Monday, February 27, 2012

Blog Break

Yes. This is most definitely me sometimes!
I'm taking a little break from the blogosphere for the next three weeks while I try to get some projects done, and John's 7th birthday is next week, and then we're going on a Spring Break trip. I'm also planning on doing some spring-cleaning on my blog here. Maybe I'll even finally figure out how to get a picture up there at the top and do something semi-fancy with the blog title. Probably not, but we'll see. See you in mid-March. Toodles!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sunset on Winter

I wanted to do a post today about the awesome beach on Cape Cod that I mentioned last week, but that post does not yet exist. I haven't had time to put it together yet because I'm trying to read and finish a book for my book club meeting tomorrow, plus there are a hundred other things going on this week. Okay, maybe not a hundred, but it's a busy week!

I'm also a little overwhelmed at how I'm going to put this beach post together. There are so many pictures I took that I think are just beautiful, and I have to decide which ones to include and which ones get cut, and how to put it all together. Nothing ruins a blog post faster than picture overload, even when they are pictures that you love. I might have to break it up into a number of different posts (seriously, this beach and our experiences there were that awesome), but I don't want people to get sick of reading about it. But it's my blog, dang it! And it really was a great beach.

So while I try to get that all figured out, I will post instead today some pictures that I took awhile back of a pretty winter sunset outside of my house. I like the contrast of the white snow and bare branches with the golden pink colors in the sky. And since February is winding down and it's been such a mild winter this year, I'm hoping that the sun truly is setting on winter and that spring really is just around the corner, that March will both come in and go out like a lamb. No lions and no April Fool's tricks, old man winter! You had your chance!

Monday, February 20, 2012


John and Sam got a bubble machine for Christmas, and it's definitely one of the best things they received.  They have lots of fun with all of the bubbles, and it gives them good exercise, which is great for the winter months when we're inside a lot. Look at how fun this is! 


I love how Sam's little hand is reaching up for the bubble.

"This is freakin' awesome!" exclaims Sam in excited toddler babble.

I bought it on amazon for a good price; it's the Bubble Machine from Kidoozie. It works well and is easy to use, turning on and off with the touch of a button. You just have to buy your own bubble solution.

Easy on-off.
 The Kidoozie Bubble Machine. Definitely a good investment!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Five Things for Friday

1. Valentine's Day was a mixed bag, at least from a food perspective. On the one hand, I treated myself to a nice lunch by getting seafood chowder that tasted surprisingly authentic (not an easy feat in the landlocked Midwest!) and a dozen dark chocolate covered strawberries which I devoured all that afternoon. They were completely addictive and delicious! On the other hand, I wanted to make heart-shaped pumpkin pancakes for dinner, and they were a total failure. I couldn't figure out how to make the heart molds work and the batter was too runny and I scalded the bottoms of two different frying pans trying to make them, and my kids wouldn't touch the sad stack of non-heart shaped pancakes I brought to the table. EPIC FAIL! I'll have to do something better next year. That shouldn't be too hard!

2. I love my new alarm clock/sound machine! It's the Sound Soother White Noise Machine from The Sharper Image. I got it for Christmas from Peter but I didn't set it up and start using it until last weekend. It has twenty different sounds, which is awesome. It's been so nice to read and go to sleep to the sound of a crackling fire, which I like to picture being in a cozy fireplace in my room. I haven't used the alarm clock yet (my 2-year-old has that covered pretty well), but when I do use it, it will be nice to wake up to the sound of chirping birds or a babbling brook or the ocean waves crashing against the shore near my dream beach house on Cape Cod. Anyway...I love it!

3. I got this adorable new book, When My Baby Dreams by Adele Enersen, that is so cute. I'd read about this woman awhile ago and how she sets up different backgrounds around her cooperative and soundly sleeping baby while she napped. This is a very creative mother! (I would never be able to do this for many reasons, one of them being that naptime is my hallowed time to get things done or just relax. Another reason is that I wouldn't be able to come up with these ideas and props in a million years!)
My favorite is the Bookworm. So cute!

"When my baby dreams of being a little bug...she thinks to herself, 'Today I'll be a bookworm!'"

4. What would this post be without a Downton Abbey mention?
This scene from last week's episode made me happy!

Matthew and Mary. Sigh.
You know what also made me happy? The fact that the episode turned out to be two hours long instead of one! That was an awesome surprise! The final episode of the season is airing this weekend and I'm hoping that it too will be a double feature. And what else would this post be without a link to an article about the show? This is a funny one from The Daily Beast about how PBS has become cool because of Downton. Although as a longtime PBS fan, I take a little bit of offense to that!

5. And of course, I need to mention the other big interest in my life right now, Pinterest! I've been a member of the site for two weeks. I totally love it. It's been increasingly challenging to manage my time with it though, which is why I took so long to join it in the first place. Help! On the bright side, a sophisticated friend of mine from Philadelphia seriously wrote this on my Facebook wall the other day: "Just FYI every time I go on Pinterest I think I wonder what Donna pinned today and if I could I'd repin like 90% of your stuff. " How awesome is that? I may not be able to cook pancakes, but I've got mad Pinterest skills! I pinned a ton of things this week, and here is just one of them. This is such a pretty kitchen! 

I think there's enough good news in this post to qualify it for a Good News post, so I'm linking up to my friend's blog today.

I hope you had a good week and that you have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Coming Out of His Shell

This has to be one of my favorite photos that I took last summer. We were at the beach on Cape Cod, Massachusetts and I was helping my son collect hermit crabs in a bucket (we released them back into the ocean safe and sound after awhile). I was holding this little crab and he peeked out of his shell just as I took the picture. Great timing little guy! You can see his tiny eyes poking out from the top of his shell. Who knew that hermit crabs could actually be cute!?

Next week I'm planning on doing a blog post about the beach where I took this picture. It is one of the best beaches I've ever been to. Because of the tides, my 1-year-old was able to walk out into the ocean for about a quarter of a mile on his own! It was awesome!! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Guys, My Valentines

My three guys are my most favorite valentines. And my only valentines, for that matter. I love them each so much!   

(Don't you just love Peter's wrestling technique? Trapping John under his legs and letting Sam climb on him while he takes a rest. Genius!)

I hope you enjoy the valentines in your life today. Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Five Things for Friday

1. I've been preoccupied by two things this week: Pinterest and Downton Abbey.

First, Pinterest. I love it! I get up in the morning thinking "I wonder what new things I'll find and pin today!" I seriously do! (Do I need help?) I'm sure that will wear off since this was my first week using it, but I'm really happy that I've found a place full of good ideas that is so easy and pleasant to use. I found a bunch of good things this week, and these are three of my faves (editorial restraint in effect!):

Prince Edward Island. I'm going here in June!
My old love, ballet.
I think this is so funny!

2. The second thing that's been keeping me preoccupied this week is Downton Abbey. I really do love this show, and it keeps getting better and better. And for some reason it's been in the news a lot this week. First there was a good article about its popularity. And then I saw this article about what the actors look like in real life. And finally there's this article with great book ideas of what to read once Season 2 ends until Season 3 begins (next winter!). And there was a hilarious video that had me cracking up all week that was a spoof from Saturday Night Live of the show for Spike TV. I was going to post it on here because it's really funny, but yesterday NBC removed the video from everywhere because of copyright issues. Bummer! If/when they put it back up again I'll post the video.

3. A quick political note: I chose my pick for the Republican team weeks ago--Romney-Santorum. I still think that's the best choice. Romney is a strong leader who is electable because independents like him and he's proven that he can work effectively with Democrats, and Santorum is the Washington insider who seems to be a genuinely nice guy, and the bigots people who won't vote for Romney because of his religion will be more likely to support him with Santorum on the ticket, as well as those who don't think Romney is conservative enough. I think that this could be the winning combination. And despite Santorum's sweep of three states on Tuesday, Romney-Santorum is my prediction for what will end up happening. You heard it hear first!

4. I'm sorry, #4 isn't lighthearted or fun, but it will be quick. I won't ever support Planned Parenthood. Ever. They may do some good things for women but that doesn't change the fact that I think it's a horrid organization that does some really reprehensible things. This op-ed piece from The Wall Street Journal explains why I feel this way. 

5. On a lighter note, last Saturday night I indulged in the best bath I've had in a long time. I took a totally relaxing bubble bath with the jacuzzi jets going and my head resting on a soft bath pillow, and soon after when I got into bed I felt like I literally melted peacefully right into a good night's sleep. It was so nice!

Those are totally my legs and pretty painted toenails.

So those were some of the things that made up my week. I hope your week had good things in it too!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Off With Their Heads!

Sometimes Sam, my two-year-old, throws things. Sometimes they're things that aren't supposed to be thrown; recently, it was one of my Willow Tree figurines, which isn't the first time that's happened, but it was the first time that serious damage was sustained in the form of a perfectly executed double beheading.


Ironically, the name of this figurine is "Tenderness" and it's a mother and her little boy enjoying a special tender moment, the kind of moments that I love having with my own little boy. But now that Sam has done his little boy thing to it, maybe it should be re-named "Reality" instead. Ha!

Fortunately, I was able to glue the heads back on, and now this sweet statuette is safely positioned out of reach up high on a bookshelf. If you look closely you can see the cracks from their beheading, but all is well again. If anything, the mother's and boy's heads are closer together now than they were before. There must be a lesson in that. (What doesn't kill you only makes you closer?)


Actually, I think this incident sums up motherhood and life in general very well. There are moments of tenderness and contentment and there are also difficult times with problems that need to be worked on and fixed, but a little love and patience (and super-glue) can fix just about anything and bring the tender loving moments back and can make you stronger and closer in the process.

Wow. That was deep!  

The perpetrator. It's hard to stay mad at this little stinker for long!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Very Pinteresting!

A few days ago I finally joined Pinterest. The lure of cute owl things and other random things that I like proved to be too much to resist, as did the enthusiasm that several of my friends have for the site. I'd been thinking about joining for awhile but was hesitant to do so because I worried that it would be one more thing that would take away my time. I can't afford to get too preoccupied with something new and addictive while I'm trying to get and keep my life organized and on track. But I decided to live a little and join, and guess what? I love it! I haven't totally figured it out yet, but it's pretty easy and it's a really fun way to find and keep ideas about almost everything

These are just a few of the fun things I've found and "pinned" already (Well, technically, re-pinned. I've only found and pinned a few things of my own so far.):

My dream home library!
I like this cute, easy, healthy snack idea for the kids.
This is an adorable photo idea! I'm going to do this with my next baby.

And of course, OWLS! (As a conscientous editor I will only post two things from this category, which is proof that I do indeed have self-restraint and that I can perhaps be trusted not to abuse my time with Pinterest!)

Whooo wants this cute tote bag? I do!

Pinterest. Definitely a good addition to my life right now. It's only been about five days, but things haven't careened out of control yet. I think I can handle this! Knock on wood.

Follow Me on Pinterest

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ten Things to Smile About in January

I saw this idea on a new friend's blog yesterday and I love it! At the end of each month you write a list of ten good things that happened that month. So without further ado, here are ten things that made me smile in January.

1) I kicked my To-Do Lists's butt and got a lot of things done in January. It feels good to be productive!

2) I started taking an ice-skating class, something I've been wanting to do for years! I really enjoy it.

3) I hired a housecleaning company to come and clean once a month. No more monthly deep-cleaning of four different bathrooms on three different floors for me! No more streaking the Pergo floors with my apparently inadequate mopping skills! (P.S. I am not a big fan of Pergo!) The days I had to do those things were always among my least favorite days of the month, and now they're a thing of the past!

4) I finished a book that took me over a year to read. But it was so worth it for the things I learned about nutrition and health! I now consider myself a "flexitarian" and it feels great to be eating healthier than I probably ever have.

5) Downton Abbey. I love it!

6) An overall mild, unseasonably warm January. I even took my kids to play at the playground one day, in January, in Iowa. This winter has been the best!

7) I finally let go of my fears and got a babysitter for my kids! And they were great!

8) I bought a new dress and new high heels and went to my husband's fancy corporate holiday dinner, complete with dueling pianos as the evening's entertainment. (Hence the need for a babysitter). It was fun!

9) I enjoyed my children, especially my 2-year-old, who is at one of my favorite child stages. Sometimes I wish I could freeze him and keep him that age for the next ten years!

10) Hot cocoa topped with marshmallows and whipped cream (despite what I said in #4!). January is a great month for that!

Thanks Emmy for the great idea! I plan on doing this every month as a way to focus on the good things in life, big and small.