Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The giveaway where I make you work

I am on a plane today with Savannah, flying to what might possibly be the very smallest town in existence in Missouri, visiting my grandparents. My hubby is back home holding down the fort and probably reveling in the fact that he will be eating bachelor food for the next few nights. I believe that frozen pizza and chili dogs and hamburgers are the only things on the menu. Nary a spinach leaf in sight.

So, today is my 200th post! Honestly, I hadn't planned on doing anything about it initially. It has taken me so long to get to this point that it's almost embarrassing.

But I do love to do a giveaway. And, as I alluded to in my last post, I am in need of your help. So I am combining the two in a sneaky effort to pull out some creative ideas from you, my invisible friends.

So here's the deal:

I am in the midst of deciding whether or not to start a little blog design business. I've played with it the past several months, and have done several for friends. And I love it (I actually love figuring out the code more than the design part - how's that for exposing my inner geek?). Some of the girls I've helped out have really encouraged me to jump in and just do it; I am still vacillating.

But regardless of whether I actually start it for profit, or whether I keep doing freebies, I'd like to set up a separate page. And to do this I need a name.

And I have not a clue what I want to name it.

So this is where you all come in. I know some of you are far more creative than I am, so I need your suggestions!

Now, the good part - what's in it for you?

Well. I haven't quite figured all of that out yet. It will be several different things, but the main thing that I know you will be interested in is a $20 gift card.

I was going to purchase one to Starbucks, but it has come to my attention that not all of you are Starbucks aficionados. So I'll give the winner a choice; Starbucks, Target, Sonic, or...let's say Chik-fil-A. Because that's what sounds good to me right now, and it will give me an excuse to drive to the one that is completely on the other side of town.

To be entered, you have to leave a suggestion for the name of the blog design business. It can be anything; trust me, there are no ideas that are too silly. I won't laugh at you. At least not any harder than I did at my hubby when he suggested "Jericho"; he came up with that one right after he finished doing some Bible study in Joshua. To be fair, he scoffed with equal fervor at my suggestion of "Sweet Savannah Designs".

You can see why I'm turning to you.

As for picking the winner, the following extremely random steps will apply; if my hubby and I agree on one that we love, that person will be declared the winner. If for some reason we cannot agree, I will do a random drawing.

I am moderating comments on this post since I'll be gone. And I cannot wait to come back and see what you all have thrown out there.

Thanks for helping a sister out!

Monday, April 27, 2009

On the cleaning warpath - and Project 365, Week 17

What I'd like to know is this; why do I have this huge compulsion to clean my house right before I go on a trip?

It never hits me at any other time, this weird need to have everything spotless. I'm usually ok if everything is just picked up. But give me a departure date and a plane ticket, and suddenly I can't scrub everything fast enough. And then? I'm not even around to enjoy it. I don't get it.

We're leaving this week for our short trip to Missouri, and I have been cleaning like a maniac all day today. And also planting a few flowers to try and brighten up our back yard.

Something about cleaning a lot tends to stress me out. I know it is a stress reliever for a lot of people, but I can't stand the thought that all of the hard work I just did is going to get messed up in a matter of minutes. And so I think I snapped a few times at poor Savannah, who would follow along behind me and, well, mess things up. Because she's 3 and she likes to play and she doesn't get why she should be banned from playing just because Mommy is a little off her rocker. I'm sorry, baby.

I wanted to post a few Project 365 pictures, since I completely missed last week.

Thanks to Sara for hosting!

I'll be back to post once again before I go. My 200th post is coming up (which sounds like such a low number to me, considering how long I've been blogging. Hmmm...must be the erratic and sparse blogging schedule I adhere to). Anyway, I think I want to do a little giveaway. But I'm going to make you work for it, because I need your input on something. So come by and help a sister out!

Happy Monday, y'all.

Friday, April 24, 2009

A dream come true....sort of

I believe I've mentioned a time or twenty that at the very top of my wish list is a piano. Preferably a baby grand, black and shiny.

Never mind the fact that we have no room in our house for one....I'd make room. Couches in the living room? Who needs those?

But hubby maintains, and I know he's right, that it would just be too crowded even for an upright, so I sigh and agree with him, and continue to dream.

Today we went to Kohls to see what kind of clearance deals we could snag. Savannah and Ricardo headed straight for the toys, while I shopped in the lingerie section (which, let me tell you, was a huge, huge exercise in futility).

I'm wandering among the many aisles of undergarments, where there was plenty of selection, just none in the right color and size for me, when Ricardo and Savannah found me. He was toting a big box and sporting a huge smile, and he said, "Look what I found!"

It was a keyboard. I started to smile and scoff in that, "Yeah, right" way, because after all, we're at Kohls. Not the best known for their excellent selection of electroncis, you know? But then he told me the price; originally $100, but marked down to $9.99.

Right there in the lingerie deparment, he found a plug, knelt down on the floor, took it out of the box, plugged it in, and tested it out. Oh, how I wish I had my camera at that moment. And, oh how happy he was that I did not. He kept muttering, "I feel weird doing this over here..."

The keyboard worked. And unlike other super cheapy keyboards I've tried, on this one you could play actual chords, instead of just two warbly sounding notes at a time. A definite bonus.

So the keyboard came home with us. Savannah was in heaven.

Here's what the little beauty (ahem) looks like. Don't laugh - it's better than nothing.

Now if I can just ignore the fact that the label says "Spectrum" instead of "Steinway", we'll be in business. That, and the fact that the keys are super small, and when I go to play an octave, my fingers keep overshooting and the result is some majorly disonant sounds. And of course, no sustain pedal. I did mention it was $9.99, right?

Who says dreams don't come true?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Flip Flop Frenzy

So, yesterday I put on my cute little black wedge sandals and went shopping.

I was feeling mighty sassy at first, but then, since I obviously haven't worn them all winter, they begin to rub a little. After about 3 hours of walking around, they were really starting to rub. A lot. My poor little feet were so happy to get home and kick those shoes off. So much for vanity.

And then as I was inspecting the damage done in the form of little red welts on the top of my feet, it hit me - Linda's Flip Flop Frenzy. Today. Where we all show off our brand new shoes that our flip-flop buddy sent us. The kind of event where you are expected to take pictures of your feet, self-inflicted welts not withstanding.

However, the only redeeming factor that I have going on right now is that I got an amazing, relaxing, paraffin-dipping pedicure on Monday, thanks to a lovely gift card from some friends.

So maybe you'll focus on the pretty toes instead.

I was matched with the lovely Jamie from Purposeful Pursuit. I don't know about you, but I get so giddy when I get real mail, so I was thrilled when I got my package from her.

Aren't these darling?

And these little bracelets are the best color combination ever...I think that Savannah is going to fight me for them, though.

Jamie also sent along a little bottle of pink polish for Savannah, which thrilled her to no end. I had no peace until I sat down and painted her toes. Don't look too closely, I never claimed to be a pedicurist.

Jamie, thank you so much - I couldn't have asked for anything better! And thanks to Linda for hosting!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The vacation in my mind

If I could pick one of my favorite things in the world, sleeping in would be pert near the top of that list.

That might possibly make me sound lazy, but it's true. I love it. I don't always get to, but this fine Saturday morning, my hubby was home, and so he took care of Savananh while I blissfully snoozed away part of the morning.

At 9:15 I was half-awake and I heard him tell Savannah that they were going to take a walk. I sprang out of bed in my fuzzy state - fuzzy brain, fuzzy hair, fuzzy teeth - and stumbled to the living room where they stared at me as I announced that I wanted to go with them.

There is a truck stop about a half-mile or so away from our house, and this is where we occasionally rent our $1 Redbox movies. (Whoever invented Redbox? Genius.) We rented a couple of movies last night - Slumdog Millionaire for us, Dora for Savannah - and so they were just going to walk down the road and return them.

They waited for me to throw on some clothes and brush my teeth, and then we set off on our walk. It had rained all day yesterday, but this morning was bright and beautiful. There was a slight chill in the air so we wrapped Savannah in a blanket.

There is something....I don't know, special, I guess, about doing something with your family that you don't normally do. We take walks in the evening, but walking to a truck stop at 9:30 in the morning is not usually on our daily list of activities. We had to cross a busy street to reach it, and we were surrounded by the roar of semi-trucks speeding past.

We haven't taken a road trip in a long, long time, but just walking into the parking lot of that truck stop made me want to drop everything and drive to California. Or Pennsylvania. Or Idaho. Anywhere.

We returned our movies, and then Ricardo wanted to go look around inside. So we joined all of the travelers from everywhere wandering around and we wandered, too, looking at all of the over-priced packages of gummy bears and dried fruit, bratwursts riding a sizzling carousel under a hot light and cases of stale donuts. (To which Savannah said, "Hey, donuts! Can I have a treat?" A lady walked by with a bag full of licorice, cherry red and green apple, and a guy stood at the coffee dispensing machine, and taste-tested all of the different flavors available, glancing around to see if anybody was watching him.

We didn't buy anything, just looked and people watched, and then left five minutes later. We walked away and I told Ricardo, "All truck stops are the same, aren't they? Don't you feel like you've just been on a little vacation?"

He smiled and nodded.

And then we walked back to our house, home from our mini-vacation.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dance like no one's watching - Project 365

The rain was coming down in a steady, melodic drizzle.

Storms are a rare sight to see around here, and oh, how I love a good rain. I pulled a blanket around my shoulders and stepped outside with Savannah, and we huddled together, warm in our little cocoon.

But since she's 3, cuddling only lasts for so long, and she popped out and inched her way towards the edge, where the roof stopped and the sky began. At first she just put out a hand, tentatively, and then shrieked and pulled it back when the rain splashed and ran down her arm.

That's wet, Mama, she informed me.

She did it again. Her hand, and then a shoe. She stuck out her tongue to catch a drop, and her curly hair straightened into wet strands.

And then she was dancing in the rain.

Pure abandon. Such joy. Such freedom.

I wish I could dance like that.

We had a wonderful, simple Easter. Wonderful because of Jesus.

Wonderful, also, because our friends, who know that we have no family in the area and always take us under their wing, invited us over for a mid-afternoon lunch. Followed by an Easter Egg Hunt that lasted about 1 minute and 4 seconds. Those kids are fast.

Thank you, Sara, for hosting Project 365.

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 10, 2009

10 on the 10th: The call of the carbs

In addition to ramping up my exercise routine a little these past two weeks, I've been trying - TRYING - to eat better. Because what good is it to burn off all those calories if you're just going to pack them back on again in one fatal swoop of cheesecake?

So I've been doing a sort of pseudo-version of the South Beach Diet - pseudo because I haven't really been following it to the letter, but rather I'm using it as sort of a guideline. (And if that right there doesn't sound like some sort of loophole for cheating, I don't know what does).

Suffice it to say that I have had my fair share of chicken, spinach, ricotta cheese, and broccoli these past few weeks. And while I love all of these, sometimes a girl just needs a piece of bread, you know?

Meredith is hosting her 10 on the 10th carnival today. And I immediately knew what my 10 things were going to be this month....

The foods that I cannot eat, the ones on the bad carb list, but the ones that are just so good. Not necessarily my favorite foods ever, but since I am deprived right now, these are the ones that popped into my head. And they are sounding mighty good.

  • 1. Mashed Potatoes. Last week I made myself some mashed cauliflower to try and quiet my potato cravings. And while they weren't terrible, they aren't mashed potatoes. Not by a long shot. It's futile to even try and pretend.
  • 2. Cinnamon Streusel Apple Pie. Sometimes I make this without the crust, which cuts down on the carbs, and ostensibly, the guilt. You should see Savannah put this away - the girl knows something good when she sees it.

  • 3. A baked potato from Pappadeaux. If you have never had the pleasure of eating one of these, imagine the biggest potato you have ever seen, topped with butter, sour cream, cheese, bacon (real bacon, crisp and crumbly), and chives. Heaven.

  • 4. A slice of fresh-from-the-oven Marbled Rye Bread. This is the only yeast bread that I have ever successfully made, which might explain why it's my favorite.

  • 5. Pizza. I'm not picky - any kind will do, but my favorite is veggie with some spicy green chile.

  • 6. My Grandma's Hash Brown Casserole. Full of cheese, and french onion dip, and other sinful things that have the audacity to go straight to my hips.

  • 9. Chips and salsa. We used to buy chips. I would tell myself that they were for my hubby's lunches that he would take to work, and then give myself strict instructions to stay away from them.

Do you know how hard it is to resist the call of an already-open bag of chips?

So yeah. We don't buy chips anymore.

  • 10. A big plate of Mexican food. Beans and rice. Enchiladas, or maybe a tostada. Or maybe both.

Should I be embarrassed that some form of potatoes made 3 of these 10 spots?

Mer, thank you so much for hosting!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Needed: New Personal Trainer

I sat down to write this post just now while Savannah was eating lunch, thinking I could steal a couple of minutes without her noticing.

Um, right. She came zipping over 2 seconds later and said, "Mama! You want to exercise with me?"

I'm thinking about firing her as my personal trainer...seriously, this girl doesn't let up.

Very fitting, I suppose, seeing as how I am trying to do a wrap-up post for Linda's 2 week 5x30 challenge. And I have to say I owe most of my success to Savannah for pushing me every day, because let's face it - most of the time it's much easier to find something more fun to do, like clean the bathrooms.

So I've made a little progress. My Tae-bo kicks, while nowhere near my head, are a little higher than they were. I can make it through the whole thing without collapsing in a heap like I did on the first day. And in my book that is some serious success.

Out of the two weeks (not counting weekends), I missed one day. Last Friday was crazy, I can't remember what was going on, but I just couldn't make it work. But the rest of the time I was able to fit in at least an hour workout.

I usually hate every second while I'm doing it, but I feel incredible afterwards. Funny how it's the exact opposite when I cave and eat chocolate...I feel incredible while popping them in my mouth, and then horrible after. A combination of the sugar rush and the guilt, I suppose. Hmmm.

So part of my motiviation for this has been an upcoming trip at the end of April. Savannah and I will be going to Missouri to visit my grandparents, and so I have set a little weight loss goal for myself. Now, they could care less what I look like, but it just gives me something to shoot for, and I've figured out that I do so much better with a short-term goal in place.

Linda has promised to come back next week with another challenge....bring it on!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Project 365, Week 14 - A princess and her bling-bling

We were invited to a birthday party at our neighbor's house last night. Specifically, a party for their 6 year old girl. Which meant that there was an entire passel of other 6 year old party-goers there with her.

I say this with the upmost degree of love, because Savannah has a good deal of the Drama Queen in her, too - but who knew that putting multiple 6 year olds together for a party -and a sleep over - could create such drama?

I think Ricardo is scarred for life - I can totally see him banning all sleep-overs for Savannah for the next 20 years.

I personally have never been a huge fan of the sleep-over, even when I was young, but I suppose I'll have to deal with it sooner or later. Is 6 the age when this is supposed to start happening? I don't know. But I DO know that there will be a limit to the guests - 2, I think. Not 13. I'm learning some extremely valuable lessons from my neighbor.

The theme was a princess tea party, and the hostess passed out tiaras and necklaces, earrings and gigantic rings to all the girls, and they all fluttered around in their shiny and bedazzled princess dresses.

Ricardo taught Savannah a new word: bling-bling. As in, "Look at my bling-bling - it's bigger than my hand!"

Savannah insisted that I was a princess too. Who am I to argue? Apparently I'm a princess with slightly crooked glasses. I'll blame it on the way Savannah was smashed into the side of my face.

Other pictures from our week:

Like a good blogger, I forgot to take an "after" picture of my sparkling clean fridge. But it's done! And oh, it's beautiful.

This is what I received in the mail that totally made my entire week - I helped Lisa out with her blog, and she was sweet enough to send me this package of goodies. Believe me, I wasted no time in getting to Starbucks for a Skinny Cinnamon Dolce. Lisa, thank you!

Thanks to Sara for hosting Project 365.

Now I'm off to take my Sunday afternoon nap.