Sunday, January 31, 2010

4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42

Those numbers won't mean anything to you, unless you're a LOST fan like me!

Please tell me I'm not the only one out there who knows about hatches, and The Others, and a crazy French lady.

I fell for LOST from the moment Jack Shephard opened his handsome eyes in that first scene and the eery screechy theme music lured me in like a siren. What I thought would be another "Gilligan's Island" turned into a show with a story woven like an intricate tapestry. I've never seen anything like many clever nuances and references to everything from literature to religion to pop culture. Romance, suspense, humor...LOST has it all.

The final season is premiering on Tuesday night and I am. so. excited.

If you all think I go nuts for So You Think You Can Dance?, then you've only seen the tiniest hint of obsession. I don't, like, wear a LOST t-shirt or read their online message boards, but I do really really look forward to each episode.

I recently found a fun LOST blog called Sussing Out Lost, and they posted two really neat videos relating to the show. Before you can enjoy you must answer a simple question:

Jack or Sawyer?

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Weekend Bloggy Reading

It's a "Winter Wonderland" here in Virginia today!
Last night, I had an absolute blast at an annual Game Night with about 15 girlfriends. It was a late night, but worth the lack of sleep...I want to go to Target and buy Pop 5 now!

Today, I'm catching up on laundry, psyching myself to take the girls out on their sled (I don't have any snow pants!), and hopefully catching up on some magazine and book reading tonight.

{What about you?}

I thought I'd condense a few of my favorite posts from around Blogland this week in case you're in the mood for some good bloggy reads this weekend:

~Garbage Wars on My Husband is Annoying-- this is a guest post on the site, but funny just the same. I think many wives can relate to her plight. 

~Information on how to run a Freezer Meal Group from Laurel at Ducks in a Row
I would LOVE to have some friends to do this with! What a way to hold yourself accountable with meal planning.

~An awesome guide to Finding Great Clothes at a Thrift Store from Jen at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam. Jen is a pro at scoring cute clothes, mixing and matching, and looking put together...on a budget!

~Speaking of fashion, Big Mama posted a fabulous list of Cute Stuff, including this amazing pair of GAP's boyfriend jeans, which almost makes me want to stalk Jillian Michaels and beg for some training sessions. 
~I got teary reading Kate's post about lessons learned from unexpected sources. Such simple honesty!

~Jane's White Bookshelves at Finding Fabulous. Fabulous, indeed.

~Kendall made me want to go picking through some Trash!

~And Richella offered some wonderful advice for any of us facing this winter storm that's blowing through!

{Have a wonderful weekend, my wonderful readers!}

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Friday, January 29, 2010

"I Love You, I Hate You,...I Can't Live Without You"

 Peanut M & Ms.

'Nuff said.

{Happy weekend! Whatcha doing this weekend?}

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thrifty Thursday: It's Chic to Be Cheap {29}

I found a couple of good deals this week that I just couldn't resist sharing with you!

I braved Old Navy on Sunday afternoon with both girls. I'm not sure what I was thinking, except that the email they sent boasting 50% off clearance prices got my attention and made me a little crazy.

Natalie colored at the kids' table outside the dressing room without incident while Michaela Byrd attempted a stroller escape as I tried on khakis and a cardigan at lightning quick speed.

I ended up with new khakis, but my best buy was this fab necklace and matching earrings (50% of the clearance price!):

I had to run into Target this morning for a card, and I was shocked to see the clothing department taken over by Spring. 

Gorgeous stuff, but I'm not quite ready to buy capris and sundresses for little girls who are currently bundled up in snow coats and mittens. I know if I don't buy a few things now, the cutest stuff will be gone in a few weeks. 

I found a few mix and match things that were on sale for $3.50 each. I had a hard time choosing, and there were so many sweet little outfits I wanted to bring home with us. We have great luck with Target's Circo line.

The little Bermuda shorts (if they still fit by June/July!!) are too sweet. I am a sucker for cute details.

{Did you see any chic, cheap bargains this week?}

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

In Case You're Wondering What I'm Good At

When Natalie wanted to try on her new bike helmet yesterday, I obliged. The day before, she told me she hated it because it was pink and purple, and not all pink. So much drama from a 4 year old.

In an effort to manipulate encourage her to want to wear the helmet, I told her she looked like an expert bike rider.

"Do you know what an expert is?" I asked. When Natalie shook her head, I told her that an expert is someone who is very good at something and knows a lot about it.

"Mimi is an expert teacher, " I said, "because she has been teaching boys and girls for a long time."

"Daddy is an expert leader because he tells the guys in his office what to do." I added.

On a whim, I questioned her. "What is Mommy an expert at?"

She thought for a split second before her face lit up.

"Washing the dishes!" she exclaimed.


Will you all make sure my tombstone reads as follows?
Wife, Mother,
Expert Dishwasher

Let all the lands know of my great skills with a dishwand and a sippy cup.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Does anyone have Bela Karolyi's Number?

A couple of weeks ago, my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group scheduled a morning of fun for our little ones at a local gymnastics/dance spot for tots. 

I weighed the pros and cons. 

I could stay home while my children vaulted themselves off of various pieces of furniture while I sipped my homemade mocha and chanted "Serenity Now" to myself OR I could go to the event and watch them vault themselves off of cushiony mats and be in the company of other adults.

The idea of having a chance to talk to other grown human beings won out.

I don't like to brag or anything, but it turns out that my girls are something of gymnastics prodigies. 

What? Don't you wear pearls when you stretch?!

Look at the form and concentration on Natalie's face. She's clearly destined for a gold medal.

Just warming up before she begins her uneven bar routine. Her dismount includes a death-defying somersault. 


Seriously, Bela, call me... (email, Facebook, Twitter?)


I see a Wheaties campaign and some Nike commercials in the works. Breakfast of champions.

But right now we'll settle for some waffles.

(note: That was the best Olympics!! I remember sitting glued to the TV)
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Monday, January 25, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Bad:

The Ugly (not so much ugly as the rug just doesn't work here, and yes, I know my drapes are too short):

The Good (or at least slightly better):

I've been looking for a decent rug for the Addition for ages now. The old rooster rug just wasn't cutting it anymore. The bare floor is cold during the winter months, and I wanted something a little larger to keep the girls warm.

I was in Wal-Mart last week, and the heavens parted. Lo and behold, this lone rug sat on a rack by itself, marked down to $44.50. I made Natalie get out of the cart and walk so I could get it to the register before someone else snatched up what was clearly meant for me.

There's a lot of work left to be done on this room, which is currently used as a miniature Toys 'R Us by Natalie and Michaela Byrd, but we're getting there.

I knew the rug couldn't stay toy and dog-free forever....

Linking up to Kimba's DIY party over at A Soft Place to Land. It just goes to show how much something simple like a cheap Wal-Mart rug can warm up a room!


Make plans now to link up your current Decorating Dilemmas (anything around the house or yard that you'd like some feedback on) or best Solutions

I had a slew of emails from readers who forgot or didn't have a chance to link up last time. Please mark your bloggy calendars now or sign up to Follow here to receive reminders (not a plug for Following, just asking you to be aware that I can't email every single person on the internet with a reminder...wink) 


You asked, and I conceded. In March, I'll give you a chance to showcase the progress you've made with any of the Dilemmas you've linked up in the past few months. I count pretty much anything as progress...even if it's just picking and choosing which of the suggestions you liked most and which you plan on implementing with your Dilemma. It will be fun to see the changes you've made...I know I have my work cut out for me before March gets here!

Hope to see you here!

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Favorites

Plans for the weekend: laundry, dinner out and Chick Flick Club with some girlfriends, more laundry, and maybe a little craftiness here and there.

Looking for some good reads for the weekend? I've condensed a few of my favorite posts I read this week to inspire you and make you smile. Enjoy!

Britt's $8 Laundry Room Makeover

Kate's thoughtful take on what makes a house a home.

Holly from Homebody learned a great lesson from an apothecary jar this week. (And it REALLY helped me later that day!)

I found an "oldie but goodie" over at Hooked on Houses. Julia focused on 10 Ways to Be Happy at Home.

Susie Harris knocked it out of the park with her affordable bath makeover.

Melissa at The Inspired Room is hosting an Inspiring Finds party today...go check it out!

As you can see, several of these posts focused on making a house a home, doing what you can with what you have, and focusing on what's important!

{What are your plans for the weekend?}
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thrifty Thursday: It's Chic to Be Cheap {28}

Ashley's recent Valentine's Day decorating posts inspired me to hit JoAnn Fabric and Target's Dollar Spot this week to hunt down some new pretties to spruce the T house up.

I wasn't disappointed.

The Puppies & Kittens Valentines are cute, but they aren't for me. I was able to steer Natalie away from the $48 Disney Princess ones that came with pencils, stickers, and a ticket to Disneyworld. I love these because they are simple and they cost $1. Let's be honest...those don't last long once they go home with the kids anyways.

The nonpareils were the most expensive item. I found those back in the home decor section of the store and snatched them up because they'll be great for Christmas cookies too. The set of sprinkles canisters was $2.50 in the Dollar Spot, and the ribbon was a steal from JoAnn Fabric.

How much do you love this metal tin from the Dollar Spot? It matches our ice bucket and will be so much fun on our deck this Spring. 

The picture frames and the heart wreath were also $2.50, from the Dollar Spot. I think I might pair the wreath with the ribbon and stick it on my back door. Just a little happy for me.

Not a bad haul, eh?

{Have you found any good bargains on Valentine's stuff yet?}

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Thank you, Mr. Postman

It was a good mail day yesterday.

I'm still waiting on All You and Family Circle to show up, but I know Mr. Postman will come through.

These babies have a date with me tonight! 

I let my subscriptions to Parents, Family Fun, and Scrapbooks etc. lapse and treated myself to some new subscriptions after Christmas (for a steal). 

Southern Living, Martha Stewart Living, Family Circle, All You, and Good Housekeeping grace my mailbox these days. I'm looking forward to reading about ways to improve my home, creative entertaining, and recipes. 

Unfortunately, I have to carve out pockets of time to peruse, but I've found that going on an occasional coffee date alone at Panera helps considerably. I come home refreshed and full of ideas.

{Which magazines do you subscribe to?}

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Devilishly Good Cupcakes and Icing Tutorial

With the noteable exception of the Goody Bag, a good cake or cupcakes are the biggest draw to any child's birthday party.

Natalie always asks, "Will there be cake?" when I tell her we've been invited to a social function.

Michaela Byrd talked about purple cupcakes for her birthday party pretty much around the clock last week, so I knew I needed to pull out all the stops and make some fabulous homemade cupcakes for her little Princess Party on a budget.

I found Laura's  recipe for The Perfect Cake-Mix Cupcakes during a Google search, and it did the trick! 

The neat thing is that cupcakes can be served at all kinds of occassions...I'm thinkin' up something for Valentine's right now! Keep reading for the recipe I used and to see how I ice mine.

Perfect Cake-Mix Cupcakes

1 box of cake mix--I chose Devil's Food
1 cup buttermilk (substitute this for the water called for on the box)**
Vegetable oil (the amount on the box)
4 eggs (in place of the number called for on the box)

**If you don't have buttermilk, you can pour 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar into a measuring cup and add enough milk to measure 1 cup. Let sit for 5 minutes, and then use as much milk as your recipe calls for!)

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line cupcake tins with paper liners.

Follow the instructions on the box, placing the ingredients in a large bowl and using the buttermilk in place of the water specified on the box. Use the amount of vegetable oil that is called for, then add the 4 eggs.  Beat with an electric mixer until moistened, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and beat until thick, 2 minutes longer. Fill paper liners two-thirds full. 
Bake 12 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. (I found that 15 minutes usually did the trick) Cool completely before icing.

Now comes the fun part! 


(Disclosure: I am a complete amateur when it comes to icing things, but this is the way I learned...)

I'm usually running short on time, so I like to start with a canister or two of premade icing, and my box of colored gels from Wilton.
The gels are cheap if you hold on to a Michaels/JoAnn/AC Moore/Hobby Lobby coupon. In the long run, I feel like it's worth it to have several different shades to play with.

Spoon a big hunk of icing into a bowl (it's always better to do more than you need so you don't have to match colors later).

Take a clean toothpick and dab a generous amount of the gel color you've chosen onto the tip. Swirl it onto the top of your icing and then discard the toothpick (I've been told to use a clean toothpick each time I need more gel, or it icks up the gels from the oils in the icing).

Stir the color in all the way, adding more gel if necessary to reach the desired shade.

You can find decorating bags at any craft store. I use the Wilton ones because I received them as a gift. 

I believe that the tip (silver thing that icing comes out of, for lack of a better description) is called a "Star" and it had the number "32" on the side. 
These are super cheap at the craft store. I think maybe $1 or so?

I filled the icing bag by sticking it inside a tall glass and rolling the open end over the edge of the glass, like I did in this post. Once it's filled, twist the end up, like this:

Icing is easy...just point and squeeze in a circle around the cupcake!

To store my cupcakes, I used this awesome storage piece from Martha Stewart's Macy's line.
T's grandparents gave it to me for Christmas, and I am in looooooove! It has two enclosed storage areas, and the trays are removable AND you can turn the upside down to store a cake, cookies, etc. One of my favorite gifts, for sure!

The only thing left to do was to throw myself at the mercy of the food critics:

I think I did okay!

Please let me know if you have any questions. I know these aren't professional looking (certainly not like Rhiannon's!), but the crowd was pleased.

Also, I know I have to say this...I am not affiliated with Duncan Hines or Martha Stewart. But I wish I were. (wink)

Linking this post to Jen's Tasty Tuesday party at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

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