Monday, March 30, 2009

Good Vibrations

What is it about certain items of clothes that make you feel powerful? I have a couple items that I just love, and when I wear them, I feel I could do anything. Currently, it is my bright red short trench coat from H&M. I bought it at 50% off for $30. Even my kids love it.
Same goes for my black wrap dress. It fits great and I feel like a million bucks in it (I think it was $25 from I have a few pairs of shoes that do it too - especially a few pairs of very high heels.

How is it that clothes can give you that feeling more than anything else?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Cool Party Ideas

Tonight my out-of-town cousin is having the coolest party. It is an Iron Chef/Top Chef party. Each attendee had to select a secret ingredient and then the hostess picked one from a hat 3 days prior to the party. Then the attendees had to bring a dish (entree or appetizer) made with the ingredient to the party. They will be judged on a number of categories including creativity, taste, etc. At the party she is having Top Chef-ish challenges - naming spices by smell only, tasting ingredients, perhaps some kind of relay race involving constructing an hors d'ouvres. It sounds so cool.

So cool my friends and I are stealing it and doing it this weekend. Ingredients up for grabs - lemon, beer, breadcrumbs, goat cheese, peanuts, pineapple, whiskey, and bacon. I think it will be awesome.

Any other ideas for fun dinner parties??

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Shook to the Core

This weekend my best friend's husband died of a massive heart attack. There was no warning. He was 40 years old, had no warning signs and had a physical two weeks ago that showed he was perfectly healthy. He leaves behind his wife of 17 years who has multiple sclerosis, a sweet 8-yr old boy with cerebral palsy and a ventilator, and an energetic 5-yr old daughter. Never mind he was the sweetest, gentlest, smartest man I have ever known. He was a beloved husband, devoted father, amazing friend, and someone who found joy in everything and always looked on the bright side.

There are no words to discuss what kind of tragedy this is. It makes you question everything you thought was true.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Favorite Children's Books

My kids LOVE reading. Well, they love listening. K loves reading. They all love listening. So after the big book sort last week I am happy to report we have been reading some new books. And of course the big book dump (we donated MULTIPLE big bags of books away) has not stopped Mama's habit of buying books. In fact, within 24 hours we had several new kids books in the house (hee hee). One of them was an INSTANT favorite. It is the new Piggie and Gerald book called "Watch Me Throw the Ball". If you are not familiar with Piggie and Gerald you are MISSING OUT! They are the newest creations from Mo Willems, an amazing kids book author who has also written "Knuffle Bunny" and "Leonardo, the Terrible Monster" and of course, the Pigeon of "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" etal. Mo used to be an illustrator on Sesame Street and totally knows his stuff. Watch Me Throw the Ball is hysterical. The kids were literally rolling on the floor. I highly recommend it.

Other favorites of my kids - Skippy John Jones, Fancy Nancy, Pinkalicious, and of course, Junie B Jones and the Magic Treehouse.

What books do your kids like? (we could always use some more!)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Waiter, there's a fly in my soup!

When my brother and I were little we used to have this game we played. Every once in a while, my parents would cook dinner for themselves. Then they would get dressed up and go downstairs to our family room. My brother and I would put on black pants and white shirts. We would write up a menu and set the table. Then we would meet my parents on the landing and escort them to their "table". Then we would serve as the waiter and waitress for their dinner "out". We had pads of paper and took their orders, then carried everything from the kitchen upstairs down to them downstairs. We would even refill their water glasses and clear the dishes to bring new courses. We LOVED it. SERIOUSLY loved it. It was great.

Today, K decided out of nowhere that she wanted to serve dinner to her brother and sister and us. It was homemade pizza. She wrote up a menu and used her picnic set to set the table in our family room. She used her Disney tea party cart to carry the food back and forth. She wore black pants and a blue shirt (she couldn't find a white one). When she came up with the idea I told her we used to do it too. She loved it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

In Case You Ever Need To Know

Dish washing liquid works wonders in getting Vaseline out of hair.

gotta love 2 year olds!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cool Project and Website with Lots of Potential

I thought I blogged about this before, but I can't find it. Last year Tonya at Currently Crafting had this awesome idea to make a book. She used this awesome free site - - to design the pages. Then she printed them out and mounted them in blank cardboard hardback books she bought on Oriental Trading. Such a cool idea.

So I totally stole it and made a bunch of these for Christmas. I used the great free photo editing software at Scrapblog to put the kids into the stories in the books. Big Man got one about a silly Caterpillar, the girls got one about princesses (thanks to the great Disney pics I had of them all princess'ed up!), and I did a few with superheros for some favorite little boys. They came out so great and the kids all LOVE them. I thought I would it here. I am working on some more for some upcoming birthdays. They are fun to make and come out great. Here are some pics of the one I did for Big Man.

Scrapblog is a great tool for other things too! Party invitations come to mind. You just create a page and then can save it as a .jpg to print. Here is what the .jpg looks like:

As you can see, I used their free tool to cut around an image of Big Man. Then I used their clipart to put in the bench, the butterfly, and add the speaking bubbles. Really so easy, and doesn't it look great?

I am using it now to write a book with K. She is writing the story and we are typing it out in the program. She drew pictures for it and we scanned them it to use as the background. Then we can use all the "stickers" and other clipart they have on scrapblog to embellish and build the pictures for her story. It is great. I will probably post more details on that soon, but wanted to share this great site, and a great idea.

If you don't want to use photos - you don't have to, you can just use their clipart, like Tonya did.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I Think We Can Open a Library

We have an enormous amount of children's books. It had gotten completely out of hand. We probably read the same 10-15 books at bedtime, yet the house was just crawling with books. So this week I had the kids bring every kids book in the house into the big room. This was the result.

It was very scary. I never did count them all but there were definitely multiple hundred. We managed to find about 2 dozen duplicates that we quickly donated to a book drive the 4th graders were having at our school. We gave away another 20-30 to friends who just had a baby. We then sorted through the rest and found about another 50-75 we could let go to Goodwill. I swear we had 20+ Clifford books. And don't get me started on Elmo. There had to be at least 30. Other big groups - holiday books, my little pony books, and of course the chapter series (Magic Treehouse, Junie B Jones). We have now at least culled through them and tried to put them in some groupings - chapter books vs easy readers, etc. We decided putting any of them down in the playroom was silly because we never read down there. So all the books are now in the kids rooms or on the main level (mostly in the big room, some in the front room).

I feel better that we at least went through them all. Of course, a few hours later I pre-ordered the new Fancy Nancy book - so this will be a continuous problem in our house!

Monday, March 9, 2009

To Be 6 Again...

This weekend at the waterpark K and I were standing in line behind a 4-5 teenage girls. K says, "they are wearing bikinis". I said, "yup". She says, "you know, boy kids don't like it when girl kids were bikinis." I said, "really?". She says, "yeah, they don't want to have to see their belly buttons." I said, "well, I guess they are smart. They don't care what the boys think." She nodded.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Wet and Wonderful Weekend

We are going to Great Wolf Lodge this weekend. School is closed on Friday for a teacher workday, so we are making it a three-day weekend. We went a few years ago, and all had fun (well, Big Man was a baby...). This time we are going with another family - so it should be twice the fun! Will report back on Monday!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Big Man continues to be in a Mommy phase. Daddy might as well be a stranger on the street for all he cares. It is really getting ridiculous, and is hurting DH's feelings! I just don't know what to do about it. If I am totally not around (like out of the building), he is fine. But if he knows I am there somewhere - he only wants me.

Although Sunday night was funny. The kids all love our babysitter - Janice. She came on Sunday night and within about 2 minutes of her showing up, Big Man comes right up to me and goes "bye bye, mommy" I said, "see ya, big man" and then he stands there waiting for me to leave. "BYE BYE, MOMMY" - like, get out!

Any suggestions to move him through the mommy phase would be very helpful!!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Fun Little Project

Last week, K and I worked on a cute scrapbooking project I had seen online. It was really fast and came out great! I highly recommend it - even if you don't usually scrapbook. Basically you need 5 peices of 12x12 paper. One of them will be the cover of your box. The other 4 pieces are cut and folded and become the box. You put pictures 4 (or 8 if you do the back) pictures (approx 3.5x3.5) on each page. It is hard to explain - so you should go here to check it out. When you are done it is really cool. The recipient just lifts off the cover of the "box" and the other pages fan out and show off all the pictures. It probably took us less than 2 hours and it would be a great mother's day gift! Here are a few pictures.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snowy Day

We got 5-7 inches of snow here overnight. Being from MA, I know that is not a lot - but for here it really is! Its a major storm!! All the schools are closed (including our daycare). My office is open. Our Chicago office decides when/if we close and they think we are wimps here, so we never close. So, DH is home with the kids. I am jealous. They are going out sledding this afternoon! Will try and post some pics later!