Thursday, December 31, 2009

Recent Movies

We go through long spells of not seeing a movie and then I saw 3 within a few days. The first, "Avatar", I was not that excited about seeing but I didn't want to be left out. I don't really care for 3D movies or about make believe blue people. However, I'm glad I went. Although I could have done without the Liberal views that we're destroying the Earth blah blah blah. By the end of it I did care for the blue people.

I finally made it to "New Moon". I was worried that it would leave the theater before I got there. My husband stayed home with the kids this time. I'm so glad that he did. Although he's quite tolerant, the whiny teenage love talk would have put him in a bad mood.

Edward: "I promise never to put you through anything like this ever again. This is the last time you'll ever see me."

Bella: "The absence of him is everywhere I look. It's like a huge hole has been punched through my chest."

Jacob: "I know what he did to you, but Bella, I want you to know I will never hurt you."

Mom and I giggled through a few parts. Like every time Jasper showed up, they made him look ridiculous! His hair was very granny bouffant and the color was not quite right. But we enjoyed the movie. I'm really looking forward to Bella being a vampire!

Last night Chuck and I saw "Sherlock Holmes". It was the best of all! Witty and funny, I want to see it again. Normally I don't think men look good with a mustache but Jude Law pulled it off. He was great and so was Robert Downey, Jr, as usual.

The Best Mascara!

I saw an ad in a magazine about this mascara by L'Oreal. The tube has two ends, the white side builds "fibers" onto your lashes to add volume and length, then you use the black end for color. The end result is quite awesome. I love this product. It really does add length and volume but I don't care for the removing part. It comes off easily but freakishly. The "fibers" look like mini worms when wet and tend to get every where in the shower. However, I love the look so much that I deal with the worms. The price is the same as a regular tube of mascara but the results are way better, I give this product an A+!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Plastic Surgery and Real Men

A few weeks ago we watched an interesting BBC show about a journalist researching plastic surgery. She had a professional photographer take her photo then enhance it, a lot. She then took the enhanced photo to several different plastic surgeons and asked if they could make her look like the enhanced version of herself. The surgeons she saw really worried me. They looked very alien and frightening! I could not believe she would trust them to do anything to her face after seeing what they had done to themselves.

It distresses me when a man gets plastic surgery to look younger. It's just not manly. A real man does not care about his crows feet or age spots. It would bother me greatly if my husband was overly concerned about plucking wayward eyebrows or smoothing on night creams. Men, in general, get better looking with age. Let's look at some examples:

1. Sam Elliott, one of my grandmother's hero's. I've always liked him myself. What a great cowboy!

2. Tom Selleck, my other grandmother's hero. It appears that both of my grandmothers like large mustaches.

3. Harrison Ford, age has really done him well. He's way better looking these days.

What do you think? Am I right or what.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Celtic Christmas Anyone?

I have a thing for the Scottish. One day I'll visit Scotland and see my husband in a kilt.
In my enthusiasm I purchased a Scottish Christmas CD several years ago. It's a serious contender for the most annoying music ever made. The first song is great but then the rest of the CD is endless bagpipes and some sort of stringed instruments. The songs all sound the same. A headache will develop within minutes.

Last year on Christmas morning I thought we would play a joke on our families. I wanted to see who would complain first about the music, my dad or Chuck's mother, it was a toss up. Unfortunately, it turned out to be me who just could not take it anymore. I think we'll try again this year.

Baby Curls For A Little Longer

Both of my babies were born with lots of hair. So fun! Katherine was 4 years old when she had her first haircut and then only because the ends looked so bad.

Charlie's hair has been eventful this year. He was born with a beautiful head of dark hair.

However, most of it fell out at 3 months old.

The curls on the top of his head down the back did not fall out. Surprisingly, hair grew back quite a bit lighter in color.

I was able to style it with hair gel into a mo-hawk for months but lately it's grown too long. It just kind of flops over.

I can't bear to cut off the last of the little curls, yet. I've been told twice now that he needs a haircut. This just makes me more stubborn in putting it off. My new strategy is to try different products to create an "Edward" look.

I know it's a hard style for a 1 year old to pull off but I'm going to try it anyway!

Monday, December 7, 2009

I Hate Fundraisers

Katherine's been in school for about 3 months. I'm tired of the endless asking for money. I particularly don't like my child being promised "prizes" to sell from a catalog. And we all know what "great prizes" they're given. What really makes me mad is the threat, "we don't want your child's education to suffer during this year of proration".
I was complaining to my mother about this very thing when she shared what my brother's school is asking for, her scrap gold. They had a local jeweler at the school to weigh in parents' donations. All I could do was laugh.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Expensive White Lights or Cheap Colored Lights

I came across a Pottery Barn ad to use as the perfect inspiration for outdoor decorations. Isn't this beautiful! I've been collecting the plastic balls and garlands for the past few weeks, all bought at bargain prices. But my stash of white Christmas lights is down to 2 strands. Last year we bought 11 boxes of LED colored lights on clearance. Colored lights do not go along with my theme. I tried swapping them out for the white at Target, no good. I may be forced into buying more white lights. The white lights I want are $12 a box. Rats.

Our neighborhood's annual Luminary night is on the 12th. The HOA has a giant pile of sand delivered to the park where we pick up our white bags and fill the bottoms and top with a candle. All the streets are lined with luminaries for one evening. We've been asked to have our homes decorated for that night. It sounds awesome. You can see I'm under pressure here. I must have the white lights!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Best Christmas Tree EVER!

My mother has always had a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, sometimes 2 full size trees. This picture just doesn't do it justice. The flash takes away the magic of it. Here are two photos of her trees from long ago. She has since perfected the art of dressing a tree and her lip color.

Mom and I may be the only two women who consider where to put the Christmas tree when purchasing a new home. We take our trees quite seriously. So when I got married, I tried each year to achieve the same greatness as hers. It took me 10 years. Last year was the first year that I thought, "This is it! I've finally done it!". I think I cried.
I wish I had a photo with the angel facing forward but my tree is in a rotating stand and it's a difficult shot to get. That's my cutie nephew Jack popping up into the picture. He was playing with the train underneath the tree.

Now I like a tree with lots of color, sparkle and memories. If you prefer a simply dressed tree I can't help you but if you want to wow your holiday guests we can do it together!

1. Choose a tree with LOTS of pre-strung lights, if you're buying a new artificial tree choose the one with the most lights that stay lit even when one goes out or becomes loose. We use a rotating tree stand from This really makes everything sparkle and is unexpectedly useful keeping babies and animals from grabbing ornaments as they pass by to quick to grab. My dad made us a wooden stand as well because the tree limbs fell so low that no one could see the presents underneath. It also adds another foot or so to the height of the tree and is covered with a tree skirt.

2. Take the time to "fluff" the limbs. This is a very tedious and annoying task but must be done. Fluff by pulling the limbs up and apart with some branches going slightly down. I've heard that the next "new thing" in artificial trees are they don't require any fluffing. Nice.

3. Garland. This is also an annoying and tedious task but so worth your time. Most people don't bother with this which is why it'll look that much more polished when you do. Mom made this easier by using paper clips. First use the paper clip to join all the lengths of garland end to end. Next use the paper clip as a hook to join the garland to the end of the tree branches slowly going around the tree trying to make the loops pretty even and level with each other. When you're done it will not look great but have no fear. Your ornaments are going to cover any flaws. My 7 1/2 foot tree took 12 strands of garland.

4. Glass Balls are next. These need to be tucked deep into the branches spreading color evenly. You want to use the premium hanging spots on the tree limbs for your special ornaments. You will be tired of doing this but you're almost to the fun part! If you can stand it, do steps 1-4 without the kids. I later learned that Mom would rearrange just about all the ornaments that we hung after we went to bed.

5. All your unique and special ornaments are next. The kids can help with this and it will still look good. I don't think I've ever seen a tree with too many ornaments.

6. Tuck in some "picks". This will add that special decorator's touch to your tree. These don't require any hooks, they just lay or stick out of the branches. These are usually found in bins at the craft stores and are super cheap. Buy lots and buy those with lots of sparkle!

If you feel your tree just hasn't reached that greatness, I am guessing you need to buy more ornaments, picks, balls, and garland. After Christmas of course! No need to spend a lot of money for a gorgeous tree.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Two weeks ago we got a head start on our Christmas decorations. Chuck handed me down all of the boxes from the attic. I'm ashamed at my gluttony for Christmas decor. This photo is deceiving, the boxes are three deep. I did get rid of two boxes worth since then. It's a start.

What on earth could be in there you ask? Well, my 2 children have there own Christmas trees. Things are so cheap after season that I just can't resist. Katherine's already acquired two boxes of her own. Our family tree has four boxes worth of ornaments and the outside garland takes a lot of space too. I can't even remember what's in the rest.

And I bought more.

I heard about this great 90% off sale for a charity and went. It was fantastic! I bought all of these shatter-proof ornaments for $1 a box. Unfortunately, they didn't have any red so I had to buy a few more boxes at regular price. However, the outside of our house is going to be awesome!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Time Flies When You're In Love

Yesterday was our 11th year wedding anniversary! We went to the Olive Garden, one of our favorite restaurants, while the kids went out for pizza with my parents. It was nice to have my husband to myself for a few hours.

My mother warned me about choosing a wedding date so close to the holidays but I didn't listen. It does make it difficult to go anywhere with our daughter in school and having the cash. We did manage to go to New York a few years ago. My brother in-law lived in Jersey at the time so we got to stay with him and go to the city every day. It's my favorite anniversary year so far. Seeing New York at Christmas time was incredible. Here we are in Rockefeller Center shopping and people watching.

It's so strange to think we've been together for 15 years because it's been so great. I love you Chuck, you're the best husband and father that I could have ever dreamed of.

Attitudes of Thanksgiving and Annoyance

We had an adventure over the Thanksgiving holiday. My mother in-law rented a beautiful row house in Savannah, GA for all of her children to meet there and stay for a few days. This was Charlie's first long car trip. He didn't enjoy it.

Thanksgiving day had some ups and downs. Our meal was very good but it was my bright idea to try and get a family photo. It was a disaster. We walked to a small park to take advantage of the natural light but the kids went nuts. We had four kids age 2 and under. It was difficult trying to keep them together while we set up the tripod with the perfect background. We managed to get one shot with everyone happy.

My sister in-law ended up walking off in a huff at me because she was caught at the end of the group shot. Remember my rule about the outside person looking heavier?! I'm sorry Samantha. I think you're beautiful even when you're ticked off.

I've never been to Savannah and had big plans to shop and eat at The Lady and Sons, and the Casbah. The shopping was fun but my favorite part of the town was the Casbah, a Moroccan restaurant with performing belly dancers. I thought the food was awesome. I think I'll try cooking some Moroccan recipes myself. Paula Dean's restaurant was good but it took a lot of waiting and fuss to get in.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wish List

I'm a big believer in giving your husband a detailed list of what you would like to receive for birthdays and Christmas. My handsome guy always gifts a mix of the things I ask for and some of his own gift ideas. His ideas almost always work because they follow my number rule:

If it doesn't make me feel glamorous or beautiful don't.

Don'ts include: anything to do with cooking, cleaning, parenting, aging, hair removal, or exercise.

Here are few items on this year's list!

1. Amazing Grace roll on perfume by Philosophy, $25. This perfume has such a light, clean and fresh scent. I'm usually overwhelmed and headachy when I wear perfume but not with this! The price seems a little pricey but my last bottle lasted a year, well worth it.

2. So Sexy volumizing shampoo and conditioner by Victoria's Secret, $20. I was once swamped by men and women sniffing my hair in Sunday school. Yes, it does smell that wonderful! I'm just too cheap to buy it on a regular basis.

3. Umbrella by Totes sold in Target. Our last surviving umbrella is a huge blue and white contraption with Budweiser scrawled all over it. I think my husband got it free from Alltel. It just isn't me. But this one is! I need it in red please.

4. Bellydance with Jillina Choreography, Vol 1-3 DVD's from Amazon, $45. In my opinion, Jillina is the best at teaching and dancing belly dance. I love you Jillina! You might consider this one breaking my rule of no exercise but since it's my idea it is good. Chuck's gift box of Tae-Bo was not good. Billy Blanks does not wear any sequins, beads, big hair, or dance.

5. The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own by Nina Garcia from Amazon, $15. I borrowed this book from the library this summer and devoured it in one night. The illustrations and writing were whimsical and funny. I just loved it.

I hope you will consider your own list and hand it over with confidence. Every woman deserves a wonderful morning surrounded by gifts that make her feel gorgeous!

Christmas Parties

My husband's side of the family is full of fun. We spend Christmas Eve with them for a Dirty Santa exchange and dinner. We hosted this party at our home a few years ago and Chuck dressed up as Uncle Eddie from "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation". Only his Nanny, who loves the movie as much as we do, knew him immediately as Eddie. One of his aunts thought we might be hard up for money.

The following year we decided that everyone would dress up "tacky". It was so much fun! Aunt Leigh Ann came in asking "Where's my cat? Has anyone seen my cat?". Katherine loved this after she caught on to the joke.

This group had to get gas on the way to the party. Can you imagine what a site they were!

This year the decision was that we'd have a "As Seen On T.V." Dirty Santa round. Sounds silly and fun!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ninja Master Prep Blender

I am not a fan of having a lot of kitchen appliances using up precious space on the counter or in the cabinets. Two weeks ago I pulled out my old blender to mix up a lovely strawberry smoothie (allowed on my diet). I put in a couple of berries, a few pieces of ice and some liquid. After using every button and every speed my "smoothie" was more like "chunky" with some watery liquid at the bottom. I was resigned with the lousy results until I saw my friend's obviously chunk free smoothie which looked and tasted fabulous. Mine looked and tasted like ice splashed with strawberry seeds.
My husband has been inspired by this smoothie making business and has been blending his own concoctions with the same lousy results. It just so happened that he discovered "The Ninja Master Prep Blender" while browsing in Sam's this week. The packaging claimed to "blast ice into fluffy snow"and can also be used as a food processor. We were skeptical but bought it anyway, $45.00. We have been using this appliance every day now. It comes with several containers and two sets of blades. Allowing you to blend several things right after each other without having to rinse or wash. I tried it with onions today then cabbage. The onions were finely and evenly diced. The cabbage was trickier. I probably loaded it too full so the leaves were pushed to the outside of the container and had to be repeatedly pushed down. Next time I'll slowly add and will get better results.

I now can sip my smoothie instead of spooning then spitting out large chunks of ice. Nice. I give this product an A+!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Charlie!

We spent another birthday weekend partying. I have been so wrapped up taking care of sick kids, then Katherine's foot, and a new diet that I just did not have the creative energy for another party. Luckily, we have a great family. My mom decorated her kitchen table area and made cupcakes for Charlie. He loved it, but not so much the cupcake. We opened gifts, played then ate out.

The next day we had another party with the other side of the family. Chuck's lovely cousin Chelsea generously shared her party with Charlie. So sweet. And her mother made him his own cookie cake along with what smelled like awesome food. I did not partake as I'm dieting and not cheating. I was seriously tempted with the apple empanadas but I made it through the evening.
The favorite gifts are the push car, wagon and huge dump truck!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Quite a Setup!

We had great Halloween weekend. We began our celebrating with carving the pumpkins. Chuck purchased a "Pumpkin Gutter" on line this year. It's a tool that is inserted into an electric drill that allows you to speedily clean out the inside of a pumpkin. It worked really well but did throw out pieces and seeds. I would have preferred to do this task outside but in the end it wasn't too messy.

We rate this tool an A-, points subtracted for the price ($15 with shipping and handling).

Last year, we lucked up and bought a Bubble Fogger on clearance. This contraption blows fog into bubbles. It worked really well and was a big hit with adults and kids. Chuck had this set up outside along with the fire pit and black lighting. Every man who came by said, "This is quite a set up you have here". If you come by a Bubble Fogger on clearance grab it!