Friday, April 27, 2012

Stars in the sky.

I had a beautiful post in mind for today. Big plans. Big beautiful plans. 

Unfortunately, we are experiencing a few electrical issues that take priority. My contractor is on his way and will shut off power to the entire house while he *fingers-crossed* fixes our wiring issues. Have I mentioned how much I love our 90 year old house?!? 

Suffice to say, time is of the essence.

But I have been thinking recently of lost loved ones. It is, for whatever reason, heavy on my heart and mind. And probably my hub's heart this week. And so, in lieu of the post swirling in my head, I offer a sweet little graphic I encountered. 

Source: via AmyEatLiveLaugh on Pinterest

Some days I'll take any little glimmer of my lost loves I can get whether it's a butterfly, a look in my son's eyes, a penny discovered on the ground, or the stars in the sky. 

Any little glimmer. 

I hope your weekend is filled with glimmer, hope and abundant blessings!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dinner this week.

You thought I'd forgotten, didn't you!? Or maybe you just thought I was so consumed by my volunteer projects that I stopped feeding my family altogether. Actually I tried, but apparently they want dinner every single night.  


So spoiled.  

I really must pull one from my mom's playbook and occasionally offer macaroni and cheese with a side of bologna. She dressed it up a bit by cutting "faces" in the bologna {imagine a bologna pumpkin}. I kid you not. Of course, her macaroni and cheese was homemade so I suppose I should cut her a little slack. 

Point being: I have been feeding my family quite well despite the fact that my head is spinning. In fact, this week I've already made two of the items pictured below. And good thing since we now have Thursday and Friday date-night plans. 

Sorry kids. 

Bologna and mac-n-cheese was good enough for me.  

all photos via Pinterest
1. Maple Grilled Salmon - I made this Monday night. It was simple and delicious. I told the kids it was brain food and would help them on their STAAR tests. {No, I have no idea was STAAR stands for nor do I particularly care. I do know it is a new test mandated by the great State of Texas after they determined the old mandated test was indeed allowing children to be left behind. Don't get me started.} 

2. Pesto Pasta with Chicken Sausage - Yummy, yum, yum, yum. Easy, satisfying and the ingredients can generally sit in the fridge for a couple days when life happens and your meal planning for the week ends up being meal planning for the weekend. 

3. Pioneer Woman's Pasta with Pancetta and Leeks - A favorite of mine. I have a thing for leeks. I love them. It is not at all like my thing for Adam Levine; don't get me wrong. But leeks are also super yummy. 

4. Honey Butter Pork Tenderloin - I tried this evening. It was yummy, but a little sweet for my . . . get this . . . kids' taste. I cook pork tenderloins fairly often and have pretty good results by just using a salad dressing marinade. Tonight the kids complained.  

Geesh {refer back to spoiled comment herein}. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A bit of a rant. Forgive me.

The last few weeks have not been my favorite times. I fear I have not been at my finest. I have simply not acted or lived the way I prefer. 

That's quite a lengthy euphemism for saying I've been stressed and acting like a caged bear. 

These note cards from Mrs. Strong may be warranted. And sadly, no, drinking was not involved. 

I simply have too much on my plate. Way, way too much and it seems as if something is added nearly every day. 

Next up: host luncheon for 20 at house this Wednesday and another on Tuesday of next week. 

I am not generally stressed by such undertakings. I enjoy entertaining. I love pulling out china and silver and crystal. 

The silent auction I chaired {which sucked the life out of me caused this blog to sit unattended for the last few weeks} occurred on Friday. I would love to think that is off my plate, but no, now I need to track down hundreds of auction winners and encourage them to promptly pay for their items. Dear friends, take note of this and please, when you bid at auctions, follow up and promptly pay. Someone has worked hard enough to put the event together. Do not add to their burden by forcing them to place numerous calls to you. Please.

See, this is what I mean: I've become a complainer. I don't like complainers. I regularly tell my kids to stop complaining. I remind them they have absolutely nothing about which to complain.

So how did this horrid trait befall me? 

I could list my excuses which would clearly include being over utilized and under appreciated , but I won't. I'm turning over a new leaf. A non-complaining leaf. 

I am lucky to be able to volunteer for my kids' school. 

I am lucky to have the time. The resources. The support of my family. 

I am lucky to have a multitude of obligations, luncheons, book clubs, and social clubs to look forward to each month.

I am lucky to be able to take three months to remodel my kids' bathroom 

I am lucky to have the freedom to be a stay at home mom who rarely stays at home. 

I am lucky my kids miss me when I'm away and call me crying when they are sick and have been stuck with a babysitter for two days straight {I fear that doesn't sound genuine, but I am glad she still wanted me}. 

I am going to spend the rest of the Spring with the following mantra:

I enjoy meeting interesting people who talk about something other than themselves. I do not like people who look hurried every single time you encounter them. I am not interested in people who tell me how busy they are or how hard they are working. 


Add value.



New leaf turned.

So what have you been up to lately?

Monday, April 16, 2012

I'm ready to make it official.

It wasn't long ago: only two years have passed since our relationship began. Before I personally took the leap, I was slightly intrigued by my friends' fancy phones. I mused that it would morph me into the organized person I've never been. I dreamt about always having a camera handy to catch those fleeting childhood moments. But I was still quite happily carrying a dumb phone. 

Because I didn't need all that. 

My friends and the hubs all had iPhones. They spent all day and night it seems swiping the fancy touch screen. They took pictures of their food at dinner and posted it to Facebook 15 seconds later. They could not so much as grab a cup of coffee without first checking with their phone for permission. 

It was, in a word, annoying. 

I vowed I would never be that obsessed or dependent. 

I was certain I would still carry on normal conversations without staring at my phone and only nodding to the person standing in front of me. 

I could certainly handle all the glitz with grace. 

And for at least a year I was a nonchalant, unobtrusive smart phone owner. 

But oh, how the mighty have fallen.  

I am now completely codependent. 

I cannot stop at a light without checking my emails. I not only occasionally sleep with my phone {my alarm clock app is one of my favorites}, but I won't even run with my iPod. It seems so silly to just carry my music with me on my run when I can have it all!!! 


And to top it off, I also talk to my phone. Not on my phone to a real person, but to Siri. I have Siri jot down notes when I'm in a rush. I ask her homework questions when my duo and I are away from the house. Today I asked Siri a question in Sunday school.  In Sunday school.  

You might think this would be a lovely time to suggest a 10 step plan or withdrawal program. 

But no, far from parting with my beloved phone; I plan to take the relationship to the next level. 

During my two years of smartphone ownership I have been quite understated in my cover choices. It was merely a utilitarian choice and a solid color would suffice. 

As our relationship has progressed, though, I really do think it's time to officially make my mark. You know, like Brangelina getting engaged after seven years together and six children later -- it's simply time to make the commitment for all the world to see.

I began the search for a more personal cover choice and quickly discovered that every designer on God's green earth now designs iPhone covers. There are enough choices out there to absolutely boggle your mind. 

But they all feel so impersonal. So trite. Nothing was exactly what I wanted. 

So much like Brad picking out a engagement ring for Angelina, I decided to go completely custom. 

Thankfully, Kodak Gallery allows you complete control over the design process. I may not take the year Brad took to design Angie's ring, but I have spent more late nights than I am willing to admit tinkering around with various designs. 

I started with the obvious:  a family photo. 
They are super cute, no doubt, but I also thought a more personal option might suit my tastes. I have a thing for ikats and chevrons so I created a few other options using only my very rudimentary Powerpoint skills.  

Truly, the options are limited only my your imagination {or in my case, computer skills}. I secretly have my favorite but I'm still not 100% certain. Little Miss Thang is campaigning for the family picture.

Which do you think I should choose? And what would you design for yourself? Hop over to Kodak Gallery and take a look around. Upload a few pictures and see how simple they make it to take that very personal next step with your phone! 

Thank you
for generously sponsoring my next step! 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter. South Texas style.

When we moved to South Texas ten years ago I had no idea what surprises were in store for us.

I knew about the heat. I was used to season-less years and looooong, hot summers. 

I enjoyed and was quite familiar with Tex-Mex. 

I may have even had a tamale once or twice before moving further south. 

I had not, however, been introduced to the Easter cascarone tradition. 

The origin of cascarones is a bit muddled, but apparently stems from the Italian Renaissance when Italian gentlemen would fill emptied eggs with beautiful perfumes and scented powder to give to their beloved. As with the pinata, the Italians allegedly got the practice, via Marco Polo, from the Chinese. The practice of making hollowed-out, surprise-filled eggs moved from Italy, into Austria, France, then to Spain and eventually to Mexico.

In Mexico people replaced the perfumed powder with confetti. It was then when Mexicans labeled the egg shells Cascarones which derives from the word "Cascara" or shell. 

Beaming someone with a confetti egg is meant as a sign of affection. Some even say it brings good luck. 

If so, I must be quite lucky today as I was beamed with more than my fair share of the 100 eggs we shared. 

For the uninitiated, the proper way to use a cascarone is to break it above your victim's head and let the confetti rain down, NOT to break it ON the head. I cannot seem to explain this sufficiently to my three children {my third child is pictured in the top right}. 

It is a festive tradition that takes place at our house between church and brunch. 

Yes, it is a huge mess and I pull bits of shell out of my bra for the rest of the day. 

Yes, we all go to brunch with confetti in our hair. 

And yes, I clean confetti out of the house, yard, and showers for weeks. 

But it is now part of our Easter tradition and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Have you ever seen a cascarone?  Or does it sound entirely insane that my family pummels each other with confetti eggs immediately following our Easter service?! 

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Friday, April 6, 2012

And the winner is . . .

The 28th comment and winner of the Lesley Evers's Giveaway is: 

Congratulations Hatton! I am certain you will adore Marley. 
Prepare yourself for oodles of compliments because she is absolutely gorgeous in person!  

Thank you,  Lesley Evers, for sharing your talent with us 
and sponsoring such an amazing giveaway!  

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Weekend Words of Wisdom.

I am fine. 

I am. 


But I have to say, it is weeks like this when I yearn to call my Dad and hear his gentle voice. I know if we could talk, for even five minutes, his words would perfectly comfort and encourage me.  

Just one more phone call.  

Just one more!?  

I need his words of wisdom. 

I need his calming presence in my life. 

. . . 

In lieu of my Dad's words, I found these words attributed to Mother Teresa. 

I suppose it's not such a shabby Plan B.

via Lindsay Whitehead on Etsy 

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If you have not already entered, do not miss the opportunity to win a gorgeous 100% silk charmeuse poncho by Lesley Evers!  The giveaway closes today -- Thursday, April 5th.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How to throw a successful 9th birthday party for boy / girls twins.

Yes, this is an informative post. I imagine oodles and oodles of people from all over the world will want to know the secrets to hosting a successful 9th birthday party for boy / girl twins. Inquiring minds want to know. And search engines will now have a place send the millions of people seeking such information. 

Just doing my part. 

A successful boy/girl twin 9th birthday party DIY: 

1. Birth adorable twins nine years prior.

You may tire of seeing this picture again and again, but I never will. 
2. Approximately 3 months prior to said 9th birthday, begin ambitious construction projects on house rendering all but one potty useless.

Useless kids' bathroom. 
Do not skip this step. You may think there is another, easier and cheaper way, but this is the only sure-fire way to avoid the dreaded "slumber party" most 9 year old's desire.
3.  Procrastinate.
Not an obvious step, I realize, but by procrastinating many venues will be unavailable. This streamlines the decision-making process substantially. For those of you who are not lucky enough to have twins {so sorry}, you may not realize, but a myriad of choices = a plethora of fights, negotiations and, inevitably, tears.
4.  Allow sufficient tension to build.
You see, when slumber parties are out and many typical venues are unavailable, the kids start to get nervous. What in the world could we do?!? They begin to imagine scenarios in which children are not so blessed to celebrate their birthday with 30 of their closest friends.  
Warning: do not, however, allow this feeling to linger too long. They will begin to get creative. Little Miss Thang suggested, in a fit of creativity, that we simply rent a limo and take 10 of her friends shopping in another city.  Ummm, let me think about that: NO!
 5.  Go retro.
Remember your favorite birthday party? For those of us raised in the 80s it was inevitably a skating party! I have such vivid and fond memories of skating parties and just regular weekend evenings at the skating rink. It took very little persuading to convince my duo that a skating party would be the coolest party ever. No one else we know has hosted a skating party which makes it mysterious and cool and positively fabulous. You may be secretly petrified that it will be deemed uncool {who goes skating anymore}, that the boys will not be interested, or that no one will show {because who goes skating anymore}, but the kids will be absolutely fizzy with anticipation. 
6.  Do not - no matter how badly you want to - go visit the skating rink in advance.
Again, not an obvious directive, but trust me: skating rinks are hideous in the light of day. All arrangements can be made over the phone. It's better for your mental state if you simply imagine the skating rink of your youth. 
7.  Take a weeklong family vacation the week before the party.
This serves two purposes: (1) you are otherwise engaged and cannot obsess over every detail, and (2) you at least get a nice vacation out of it all. 
Blissfully distracted. 
8.  Overcompensate for your lack of attention to detail.
Order 300 glow stick necklaces and a cake large enough to serve twice the number of children you've invited. This is basically all you've done to prepare so make a splash.
When ordering said sheet cake from the grocery store, try to squash all memories of the trouble you went to for the kids' 1st birthday when the cake was two tiered, from a proper bakery, and was perfectly coordinated with the invitation and decorations. 
1st birthday cake which cost 3x as much as 9th birthday cake.
 9.  And finally: just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Yes, the roller rink is an absolute pit, is located in a not-so-nice part of town, and most of the kids cannot skate. Yet, somehow none of this matters. 
The kids {including my third child, otherwise known as "the Hubs"} simply had a ball. Maybe it's the novelty of it all. Maybe it's the glow sticks. Maybe it's because I didn't spends weeks obsessing about every details. I cannot be certain. 
Birthday Boy hug!
Birthday Girl hug!
Me and my darling duo. 
But I do know this: my duo now exclaims that it was by far the "Coolest Party Ever!"

And that, my friends, is the sweet sound of success. 

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If you have not already entered, do not miss the opportunity to win a gorgeous 100% silk charmeuse poncho by Lesley Evers!  The giveaway is open until Thursday, April 5th.

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