Sunday, December 21, 2008

I should have just worn a baseball cap. And a winner!

Is there anything more awkward than randomly running into your (former) hairdresser, trying desperately to pretend that your hair is not about 5 inches shorter than when she last saw you?

I think not.

I was shopping at Walmart on Friday, trying to remember everything I needed for Christmas while juggling numbers in my head to make sure I didn't go over my budget. In the midst of my deep contemplation, I heard someone say, "Hey, you!"

I glanced up and didn't recognize her at first. Then slowly the fuzziness fled my brain and it dawned on me...My hairdresser! Oh. no. I have NEVER seen her before outside of the salon, and of all times to run into her, it had to be after I went somewhere else and got my hair chopped.

My mind raced as I alternated between wishing my hair would magically grow 5 inches to wondering if she noticed. Worse, I was so worried about what she was thinking that I could barely make any type of decent conversation with her. Should I explain? I promise, I only got it cut because I was in Indiana and I couldn't pass up a $15 haircut at the Aveda Institute, not because I don't like you, because I do, I really really do!

Naturally, being the don't-rock-the-boat kind of person that I am, I said nothing. We chatted about her kids and Christmas and gift-buying, and she never once mentioned my hair. But I know she noticed.


Weird, isn't it? That whole feeling that you've "cheated" on your hairdresser...anyone else been there? I know, it's my hair, I can go where I want, and I shouldn't worry about it, but still...weird.

Moving on...

I know I have missed the last few HFTH updates. Last week Missy forgot to put up Mr. Linky until Friday night, so that was my excuse for not linking up. However, I actually did lose another pound last week, so that puts me at 5 pounds total. I think it's obvious that unless The Biggest Loser calls and invites me to be part of a special Christmas episode, I'm not going to reach my original goal. It would have been nice, sure, but I'm not completely disappointed...I mean, I still lost 5 pounds during the holidays. I know better than to complain about that. But I know I have a long way to go, and so even though the HFTH sisters will probably not continue, at least in any unified fashion, I will still be plugging away on my own. I will not be sorry when all of the Christmas baking and birthdays and temptation are behind me and I can start to focus again.

Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes you have sent my way...I appreciate every single one! I had a lovely birthday today - the highlight was when Savannah insisted that the cheesecake squares that I was making for the cookie exchange was my birthday cake, and that I needed to light a candle right then and there so she could sing Happy Birthday to me. I lit my Christmas Cookie Candle, put it next to the cheesecake, and then proceeded to get all weepy and blubbery as she sang, "Happy Birthday, dear Mo-mmmmyyyyy". Tell me that isn't the best present ever. And then when I blew out my candle she got mad and told me to light it again because she was supposed to be the one to blow it out.

On to the giveaway...I plugged in the numbers to, and the winner of a $5 Starbucks gift card is... Sara! Congrats...I'll be emailing you to get your address.

Speaking of Starbucks, my girlfriends took me out Saturday night to dinner and then for coffee afterwards, and my friend Tara talked me into trying the Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. It was very good, but in my humble opinion it still does not hold a candle to my beloved Caramel Macchiato or the Peppermint Mocha. But now I can say that I've tried it.

Happy Monday!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

How about a Caramel Macchiato?

First of all, several weeks ago I won a giveaway from the very lovely and lovable Linda at Growin' with it. I have been meaning to mention it and say a huge thank you to her - she sent me a super cute scarf and a gift card to Target (which is long gone by now, big surprise, right?). Linda, you're the best!

I also recently won another giveaway, a gift card to Starbucks. I was so very excited about this, because I just don't treat myself to Starbucks very often, and as soon as I won I was already debating in my head whether to buy a Peppermint Mocha with it, or to try something new like the Salted Hot Chocolate thing I keep hearing about (which, honestly, sounds very weird...but you all keep raving about it, so I totally trust my bloggy friends' taste buds).

But, since I am still in the middle of my weight loss challenge, I couldn't quite bring myself to indulge in a Starbucks drink. Yes, I know they have the sugar-free varieties, but call me crazy, I want the real thing when I go to Starbucks.

And so I have held onto this card until this week. Which happens to be my birthday week. (My poor hubby - not only does he have Christmas presents to contend with, he also has my birthday on the 21st and then Savannah's birthday on the 27th. He's a trooper).

So my point is, I have decided to do a giveaway for one $5 Starbucks gift card to celebrate my birthday. Leave me a comment on this post, and tell me the best thing that has happened to you this week. And since it's my birthday, I would love to hear from all of you - yes, even those of you who visit faithfully but prefer to lurk. It's open to anyone, even if you don't have a blog, and even if you're one of my real-life friends. I might even throw in a couple of other goodies...hmmm. I'll pick a name on Sunday night, my actual birthday, and let you know on Monday. It probably won't get to you until after Christmas, though.

So that's birthday present to myself...passing along the glorious calories of Starbucks to you.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gift Cards and Fire Pits

So, last Saturday evening, we went to our favorite resort here in town for dinner. It had suddenly occurred to me sometime last week that the gift card we had received from Ricardo's previous boss for Christmas last year was somewhere around a year old, and I began to wonder if it had an expiration date. I called on Thursday, the 11th, to check on it, and they informed me that yes, it would expire a year from the purchase date. Ok, fine, I thought, we probably have a few weeks left.

Then I happened to rummage through Ricardo's dresser that afternoon and found the envelope it came in. You can imagine the sinking feeling I felt when I read, Expires December 8th.

4 days! We had missed it by just 4 days. I was so bummed. There was over $125 left on the card, and I could not believe that we had just thrown the equivalent of 5 free meals down the drain. That gift card had been a little bright spot to us in an otherwise financially tough year; we always felt like we were on a mini vacation when we went to the resort for dinner.

But when I talked to Ricardo about it that night, we started to wonder if it was really the truth, if their system had actually cancelled it out, or if we could try to get in a few more times. I know that sometimes gift card policies are somewhat lax, and so we decided it was worth a try.

So we got all dolled up (well, Savannah and I did - Ricardo probably would not appreciate that term being applied to him) and made the trek to the other side of the city. I checked first with the front desk, handing them my card and asking the balance, and they never said anything about it being expired, which made me feel better. But I still held my breath as I handed over the gift card to the cashier when we entered the restaurant buffet. I guess she didn't catch the surreptitious glances that Ricardo and I threw each other, because she smiled at Savannah as she chatted with us, and then said, "Here you go! Enjoy!"

As we ate, we speculated on why the card was still good, and wondered how much longer it would be before it was cancelled out of their system. Perhaps they left it in the system until the end of the year? Maybe it really never expired and they just told people it did to get them to use it faster? Such was our fascinating dinner discussion.

And then, that is when I came up with the brilliant idea of buying a new gift card with the old one, adding on a few dollars for good measure. I sent Ricardo to the front desk to do the deed, while Savannah and I wandered around the lobby admiring the 25 foot Christmas tree.

Then Ricardo walked toward us, new gift card held triumphantly in hand.

And I feel so much better knowing that $100 didn't go to waste. You have no idea how that bothered me.

We glanced outside as we passed the doors that led to the pool area, and noticed that at the far end of the courtyard there was a fire pit burning. It wasn't terribly cold, just enough to remind us that it was December, so we strolled outside. As we approached, we noticed another couple, middle-aged, snuggled together in a cozy manner by the fire pit. I didn't want to interrupt, and so we started to veer in a different direction, but the lady leaned forward and called to us that we were welcome to join them. We thanked her as we greeted them and then settled ourselves onto the pillow-covered bench, gazing into the fire. It wasn't a real fire, but rather a gas fire with somewhat fakey-looking flames flickering about on a bed of small dark rocks. It was a perfect evening, with the mountains standing darkly in the background, an almost-full moon about to make an appearance, and soft music wafting over the air in romantic waves.

Savannah, who was oohing and ahhing over the leaping flames, suddenly noticed the rocks, and with just a few words shattered the mesmerizing ambiance.

"Mama!" She gasped, with amazement evident in her voice. " that....poopy?"

A titter rippled from the couple, as Ricardo and I rushed to assure her that it was not, in fact, poopy. "It's rocks, baby," I said, even as my voice shook with laughter.

"Ohhhhh! Rocks! Not poopy..." the confusion was cleared up.

Sometimes I wish I were 3 and could get by with saying whatever I wanted like that. Oh, the innocence.

We stayed a few minutes and watched the moon burst above the mountain, and then the cold started to creep in and we made our way back to the car. Ricardo surprised us by taking us to a Christmas light display here in town. It was admittedly a bit cheesy, but Savannah loved it, and in seeing it through her eyes, it was easy to experience the magic of it.

It was just one of those nights that you wish would never end.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Come on, ring those bells....light the Christmas tree...

The lovely BooMama is hosting the third annual Christmas Tour of Homes, and I'm so excited to get in on it...


So, come on in, everybody!

In the interest of full disclosure (otherwise known as keepin' it real), my house was not picked up when I snapped these pictures. But due to some masterful cropping, you should be none the wiser.

We like our house to have a lived in feel.

So, here is what you see as you come in the front door...

When it comes to Christmas villages, I think you either love them or you hate them. I happen to love them. My hubby, not so much. But he loves me, and so the village prevails. And what makes it even better is when I find a piece that is seriously on sale after Christmas - one of these pieces retailed for $60, and I snagged it for less than $7 a week or so after the holidays. Oh, how I love a good deal.

Here's our tree. We are working on collecting meaningful and sentimental pieces for my daughter, but so far we don't have a lot.

I had some help decorating this year. Who says a tree heavy-laden with ornaments only at the bottom is a bad thing? Not this girl! Where else are you supposed to put them when you're only 2 1/2 feet tall?

The entertainment center boasts some garland and some glittery gold trees, another fabulous after-Christmas find. I purchased them intending to give them away as gifts, and as you can see, my good intentions ended here. On top of my own cabinet.

Stockings over our fireplace, the kind which leaps to life at the flick of a switch. Doesn't have quite the same ambience as a real fireplace, but it's pretty handy nonetheless.

The centerpiece on my dining room table...

My sparkly Christmas tree candle...

And the nativity scene in my daughters room. She has been strictly directed not to touch, but we all know what a temptation that is when you are not quite three. And really, I don't care all that much...getting to touch is all part of the magic, I think.

A few years back, we got almost a foot of snow - extremely unusual for our area. I am including this picture, because it makes me feel so warm and cozy, and it's how Chrismtas is supposed to look. I am still dreaming of a White Christmas for this year, although chances are it will be sunny and 50 degrees.

And that's it! Thank you so much for stopping by. From our house to yours...have a very Merry Christmas!

Oh, and many, many thanks to our lovely hostess!


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Visions of Sugarplums - and Cinnamon Rolls - dance in my head...

I had an evening at home alone tonight. Ricardo had a meeting at church and he took Savannah with him. Even better, he just called and told me that they were bringing in pizza for everybody, so I didn't have to worry about feeding him when he gets back.

I had big plans for sitting down and blogging all evening. Catching up on the past few weeks' worth of stuff that has been going on around here. Things like the new haircut that I got when I was in Indiana, which I may or may not have cried a few tears over. (More on that later, when I get up the courage to post a pic of it).

But instead, I found myself curled up on the couch with my favorite blanket, the TV on, and the Food Network website pulled up. And the Better Homes and Gardens site. And my Taste of Home magazine next to me. Oh, my my my. I have officially been bitten by the Christmas baking bug.

When the Pioneer Woman reposted her Cinnamon Roll recipe earlier this week, I decided then and there that we would have to start a new tradition here at the Moments and Memories household.

So I told Ricardo, "Guess what? From now on I think I am going to make fresh homemade Cinnamon Rolls every year on Christmas morning."

And he replied, "How 'bout every morning?"

I think the plan meets with his approval. And yes, my HFTH sisters, I know it is not HFTH approved. But I think I can get by with it once a year.

But then I saw this piece of goodness on the Food Network site...Apple Coffee Cake with Crumble Topping and Brown Sugar Glaze, from none other than Emeril.

And now I'm torn. Coffee Cake or Cinnamon Rolls?

I have also been debating about whether or not to have a Christmas Cookie Exchange with a couple of my friends. It is such a busy time for everyone, obviously, but it sounds like so much fun. And you get at least six different kinds of cookies for the trouble of making one. Except, I wouldn't be able to limit myself to baking just one, and I would probably make these:

And these:

And these:

And of course, I would give them all away. Oh yes I would. Why would I keep temptation like this around the house?

So, if you were coming to a cookie exchange at my house, what would you bring?


Friday, December 05, 2008

Back home

Well, hi there!

I am back after almost 2 weeks of no posting, and boy, does it feel a little weird trying to get back into the swing of things. My Google Reader is bursting at the seams and begging me to get busy reading and commenting, but there are other important things to do, like sitting on the couch watching Christmas movies. (Elf, anybody?)

I didn't mention it beforehand, due to the unknown crazy burglar people that most undoubtedly are lurking at my blog just waiting for me to leave, but we went to Indiana for Thanksgiving. Savannah was beside herself with excitement. She remembered so much from our August trip, and she was sure that she was going to get to pick raspberries with Kampa again. But Indiana trades fresh berries for snow in November, and so she contented herself with stomping around in the little bit of fresh powder that fell on Monday.

I realize that Thanksgiving is past now and you all have moved on to Christmas, so I will just post one picture that pretty much sums up how we all felt about Thanksgiving dinner. Notice that the protein and vegetables are being ignored in favor of the mashed potatoes. She's a smart one, this carb-lovin' girl.

I know I should be doing a Fit Friday post right now, and I might later on, but last time I jumped on the scale (after Thanksgiving, mind you) I was holding steady - no loss, but no gain either. In fact, my mom has a most tricky scale at her house and I thought for about 1.5 seconds that I had actually lost 2 or 3 pounds. Then she had to go and burst my bubble by telling me that the scale is about 3 pounds light. Whatever. I chose to believe that I had lost until I got back home and my evil (and accurate) scale informed me otherwise. The delusion was nice while it lasted.

Y'all can go visit Missy if you want to see some people that had some actual HFTH success this week...

Hopefully I will be by to visit you all later...I am determined to get my reader cleared out. Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankfulness - Heartfelt and a little random

It is 1:30 a.m., so that explains the random part. The heartfelt part...well, truly, I am so very thankful...

For grace and forgiveness - not only for a God who forgives me but for a family that forgives as well when I blow it multiple times a day.

That my hubby doesn't think it's weird when I say, "Don't you wish you could shrink yourself and be transported into a little animated old-fashioned Christmas village, where it is so perfect and idyllic and serene?" And he shrugs and says, "Never thought about it that way." But he still loves me. And puts up with my obsession with animated Christmas villages.

For a baby girl whose giggle delights me like nothing else, whose eyes are the deepest of chocolate brown, and whose mind works a mile a minute and almost scares me sometimes with the speed with which it computes things.

For a family who will do anything for you.

For mashed potatoes. In which I plan to indulge in about 32 more hours. You can add stuffing and pumpkin roll to that list too. Oh, yeah. (I just realized this is the second post in a row where I have mentioned these 3 things. Maybe I've been thinking about it just a tad too much...)

That Savannah is now old enough to understand me when I yell, "Baby! Mama needs you to bring me some more toilet paper from the closet!" It's so convenient. And that might possibly be too much information, but come on, you know we've all been there.

For the ability to exercise. This whole knee thing scared me a bit, and also made me determine never to complain again about exercise. (You can remind me of that if I start getting cranky on my HFTH posts).

That His ways are not my ways. Oh, how I sometimes wish they were. Then I could avoid all of this pain, this uncomfortable place He has me in now. But He says to trust, and so I do. And I'm thankful.

For my chiropractor, the miracle-worker who makes my back feel young again.

For a hubby who wakes me up every morning to kiss me goodbye, even if I only have the presence of mind to grunt half-heartedly at him. He knows that this night owl doesn't have all her wits about her that early.

I think this is all the randomness that I can take, so...

I am thankful for all of you, my friends, both real and imaginary, whom I have built real relationships with. I appreciate every comment, every email, every prayer that I know some of you have offered up on my behalf.

I'll be absent from blogland for the next week or so. I know it's a day early, but...Happy Thanksgiving!!!


Friday, November 21, 2008

HFTH - Week 5

A few weeks ago, Amy did a post showing how she did some exercises that she swore would eliminate or at least greatly reduce the dreaded muffin top - The Plank, The Superman Lift, and the V sit. I have been meaning to start doing these, but I kept putting it off, first because of my knee - it was hard to get up and down from the ground, excuses, excuses, blah blah blah.

Anyway, this past week I decided to try them. Looking at her demonstrations in the pictures, she makes it look quite easy. I figured it wasn't anything that I couldn't do, and so I got into position for The Plank.

Oh my word. I could barely even lift myself up. And then once I was up, my midsection was trembling violently, and I couldn't hold it for anywhere close to the 20 seconds. Feeling like a complete wimp, I tried the Superman, which was a little easier, and then the V sit.

I just about passed out.

So now you know just how out of shape I am.

The next day, my abs were burning. I could not believe it. I mean, after all, I had only done a few sets of them and had only been able to hold them for maybe 10 seconds. And here they were, burning away. Which was actually encouraging, because if I am going to go through that kind of torture, I want to at least feel like some kind of progress is being made.

That night I was talking to Ricardo. "Man, my abs are really sore. You oughta see these new exercises I'm doing. They are so. hard. I can barely lift myself into position,I shake so much when I'm doing, you wanna see?"

And I promptly got on the floor to demonstrate. And to my great wonderment, I was able to push myself up much more easily into The Plank than the day before. Although my poor muscles were still shaking, much to my hubby's amusement.

And then he decided he wanted to try it. So we sat there, both doing the V sit, him steady as a rock, me trembling like a leaf. "This?" he said. "Is this all there is to it?"

I know. I wanted hurl heavy objects at him, too. In love, of course.

Then he added, "Oh, when I was in wrestling, they told us that if we were really strong, we should be able to do this..." and he stretched his legs out in front him, and lifted himself several inches off the ground.

Whatever. I am still going to take pride in the fact that I am up to 20 seconds, 2 sets, with the V sit. And in my book, that is progress.

Ok, now on to my HFTH progress report...I lost half of a pound this week. It shouldn't have excited me as much as it did, but I was expecting maybe nothing, so this was music to my ears. I might have even done a little victory dance to celebrate. 4 pounds down.

And now looms before me one of my most favorite days of the year. Family, fun....and food. Glorious food. I love everything about the Thanksgiving dinner, except for the cranberries. And I plan on eating a little of everything, while still showing a modicum of temperance. Mashed potatoes, here I come. And stuffing. And pumpkin roll...

My posting will probably be somewhat sporadic over the next week or so, as well as my blog reading and commenting...I've got so much to do in the next few days. Hope that all of your holiday planning is going well....Happy Friday!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bloggy Business, Linky Love

*Updated* - You guys rock! Some of you are actually willing to turn your blog over to lil' ol' me. That pretty much made me hopefully I can deliver. :) For the time being, I've had enough people contact me, so I'm going to have to close my offer...otherwise, at the speed that I work at, you won't get your design until next Christmas....

There are so many thoughts scrambling for a place in my brain right now, and not enough time to think them through and put them into coherent blog posts. One of the things I'm struggling with is the time spent reading blogs, and how to balance all of that...but that's gonna have to be an entirely different post.

Jennifer at Love, Laughter, and Lyrics tagged me for this fun little she said, it's easy and requires no thought, which is exactly my speed today.

Here are the rules:
1. Choose the 4th picture folder on my computer.
2. Choose the 4th picture.
3. Explain the picture...
4. Tag 4 people to do the same.

This was taken last February...I can't get over how short her hair was and how much she looks like a baby here. Note all of the components of the perfect breakfast - Cheerios, yogurt and Pooh Bear. She is obviously in mid-bite of Cheerios - but I think she looks pretty darn cute.

So whose 4th picture in the 4th folder do I want to see? How about Jules, Jodie, Rachel, and Amanda...

I have been given some awards from some sweet people, and I'm long overdue in passing them along.

From Mama Belle at The Bayou Belles and their Beau and also from Rachel at Musings of a Future Pastors Wife:

And from Mozi Esme:
The English translation of this gift is: "This blog invests and believes, the proximity" (meaning, that blogging makes us 'close' -being close through proxy)

Thank you, ladies! You all are awesome - you know I love ya! I'm passing the first one on to Lisa, the second/third to Kerry, and the last one to Linda. Funny how you can actually feel like you know people you have never met...these ladies are no exception.

As if this post wasn't already chock-full of links, here are a few more for you...

Sue at Confessions of a Tired Supergirl is hosting an awesome 10-day Thanksgiving giveaway. Go check it out!

Cute Blogspot Designs

I think pretty much everybody in the entire blogosphere reads 5 Minutes for Mom, but just in case you haven't heard, they are having some pretty great holiday giveaways, too.

Christmas Giveaway Gift 125x125

Alright, lastly...and I feel SO very sheepish in throwing this out there...but I would love to get some more practice doing blog designs. I am super new at this, but it is fun for me, so....if you would like me to play around with a design, I'd love to do that for you. For free, of course. Now, there is a VERY good possibility no one will take me up on this offer (sob), and that's fine. No, really, I'll live. But - on the off chance that more than one of you jumps on this, then I think I better limit it to 2 or 3. Just so I don't stress myself out. And it doesn't have to be an entirely new can switch to a 3-column template, or just a header, or a holiday design...whatever. Of course, I know a lot of you already have fabulous designs and don't need this, but if you want one, email me at Our Moments Our Memories AT gmail DOT com and I'll see what I can do for you.


Monday, November 17, 2008

I'm doing good. You?

Last week was a bust as far as the HFTH challenge was concerned. I lost zero pounds, and oh, does it ever hurt to say that. Highly discouraging, I tell you. The only bright spot was that I did not gain any. I was so bummed that I didn't even blog about it and link up like I was supposed to (sorry, girls). But alright...I'm shaking it off, it's a new week, so here we go! Nothing but fruit and veggies and protein this week. No sugar cookie-makin', no secret mugs of homemade hot chocolate, no pizza at birthday parties. I am back on the straight and narrow.

There is no decent segue that can be used in this instance, or if there is, I'm too tired to think of it. So I am going to dive right into my random question for y'all.

When someone asks you, "How are you doing?", how do you respond? Do you say, "I'm doing good", or "I'm doing well", or do you use a completely different word?

I grew up saying, I'm doing good. I realize this is improper, although after googling it, there seems to be some debate about it. I'm not really too worried about it one way or the other, except that there are a few people that I know who are sticklers for saying I'm doing well. Which is fine, because, again, that is proper. If they happen to ask me how I'm doing first, and I reply with good, and then in turn they reply with well...well, then, I am left feeling a little verbally incompetent. Even though I know the correct way. And I'm just refusing to use it.

There is this sweet little man at church, for instance, as friendly as can be, and he always approaches with the pleasantry, "How are you?" And my mind races. I know how he is going to reply when I return the question to him. And sure, I could also reply, "I'm doing well," but after years of saying "good", it just doesn't sound like me. If that makes any sense. So I usually go with I'm doing great! or Fine! which really, I don't know if that is any more proper than using good.

So I know that I have at least a couple of teacher readers who are probably cringing at this unrepentant display of bad English. I'm really sorry. Please feel free to throw in your two cents.

And you can also feel equally free to tell me that you use good, too. There's got to be a couple of you, my partners in crime, those of you who squirm inwardly when the proper well is returned after your improper good is already out there, floating in the air between you and the One Who Speaks the Good English.

So. How you doin'?


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Two hours and fifteen cookies

Look what Walmart had on sale...

...leaf and acorn-shaped cookie cutters. For $1! They were originally $5, and I simply could not leave a bargain like this sitting on the shelf.

Here is where I force Savannah to model them. This is what I got.

Take two. She's not on crack. I promise.

I give up. This is as good as it gets.

Once I got them home, I felt the need to justify my purchase and actually use them.

We're gonna make cookies! I told Savannah, in the hopes that we could create some sweet mother-daughter memories as we measured sugar and stirred eggs and vanilla together.

Well, we definitely created memories. The first one was when I turned my back and Savannah helped herself to a heaping spoonful of flour. As it turns out, flour wasn't quite the treat she was hoping it would be, and she immediately freaked out when it turned gluey in her mouth, and she started crying for help.

She then pulled her chair up to the sink and begin to vigorously stir a bowl full of water that was soaking there. Bate, bate, choc-o-lat-e, she sang out. (For those of you who have not seen this Dora episode, pay this no mind. Suffice it to say that pretty much everything - breakfast oatmeal, bathtub water, a bowl of cereal - is fair game for the Bate Chocolate song).

She helped me press the cookie cutters into the dough, and then returned to her sink of dirty dishwater. My patience for simultaneously making cookies and memories vanished when she slopped dirty water all over my floor, and I banished her to the living room to do puzzles with Daddy.

Because Fit Friday is looming ever closer, I only made half of a batch so that the temptation wouldn't be hanging around the house all week, imploring me to eat them. It only took me two hours to produce about 15 little cookies - I was hunched over my counter for a good part of that time, painstakingly spooning on colored frosting. Now I know why all of those fancy cookie shops charge $3.50 (or more) per cookie. So time consuming. I wish I had better tools to work with, because it was actually kind of fun. Although my back didn't think so.

I put the cookies on a plate (to take a picture for the blog, of course - there is no other reason that I would actually dirty a plate if I didn't have to) and carried them to my apparently dessert-deprived family.

Within about 5 minutes, the plate had dwindled to this.

Mostly thanks to my skinny hubby, who can afford to eat them. Better him than me, right? I finally put the remaining 6 cookies up because I figured the indulging would continue until the plate was empty.

So the leaves are going into retirement until next year - now it's time to break out the snowmen and angels and Christmas trees!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008


*Oops, it looks like I had messed up my commenting feature....thanks to all of you that emailed me to let me know it wasn't working. I think I fixed it now...*

Oh, I wish I could go back and delete that last sentence from my last post - the one where I said I was doing a Christmas craft with Savannah. Because then several of you sounded oh so excited about it, and wanted to know what it was, and then - oh my goodness - I realized that what we were doing pretty much did NOT qualify as a real craft.

But I feel obligated to show it to you anyway, so don't laugh...

Yeah - we are really very good at cutting out Christmas-y shapes that we found online, coloring them, throwing on some stickers, and then stapling them to a red ribbon. Ta-da!

This is one of my new favorite sites for kid-friendly crafts - they have some really cute ideas that I want to try out with Savannah.

Today I have been combing the internet looking for some real crafts. There are some super talented people out there. This banner for cute.

And these little trees...I think even I could make these. Except I don't have a sewing machine, which seems to be a pretty key element of this craft. Hmmm...

These cookies are gorgeous, they look like the real thing. Ah, someday... I will learn to make cookies like this.

But my absolute favorites are over at my bloggy friend Jennifer's place. She is amazing. For one thing, she is 38 weeks pregnant, has a toddler, and STILL she has the patience to do all of these incredible crafts. She gave a tutorial here on how to make some fun little signs, and here she made a really cute banner which I just love. I think she needs to open an Etsy shop.

So after browsing online all afternoon, I feel slightly more inspired to take on a real craft. And I am so open for ideas - what are some favorite things that you have done? Hopefully something easy...after all, you've seen my level of expertise.


Friday, November 07, 2008

HFTH - Week 3

Well, this week was alright, food-wise. Still not much exercise....knee is better, just stiff and I can't fully bend it, so aerobic exercise is still out. It's weird, because now that I can't exercise, I actually want to. Hmm....

So I was all excited and determined to lose 2 pounds this week....and it didn't happen. I did lose one pound, though, so I'll take it. Down 3 1/2 total. Wow, this is slow going...but I know at Christmas I'll look back and be so glad I did this.

Also - and this is something that made me want to jump up and down - this is the lowest weight I've been at since having Savannah. I am not at my pre-pregnancy weight (wow, that's terrible...she's only three) but it'll come.

So tomorrow we have a birthday party, and I know in advance that they are having pizza - my ultimate downfall - and of course cake. So my bargain with myself is that I can have a limited amount of pizza, but no cake. I'll report back and let y'all know how my willpower holds up.

Short and sweet this week...I am in the middle of doing some Christmas craft projects with Savannah. Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Works for me Wednesday - Wooden Puzzles for a great price

Last year for Christmas, amid the dolls and Little People toys and DVDs that Savannah received, we snuck in a gift of educational wooden puzzles. I wasn't sure she would like them, but I did. And I figured it's never too early to get her started on learning.

She loved them - I was thrilled. It was her absolute favorite toy and we spent hours playing with them. By the time she was 2 1/2 she knew all of her letters, numbers, and shapes. At first I thought it was just in relation to the puzzle - that she had memorized the spaces and would only know the letters if they were in the puzzle - but then she started pointing out letters to me when we would go out to run errands.

"Look, Mama....K! O! H! L! S!" (A girl after my own heart - I love shopping there).

So, I realize I am not the only mama to discover the awesomeness of the wooden puzzle, but the best part about these is the price - less than $8 for a set of 4 puzzles (plus shipping). I found this set here. And if you want the storage case, only $8 more for that. They are good quality, sturdy, and have taken much abuse over the past year and have held up well. They're not quite as nice as the Melissa and Doug puzzles (they don't have the little knobs, for instance) but for the price, you can't beat it.

I found similar ones at Target; these include one extra puzzle and a storage case, but for $40.

But $8 for educational puzzles? Works for me!

Be sure to visit Shannon for more Works for me Wednesday.