Friday, October 31, 2008

Hot for the Holidays - Week 2

First off - I went to the chiropractor yesterday to have my knee checked out. I was getting concerned because it has been a week and a half since I fell, it was still really swollen, and I couldn't bend it. Which is sort of hampering my exercise plans.

But...good news! It's nothing serious, I just pulled a ligament and so now I have to try and get the swelling to go down so it will heal properly. I am so relieved...I had visions of joining my mother-in-law who is scheduled for knee replacement surgery later this month. So....whew!

And, good news on the weight loss front...I am down another 1.5 pounds. I wanted oh so badly to lose 2 complete pounds this week, but it just didn't happen.

My husband, whom I dearly love, brought some pure and unadulterated sin into the house last night...a can of root beer. We don't keep soda in the house, ever, so it's normally not even a temptation. He doesn't even like root beer, but I do, so he brought it home with me in mind. Why, thank you, honey.

Of all the carbonated and sugar-infested beverages, root beer is the one that tempts me the most. I resisted all last night, but by this afternoon, it was calling my name. Loudly. So I opened it up, had two sips, and poured the rest down the drain. And it wasn't even that hard, because I was thinking about the 13 teaspoons of sugar in the form of high-fructose corn syrup that could have gone into my body instead disappearing into my sink. Crisis averted!

So...3 pounds down, 12 more to go by Dec. 25. It's gonna be a very merry Christmas.

Updated: Oops...apparently dieting has an adverse affect on my addition skills. I lost 1 pound last week, 1 1/2 this that makes 2 1/2. Not 3. That was just my wishful thinking.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Souptacular - Chicken Enchilada Soup


The last time we went out to eat at Chilis, I ordered a cup of their Chicken Enchilada Soup. It was delivered to our table before the rest of the food came, and I basically inhaled was just that good, chock full of chicken and spice and cheesy goodness. When our dinner arrived a few minutes later, another cup of soup was set in front of me, and I looked at it with much consternation. I wanted that second serving, oh my yes, but honesty compelled me to tell the waitress that someone else had already brought me a cup. She shrugged, she didn't care, and told me to enjoy it. So I did.

And then I went home and kept thinking about it. So I googled it, found a copycat recipe, and whipped up a batch. Since I took some liberties with the recipe, it didn't turn out exactly like the Chili's version, but it was still pretty darn tasty.

Chicken Enchilada Soup

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 lb. of chicken breast fillets (approx. 3 fillets)
1/2 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, pressed
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup masa harina (flour found in baking section of stores)
3 cups water
1 cup enchilada sauce
16 ounces Velveeta
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin


shredded cheddar cheese
crumbled corn tortilla chips
pico de gallo

1. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add chicken breasts to pot and brown for 4-5 minutes per side. Set chicken aside.

2. Add onions and garlic to pot and sauté over medium heat for about 2 minutes, or until onions begin to become translucent. Add chicken broth.

3. Combine masa harina with 2 cups of water in a medium bowl and whisk until blended. Add masa mixture to pot with onions, garlic and broth.

4. Add remaining water, enchilada sauce, cheese and spices to pot and bring mixture to a boil.

5. Shred the chicken into small, bite-size pieces and add it to the pot. Reduce heat and simmer soup for 30-40 minutes or until thick.

6. Serve soup in cups or bowls, and garnish with shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled corn tortilla chips, and pico de gallo.

So the liberties I took with this...I didn't have Velveeta, so I used regular shredded cheddar. I also substituted regular flour for the Masa Harina, since I didn't have it on hand, imagine that. I think it might be better using the Masa Harina, since regular flour might give it a little too much of a pasty taste. But flour will work in a pinch.

I also used green enchilada sauce even though I think that Chilis uses red enchilada sauce...still really delicious. And even though it is not a traditional enchilada ingredient, I threw in a can of black beans just to make it a little heartier and convince my husband that soup can, indeed, be what's for dinner.

Enjoy! And head over to Boomama's for some more spectacular soups.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Vintage Shampoo...and also, My Husband was right

Ok, question for you all. Does anybody remember Ivory Shampoo?

They stopped making it several years back, but I clearly remember it from when I was younger. Every so often my mom would make us lie down on the kitchen counter with our head at the edge of the sink and she would give our hair a good scrubbing. And she used Ivory Shampoo, which had a completely unique scent which I can still almost smell to this day.

When they discontinued it, I didn't really notice. I had moved on to other more sophisticated brands like Salon Selectives and White Rain. Oh, and Outrageous, which at the time I thought was the best ever because it smelled so divine.

When I married Ricardo and moved all of my stuff in and basically took over the cabinet space in his bathroom, I discovered in the very back of the bottom cabinet a small stash of Ivory Shampoo. Brand new, never used, four bottles. I asked him about it, and he told me that he had grabbed the last few bottles that he could find right around the time that they stopped making it, and was hanging on to them in the hopes that he could someday sell them and make some big bucks off of them. Every once in awhile he would grab one of the bottles, open it and pass it slowly under his nose, savoring the scent of a great payoff down the road.

I am a little ashamed to admit that I scoffed at the idea. They only cost maybe $2 at the time, so I didn't figure anyone would fork out much more than that for them.

But he was so sure that this shampoo he had been hoarding for years was worth something. He did some googling and found some website where people were posting on message boards, begging the Ivory execs to bring back the shampoo. And, oh the excitement.

"Look!" He would tell me. "Here's a guy that says he has one bottle left and only uses it for special occasions! See?? People love this stuff!"

He finally convinced me to put a bottle on Ebay, and I did so, confident in the fact that it was a huge waste of the listing fee that they charged us.

Imagine my surprise when it actually sold. And further, imagine my shock when someone paid twenty dollars for it. Ok, so maybe it's not a fortune, but it's still a pretty good return on $2. The man who bought it was thrilled to pieces that he had discovered his favorite shampoo again after lo these many years, and emailed me to tell me that he thought he would never see it again. He asked if we had any more.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact. We did.

We ended up selling all four of them for $20 a pop, which is still hard for me to believe, considering that Ricardo had at the most $6 invested in them (one he found at his mom's house, so it was free to us).

Now he is trying to convince me to put up for auction an old tin of Nesquick Strawberry Mix. He says they do not make the old metal tins anymore, which I think is true - everything is plastic now. He is pretty convinced that some collector out there would just love it.

I know better than to scoff anymore, even though I sort of still want to. Like they say...there is a buyer for everything.

So...what would you pay good money for if you could only find it again?


Monday, October 27, 2008

Party Planning

When the end of October rolls around, I start to kick into birthday planning mode.

Savannah's birthday is not until the end of December. Obviously, I like to get a head start.

We don't really have a big bash for her, just something here at the house with a few friends. That's the problem with having a winter birthday; you can't go to a park, which is the perfect - and free - summer party place. So our choices are limited to having it here at the house or forking out big bucks for a Chuck E Cheese-style place. Thus far we've always opted to stay home in the interest of keeping our pocketbook happy. And since our house is small, our guest list is small.

So it's not like I need two months to plan it, since we keep it simple and there is not a lot to it. But I do like to make her cake myself, and so I start searching the internet for the perfect cake that is easy enough that I can pull it off.

And in case you are wondering, I have zero cake making experience. I don't know how to do things the right away, but that doesn't stop me from having some fun with it anyway. I would love to learn, and one of my goals in life is to take cake-decorating classes, but for now I just muddle through on my own.

For her first birthday party, we did a Baby Einstein theme. I had seen a cute caterpillar cake online somewhere, and thought I might be able to pull it off.

I was happy with how it turned out, but let me tell you how much cake is in this two-foot long monster. Each of those balls represents an entire cake mix, so yeah...we had the equivalent of 5 whole cakes. For a small party. And believe it or not, we didn't have much left over. I think it was because each cake was a different flavor with different fillings in the middle, so everyone was going around sampling them all. Which was fine by me...I didn't need all that leftover cake hanging around the house. Danger.

For her second birthday, Savannah was completely obsessed with Diego. Not Dora. Just Diego. I realize he is a little boy character, but I didn't think it mattered that much, so I made her a Diego cake, and jaguar and monkey cupcakes. She was in love. Or maybe I am just imagining and hoping that she was because of all the work that we put into it...after all, how much of this stuff does a 2 year old really understand ?

Oh, but this year? She understands. She KNOWS about this birthday business. She's been to many, many parties this past year, and she realizes that there is a cake. There are presents. There are friends. They sing Happy Birthday. She is beside herself with excitement and she literally talks about it every day, how she will be FREE pretty soon (otherwise known as three) and she will have a BIRFDAY PARTY.

And her allegiance has now switched from Diego to Dora, and, probably just like every other 3 year old girl in this country, she wants a Dora cake.

So my search for a cute but still doable Dora cake has begun. Look at this one - way over the top, not to mention far beyond my skill level, but still amazing. I showed it to Ricardo and he said, "Huh. A little extreme, don't ya think?"


I'll probably end up doing something simpler like this, only smaller, and just add a plastic Dora topper. I found a recipe for marshmallow fondant that I want to try my hand at.

dora cake

If it turns out, you know I'll be posting pictures. If it doesn't, well, I'll remind myself that the main purpose for the birthday cake is to be eaten. At least according to my hubby.

Finished product - just don't look to closely at the cracks in the buttercream! But the marshmallow fondant was super easy to work much fun.

Thanks to Kelly at Kelly's Korner for hosting!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday came way too soon...

Funny how fast Friday rolls around when you are doing a weight-loss challenge and you are dreading stepping on the scale and revealing to all of the Hot For The Holidays sisters how it went during Week One.

So Monday started off with a bang. After our foray into the land of the buffet on Sunday night, I was ready to go Monday morning and work off every single calorie. I planned on starting by walking/running on the treadmill, and then move on to my Tae-bo video. All went according to plan until about 20 minutes into my treadmill session, where I stumbled and sailed off the treadmill, injuring my knee in the process.

I was so bummed...not because of the pain, but because it meant exercise would not be an option for at least a week. And that's no way to start off HFTH.

So to make up for the lack of exercise, I was extra, extra good about eating this week. No sugar, no goodies, limited carbs. Lots of fruit and broccoli and protein. And no sneaking chocolate chips. I have this thing about the bag of chocolate chips; if it is unopened, then no problem...I would never open it just to snack on a few right out of the bag. But if I have an open half-empty bag leftover from the last time I made cookies, then they are fair game. But this week, I passed the already-opened bag every single day and resisted the call of the chocolate every time.

So, results...not as good as I wanted but better than nothing. I am down 1 pound. 14 more to go until Christmas!

I met with a guy today who specializes in fertility and nutrition issues. He asked me some questions about diet, and it just reinforced the fact that I KNOW I need to lose this weight in order to get some of these fertility issues under control. He started me on some natural supplements and is going to give me a few months to see if it starts to turn things around. I am hopeful that it will, but at the same time I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high. Does that make sense? Ultimately, it is in God's hands. Gotta keep reminding myself of that. But I think this will be another great motivator for me, in addition to all of the wonderful accountability I am getting through HFTH.

Off to eat a cookie now...oops, sorry! I mean...a grapefruit. You don't think I want to give up that hard-earned lost pound already, do you?


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I think my treadmill hates me

It's official. I am the biggest klutz in the world.

This morning I was on the treadmill, alternating between running and walking in the hopes that this interval training business will have the fat-blasting effects that it is purported to have. I had my computer propped up in front of me and was catching up on the latest Office episode.

One minute I was cringing at the pure awkwardness and watching as Jan's baby had her first photo shoot amidst a pile of vegetables. The next minute, with no warning, I was flying off the back of the treadmill and landing in a heap on the floor.

If you are keeping track, this is the second time this has happened to me in as many months. Klutz.

This time, it was my right knee instead of the left that took the brunt of it. It twisted as I tried to catch myself, and then I was flat on my back, writhing in pain. A second later I realized that Savannah was there and had witnessed the entire thing. And, oh, the concern on her face.

"Mama, you ok?" She rushed over.

"Wha' happen? Oh no! You fall down? Awwww, Mama!... it's ok." And she proceeded to rub my knee (the one that wasn't hurt, but it's the thought that counts), all the while sighing and murmuring sympathetically.

We have been trying to teach her the importance of prayer, and she is starting to get it. Throughout the day you can hear her stopping to pray for the various owies that she inflicts upon herself. Or when Pooh Bear has a tummyache. All perfectly good reasons to beseech the heavens for healing.

So she saw my throbbing knee as an excellent opportunity to lift up her baby voice in supplication to Jesus. She knelt down beside me and touched my leg, and then prayed with pure innocence and a slightly warped take on things.

Dear Jesus, thank you mommy's knee, her to fall down. In Jesus Name...AMEN.

I think Jesus understood perfectly that I didn't need any help falling down - I was pretty good at doing that all by myself - but that I was going to need some help getting up off the floor.

So now I am laid up on the couch with a swollen knee that doesn't let me do much more than hobble around the house. I am frustrated because I can't exercise, probably for at least a week, and that is going to put a huge damper on my HFTH exercise plans. Darn treadmill. But I am not giving up. This is only a setback.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Hot for the Holidays and Buffets = Evil

I have mentioned a couple of times here that I am on a turtle-paced weight loss journey. I have had some success, and have kept off what I have lost. But it is not enough, and it is not coming off fast enough. So when Missy announced her brand new Hot for the Holidays challenge, I was thrilled. And also a little bit nervous, because she then started talking about posting before and after pictures, and mentioning starting weights and goals. All good things for accountability, but sisters, I am a chicken. That squawking and bawk-bawking you hear would be me running fast and far away from anything that resembles a before picture. So I told Missy that I would be participating, but from afar. Nice and safe, but still a little accountable. And she emailed back that, sure, whatever you want, but it might be nice to lay out some goals.

She was so right. Because it really does help to know where you're going.

So, then - my goals:

1. To amp up the exercise, and focus more on interval training. And also to break out my trusty Tae-bo video (yes, video, as in VHS tape - it's that old). But it is fun and I have lost a lot of weight in the past by doing it faithfully.
2. To limit and hopefully eliminate all bad carbs, sugar, etc.
3. To lose 15 pounds by Christmas. That's totally doable. Then lots more after that, steps.

And to kick it all off, what better place to go than to a buffet?

Last year, my husband's then-boss gave us a gift card to a local resort/casino here in town. Since this has been a pretty lean year financially for us, we occasionally like to go there and treat ourselves to a free meal. And like all casinos, this one has a buffet, which Ricardo loves. Of course he loves it...he is skin-ny and has to worry more about gaining weight than losing it.

But buffets are evil. They are particularly evil when you have just started a weight-loss challenge. But nonetheless, that's where we headed this evening.

I think I did pretty good. I started out with a heaping plate of salad and veggies, then had some baked fish and more veggies. My splurge was a very small spoonful of mashed potatoes, and they were worth every carbohydrate-laden bite. And I did not get dessert.

I think that bears repeating. I did not get dessert.

My hubby did, though. Lots and lots of it. A chocolate cream puff, and then chocolate cake. Then strawberry cake. Then an ice cream cone. Then he finished off Savannah's ice cream. Then he came home and ate chocolate pudding.

Something is so not fair about this situation.

Ok - in the interest of full disclosure, I did take about 2 bites of hubby's vast sugar selection, but I think I showed some considerable restraint, seeing that I was literally surrounded on all sides by temptation.

So you may have to put up with me posting about this for the next several Fridays until the holidays. I'll try not to bore you - or myself - by keepin' it short and sweet.

Moving on to a happier subject...

Over at the Siesta Fiesta Blog they are organizing a Christmas Ornament Exchange. You may have seen it already and signed up...but if you haven't and are interested in joining in, go on over to find out more about it. I think it's gonna be so much fun and a great way to get to know some more sweet bloggers, and like they said over there - the more, the merrier!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

The best day of autumn

For me, this autumn season is now complete. I have visited the pumpkin patch, and I am happy.

How can the day not be good when you pull in and see this cute little store? And the brilliant sky with clouds of perfect puffiness?

I had checked the forecast a few days previously, and was assured of good weather. Perfect, sunny, rain-free. And it was all of that, but they failed to mention the wind, which picked up as we drove to the pumpkin patch and was gusting briskly by the time we exited the car. And obviously, since we were at a farm where there is an abundance of loose dirt, we were slathered with sheets of blowing dust.

Savannah had no compunction about commandeering my sunglasses to protect her eyes after getting an eyeful of dirt. And of course I let her, because that's just part of being a mom, right?

A short hayride, and then we were deposited in the field of pumpkins.

Too bad it wasn't "all you can carry". She might be small, but she gave it her best shot.

She had finally narrowed it down to one, the perfect pumpkin...

And then Daddy, who was excited as the rest of us, complicated matters a little by showing her a few other choices. Needless to say, with all of the time we took picking out the consummate pumpkin, we were the last ones to re-board the wagon for the hayride back.

A kiss for Daddy, just 'cause he's the best pumpkin-picker-outer in the whole world.

She was thrilled with these chickens, and bravely stuck her fingers through the fence. She giggled hysterically when they pecked at her, and then said, "The chicken SMILED at me!" Hmmm. I think we need to get her a puppy before she starts demanding farm animals as pets.

Another highlight...petting a real live sheep! Oh, the joy!

Getting buried in corn - way better than a sandbox.

Weary and windblown and with a fake smile plastered on her face...a sure sign that we needed to head for home.

Another season is almost bring on Thanksgiving....I'm ready!


Monday, October 13, 2008


First of all, I promise I do not suffer from schizophrenia. Truly. I am just having a lot of fun trying to figure out this blog stuff. And, although I still don't know what I'm doing, it has been a blast playing with different colors and designs. And also very time-consuming, which is the bad part. But anyway, this one is here to stay for...well, for awhile anyway.

This past week has been crazy, with babysitting and girls night out and a visit to the pumpkin patch and our garage door breaking and my doctor telling me he was going to send me to a natural fertility/nurtrition specialist. Yeah. My brain is on a bit of overload right now, so I'm reverting to something that is fun and easy and doesn't require much thinking....

A little bit about me, in pictures, no words. I'm cheating and changing it up a bit from the original.

My age...

Favorite food

Favorite thing to drink

Dream vacation spot

Favorite flowers...hard to narrow it down...

Shoes I covetFavorite colors

What I'm craving right now

Must-have for my hair

My favorite kind of day

If I could purchase anything right now

And what makes me happiest of all

I was going to include something to do with Christmas but I was finding boatloads of fun pictures, so I'm going to save that one for December and do another one of these with nothing but my Christmas faves.

Y'all have a great Monday!


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I blame it on Mommy Brain

When I flipped over my calendar to October last week, I scanned it like I always do to make note of any appointments I had coming up.

One on Tuesday and one on Thursday this week. The first was a checkup with my periodontist, in the hopes that she would look at my gums and pronounce me good to go. The second, with my chiropractor, and I feel the need to stop right here and proclaim how much my back loves this man.

My periodontist's office is always very good about calling the day before to remind me of my appointment, but Monday came and went, and there was no call. I double checked my calendar to make sure that I didn't have the wrong date, but no - it plainly said Tuesday.

So on Tuesday morning as I was getting ready, it occurred to me that it might be prudent to give them a call. Of course, I had no doubt. My appointment was most definitely that morning. For sure. They had just forgotten to make the courtesy reminder call, which irked me a tiny bit, but nothing that a call to them wouldn't clear up.

"Hi, I have an appointment today and I just want to verify the time," I said when the receptionist answered the phone. I gave her my name and there was a pause as she looked me up.

"Um, yes. We have you down on Tuesday, October 21."

Weird way to put it, I thought. October 21 IS today. I was looking right at my calendar as we spoke, and so of course I could see that it was the 21st. Today. One and the same.

"Right," I said, "October 21st. That's...." Today. My voice trailed off as my brain scrambled to catch up to the fact that that I was way, way off. "That's in....two weeks??"

I hung up and stood looking at my calendar, completely bemused. How was it possible that I had looked at my calendar no less than 10 times and every single time I had thought that my appointment was today? Even though it was clearly written on the right day?

My brain, people. I am starting to get concerned. And as if this were not enough, let me present to you Exhibit B:

When I was in school, my favorite subject was English. I love words, I love the rules that go along with them, I love stringing together a sentence, a thought, a story. I was always fairly decent at it, at least back then.

But back then...that was a long time ago.

I found a Grammar Girl quiz a while back (they have since changed it, but if you want to see the new version, check it out here) and since another way that I love to waste time is to take quizzes, I was excited. I was pretty confident that I would do well, because after all, this was my best subject.

So I took it. About halfway through, a question popped up, something along the lines of:

Verbs that end in -ed are regular verbs, irregular verbs, or triangular verbs?

My mind utterly and completely blanked out. It sounded familiar. In fact, they all 3 sounded familiar. Regular. Irregular. Triangular. Yes. All good choices.

But I could not remember for the life of me what they meant, and which was the right answer.

You know what is coming, right? I chose triangular verb, oh yes I did, and then held my breath as I clicked to see the answer revealed.

Wrong! It was more than happy to inform me. The correct answer is regular verb. And then to add to my humiliation, it added in no uncertain terms, There is NO SUCH THING as a triangular verb.

Well, then.

Sure, sure, I know you knew that. Your 5 year old probably knows that. Everybody knows that there is no such thing as a triangular verb.

To make myself feel a little better, I have started doing what I did when I was in school; every time I hear a word that I do not know the meaning of, I add it to a list and then look it up and try to commit to memory its meaning. We'll see if this helps sharpen my brain a little.

Any words that you want to help me out with and add to my list? I need all the help I can get.


Monday, October 06, 2008

Naps are good. And...a Winner!

Sunday was a perfect day, starting with the light drizzle that came down all night Saturday night, turning the air cool and making it feel like it is now truly autumn, and ending with a steaming bowl of cream cheese chicken soup this evening. In between there was a lot of football watching, which is our favorite Sunday afternoon activity, some napping on the couch, some leisurely reading of the Sunday paper, and just some good family time.

Savannah and I were not the only ones that got a nap. This guy did too:

For those of you who cannot tell who that is, that would be Batman. And lest you think that we go out of our way to buy these kinds of toys for our daughter, I will put your mind at ease and tell you that it was a freebie out of the Cheerios box. For some reason he was selected today as the grand prize winner of a nap in my bed. She placed him with pillows on either side of him so he couldn't roll out, just like I do with her, and then covered him up with a sheet. Then she turned on the fan (remember when I wrote about our fan issues not too long ago?), closed the door, and then informed us that we needed to be quiet because Batman was napping.

We tried to keep it down.

So this perfect day is coming to a close, and it is time now to select a winner of the Starbucks gift card....

...and the winner is....

Kaley, Commenter #12. Congrats, Kaley! Email me with your address and I'll get it in the mail to you.

Happy Monday!


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I'm no Ma Ingalls

So after all my whining and insecurities about "I See What You're Saying", it ended up being a blast. Of course there is always something to pick apart on your own video, and after visiting so many people, I kept thinking, Man, I wish I had thought of that. But seriously, I have loved meeting so many new ladies, and that's what it's really all about.

If you watched my little video to the very end, you noticed that I am doing a (very small) giveaway. If you want to get in on it, there is still time; I'll leave it open until Sunday night. It's open to anyone - not just those that did the "I See" carnival. And I am still working on replying to everyone that has been sweet enough to leave me a comment.

So this past Monday, I was in the middle of doing several loads of laundry. Not a favorite chore, and so I try to get it out of the way early in the week. I had just a load or two left when I went to throw the wet clothes into the dryer. That's when I noticed, they weren't just wet; they were sopping, wringing, dripping-on-the-floor wet.

The spin cycle had up and left the building.

And so like any capable and independent wife would do, I went running to find my hubby.

While he took a look at it, I, suddenly fancying myself to have been transported back to the olden days, decided to wring out the wet clothes by hand before tossing them into the dryer. I was feeling very Ma Ingalls-ish until I got to my 3rd t-shirt and my hands gave out. It is not easy to wring out sopping wet clothes. I just can't imagine living back in the day and having to do everything by hand...clothes and heavy blankets and overalls. Everything.

Can I just say thank God for my level-headed, technically-minded hubby? If it were up to me, I would have been on the phone with the repairman who would no doubt have charged me hundreds of dollars to come out and fix the darn thing. But Ricardo took it apart, did some research on the internet (or rather, had me do the research because I'm all savvy like that), and determined what the problem was. We found the part on Ebay, ordered it, and it was here the next day. Hubs put it all back together, and it's currently humming away as I type this, as good as new.

And it cost fifty dollars. That's it.

Of course, when I first noticed it was broken, my heart leaped (leapt?) as I thought that these might soon be the newest residents in our house:

Aren't they just beautiful? And yes. I love red. As you well know if you watched my video and saw my dining room.

But Frugal Self always beats up on Dreamy Self, putting it right back in its place in no uncertain terms. And when it comes to spending fifty bucks as opposed to a couple of thousand, I guess that's the way it should be.


Happy Birthday, Mama Belle!

Oooh, it's a virtual birthday party!

One of my very good bloggy friends (who I wish lived down the street - I totally stole that from you, MB) is Mama Belle.

And today is her birthday!

So in honor and celebration of the day she made this world a little brighter just by coming into it, a couple of us are dedicating our posts to her.

Whether you know her or not, I think you will enjoy watching this video. Sister girl can sing.

There are a few others that are participating in this birthday extravaganza:

Wendi at Everyday Miracles
Jodie at The Sky is only Dark Between the Stars
Jessica at Pianomomsicle
Sarah at Life in the Parsonage
Rachel at Musings of a Future Pastor's Wife
Amy at Permission to Peruse
Julie at Blessed with Five

Click on over and listen to the birthday girl belt out some more songs.

And...go visit her and leave her a comment...that will totally make her day.

So sweet Mama Belle, Happy Birthday! You know I love you, and we are absolutely gonna have to meet someday! Wish we could all be there to take you out for a night on the town, but I guess this will have to do for now. Hope you enjoyed this little surprise, you can thank your hubby for being the brains behind it all. ;)