Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year!! Wishing you a prosperous year full of good health, good fortune, good times, and lots of completed resolutions!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Weird week

This week between Christmas and New Year's is so strange, especially this year without any travel. People go back to work and start getting back into the swing of things and then BOOM, another holiday. Not that I'm's just a strange time, a period of limbo, if you will. It's strange for us this year too because Olive doesn't have school and most of our friends are either out of town or sick so our social calendar is a bit more empty than usual. Not that we don't have lots of things to do around here, but it feels like a period of waiting. In the meantime, we are enjoying the warmer than usual weather and the extra Daddy time. Real life can wait - it's these fun holiday times that are most special and memorable!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!!

As I sit here on Christmas Eve, my final presents wrapped, I think about how fortunate I am.
I am able to give Olive a wonderful Christmas, and not just with the gifts under the tree, but with the whole spirit of everything we've done. We did a daily Advent calendar, a countdown to Christmas, Elf on the Shelf, went to see holiday lights at the Bull Run Festival of Lights, made more cookies than any of our waistlines could tolerate, did countless coloring and art projects, and had fun shopping and wrapping gifts for others. What a special time to be with those you love.
We will not be travelling this year and will spend the holiday at home, just the three of us. I am really looking forward to this - there's no stress, just fun times with our family. I'm not sure what all sorts of activities we'll cook up, but it will be fun just being together and seeing the joy of her face when she opens her gifts tomorrow morning.
Happy Holidays to all of you and safe travels!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A new trend in fashion??

As I've been out and about doing some Christmas shopping, I've noticed something that I don't ever recall seeing before - a new line of swimsuits in December. At the first store the other day I thought, "boy, that's strange, I guess they had a lot left over from the summer" - I thought they were on clearance - but thought it unusual that they'd be near the front of the store. Today I made my last trip to the dreaded mall (and thank goodness we got our Santa picture done 6 weeks ago - the line today looked like it was probably at least an hour and a half) and saw the same swimsuit displays in the stores. They were not sale items - they were new styles. Maybe it's the new trend?? Maybe enough people travel somewhere warm over the holidays or winter months that they justify these itty bitty bikini displays next to the bulky sweaters? On a 20 degree winter day like today, the last thing that comes to my mind is a bikini, but I guess if I were headed for the tropics, I'd be thrilled to buy something small (though the thought of taking off my warm sweater to try it on and see my pasty winter skin in the mirror would be a bit of a deterrent). Anyhow, just an observation. If you're headed somewhere warm this winter, make sure to hit the stores for a new bathing suit - there's no shortage of styles. Or if you're like most of us, there are still lots of sweaters, scarves, and jackets to find a new one or two ;-) Happy Winter!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Book Review: Marley & Me by John Grogan

Marley & Me by John Grogan
A friend passed along this book and said I should read it. I had heard of it before but she said that being a dog lover, I would really enjoy it. So I picked it up and instantly fell in love.
This is the tale of Marley, "the world's worst dog" - a dog who does everything wrong but is still lovable. This story follows him throughout his life with his family and all their ups and downs. A true story, written in an easy-to-read and fun format, that shows you just how wonderful a dog companion can be. I won't say much more than that but it's definitely a book that shows you about "the little things" in life and how to savor every minute, just as a big, slobbering dog would do.
In the course of reading this book, I started seeing previews for the movie which comes out on Christmas Day, featuring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston. Sure to be cute, I will definitely see this one.
I have also started seeing Marley stuff everywhere - a line of kids' books and activities and all sorts of other spinoffs from the book. This is a quick, easy read, one that could be enjoyed this holiday during your travel. So pick it up and read it. You'll fall in love with Marley like millions of others.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Last Minute Holiday Shopping Tip

I had just a few last things to get today so I could send out some packages to distant relatives but I was stumped. What to get?? What part of town or area could I go to that I could get something for these several random people still on my list? Maybe gift cards? But not all to the same place, hmm... I was in a quandary so I called in the expert (Mama). She said, "Do you need to go to the grocery store today?" Huh?? Did she want me to send groceries?? "Uh, yeah, actually I do, why?" Then she reminded me that at most grocery stores they have oodles and oodles of gift cards from every sort of place imaginable. WHAT A GREAT IDEA!!! So I went and bought some groceries and finished some of my Christmas shopping, just like that. How nice! Word to the wise though: If you buy an American Express or Visa gift card (not sure about MasterCard, they were out of those), they charge a $3.95 or $4.95 fee for it so not sure if that's worth it to me. Think you can get Visa Check Cards and such at your bank for face value (ie, no extra fees). Anyway, just something to think about it if you're stumped and also out of time. Gift cards are also great for out of town gifts because it's so cheap to ship them! Bonus! Happy shopping!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I am thankful

This holiday season, I am reflecting on all the many reasons I have to be thankful.
I have come to realize that everyone is fighting some sort of battle. For some, it may be a baby with colic, a very independent-minded 2 year old (ok, that's us), financial burdens, health concerns, holiday jitters, etc. You name it, everyone has something that is on their mind at any given time. While some battles are bigger than others, we all face challenges in our everyday lives and they are all personal and important to us. That's why it's really important to remember all the GOOD things we have going on. So you may not have been able to afford to give your kids a Wii this year, but at least you can be together on Christmas and maybe make cookies together or shop for a needy family. Maybe this year you find yourself unable to travel and be with family, but there are so many ways to celebrate in a different fashion. It's also good for me to remember in dealing with other people that they all are fighting their own personal battles and when I lose my patience, I remember that there is probably more going on with them than I realize and let it go.
For me, I am grateful for a lot of things. I have a warm home, enough money in the bank to pay the bills, a beautiful daughter and husband, a loyal dog, and lots of love. Really, there's nothing else I need. I don't need gifts under the tree or a big to-do - just time to enjoy those that I love and cherish every moment. I've enjoyed the season so much this year with Olive - baking cookies, making Christmas art projects, opening our daily Advent calendar, decorating (and redecorating) the tree, etc. Take a moment this holiday season and remember the little things and not just about what you receive. That's my motto - "it's the little things..." - this is what makes life special.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Stuck at home with the sickies

Poor Olive has caught another cold this week. I had a slight touch of it but it seemed to pretty much disappear in less than 24 hours. Think Dennis is fighting it now but it means I've been home all week but busy. It's actually been nice to be home for once. Usually I'm antsy to get out but I guess I've had enough here to keep me occupied. Hope everyone's healthy at your house - I'll be back soon! ;)

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Holiday Spirit

Well it seems the holidays are in full swing around here. We returned to DC to see twinkling lights and wreaths galore - a beautiful sight! I spent the morning while Olive was at school perusing the aisles of Toys R Us and determining what she would like, what I can stand, and what we have room for. We're not going crazy this year - after all she won't really know the difference - but it's so fun to shop for kids' stuff. I just wish we had a whole house to dedicate to her toys and games so we could have art stations, train tables, playhouses, and more. Honestly, you could fill an entire house with all the things that look fun and educational. I restrained myself as best I could and bought things that I thought she would really enjoy and that I could easily store. I'm still looking for a toy chest and/or other attractive toy storage idea (if you have any good tips, pass them along!)

All week Olive and I have planned to start our holiday baking but it hasn't happened yet. Hope to start this afternoon if we have time. This is one of our favorite traditions. We also just got some new holiday cookie cutters from Grandma (or "cookie comers" as Olive pronounces it) so are anxious to use them. There is one that is a train that she has decided is Thomas the Train. I have a feeling we'll be making a lot of train cookies.

Christmas is also fun with kids because Olive is so into the decorations. Last night we walked the dog around 5pm when it was getting fairly dark out and people already had their lights on. She would walk up to them and say they were so sparkly and pretty and then pick out her favorite colors. Aaah, the magic of Christmas!

Hope you have a weekend full of seasonal magic. We hope to put up our decorations this weekend too.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Last night I returned from a wonderful vacation to visit family in Florida for Thanksgiving. It was great. We had a fantastic time. But while I'm gone, even if I tell myself I will, I really don't have anything to do with my "normal" life. I rarely check email or phone messages, even more rarely do work, and almost never post blog entries. I really take a vacation from real life. It's great while I am gone and free of thinking of everyday stuff but sometimes overwhelming when I return. But I like it that way. A vacation is a vacation and I really like to get away and get a change of pace. Now I'm back though and ready to get working and get ready for Christmas. Boy, time flies, doesn't it?? I will post some pics from our trip whenver I get around to uploading them. Hope you had a very happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Meme Game - a fun way to kill some time

A friend recently sent me this little game, which I found highly amusing (and a colossal waste of time, which made it all the more fun). Since I went through the trouble to do this, just thought I'd share with you in case you are looking for something to do to beat the cold. Here's how it works...

The concept:
A. Type your answer to each of the questions below into the search engine. (Or any other image search you like. Some have had some issues using Flickr with a mac.)
B. Using only the first page of results, pick an image.
C. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into the Mosaic Maker at Set your columns to 3 and rows to 4.

The Questions:
1. What is your first name? (Or try typing in an obscure nickname)
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your heart & soul.

If you give the Meme Game a try, let me know! :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

TWILIGHT - The Book Series and The Movie

If you've been following my blog, you know that I've been reading the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. And unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard that there's been a lot of hype about this series. I didn't want to read it at first - after all, it's about vampires - but my moms group book club picked it and after everyone started raving about it, I got curious. It wasn't scary at all (as I thought it would be) but was a true love story with a little twist of something interesting to it. I just finished the 4th book (most people were so addicted that they read all 4 books in the span of a week) but I was so hooked that I didn't want it to end so I really took my time with the last two books. In any case, I'm sad to be done - I will miss the characters - but elated to have read and fell in love with them all. I'm also thrilled because the movie for this first book (Twilight) comes out on Friday and a group of us that read the books together are going to go see it. I can't wait! Let me also remind you that these are "young adult" books so by definition, I am way too old to be reading them, but it seems there is as much of a cult following among the 20/30 somethings as there are among the teeny boppers. Maybe even more so... So if you haven't read these books yet, go get them! And go see the movie! I heard that in pre sales of movie tickets they have already made their money back on this movie. I can't wait!! Have fun escaping life for awhile!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday's Tips: Be on the lookout for holiday deals

Every year it seems like Christmas comes earlier and earlier. This year I saw my first Christmas stuff in stores in August, alongside the back-to-school stuff. AUGUST. 4 MONTHS BEFORE CHRISTMAS! This used to really annoy me - let me enjoy all the other holidays first! - but this year, it seems just right. I want to get things done early. I always say that and rarely do it but with toddler in tow, holiday shopping can be a nightmare. Hence comes the beauty of online shopping. Not only do you avoid the stores but you probably also save a few bucks because you aren't tempted by the 30 other "cute" things on the way to the register. Online shopping is also wonderful for those out-of-town friends and relatives - you'd have to send it to them anyways so save yourself the hassle of wrapping & packaging it (and visiting the dreaded Post Office) and have gifts sent directly. How wonderful! Several sites will also be doing free shipping promotions between now and the big day. Lots of stores and websites also do amazing deals right now where you can really get a good bang for your buck. So keep your eyes open, list in hand, and get shopping. I am hoping to get a lot of my shopping done early so I have time for my favorite holiday activity - baking. I bake lots of yummies for friends and neighbors (and maybe snitch a few bites myself!) I've not really started too much on my shopping yet (though I have pretty good ideas what I am getting everyone) but we've already done Olive's picture with Santa, working on our Christmas cards, and researching deals. It's tough work, but somebody's gotta do it! The first snow flurries hit here this morning and it's making me even more in the Christmas spirit. So shop early and remember to save some gifts, food, etc. for those who need it this season. They should be on your list too.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Rainy Day Activities

Being born and raised in the Sunshine State, I have very little appreciation for endless gloomy, rainy days. Every once in awhile it is nice but after awhile, it gets old.

On top of that, I have a toddler with the activity level of a Mexican jumping bean and between the two of us, we get a little stir crazy so I've been trying to think of some fun indoor activities for us during these seemingly endless gloomy days. Here are a few ideas I've come up with:

1. Good old-fashioned coloring book coloring

2. Coloring printables - find your kids' favorite characters and print them out for free at or They also have lots of fun craft ideas. We now have a Dora Thanksgiving placemat colored oh-so-prettily in blue. You can also find other printables at

3. Online games at,, and

4. Finger painting, watercolor painting, or better yet - Color Wonder painting

5. Arts & crafts projects - this can be as simple as sticking stickers on a piece of paper to something more elaborate for older kids. You can draw a scene of something and have the kid put stickers/decorations/color in areas you specify for them (ie, put a sticker of a flower OUTSIDE of the house). Color the dog's ears brown. etc. etc. For kids who know their numbers or letters, you can do color by number.

6. Thanksgiving craft idea - Tom the Turkey - trace your child's hand on construction paper, have them help you cut it out, then decorate with feathers or other scraps of colorful construction paper

7. Read some books together.

8. Cut out pictures from old magazines and make a collage of your child's favorite things. Then send to Grandma for an early Christmas gift (bonus: saves time and money at the store!)

9. Bake cookies or cupcakes together - be sure to check out the book Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann & Elizabeth Kann beforehand so the kids will be forewarned not to eat too many cupcakes ;)

10. Build a fort.

11. Hide and seek

12. Scavenger hunt

13. Build an indoor obstacle course.

14. Turn up the music and DANCE!

15. Help Mommy fold the laundry. Oops, how did that one get in there? Well it's a good chance to catch up on that too ;)

16. If all else fails, grab your favorite animated movie (ie, the one that annoys you the least), a bowl of popcorn, and curl up on the couch and have a quiet afternoon snuggling together.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

FREEBIE!!! GIVEAWAY!!! over at Little Pink Pansy

I'm doing a giveaway over at my other blog - little pink pansy. I'm giving away a set of beautiful hand-embroidered linen napkins with assorted bird styles. They are beautiful and will make a great gift for a teacher, neighbor, or friend. Enter now - contest ends on Monday, November 17th!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Olive's 1st Haircut

Yesterday Dennis had the day off work for Veteran's Day. We decided to take Olive to get her first haircut. Anticipating a lot of kicking and screaming, we thought it might be easier if we all went together. Boy were we wrong! She was amazing! She even let them wash and blow dry her hair! She sat still and quiet and was happy as could be. We took her to Cartoon Cuts in our mall and the lady was fast, efficient, and friendly. At each station, they also had a TV playing some kid favorites - at our station it was Diego, next door was Dora. They also had some Dum-Dum lollipops. It was definitely a win-win for us! Olive did fantastic! We were both surprised. When she was finished, the stylist gave her a "First Haircut Certificate" and saved a lock of her hair for us. While I was so sad to have the first haircut, Olive's hair had gotten quite unruly. While we did take off some length, it looks much more manageable and classy now. I am including some before and after pictures for your entertainment. If you live in Virginia, Maryland, Florida, Illinois, Texas, or Puerto Rico, see if there is a Cartoon Cuts near you - I HIGHLY recommend it!

BEFORE - Long and straggly
Getting it washed at the salon

AFTER - Cute as a button

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesday's Tips: GO VOTE!!!!

Whether you are an Obama Mama or a McCain Maverick, make sure you hit the polls today!! Each vote counts and there is nothing more important than having your voice heard. If you don't vote today, you have no right to complain about the laws and changes that are made. I am attaching an excerpt from an email I recently received about Women and the Vote. The images are not included but here's the really makes you appreciate the privileges we have now. So even if your line is long and your patience short, people fought really hard for the vote and women and minorities have not always had this option so exercise your voice and hit the polls!! Then post a comment and let me know you went (and feel free to give a shout out for your favorite candidate!) Either way, history is being made in this election - we will either have the first female in the administration or the first minority - in that sense, I think we win both ways.


This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers; they lived only 90 years ago. Remember, it was not until 1920
that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.
The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.
And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of 'obstructing sidewalk traffic.' They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.
They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote. For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms. When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.
So, refresh my memory. Some women won't vote this year because- -why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn't matter? It's raining?Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO's new movie 'Iron Jawed Angels.' It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote. Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes it was inconvenient.My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women's history, saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk about it, she looked angry. She was--with herself. 'One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,' she said. 'What would those women think of the way I use, or don't use, my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.' The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her 'all over again.'HBO released the movie on video and DVD . I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum I want it shown on Bunco night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn't our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy.The doctor admonished the men: 'Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.' Please, if you are so inclined, pass this on to all the women you know. We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party - remember to vote. History is being made.

Friday, October 31, 2008


Happy Halloween!!

Hope you have a safe and fun day!

Olive had a Halloween parade and party at school this morning then we'll be trick-or-treating this evening. Can't wait! Halloween is a bit "trickier" this year with the peanut allergy - did you know that peanuts are (or possibly are) in almost all chocolate candies?? Read the labels and you'll see that even the most unsuspecting candies might have peanut matter in them. Who knew?? Candies that are OK for my little pirate princess this year are: Hershey's kisses, Hershey's milk chocolate bar, Rolos, York Peppermint Patties, Dum Dums, Tootsie Roll Pops, Skittles, Starburst, Twizzlers, and a few other non-chocolate candies.

Speaking of sure to check all your kids' candies before they eat any - check for tampering or opened packages, along with ingredients if you have a kid with allergies. While I hate that we won't be able to give Olive all of her candy (as if any 2 year old really needs it), I am secretly a bit excited that Dennis & I will really enjoy all the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Peanut M&Ms that she gets :)

Don't forget your flashlight tonight too and be sure to travel in groups. As a kid, I once remember a high school boy stole one of my friend's trick-or-treat bag and there are always a few pranksters out there looking to start trouble. Stay close to the kids and have fun!

Happy Haunting!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Chugging along...

It's been so long since I wrote on my blog that I don't even know where to start! The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. To get you up to speed, here's what has happened:

1. Visit from our friends from NY with their son (our beautiful godson)

2. Visit from Dennis' brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law and their super fun little dog

3. A Little Pink Pansy show that lasted two days

4. Discovery of a peanut allergy in little Olive (who we've also now affectionately been calling "Peanut")

5. Dennis ran the Marine Corps Marathon

6. Neighborhood Halloween Parade

And an assortment of other activities and events, each more exciting and fun than the next and all have kept us busy and exhausted. So here are a few pictures to keep you up to speed. I'll try to be better about posting!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Racism and the upcoming election

Two weeks from today is Election Day.

I recently saw another blog post at Pink & Green Mama with some thoughts on racism in the upcoming election. I am excerpting some of it here but to read her full post, please visit this link. This definitely gives us all something to think about.

"How Racism Works...

What if John McCain were a Harvard grad and former president of the Harvard Law Review?

What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if McCain were still married to the first woman he said 'I do' to?

What if Obama were the candidate who left his first wife after she no longer measured up to his standards?

What if Michelle Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain killers, but acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?

What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama were a member of the Keating-5?

What if McCain were a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are? This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.

PS: What if Barack Obama had an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter...."

No matter who your favorite candidate is, think about these statements and how different things really might be if their personalities were opposite. Scary thought, isn't it?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday, Monday

Back to the real world and busy times...

We had a great weekend with our friends in town. It's so nice to just hang around and relax, but today is Monday and it's back to the grindstone. Olive has school today and they had a parents brunch this morning where we got to talk with her teacher and she did some parent education on positive discipline and language acquisition. Very informative and neat. I'm so glad she's at such an amazing school. Now I'm home trying to get ready for a little pink pansy show I'm doing this week, then we're off for a doctor's appointment this afternoon. We run around busy all week but I must admit, I wouldn't have it any other way! Life is too short and I don't want to miss anything. After all, it's the little things that make it worthwhile.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Crazy 8

A friend recently told me about this kids store called Crazy 8. It's owned by the same company that has the Gymboree children's clothing store but it's less expensive. (I think of it like the Old Navy vs. Gap relationship). The clothes are strikingly similar in style but just a little cheaper. Right now they're having a 50% off sale, as well as $5 tees, $11 denim, $7 leggings, $6 tights, and more! How can you beat that? And every order has only a $5 shipping fee!! (that makes it worth it because you don't have to lug the kiddos to the store). If you do want to visit the actual store, click here for the store locator. I can't wait to get some new clothes for Olive from here! They are just too cute!! (and a great place to buy Christmas presents for nieces and nephews)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Clean Up

Why is it that when we are expecting guests we clean up more than we do for our own family? Or when we are expecting the housekeepers, we clean up before they arrive?

I must admit, my house is not as tidy as it used to be. I do what I can but I have so much fun with Olive that I try to let some of the little things go and not worry so much about them. But when friends or family are coming over, it seems like I often do much more than I would if it were just us. I guess that's good - we don't want our friends to know what slobs we really are, right? - but shouldn't our families hold the same sort of power over us? I really should be better about this but I have too much stuff. I need to throw away about 50% (well, probably more like 85%) of what we have and then go from there. That would certainly be easier. In the meantime, I'll remain on my everlasting quest to find better organizational tools and keep the house spic and span for my family. And maybe tidy up a little extra for our guests this weekend...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Book Review: GRITS Friends are Forevah

GRITS Friends are Forevah by Deborah Ford

A friend gave me this book as a gift. Both being GRITS (Girls Raised in the South) who now live in Yankee Town, we've often struggled to adapt to life in a place with different customs and traditions. This book was a great chance to remember where we're from and what lifestyle is comfortable for us. While I often feel like a fish out of water here, this book made me say, "AAAHHH, yes, that's what life is like". This was a fun read but one where you can just read a few pages at a time. A great lesson in friendship and the importance of having super great friends. Spouses and children are not enough - friends are essential! Whether you are from the South or not, you would enjoy the lessons in friendship and companionship and friendship at 20 or at 75! Overall, I'd give it about 3.5 stars.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday's Tips: Spread Generosity

Do something nice for someone today.

So it's a little early to think about Christmas, but we're headed into the time of giving where we think quite often about others. Unfortunately, we aren't as generous throughout the year as we can be during the holidays but it's time to start doing so, if even just a little bit.

Here are some ideas for kind things to do for others in the coming days and weeks:

1. Clean out your closets and donate your clothes, especially winter ones - there are so many people who will be cold this winter - go ahead and throw out that old jacket that you don't like - someone else will benefit from it's warmth

2. Write an old fashioned letter. Grandparents and great grandparents particularly appreciate this type of gesture. Send pictures to them too.

3. Make dinner for a friend or neighbor who needs the break. (someone with a new baby, a death in the family, friends who are coming to town, a particularly busy week, or just because...)

4. Offer to buy a friend a coffee. It will give you a chance to catch up and have some fun too!

5. Adopt a family for the holidays. Many of us moan and groan at the ridiculous amounts of toys our kids will get this Christmas from doting aunts and grandmas but there are so many children who have no toys under the tree (or no tree).

6. Volunteer in a soup kitchen for Thanksgiving or donate money or food so others may appreciate this holiday too.

7. Offer to watch a friend's kids so she can get her hair cut or go grocery shopping alone (what a luxury!)

There's no limit to what you can do and it doesn't have to be elaborate or expensive. Just do something nice to make someone's day. I try to do something nice every day and hope that I at least sometimes succeed in making other people a little happier.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Columbus Day Weekend

I love having an extra day of weekend. Dennis had the day off so we got an extra day to fill with fun stuff. On Saturday, we went to the City of Fairfax Fall Festival, which was way too much fun. Olive rode a pony, we shopped at the vendors, visited the fire engine, all sorts of great things. Then today we went to Hartland Orchard for some apple picking. Unfortunately, the apples were gone so we just wandered around the beautiful orchards then took a hayride and "picked apples" from giant bins. But a lot of fun and great family time. Only downside to a holiday is no school for Olive (boo) but at least we used our time to do some fun things.

Driving the fire truck

Riding a pony

In the orchards

"Picking" apples

The perfect one

Friday, October 10, 2008

I love the Fall!

I love the fall.

I love the summer because it's warm, you can live in flip flops and shorts (my uniform), and you can swim every day. But I love fall because the leaves are changing, the air is crisp, campfires abound, and let's not forget the most important thing - FOOTBALL SEASON.

Living in Northern Virginia can be really frustrating at times but during the fall, there are so many fantastic activities to do. Last weekend we went to Fall for Fairfax - a local fair with rides, hayrides, pumpkin painting, scarecrow creating, vendors, and more. It was so much fun - we went home for a nap and then came back again after! On Wednesday, we went to Cox Farms for their fall event - hayrides, tons of slides, apple cider, kettle corn, farm animals, and more! (This is a MUST ATTEND EVENT). This weekend is a City of Fairfax Fall Festival that we may attend. We are also probably going to go apple picking at Hartland Orchard - a super fun fall activity. Last year we had so many apples that they lasted us past Thanksgiving (and yes, they stayed fresh!) We are also coming up on Halloween - a great opportunity to see the kiddos dressed up and lots of fun Halloween activities, including a neighborhood parade for us this year. So much fun, so little time!!! So get out there while the weather's still nice and enjoy the weekend and the fall!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Recent Photos

I haven't uploaded any pictures recently so thought I'd attach a few of my favorites from our trip to Florida and then a cute one of Olive here at a fall festival. Enjoy!
Painting a pumpkin
Sassy and cute

How sweet and innocent is this??

Mama and her baby

Too cool for school

lil swimmer

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Presidential Debate - Tonight @ 9pm

Tune in tonight at 9pm EST to see the Presidential candidates go at it from Belmont University in Nashville, TN. If you haven't made up your mind yet (or if you have and just want to see them discuss the issues), turn on your TV tonight and take a break from reality shows to watch something of substance.

Tuesday's Tips: Never Trust the "Professionals"

That sounds sorta negative, doesn't it?

But the point I'm making here is that just because you pay someone to do something (give you advice, complete a task, etc.) doesn't always mean that they do it correctly or have your best interests in mind.

For example, this year I insisted that we get an accountant to do our taxes as I knew they'd be a bit more complicated with the business and the part-time contract work I was doing. I just knew that this was a great idea. I went with a referral from another small business owner and have never been more disappointed in my life. I won't get into all the nitty gritty, but let's sum it up by saying that it is now October (6 months after tax time) and we're still dealing with the fallout of the terrible job they did.

Another important thing is doctors and medical personnel. If you're lucky (or you live in a small town), you may get a doctor who actually cares, but unfortunately, more often than not, you just see someone who wants to get you in and out as fast as they can and move on to the next patient. Rarely do they take the time to get ALL the facts and they're so fast to whip out their prescription pad and send you on your way (they get lots of perks from the drug rep people and it's faster and easier to just give you some drugs than get to the bottom of it). I think it's important to question their decisions and diagnoses and tell them if you feel uncomfortable with anything they say. Sometimes it really is the best or only course of action, but you know your own body better than anybody else.

One other category that I think often falls short is contractors. You hire someone to paint your house, fix the leaky faucet, or whatever, and assume that they do a good job because you have no idea what they're doing. But it's important to double check their work and if you're not satisfied, question the way they did something or why or the price. Be sure to get estimates too, but realize that the cheapest is also not always the best. Same goes for car repairs. This is all too frustrating for me as a woman. I know nothing about cars but I feel like I always want to send my husband to the car place because I think they will not try to weasel him as much as they will me. They always want you to buy something and they don't always fix it just right.

So anyways, all I'm saying is that if something doesn't seem right to you, even if you paid to have it done, question it because it's probably not right. You are the best advocate for yourself and your family - don't let anyone tell you otherwise!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


It's time to register to vote! Election day will be here very soon and in most states, MONDAY, OCTOBER 6TH, is the last day to register by mail. I believe some states will allow you to register in person for another week or two, but it's imperative that you get this done immediately. There is no greater liberty than the right to have your voice heard. In many countries, people don't have this option and they are forced to live with a leader who was not elected by the people. If you don't vote, you have no right to complain about who ends up in the White House. If your candidate doesn't win, you can gripe about it but you also know that you have another chance to vote in the next election. What an amazing freedom!

If you don't know enough about the issues or the candidates, visit their websites (AFTER you already register to vote). You still have some time to make a decision about who you want to elect. You can visit Democratic nominee Barack Obama's website by clicking here and visit Republican nominee John McCain's website by clicking here. Compare the issues and the candidates and make your own decision but whatever you do, don't sit this one out. There's too much at stake this time for us to be apathetic. You can also register to vote directly through the candidates' websites - on both sites, click on the "Action" tab and then click on "Register to Vote". You can also register by visiting your state website or through Rock the Vote. Get out there and make a difference!!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Event: Fall for Fairfax

If you are in or around the Fairfax, VA area, you should stop by the Fairfax County Government Center (12000 Government Center Parkway) tomorrow (Saturday, Oct. 4th) between 9:00am -6:00pm. They are hosting the annual Fall for Fairfax, a great family event. This year it is being called the Fall for Fairfax Kids Fest, with an even greater focus on the little guys. There are hayrides, a trackless train, lots of vendors (I was a vendor last year with little pink pansy), and other fun fall events. There are also rides, climbing walls, bounce houses, kids crafts (like pumpkin decorating and scarecrow making), pony rides, farmers market, and entertainment. This is something you definitely don't want to miss! It runs all day so stop by whenever you can. See their website for more information and to see a schedule of events.

Happy Fall, Y'all!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

You may know this by now but October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Most of us know at least one woman who has battled breast cancer. In my case, it is my aunt and my mother-in-law. Something like this is never easy but the more that we are aware and take proactive steps for our health, we can drastically improve our chances of finding and treating the cancer early.

In most stores you will find lots of extra pink stuff this month. Spend a few extra dollars on some of it and know that your money is going to help find a cure. We also have some soap at little pink pansy that helps benefit breast cancer research, along with notecards, notepads, contact cards, square labels, and round labels. (Please note that the links to the stationery items take you to page 4 of the respective collections - more pink ribbon items can be found on pages 5 too).

Another simple cost-free method of helping this cause is to visit All you have to do here is click on the button to give away free mammograms to women who cannot afford them. It couldn't be easier. This month, their sponsor is giving away extra mammograms if they get enough clicks, so now is the time to do it. It's the easiest way to help.

Other ideas would be getting involved for some of the various walks. There is the Avon Walk in several cities (spread throughout the year). Some of the locations include New York, Charlotte, Houston, Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago, Rocky Mountains, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. This is a 2-day, 39 mile walk. What a fantastic way to reflect on things while also getting exercise and supporting a great cause.

If you're not quite up for such a long walk, another fantastic option is the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. These events take place all over the country and the National event is located in Washington, D.C. You can find a race near you throughout the year.

If nothing else, take this month to do a self-exam and get in the routine of doing it. The best time to do it is in the week following your menstrual cycle when the breast tissue tends to be less tender and lumpy. It's not something that anyone really wants to talk about, but we need to keep ourselves healthy and this is a minor inconvenience that can really make a difference. Do it for yourself, your family, your friends, and for the women who no longer have that option.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Product Recommendation: Tongue Cleaner

Yes, this is totally random...

I went to the dentist for a cleaning a few weeks ago and the hygienist suggested I use a tongue cleaner rather than a toothbrush for cleaning my tongue. How bizarre, I thought. She wanted me to buy the $20 metal one that they have in their office. I decided to pass but looked next time I went to the grocery store and they have the disposable ones to the tune of $2.99 each. I picked one up and took it home and I absolutely love it! It is so easy - just swipe it over your tongue a time or two when you brush. It really does a better job of getting off the plaque and junk that builds up there. My mouth feels cleaner and fresher. It's also supposed to help bad breath because it extracts the germs that cause it. Anyway, I love it so much and didn't even know about this until recently so thought I'd share. I bought one today for Dennis so he can have a clean mouth too. I included a link if you click on the image but you can find this one or similar at the grocery store or drugstore. You will feel great!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Still slacking...

You probably all think I've forgotten about my blog, but I've been so busy! We went to Florida again to hit the beach with some friends and visit with my family and I didn't stay too close to the computer while we were gone. Now we're back and trying to get back into the swing of things but it's a busy week. So I'll post some pics from the trip soon and more info to come.....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


It's been another busy week here for us and I've been slacking on my blogging duties. We are headed out of town on Friday, back to FL to visit family and hit the beach, so have been busy getting ready for that, as well as getting Olive's birthday stuff done. Will try to be better...but not today ;)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Book Review: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

No doubt by now you've heard of the "vampire books" that are taking the world by storm. (And if you haven't, what bubble are you living in?) Well, my book club chose this as our last book. Since I'm not typically into this sort of thing, I vowed that I'd boycott it and not read this selection. But as the month went on, everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) was raving about how good it is. REALLY??? It's not my thing, I would say. It wasn't mine either, but you won't believe how incredible this is, they would reply. As usual, my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to read it. I was worried that I'd be freaked out and scared by it (after all, it is about vampires and I'm a self professed wimp) but it's not that way at all. When I found out that it was labeled as "young adult", somehow that made it more OK in my eyes. I also heard that there are lots of websites out there, like Twilight Moms, where others are obsessed. The movie is also coming out in November, so I thought maybe I should give it a try.

I wasn't sorry I made that choice. While I may not be quite as cuckoo about it as some of the others, I will admit that it's a great book and the more I think about it, the better it is in my mind. This is the first one of a series of 4 books and I'm currently mid-way through Book #2 (New Moon). I'm not sure if I'll post about the other books in the series - I don't want to give anything away - but this first book was good. Enough to get me hooked.

The premise of the story is about a high school girl who moves to Forks, Washington to live with her dad and meets and falls in love with a vampire. It's more of a love story than anything else but eventually there is some action that keeps it interesting beyond just the love stuff. A quick read, large print, and a chance to delve into something new. Check it out. I'd give it 4.5 stars.

Friday, September 12, 2008

And the winner is....

The winner of our wipes is "Never Dull With Kids".

Congrats!!! I'll be getting the wipes out to you shortly.

Thanks to all who entered. Check out the blogs of all the entries (shown below). Free advertising for everyone who enters my giveaways.

And thanks again to The Silken Thread for donating the wipes.

Pixie Bows - blog of two friends across the country who have a fabulous line of hair accessories

Baby Lamken - My adventures as a first-time mom - name says it all!

Never Dull with Kids - life with 2 youngsters keeps things interesting!

Learning with Children - blog of a special ed teacher and mom mastering both titles

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Get your entries in now for our giveaway for the wipes!!! Name will be drawn on Friday. To see what you could win for FREE, click here. We are giving these away - no strings attached. Let's be honest...who couldn't use some free wipes? Don't have a baby? No problem. Use them on messy sticky kid hands and faces. Don't have kids? No problem. Stash them in your car for a quick wipe up after eating the french fries you swore you wouldn't eat (and those fries don't count because no one else knows you ate them).

This giveaway is courtesy of The Silken Thread. Check them out - they've got some really really cute stuff.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

FREEBIE!!!!! GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!!!

I'm doing my first giveaway on this blog.

It's for Noodle & Boo Cleansing Cloths - Noodle & Boo's Ultimate Cleansing Cloths are made in England of pure spunlace. These thick, extra-soft cloths are soaked in a mild, no-rinse, fragrance-free solution consisting of gentle moisturizers that tenderly soothe and hydrate sensitive skin, leaving it clean and supple. Noodle & Boo's Ultimate Cleansing Cloths are safe for baby's face, body and bottom. This is a 72 count package.

All you need to do to enter is give me your name, a way to contact you, and what you think you would most likely use these wipes for (diaper changes, sticky hands, etc.)

The contest ends this Friday, September 12th so enter now!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Olive went to school today!!!

Today was the big day.

Olive graced the halls of her nursery school with her smiling face and had so much fun at school. I didn't know what to do with myself. What would I do with 3 full hours ALL ALONE??? So I finished getting some things for her birthday party and then came home and assembled goody bags, then went to the bagel shop and sipped lemonade and read my book. It was wonderful. And the best part is that the teachers said she had a great time and was well-behaved. PHEW!

Happy Monday!