31 March 2011

Some randoms.

I've been taking a lot of photos, lately.  That is a good thing.  
Surprisingly, I get more done with gobs of photos to edit that someone paid me for.
It forces me to prioritize.
Time for laundry, cleaning, photo processing, laundry, cooking, laundry.
That last photo is of Jake.
I was not paid to take that one.
In money, anyway.
Maybe with hugs and smiles, but no dollars.
That photo is why I love taking pictures.
If you do it right...you capture the essence of the person.
That photo is sooooo Jake.
Quiet, thoughtful, introspective, sensitive, empathetic.
All right there frozen in a moment.
I can't believe he's going to be 10 in May.
I'm not old enough to have a 10 year old.
Am I?

One a much different note...
my friend Jeanne {above} needs your help.
She is a wife, and mother to two littles.
This past July, Jeanne got diagnosed with breast cancer.
But, she attacked it!
After taking an aggressive approach to fight it, she is now a survivor!
She is a tough nut to crack!
Here's where you can help Jeanne.
She needs votes to become the honorary bat girl for the St.Louis Cardinals.
Her kids would love to see their momma help our home team!
She definitely deserves it!  
Go HERE to vote for Jeanne.
You do not need to be local.
ANYONE can vote!
You don't have to register.
It takes 10 seconds.
For realz.

Incidentally, she is doing the Susan G. Komen 3-day Race for the Cure.
60 miles in 3 days!
Surviving breast cancer AND challenging your body to do 60 miles in 3 days!
See?  Tough!
For more information click the photo below...

And, if you're interested in helping Jeanne's team reach their fundraising goal, 
click HERE.

30 March 2011

Hump day ear candy.

I am terrible blogger.

I am comfortable in that knowledge.

Let's resurrect 'hump day ear candy' to take some of the pressure off.

Shall we?

Not that there is pressure on me to blog, but I do like doing it.

And, in keeping good with my readers, I will share with you a new-to-me musical discovery.

Ellie Goulding.

She is a young British  tiger that has somewhat recently hit the scene.

She has style, moxie, and runs 6 miles almost every day.

She even invites fans to run with her in all the different cities on her tour.

And her voice is haunting.

She writes and performs her own music, and does amazing covers, too.

Here's my top Ellie picks:

This is a cover of Temper Trap's 'Sweet Dispostition'.  Wowza, wowwy, wow!

'Wish I Stayed'.

A cover of one of my favorite Cold Play songs, 'Don't Panic'.

#4  HERE  'The Writer'

#5 HERE 'Starry Eyed' {acoustic}


25 March 2011

Snapshots of home.

Things are coming along swimmingly.  
I found some great fabrics locally, and have been sewing pillows galore.
Finally, we have a spot for our mid-century green chaise.
We've had it for almost 11 years.
Incidentally, it reclines and vibrates.
It's amazing.

I discovered this great bench at Home Goods.
The colors tie everything together.
It was a happy, happy find.

My momma passed down a chair in the perfect shade of yellow.
I'm collecting Gs for a wall vignette.  
{If you have any good sources for old, nasty letters...do share.}

I painted our big clock in a chevron print with the help of my mathematical husband.
It really anchors the dining room.
Here is a good tutorial if you're interested in painting chevron stripes.

I'm happy to have a bundle of forsythia branches resting peacefully on the entertainment credenza.
Spring is coming.

And, finally, we come to my new favorite.  
That big, yucky head on the other end of the credenza {also from Home Goods}.
We have named him 'Bob'. 
I think he'll like it here.
Sadly for him, if he does not...he has no legs to leave.
Poor Bob.

I'm also hoping to share the gallery ledges Jake built for me sometime next week.
I'm still tweaking photo arrangements and painting frames.
There are A LOT!
Hopefully, enough to fill approximately 30 feet of shelving!

Have a great weekend!
I'm taking the boys to see THIS.
The first one was so great, so we have high expectations!
Jake and Pete are huge fans of the books, too.
Hope we like it...

23 March 2011

Sometimes you need a nap...

"There was never a child so lovely,
but his mother was glad to get him to sleep."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

17 March 2011

St.Patty's Day.

I've mentioned before what a big deal St.Patrick's Day is in the Lou.  Maybe it's all the Catholics, maybe it's living in a brewery town, maybe we like green.  Whatever, the reason, it's a good time.  With a town coming down off of all the Mardi Gras debauchery, it's nice to have a more family friendly celebration to take the littles to.  {The only part of Mardi Gras that is family friendly is the pet parade, which I highly recommend if you are ever in this town in February.  Heck, if you are sans family, I highly recommend the Mardi Gras parade, too.  But, please, don't take your kids!  I, myself, haven't been in 12 years.}  

Sure, there are plenty of revelers that have been drinking green beer since 7:30 am, but there are also plenty of normal people with their kids in tow, and a sack lunch waiting for some candy or beads to be thrown from the 'clans' of St.Louis that walk in the parade.  It really is fun.  Good, green fun.

Unfortunately, this year, I'm not sure we'll be headed down to Dogtown.  Jake was supposed to be off to go with us, but it turns out he has to go into work after all.  With the {literally} thousands of people, I simply don't trust my eyes alone to keep our brood safe.  It can get a bit overwhelming at times, and with Betsy's mobility it just really shouldn't be attempted by my lonesome.  Sigh.

So, it's a good thing we'll have that 'Guinness Chocolate Cake' to keep us company, along with corned beef and cabbage slow cookin' in the crock pot.  Maybe I'll whip up some Irish soda bread, too.

Hope you have the luck o' the Irish today! 

P.S.  You can leave out a bit of the whipped cream in the frosting recipe, and add a tablespoon or so of Bailey's Irish Cream to kick the frosting up a notch.  Yum!

16 March 2011

Things making me smile today.

 My 'new-to-me' espresso/cappuccino maker.
It is boss!
{Don't you love when friends clean house?}
Is it bad that I've already had a total of 4 shots?
I need to stop.
But, damn, it's good!

Late risers {it's spring break, wrapped in blankets, eating chocolate donuts.
You know...the kind full of artificial colors and loads of chemicals?
Big Poppa knows what we like!
Spring Break is full of treats like that.

'Quality' computer usage.  Roblox is quality, right?
The kids don't get Wii, IPods, or computers during the weekdays.
Spring Break is always an exception in these parts.
They are taking every advantage.

Crazy curls, baby blues, and sticky donut faces.
This was taken 1 hour after she had a donut.
That's how we roll.
It is now wiped off, AND she has clothes on.
I'm not a total wash as a mother.

Freshly painted nails on 4-year-olds.
I am not a nail person.
Poor little thing had to beg me for a day to get some pink polish on those digits.
She is elated.
It really is the small things.

15 March 2011

so it goes...

Finally, I feel like this house is becoming our home.  With the girls' room near completion, I can see how each space is becoming 'us'.

I love that.

My one goal in the new house with the kids' rooms was to try and stray from a theme.  Ironically, the girls' room has lots of winged creatures, Pete's room has a British/music vibe, and Jake's room is going to be a bit 'world traveler'.  Funny how that works.

Their room is the biggest of the three kids' rooms, obviously, with two bodies they needed the space.  The color palate and overall vibe of the room started with their shams that I purchased from Urban Outfitters several months ago.  Actually, I think I got them before we closed on the new house.  They were a super deal at about $7 or $8 on clearance.  I loved the Swedish feel to them.  In fact, I think that line of bedding was called 'Swedish Landscape'.  The toss pillows on each of their beds are Dwell Studio for Target.

I love this little nook right inside the door.  I bought that little bench when Jake was about 1.  I love that I've had it that long, and keep finding uses for it.  Rosie sits there with books, and uses it as a pit stop to talk on her 'cell' phone.  The mirror is from a garage sale, and I sprayed it gray for another room, then, decided it works better in here.  I need to spray it a different color, but can't decide on that color.  The little squirrel print is one my favorite things in the whole house.  Again, I bought it at Urban Outfitters on clearance when I bought the shams.  His name is Cornelius Thoroughgood.  Enough said.

The collage wall is full of lucky finds and happy accidents.  I found the letter 'R' in the trash in a historical part of town when I was taking pictures for a friend.  I am, seriously, dumb.  There were about 6 other letters in the same finish, but since they weren't relevant to anyone I knew, I left them there.   See?  Dumb.  The albums were purchased for a quarter at an estate sale.  The colors were great, and they are just awesome.  Album frames can be purchased at Hobby Lobby, Michael's, Urban Outfitters, etc.  Instant, cheap art.  The 'laugh' is kind of a funny story.  I bought it at Hobby Lobby, but it was covered in mirror.  Well, I dropped it.  The mirror cracked and fell off.  The crackly blue finish was what was left behind from the adhesive that held the mirror on.  Love.  The 'B' is from Hobby Lobby {$5}, and the collage print is from Target.  They still had them last time I was there.

The curtain rod and valance were on clearance at Home Depot of all places. The valance was really a panel that I cut in half and steam-a-seam'd end to end to create a long valance.  It was no-sew and super easy.  The sconces above each of their beds are ancient.  I bought them on eBay about a decade ago.  The shades are the shades that were on our chandelier in our kitchen at the old house.  Incidentally, that chandelier is now hanging in the girls' room with new red & white striped carnival-ish shades that I made.

Finally, we come to toy storage and a play area.  This was tough because of space.  Rosie uses her doll wardrobe all the time since it houses all of her American Girl clothes, shoes, brushes, etc.  It took up precious floor space, so I had Jake hang it on the wall, but within her reach.  It is securely mounted with heavy hardware right into the studs.  I, also, got a cubby unit from Target, and had him mount that, too, but horizontally.  Add a few baskets to house toys, and use the open space for books, and, voila...it's out of the way storage.  This left room for their heavily used play kitchen, doll bunks, and Harry.  Necessity truly is the mother of invention.

The rugs are from Wal-Mart.  I wish they weren't, but what can I say?  They were cheap, and are machine washable.  Sometimes, I cave.

There isn't much else to report, except to say that the girls love it.  They spend a lot of time in there which makes me feel like I did something right.

And, just to reiterate the fact that we are real people, really LIVING in our home, I thought I'd share a snapshot of the living room during the girls' bedroom photo shoot...

Classy, huh?

Linking HERE and HERE and HERE.

08 March 2011

The "Harry" party.

This was the final invitation for Rosie's "Harry and the Hendersons" birthday party. I really wanted to streamline things a bit, and not make it so busy. It is quite a departure from the original one I envisioned.  I added the red balloon as a last minute thing, and I really like the way it turned out.  The quote at the bottom was the tag line on the original movie poster way back in the late 80s.

Rosie's Harry greeted everyone at the door with a handful of red balloons.  Isn't he cute?
She drags him everywhere.  Well, let me clarify...I don't let her take him out of the house because he is made of hard plastic and he's on the heavy side, not to mention pretty awkward, but she drags him all over the house.  She pushes him in a stroller.  Brushes his tuft of hair.  Makes beds for him in every nook and cranny she can find.  It's all pretty comical.

Every little got a tagged red cup with a straw.  No confusion over who's was who's.  I got the tag idea from Better Homes & Gardens in this past months issue.  I think it's a great idea for all ages, and all parties.

The dessert table was pretty simple.  Cake, pudding parfaits, chocolate covered Oreos, and frosted
sugar cookies.  Real logs were used for risers.  Incidentally, if you want to use real nature {i.e. logs} for food service, you bake them in the oven at about 200 degrees for an hour our so.  You may need to know that in the future.  I, on the other hand, sprayed those bad boys down with every household cleaner I could think of, and let them sit overnight.  Not to worry...it wasn't anything that I don't use to clean my kitchen.  No one got poisoned or anything.  Plus, the food was kept separate from the logs by layers of fabric and cardboard.  I probably shouldn't have told you that, but it might spare you from the same tragedy the next time you use logs to serve your food off of.  Whenever that may be...

In keeping with the theme...my pal Amy made these charming Harry feet and Bigfoot foot print cookies.
They were super yummy.

Some of the chocolate covered Oreos were topped with royal icing flowers similar to Sarah Henderson's 15th birthday corsage that Harry ate in the movie.  I'm telling you, if you haven't seen this movie, you really must. Also, I totally just noticed that I spelled corsage wrong.  Wow!  Please excuse.

The Henderson's annoying but lovable neighbor, Irene, loves her roses.  Unfortunately, so does Harry.
I made some pudding parfait 'dirt' cups topped with buttercream roses that Amy made for me.

More table detail.

I made the cake.  Rosie requested vanilla and chocolate.  The inside was a layer of white, and a layer of fudge cake with vanilla and chocolate filling.  The frosting was homemade Hershey's Cocoa buttercream.  The little toadstools and acorns are made from white modeling chocolate, and then painted with powdered food coloring.  The grass is plain ole homemade buttercream made really stiff so it holds the grass shape after it's piped.  I enlarged the Bigfoot silhouette and cut it out of heavy weight shimmery card stock.  I added the glittery red balloon, and got it to 'float' by attaching it by wire for the string.  I'll have to say...that cake was pretty darn good, and not too shabby on the eyes either.  I think when all was said and done, it cost about $12.  I really like that about it, too.

Cake detail.

Each little guest left with goodies that included a tiny terra cotta pot, and seed kit to grow their own 
mini rose bush.  I found them at Target in the dollar section around Valentine's day. It was too perfect.
All wrapped in red tulle, and waiting to be handed out in a big twig basket.

In the end, I wish we had more time for the game and craft.  Boo!  But Ro loved every minute of it.  Her friends had a great time, and most importantly...Rosie had a great time!  She is still talking about it.
{Rosie's "Harry" shirt is from HERE}

I can't believe my baby is 4!!!
Happy Birthday, Rosie!

Linking here and
Join  us Saturdays at tatertotsandjello.com for the weekend wrap 
 up           party!

07 March 2011

Still here...Sasquatch didn't kill me.

I am still kickin' it over at the House of Grebe.  I just have LOADS of photos to edit from lil' Ro's "Harry & the Henderson's" 4th birthday party on Saturday, and LOADS of laundry to catch up on that went ignored while preparing for said party.  She loved every minute of that bigfoot bash!  I plan on sharing lots of photos and details tomorrow or Wednesday, but will leave you with a peek of the dessert table for now. Hope you all had a great weekend!  Till then...

03 March 2011

Spread the word.

Many of you probably don't know that it's 'R-word' day.  Or that there is even a national campaign called 'R-word'.  It's main focus is to shed light on individuals with intellectual disabilities.  In March, they have a special day set aside to 'spread the word to end the word'.  Today is that day.

I could go on and on about this topic.  Back in 2008, I did, HERE.  So, today, I thought I'd share with you a couple links and You Tube vids that speak volumes on the topic.

#1: "The retard in the next booth" from J.C. Wert
This is a post I can relate to.  Unfortunately.  I haven't encountered ignorance to quite this degree, but it undoubtedly exists.  Sad, but true.

#2 "Stop Using the Word 'Retard'" from Jeff Goins Writer
Straight forward.  To the point.  Who you are when no one is watching speaks volumes about, well, who you are.  The REAL you.

#3 Johnny Knoxville, Eddie Barbanell and the R-word {probably my favorite of all}

#4 We Need a New R-word

#5 ABC's "The View" discusses the R-word {I hate 'The View'.  But, I'm posting this because I am amazed that not all of these women agree on this ONE topic.  No matter what your political affiliation, job, religion, race: THIS WORD IS UGLY!  And, yes, Whoopi, it is VERY much in the same category as the 'N-word'.  All of the same principles apply. Used to describe someone who is thought of as 'less than human'.  And, Joy, literally it does mean to 'slow down', but get real, that's not the way it is intended when used in everyday slang.  Remove your head from your butt, please. Elisabeth, get off of your right wing soap box for just a moment, and let's not use this opportunity to advance your political agenda. Because, ladies, until we can agree on the bottom line here, we aren't making any forward progress.  Know better, do better.}

So, now you know.  

Spread the word.

01 March 2011

What's been going on...

Between everyone being sick, and basketball, not much has been going on.  Rosie's birthday party is this weekend, and I'm trying to throw a few things together in the house, so it doesn't look like we moved in yesterday.  Because let's face it, we've been here 5 months and there are still boxes in every room.  Blech!

Notice the mirror isn't hung, or the coat hooks I bought a month ago.

Notice the half finished silver-leafing on the armoire, and the pile of junk on top of it, AND
the magazine/file basket is not hung but laying on the table, AND where we tore the wall down
still needs to be mudded and taped.  Sigh.

Note that there is only one bulb in the chandelier, and the bulletin boards I have are not hung yet, 
AND my silhouette project isn't completed either.

You may notice 2 red chandeliers...I doubt you remember what they looked like before, or how much I got them for. So, I will remind you.  The little one above the desk was $.75, and the big 12-arm monster was $20.  I think they turned out pretty nice.  The big one reminds me of the circus.  Which reminds me of cotton candy, elephants, Ferris wheels, funnel cakes. Happy.

We also had a birthday.  Big Poppa turned 34 on Friday.  The kids had to have this carousel set from the cake decorating store.  It was actually pretty cute.  And, you can never go wrong with THIS frosting.

I've read that good photos are a main component to a successful blog.  Good thing I'm not a professional blogger, huh?  I'm having a hard time picking up my camera for stuff like the house, basketball games, etc.  My phone is just too easy.  I'm dealing with a lot of changes in regards to Betsy's education and what it will mean for her next year when those changes are implemented.  My mind is full and my heart is heavy.  For now, IPhone photos will have to do.  Crappy ones at that.

Hoping tomorrow is a better day.