Friday, March 30, 2012

Five Things for Friday

1. Tonight Peter and I are going to see The Hunger Games. I'm excited to see it! I/we would have seen it last weekend when it came out, but he was in Rhode Island for the weekend, so I couldn't go. I read these books last year and I loved them, and Peter also enjoyed them. I think Katniss Everdeen is awesome, and Peeta Mellark has earned a special place in my heart.

Believe it or not, I'm a long-time fan of archery. I used to be pretty good at it too! Not as good as Katniss though. But then again, who's as good with a bow and arrow as Katniss is? 
Helllooooo, Peeta!

2. I'm not usually into music videos that much but I saw this one a few days ago and I loved it. If you are a fan of Jane Austen or of that time period in history when long pretty dresses, beautifully written letters, and properly courting gentlemen were in fashion, you will definitely appreciate this cute song and its lovely singer from New Zealand. She expresses my sentiments of that wonderful bygone era perfectly!

3. Remember how I wrote about my three New Year's resolutions in January? I'm happy to report that I've been working on one of them: I've started exercising again! It feels great, even though I don't always feel like doing it. Fortunately I get quick results from exercise and so I'm able to see an immediate difference in my muscle tone and how I feel overall, which helps to keep me motivated. I do Pilates and I really like them. They're pretty low-impact but very effective and some of the stretches and breathing methods are really relaxing. I have a personal trainer named Laura who teaches me in the comfort of my home at times that are good for me. I just pop her into the DVD player and we're good to go. :-)

I think that when we exercise, both our present and our future self will thank us for it, don't you? I found this on Pinterest. (Ahhhh, how I love Pinterest, but I think I've mentioned that before.)
 4. You have to watch this video, so please, just take a few minutes and watch it--trust me! I saw it on Wednesday and I've been thinking about it ever since. This happened on the show Britain's Got Talent recently. It's a really good reminder of: 1) not judging a book by its cover, 2) the influence of loyal friendships, and 3) the power of beautiful music. It makes me cry when I watch it because it's just so darn awesome!

5. General Conference is this weekend! It's one of my favorite weekends of the year! I love the spiritual uplift and motivation and enlightenment that I get from Conference. And then next Sunday is Easter, and next week my mother is coming to visit. Good times!

Come listen to living prophets

I hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Lucky Lips!

Recently I was informed that I'd been selected to be a Beauty Tester for Parents magazine. How did that happen, you might ask? It must have been that they took one look at my picture and knew they had to use me somehow in their Beauty department. Ha! What really happened was that I saw a request for beauty testers in their magazine, so I went to their website, answered a few questions, forgot about it, and a few months later heard back from them that they were going to use me. Yay!

Not only do I get a bunch of free beauty products, many of which haven't been released to the public yet, but I also get to give them my opinions on them after trying them out. Add to that the fact that I love the New York City publishing scene for both books and magazines (I almost worked in this industry when we lived in New Jersey after we were first married, and I took publishing courses at New York University where some of my instructors were big-time editors at these places). So this is my connection to that scene, even if it's not on an editorial level, and that makes me happy!

Last Saturday I received my first package of beauty products in the mail. They sent me fourteen different lipsticks to try out. Fourteen! And some of them are from higher-end brands like Clinique. I may never have to buy lipstick again! I've tried about half of the lipsticks so far, and I'm happy to report that I've found a new favorite lipstick in a beautiful shade, and a couple of other good ones too. On the other hand, some of the colors are too dark for my fair skin and in one notable case I looked like I had applied neon pink chalk to my lips. For those of you who know me from everyday life, if you see my lips looking particularly funky, bright, dark, or pretty one day, now you'll know why.

This is going to be fun!

Monday, March 26, 2012

What We Did in March

My blog break is now officially over, and I didn't get any of the clean-up/redesign work done on my blog that I was planning to do. Oh well. I've been busier than I thought I'd be. With what, you might ask? Well, since you asked, I'll tell you: 
  • First, at the end of February, I got really sick with a nasty stomach bug. I was out of commission with it for about two days, and it left me weak and not myself for about a week after. The real tragedy is that I no longer enjoy the taste of my long-time favorite cookie, the Samoa/Caramel DeLite Girl Scout cookie, because I'd been eating those just before I got sick. This same thing happened last year with their peanut butter patty cookies ("Tagalongs"), and they still don't taste good to me a year later. Maybe this is nature's way of getting me to back off from the Girl Scout cookies, one at at time, year by year. While that may be a good thing, I don't think I like it very much. I love Girl Scout cookies, darn it!
  • Next was John's 7th birthday party with his friends on March 3rd. I don't particularly enjoy planning creative birthday parties for my kids; instead, my style is to have it at a fun place of my son's choosing, supervise the kids playing at the chosen place, and provide lunch and the cake. Voila! It's simple and doesn't require an over-exertion of creativity or time on my part. That works for me. And more importantly, it works for John!

 Check out that cake! Needless to say, he loves Angry Birds. (Also needless to say, I didn't make the cake.)

This is just a cute picture of John the next morning with his newly added to collection of Angry Birds, as well as Sharkie, his class mascot that we had as a guest in our home for a few days while John was the Star Student of the week in his class that week.

  • Next, we got our wills done, which I think is rather creepy and morbid. Our boys are now officially "heirs" and will be taken care of should we die an early death. It is my fervent hope that getting our wills done will not turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, at least not for a long, long time.
  • Then was John's actual birthday on March 8th, when my little boy turned seven. I can't believe he's seven!

I wrapped all of his gifts and set them out on the table the night before.

Also the night before his birthday, I hung these streamers over his bedroom door after he went to bed as a fun surprise for when he woke up in the morning.

We had tacos for dinner at John's request. It's one of his favorite meals. My mother always made us whatever we wanted for dinner on our birthdays and I'm continuing the tradition. (Fortunately for me, my kids tastes haven't gotten too fancy yet!)

And look! I made the cake this time!

  • After all of the birthday excitement was the excitement of Spring Break! We went to a really fun indoor water park resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin for a few days, which is about 3-1/2 hours north of us. It's called Kalahari and it's the largest indoor water park in the state. We had a great time! John was so sad the day we had to leave. I kind of was too, to be honest. I love vacations. We told him that maybe we'll go back there for a long weekend in the fall. We had lots of fun. 

John loved climbing across the "lily pads."


Sam would wake up each morning saying "waterslide" and couldn't wait to get to the water, but once there, he would exercise an abundance of caution and wouldn't even go down the little slides without me grabbing him and taking him down against his will.

Kalahari has a long, awesome lazy river that connects to their wave pool and they also have a good one in the kid's area.


The wave pool:

There's also an indoor theme park at Kalahari that has an awesome ropes course where you're attached to a carabiner so that you don't fall to your death or a painful injury should you lose your balance. You get really high up off the ground on the second level. John did this three times! He is fearless. I went once with him. It was a little scary crossing skinny ropes up so high, but I couldn't get too scared because my child wasn't!

 He's on the first level in these pictures. There's another level above that to get through before you finish!

Sam had fun toddler-style. I like how this picture of him on the swing ride is all blurry except for him.

We did some other fun things, like pet an adorable baby lion and eat lunch at a restaurant where a little train delivered the food and drinks to our table, which Sam loved. And I tried something new and got a mud body wrap at the resort's spa. It was a great trip! 
  • When we got home, we were welcomed with warm and mild weather. It felt like early summer, which is very unusual in March. It was awesome! We had a nine-day stretch of temperatures in the 70s and 80s, and it broke records. Buds are opening up, flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and Sam got a sunburn on his arms. In March! It's crazy but I love it.

I call this our "Popcorn popping" tree.

  • St. Patrick's Day is a must because I have Irish ancestry and therefore so do my children. Thanks to Pinterest (have I mentioned before how much I love that site?), I got creative and crafty for it for the first time ever. My kids made rainbows out of Froot Loops and we played a fun "Things that are green" Bingo game and another game that I found on Pinterest.

And of course we wore green and drank green milk for breakfast (and I bought a box of Lucky Charms for breakfast, which in conjunction with the Froot Loops made for quite the sugary weekend at our house. Usually we eat Cheerios, Chex, and Frosted Mini Wheats!).

  • And last but not least, John won his Cub Scout Pack's Pinewood Derby race, thanks to the help of a talented, helpful friend who helped Peter cut the wood and put the car together. This Saturday it will race at the regional tournament. Go John! Or rather, go John's car! 
Look at that grin. He was so happy to be the "Grand Champion"!
So those are the things I've been up to during my absence from the blogosphere. It's been a good month!

Wow, that was a long post! The way I see it, I just wrote at least three or four blog posts in one. Now I don't have to write again for awhile, right? Ha ha, just kidding. Stay tuned this week for some exciting news that I have to share with you about lipstick! (Yes, lipstick.)