Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fabulous Forty!

Well, it happened. 

I turned forty. 

And as it turned out, it didn't matter what I wore

Or where we went. 

Or what we ate.

Though the hubs planned everything to perfection. 

Absolute perfection. 

And all the little details made me feel unbelievably spoiled and loved. 

The toast. 

My father's quote on the menu. 

The collage of embarrassing photos
{nothing makes a girl feel special like her 7th grade school pic}.

What made the morning, the afternoon and the evening so incredibly special, though, 
was being surrounded by the people I love the most. 

Many of whom I have been friends with for nearly 3 decades.  

One for a very action-packed decade. 

 And one who has only been alive 3 decades but whom holds a very, 
very special place in my heart and in our family's life.

In the end, it was Scott L. who said it best: 

"Look around, Amy, there are only a few people in the world who will stick with you through it all, and these are your people." 

I'm not sure if anyone noticed, but it brought a tear to my eye. 

These are my people. 

And having them all together in one place at one time made for 
one of the most incredible days in all my forty years!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Blessed Mother.

I remember it like it was yesterday: the long-awaited arrival of my first born TWINS. Conception evaded us. Medical intervention was required. And hundreds upon hundreds of tests, pills, and shots. Then bed rest and a few early delivery scares. It was a long journey, so when our little miracles finally arrived and were placed in my arms, I could scarcely contain myself.

Family and friends came from many miles away just to see our little ones. As I stared at these long-awaited miracles I wondered about their lives. What would they be like? The thoughts and emotions I felt were too much for words. I treasure those moments in my heart like another young mother I once read about.

That mother's name was Mary and the name of her long-awaited miracle was Jesus. Her baby was born in a stable. People heard of his birth and traveled many miles just to see her little one. She must have wondered what his life would be like. Her thoughts and emotions were probably too much for words. I bet she also treasured and pondered them in her heart.

I wonder exactly what Mary knew about her son's future. Did she know he would heal the sick and raise the dead? Did she know that he would calm storms and feed the hungry? I am not sure what she knew, but according to scripture she got a glimpse into to her son's future as well as her own when she and Joseph, following Jewish custom, brought the newborn into the temple to be consecrated to the Lord. A man by the name of Simeon was in the temple that day and was moved by the Spirit to speak prophecy over the infant child.

He spoke, "And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed--and a sword will pierce even your own soul--to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed" (Luke 2:34-35, NASB).

I can't even imagine what this young mother thought as she heard these words prophesied about her tiny miracle. How does a mother respond to hearing the news that a sword would pierce her soul? Did Mary spend her entire life wondering, "Is today the day my soul will be pierced?"

Her soul was pierced 33 short years after she pondered the first moments of her son's life. Her soul was pierced on a hill called Calvary where she was an eyewitness to the purpose of her son's life. The events that took place on that hill tell us what her son's life was all about: He was born to die. The purpose of His life was to give my life and your life purpose. That is the gift of Christmas. The gift to be treasured.

Dear Lord, I want to live a life of gratitude. Thank You for the sacrifice You made to make sure that I would spend eternity with You. Consume my thoughts today. Awaken my soul to new delight in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all . . .

enjoy your holidays
spend quality time with family and friends  
and most especially
remember the reason for the season!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Traditions

Other than our advent chain, and the time spent together as a family, decorating our annual Gingerbread House is one of my favorite Christmas traditions.

In the past few years we've gone from houses that look like this:

and this 

to this 

I remember being impressed by that house.  

There was a plan. 

A method. 

Careful consideration. 

Of course, then I saw this.
and vowed to never again control or plan a gingerbread house. 
By looking for inspiration I have officially thwarted my inspiration. 
The bar is simply too high {yes, I've said it before: 

So, this year the kids can run amuck with the gingerbread house. 

There will be no plan. 

No method. 

No careful consideration. 

Have at it kids. 

Make a mess and eat yourselves silly. 

{image via Martha Stewart}

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Awkward Pregnancy Photos

Life this week is too hectic for a real blog post, but I couldn't help sharing a link featuring hilarious pregnancy photos.  

Here's just a teaser.  

See more and read the fabulous commentary over at Pregnant Chicken

I've got tears in my eyes from laughing so hard!  


Monday, December 13, 2010

Gunky no more!

As they say: necessity {or possibly, frustration} is the mother of all invention. I have a hunch some mother spent one too many hours on the extraordinary feat of getting gunk out of her children's BPA-free drinking bottle before designing this ingenious product! 

Most of us clean narrow-necked BPA-free bottles with a combination of despair and ingenuity, involving multi-step processes that include everything from simply scrubbing mold off caps to shaking a combo of lentils and dish soap. No matter how hard you try, a well-used water bottle—filled regularly with coffee and smoothies and tossed in gym bags or the backseat of cars—can develop a funky aroma and thriving bacterial growth.

The Alex Bottle, however, makes cleaning the bottle a breeze. The cap and lower half of the bottle detach and are dishwasher-friendly. Simply unscrew the bottle apart and stack it next to plates and silverware. The modular design also makes it easier to swap out tops and halves for when you want a smaller or larger bottle with mix-and-match colors. When it's empty, the bottle can pack inside itself for saving space in your bag or purse. 

Ummm, in a word: brilliant!  I just love when creative minds make my life easier! And what a fabulous stocking stuffer for the kids {or me!}.

Up next: a sports top and a sippy cup attachment for kids.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The ultimate roast chicken.

I adore Tyler Florence, or rather, I mean I adore absolutely  everything Tyler Florence cooks.  


He has a way of combining simple, yet delicious, ingredients to create elegant and delicious dishes.  

His roast chicken recipe is just that -- simple and delicious! 

I only have {or take} the time on weekends. The resulting bird, however, is often repurposed for the next few weekday meals. 

I skip the gravy and spend my time making heavenly mashed potatoes to accompany the bird.  Mashed potatoes without gravy, you ask?!  You should try my mashed potatoes! 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Paper dolls for me!

I'm generally the last one to the party and I'm certain that is the case with Polyvore too! But I discovered it today and am in LOVE! The ability to shop and create my very own virtual idea board is fabulous!!!  I'm not generally this self or fashion obsessed, but it is very fun -- like paper dolls for adults!

I could not find the perfect frock for my darling Kate Spade beauties {that is without looking like a candy shop exploded}, so I decided a more neutral tone is in order (black being my most common neutral).

Being a child of the 70s, I'm really loving the Halston Heritage 70s vibe. I'm a Milly girl through and through, but I'm being swayed by the timeless Studio 54 glamour! Of course, the lace overlay trend is hot too!

Let's just assume I could afford anything and would look absolutely fabulous in any silhouette. And as for what's appropriate given the tone of the evening? I say: anything goes! Its' my night, right?!

Which strikes the right balance -- 40 but fun!?

Milly Metallic lace shift dress
$400 -
Shift dress »

Twin Set Lace Dress
$195 -
Slip dress »

Halston Heritage Metallic lam
$207 -
Knit tops »

Crystal Star Cuff
$138 -
Crystal jewelry »

Daisy Filigree Long Earrings
127 EUR -
Filigree earring »

Mahalia Cuff
$100 -
Oval jewelry »

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I've written about my duo's belief in Santa waning. They are seven and in second grade. Little Miss Thang recently came home from school saying a friend {who she refuses to name} told her Santa is not real and that parents put out the presents. Pure, unadulterated blasphemy! I suggested that her little "friend" should have been sent to the Principal's office for telling a lie!

But clearly, my years are numbered. So, when a friend told me about this service that sends a very authentic looking and personalized letter to your child, I knew I absolutely had to do it. 

And, no, this is not the first I'd heard of such services. I've read about the videos and the online correspondence. My duo is on to this hoax, however, and are not easily swayed. I have nearly stopped adding any additional elements to the tradition for fear that it will be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel's back.

I am extremely confident, however, in the Santagrams I just ordered. They are certainly not the cheapest option, but who can put a price on the Santa experience?!?! 

The personalized letters are darling. It's the little details that make it believable. 

Or so I'm hoping!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Easy weeknight meal.

I'm feeling a bit frazzled these days!  Only 9 school days left within which I must prepare our family and our home for the holidays! Scratch two of those days for class celebrations. Subtract one more for a field trip I'm chaperoning. And, finally, nix one last one for an obligatory "craft day" I'm hosting as little miss thang's room mom! Yikes - only 5 days left!

Of course, I also have the hub's Christmas party to {plan!} and attend, a ladies luncheon here and there, and a smattering of weeknight gatherings and celebrations. Oh, and I must gather and deliver coats to the local homeless shelter and purchase, wrap and deliver presents for our "adopted" family.

All this while consciously avoiding the hustle and bustle of the season and remembering the Christ in Christmas.

In order to keep the holidays merry and bright {and me from drinking myself silly}, I've determined that I must cut back in other areas I traditionally enjoy {and have time for}.

Those are:

1. Cooking family meals; and
2. Blogging.

But I leave you with this:  one of my favorite all-time easy-peasy weeknight dinners. We had it last week and I'll pull it out again this week and next. Shameless, I know. I make it with my eyes closed and the entire family partakes!

Pasta with Prosciutto and Peas


  • Cooking spray
  • 3  ounces  very thin slices prosciutto, chopped
  • 3  tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2  garlic cloves, mince
  • 1 lb. hot cooked fusilli 
  • 1  cup  (4 ounces) shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/3  cup  chopped fresh parsley (I skip this - kid issue)
  • 1  tablespoon  fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  (10-ounce) package frozen peas (I do not cook them, but let the heat from the pasta do the work)

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add prosciutto; cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pan. Add oil and garlic; cook 1 minute or until garlic begins to brown. Combine prosciutto, oil mixture, pasta, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl; toss to coat.

So easy, light and delicious!


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Didn't I Feed You Yesterday?

Ok, truth be told, I have not yet read this book, but I'm thinking Laura and I could be friends. Possibly good friends.

I do not *need* to wear stilettos, but I would like to maintain what {little} is left of my sanity. 

Anyone else wishing you could take one or two or ten things off your "to do" list this month? Or obtain a new parenting perspective that simply requires a little less effort to obtain the same results?  

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A shoe that makes me feel 4, not 40.

The big 4-0 is right around the corner. 

T'is true. 

And I think the big night out requires this beautiful shoe!

Kate Spade

Any other suggestions for an outfit that makes turning 40 look so good? 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving Tradition: Featured on Kludgy Mom

Today I am the guest poster over at Kludgy Mom for The Thanksgiving Table series. I realize this reaches you too late for this year (due to my procrastination), but I'm certain you are curious nonetheless!!!

So head over to Kludgy Mom to read about a tradition we started last year and then stop back to see my 2010 pics!



They look about the same, but I swear they are 12 inches taller!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family or friends and are refreshed and ready to enjoy the rest of the holiday season!

If you are new here start by reading about one of our Christmas traditions or enjoy this smattering of posts:





Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tweet you.

I've officially started tweeting or using Twitter or being a tweep {you pick}.  You can find me {and follow me} at  

via FFFFound!
I'm learning much about the Twitterverse. Many refer to it as a micro-blog. Micro, indeed. I can scarcely say much of anything in 140 words, much less 140 characters. Brevity is clearly not as challenging for all -- the Twitterverse is a bevy of activity and, I've found, is an interesting way to communicate with others. And by "others" I mean, people I do not know in person. 

Twitter is like one huge social media cocktail party. One that never ends. You mix and mingle with people from different backgrounds and lifestyles. In real time. And while everyone is watching. You talk about everything from your new vacuum to your annoying in-laws to bloggy business and everything in between.

You find some people interesting and engaging. Others not so much. You are unsure of what conversations to join -- will they think it strange that I barged in on that conversation -- but feel silly letting the conversation just go on around you.

I'm still a wallflower in the back of the room clutching my drink and wondering which conversations I want to join. I have not yet found my tweeting-voice. It's incredibly intimidating and strangely fascinating all at the same time.

Do you tweet? Do you find yourself tweeting throughout the day or do you just allow a certain part of your day for engaging with your Tweeps? Do tell.  This newbie needs some tweet advice.

Oh, and I will most certainly tweet about this.  

Monday, November 29, 2010

T'is the reason for the season.

With Thanksgiving officially behind us, we collectively put our feet firmly in the starting gates and prepare for the sprint towards Christmas. It is inevitable -- the holiday rush. The hustle and bustle of shopping and decorating and parties and presents and food. Oh, the food! It is a wonderful, albeit busy, time of year. 

Every year we talk about slowing down and remembering the reason for the season. Our family makes every attempt to include Christ in our Christmas. But it does not happen without deliberate planning and forethought. 
via Simply the Sweet Life
Sunday was the first day in Advent. Our church has traditionally made advent chains for the youth. Our family enjoys reading the verse every night and allowing the excitement to build as the story is told -- the story of Christ's coming into the world -- and the anticipation -- not of gifts under a tree, but of Christ's return. 

When I realized we did not bring home the customary chain yesterday I searched the internet and found a myriad of possibilities. The chain can be made of plain copy paper, construction paper, or {I love this idea} wrapping paper scraps. You can decorate it with sticker or drawings or whatever suits your children's ages and abilities. 

To begin, cut {or let your children cut} 25 links. Number each link 1-25 and on each link write a different theme and scripture reference {suggestions below}. Remove one link each day during Advent, using the scripture for family devotions and the theme as a focus for prayer. It's a handy way to count off the days until Christmas and learn more about the real meaning of the holiday.

Christmas is...
1. A TIME OF SHARING - Read John 3:1-21
2. A TIME OF MEMORIES - Read Luke 1:68-79
3. A TIME FOR GREETINGS - Read Luke 1:39-55
4. A TIME FOR CHARITY - Read Matthew 25:31-40
5. A TIME FOR VISITING - Read Romans 15:1-7
6. A TIME OF HOPE - Read John 14:1-6
7. A TIME OF FAITH - Read Isaiah 55:6-11
8. A TIME OF PROMISE - Read Galatians 3:23-4:7
9. A TIME FOR CANDLES - Read John 11-14
10. A TIME FOR MUSIC - Read Psalm 150
11. A TIME FOR BEING IN TOUCH - Read John 15:1-11
12. A TIME OF RUSHING - Read Luke 10:38-42
13. A TIME FOR SINGING - Read Colossians 3:12-17
14. A TIME FOR FAMILY - Read Luke 1:5-80
15. A TIME FOR DECORATIONS - Read Psalm 118:19-29
16. A TIME FOR BAKING - Read John 6:32-40
17. A TIME FOR LOVE - Read 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13
18. A TIME OF SOLITUDE - Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
19. A TIME FOR REMEMBERING - Read Isaiah 25:6-9
20. A TIME OF PEACE - Read Matthew 11:25-30
21. A HOLIDAY - Read Hebrews 4:9-16
22. A TIME TO GIVE THANKS - Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
23. A TIME OF BLESSING - Read Ephesians 3:14-21
24. A TIME FOR GIFTS - Read Ephesians 2:4-10
25. GOD WITH US - Read Luke 2:1-20

For younger children you may want to try this Nativity Chain that introduces each figure in the Nativity story.

Do you have any family traditions that help you focus on the reason for the season?  If so, please share!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The dress. On sale.

Every single Riley and Tilda and Kelsey and Grace and Dottie in the  line is on sale now!! 

Don't miss out on this opportunity to save 20% off the current line and up to 70% off all the sale pieces.  

I just purchased a red sateen Tilda at a deep-I-virtually-stalk-Lesley-and-constantly-blog-about-her discount!! 

But more on my gorgeous new Tilda later! Now click straight over to Lesley Evers and purchase one or two or three for YOU or someone you love!


Friday, November 26, 2010


While I enjoy our family traditions and time away from the blogosphere, 
hop over to The Kludgy Mom and read about the traditions of others 
{and some hysterical holiday tales}. 

One of our family traditions will be shared on December 1st. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Maybe fairies are real!

Months ago I shared a story about my darling little miss thang questioning whether fairies were real {required reading to set the stage}. 

Suffice to say, we have been teetering on the end of innocence for some time now. She questions absolutely everything, but yet, really wants to believe. It seems she is both yearning to be younger and more mature all at the same time. I suppose this is only the beginning of the madly confusing tween years.   

So today while I made pies and cookies in the kitchen, my duo was outside and clearly up to something. At first I honestly didn't care. There were not parked in front of the TV and no one was screaming. 

I didn't check on them for some time, but when I did I discovered this.

I often worry when I see the two colluding. 
Twins can gang up on you. And sometimes it's better to just let them be.  
The jumble around the tree made me curious, however, so I ventured closer. 

Little miss thang explained that she made a fairy trap.  

Of course.  
Though, I didn't know we trapped fairies. 
Aren't they magic? 
Wouldn't they just magically escape?

Well, this isn't just any fairy trap.  
There is a welcome sign and custom bedding and pillow.

What fairy wouldn't want to call it home?!
We left it all day and overnight.
In the morning, however, this is what we found. 

A lizard. 
A cute, baby lizard who clearly can't read the "faries only" sign. 

My little guy was ecstatic. 
Little miss thang not so much. 

I wish I'd thought to run outside late last night and at least sprinkle sparkles around the trap {irrefutable evidence that a fairy at least visited}. But I didn't. And she later dismantled the trap. So, after the ineffective fairy trap I was not sure where we stood on the "fairy" issue. Believer or non-believer? I just never know with her. 

Then tonight I was handed her letter to Santa {truly an entire post in and of itself} which lists {among many other things} "a real fairy". (emphasis hers)

Well, I certainly appreciate her persistence and resourcefulness -- if she can't trap one, she'll just ask Santa to bring her one. Much easier. 

And Santa has performed really, really well to date. Of course his biggest challenge to date was a vanity at age 3. Santa can make darling pink vanity, but a real fairy?!


So, if I don't come up with a very, very good explanation or a real fairy on Christmas morning, this may well be the end of both Santa, the fairies and me! 

Any fabulous advice for perpetuating the myths? I really need the innocence to linger just a bit longer. I've seen what lurks on the other side of the innocence and it is not near as enchanting as fairy traps!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Common Sense Holiday Shopping.

I previously discussed this great site which reviews and rates movies, books, games and apps. I love common sense media and look to them for guidance when I am unsure whether or not a movie, book or game is appropriate for my duo. I haven't always checked reviews before allowing my kids to watch a movie. Oh, no, I had to learn this lesson the hard way. 

Last year a friend and I left our four kids in the house alone watching a Halloween movie I recorded on the Disney Channel {we were just in the back yard so by "alone" I mean we didn't watch it with them}. Suffice to say the movie was much too gory for our children ages 5-8. Disney Channel, I learned, programs for a variety of ages and interests. I think this particular movie was better suited for the 12+ set. Oops! 

Nightmares ensued. Now I check before I hit play. 

Common sense indeed!

They've just added an iPhone app that makes it even easier to check up-to-the-minute reviews and ratings on games, movies and music on-the-go. You can even search by age and interest which makes gift giving for the cousins or nephews and nieces even easier than ever! Love that!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tinsel Time.

It is fair to say -- I am not a crafty gal
I do, however, appreciate the ingenuity of of others
It seems they have a vision I simply do not. 
Or maybe it is more time. 
Or patience
Or some combination thereof.  

All I know for certain is this: I would have never conceived this, 
but this is one DIY I can replicate

And the result is beautifully retro 
{in a charming homespun way}.

I think it will be a great craft for the kids too!

See the full tutorial at Creature Comforts

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