.)

For the ties, I used these two tutorials from the Purl Bee. Ties are rather painless to whip up, but they do involve a lot of hand sewing. And a word of caution, the Father's Day tie (the adult size) was not exactly what I had planned on when it was almost finished. I assumed it would end up being a standard tie width since the tutorial mentioned either slimming it down to make it a mod skinny version, or adding width to make it extra wide. I was wrong in my assumption because the original "middle" size version was very skinny, in both my opinion and that of my husband's. He didn't look too sure of the skinny tie I held up in front of him, and since it was bad enough I was going to make him wear a pink floral tie, I knew I had to fix it. So I opened it up and added a strip of fabric along the back to cover where the seams wouldn't be meeting up perfectly to make it wide enough. My advice is that, if you make the adult size tie and want it to be a regular width, add some width to it before you cut it out. How much, I don't know -- I'd have to figure that out myself when I attempt this a second time. The little boy's tie ended up being perfect, though, with no adjustments. I can't remember exactly, but I think I bought a yard or a yard and a half of fabric for the ties (and had some left over), so they cost me a total of somewhere around $10 for both.

I cannot even tell you how many compliments both of them got on their ties, and the best part is, no one suspected that they were homemade. My husband likes his so much that he wants a few more! And I think the little guy wants to pick out his own fabric for at least one more. Score!

Not bad for new Easter duds for the whole family that cost less than $15. Not bad at all!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I'm a girl with glasses, too.

Whatcha think about this?

Adorable, no?

Loved Brooke White on American Idol, so I can't wait to see what they come up with next!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Nothing like a little Holy Week to make it all better.

Over two weeks? Really? It's been that long since I last posted?

That is just all kinds of WRONG.


And of course, the nuttiest thing about it is that my readership has grown since my last post. Maybe I need to just shut my trap and the readers will come. Ha.

I promise to return and post something this weekend. It's just been all kinds of busy here in Wonderland, and not just the normal type of "busy" with things to do, places to go, people to see, but also busy with worries and fears and what if's and all that stuff. As my dear great-grandma always said, "I've been busier than a cranberry merchant." All I know is, those cranberry peeps must be awfully busy people to make that the truth.

If you're like me and life has just been on the fast-track lately, be sure and slow it down this weekend and take a moment to simmer over the true meaning of Easter. For the first time this year, I attended both a Passover Feast and a Maundy Thursday service, and it was so refreshing to clear all the craziness and busyness from my head and be reminded of Christ who died on the cross for my sins. Here's little ol' me, constantly running around like a chicken with her head cut off, worrying and fretting over all the things that keep me up at night, things that, of course, really aren't all that important in the grand scheme of things, and then, thank goodness, Holy Week comes along and I'm reminded of the One who gave His life for me. And for you. All because God loves us. More than anything. And let me tell you something -- nothing else matters. If that won't wash away all the worry and stress, I don't know what will.

So slow it down this Good Friday and think on the goodness of Christ.

I'll be back in a jiff...