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!