Friday, September 28, 2007

A person's a person, no matter how small. - Dr. Seuss

I couldn't help but pass along two funny things BabyBoy said today. At times he can drive me so crazy but most of the time he's such a sweet, funny kid.

He went to the bathroom this afternoon and upon his return this was our discussion:

BabyBoy: Mommy, do you know what's really useful?

Me: What?

BabyBoy: Those toilets at Target that flush themselves. You should really think about buying one of those for my bathroom. Then you wouldn't have to nag me to flush the toilet.

Me: Thanks, I'll take it under advisement.

Note to self: Reprimand Dr. Daddy for telling BabyBoy I'm a nag.

Sometime later we were in the playroom and the kids were coloring some of those felt picture thingies you can get in the dollar bin at Target.

BabyBoy: Mommy, have you seen BabyGirl's picture?

Me: Yes, it's so beautiful.

BabyBoy: Do you know what's more beautiful than BabyGirl's picture?

BabyBoy: BabyGirl. I love her.

WOW. So maybe they don't mean it after all when they're practically mauling each other in the car.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dirty, Sexy Money

Did anyone watch this show last night? I sat down with a large basket of laundry and a larger glass of wine in hopes that I would be atleast mildly entertained. I wasn't disappointed! I think this will be my new indulgence every week. ABC has got it goin on! First Deperate Housewives, then Grey's, Brothers and Sisters and now this! They're the new NBC.
For those of you who enjoy deep, thoughtful television this is not the show for you. Now, for my girls out there who enjoy television for what it's supposed to be; distracting, entertaining, fascinating...this is a must see! I love me some trashy primetime TV. "Dallas" remains my all time favorite but for now it looks like "Dirty, Sexy Money" might be in the running. Thursdays, 10pm on ABC. For those of you who don't stay up late this is DVR worthy!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Great Vacations

So, in case any of you haven't noticed we're kind of Disney freaks around here. Not in a weird way, mind you, we just love how family oriented the place is. It doesn't hurt that there are great restaurants and hotels to go along with it. And if you're ever in the Orlando area and happen to have a rental car you simply must go to the outlet mall. They have an OILILY!
Our trip with BabyGirl was great. She is such a pleasant child and was so grateful that we had taken her on a trip by herself. She loved having mommy and daddy dote on her all week.
We did the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique but I have to admit that my little princess was a beauty school dropout. She made it through about 30 minutes of hair and nails but when they started tugging on her oversensitive scalp that was all she wrote. I've never seen a kid bounce out of a seat so quickly. If you have a daughter, you must take her here. BabyGirl loved all the personalized attention she got. They did a great job and weren't even going to let us pay because they didn't finish the job. We insisted because we had taken up their time and a reservation that someone else could have used. Still, how's that for customer service? These Disney folks have got it goin on! Here's a pic of the primping:

We stayed here at the Boardwalk Inn. We're members of the Disney Vacation Club so we've stayed at several of the resorts on the Disney property. I have to say, we really liked the Boardwalk. The great thing about the Disney Vacation Club is that you can stay in a villa for less than the price of a regular sized room at any of the hotels. You get a bedroom, a seperate living area with fold out couch, huge bathroom and a full kitchen. We had tons of space and BabyGirl could nap while we had a cocktail. Good stuff! This resort is close to Epcot and MGM (you can walk or take a boat) but you do have to take a bus anywhere else.

BabyGirl loved the parade and the Cinderella Princess Dinner at 1900 Park Faire at the Grand Floridian Hotel.

Check out the cheesecake smile with Prince Charming. Dr. Daddy has made a note to buy a bigger gun.

She also quickly learned about collecting autographs and posing for the camera.

Honestly, though, she probably would have been perfectly content if we had never left the pool. Get a load of this slide! Our little daredevil had a blast.

Now that we're back I'm already planning our next trip! Halloween is the BEST time to go. They have a great Halloween Party and Parade. We went last year and had a blast. The kids even get to trick or treat throughout the park. Dr. Daddy isn't so sure. He says he wants to go somewhere tropical. My response? How about another Disney Cruise!?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

My Man

So, we're back from Disney. I'll be sure to post lots of fun pix once I have them downloaded. So far I'm unpacked, some laundry done (who am I kidding? I NEVER have it all done), kids back to the usual 20 times daily fights, Mommy and Daddy only up to two fights today (not bad considering I gave him a hunnydo list a mile long), and the dog pissed the floor once. I would actually have to consider this a lowkey day. At any rate, I found this little questionnaire on a blog and thought it was cute.

1. I met him/her _at a babyshower for my then fiance's aunt which was held at a bar. For real_.
2. We dated _9 months_ before we got engaged.
3. I knew he/she was the one _when we went skiing the first time and he wasn't too much better than me____.
4. The thing I like best about him/her _is that he's wicked intelligent. I always said I'd never marry someone dumber than me. Plus, it makes for pretty smart kids. Shallow, I know__.
5. When he/she proposed _Hah! After a huge fight that started with his mother rearranging his entire house after I had decorated it for our first Christmas.
6. The song we had/want at our wedding _James Taylor...How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You____.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _um, sewing?____, tomorrow my plans include it's Monday and we all know what that means, and Sunday, I want to __N/A___!

For those of you not inclined to do this one, I give you the Food Fill-In Friday!
1. Chips or chocolate? _chips____.
2. Pickles on your hamburger? _lots____
3. Baked potato: with everything or _definitely everything____.
4. The perfect meal _this is a toughie. I have to say a really great sea bass or a really rare steak____.
5. Martinis, wine, beer or _gin and tonic____.
6. Your favorite pirate is (technically not food, but still yummy)_Huh?____.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Princess Extravaganza

We're off to Disneyworld today to take BabyGirl for a princess trip. BabyBoy has been several times by himself so we decided to take BabyGirl by herself this time. I think Dr. Daddy might be more excited than her!
We have two princess dinners planned and an appointment at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. We'll be gone until Friday but I'll post pictures when we return!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Posh and Becks are Just Like Us?

Well, friends, it is time for me to unveil my dirty little secret. I am totally obsessed with celebrity gossip. Not all celebs, just the ones I am intrigued by. Brit, Reese, Posh, Brooke (that's Shields for you non Jordache wearers), Holmes. Speaking of Holmes (on a side note); my Dad used to live in Wilmington, NC where Dawson's Creek was filmed. That's right, folks. Pretend you never watched it. Whateva. Anyhoo, my brother and I were celeb obsessed then, too. He actually did a few episodes on the show as an extra and then as "young Dawson". We used to follow Kate around. Not like stalking. Well, not really anyway. She drove a Honda Accord. Seriously! And she lived in a really normal ranch style house in a neighborhood out by the airport, which is where the Universal East studios were. Everyone said she was a bitch in person, but I totally don't believe it. She just oozed sweet. Now she just oozes weird. Damned Tom.
Okay, back to Posh and Becks. Is it just me or does it seem odd that they have a garage door opener fastened to the visor of the car? I mean, I drive a VOLVO and it has the programmable garage door opener thingy so you don't have to have that gizmo in the car. These people are mega celebrities for goodness sake. What else do their assistants have to do besides program the garage door thingy in the car? For real. This just confirms my assertion from many moons ago that I should be a celebrity assistant. Can you imagine all the stuff Posh gets from designers for free that she might, just might give you? You KNOW I'm not talking clothes here since she's a size negative two. But handbags and shoes? Dear Lord. I would be in pure brand name heaven.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Babysitter Pirating

For those of you out there (and you KNOW who you are) who like to steal other people's babysitters let me just be the first person to tell you that it is not the best way to win friends and influence people.
In the past I have been lucky enough to find wonderful sitters. Mostly adult women who are extremely capable, who love my kids and who actually play with them when they are here. I pay my sitters very well in hopes that any ill behavior from my precious darlings will be quickly forgotten and in order to maintain loyalty.
On RARE occassions I have shared my sitters with friends who were in desperate need of a warm body. Mind you, I've always tried to give out the names of my mediocre sitters first but that doesn't always work out. I am generally a very nice and generous person, but when it comes to my sitters I am like a greedy kid in a candy store. I don't want to share! However, on the rare occassions when I have shared those coveted phone numbers with only my dearest of friends it is with the understanding that it is a one time deal.
Laugh if you must, but I'm not kidding around here. Most of my girlfriends are fully aware that if they're planning on calling one of my sitters they better make sure I don't need her first. I, in turn, return the courtesy by doing the same. I even have a couple of sitters who will call me before taking another job to see if I need them.
Occasionally, however, a situation may occur when one of my sitters is, say, at the pool with someone else's kids and one of the mom's approaches her and asks for her number. I'm sorry, but that's just not proper babysitter borrowing etiquette. You don't go straight to the source, my friends. You must work through the broker.
Bottom line...take care of your sitters and they will take care of you. Watch out, though, for those sneaky, sly mommies who meddle their way in and steal that wonderful sitter right out from under you.
Oh, and by the way, Dads are even worse about this than Moms. You get a bunch of guys talking about who sits who's kids and you're done. They throw out names and numbers like a pimp on crack.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bounce House Party Ideas

I'm writing today to answer a reader request from Magnolia Mama. Her four year old is having his birthday at one of the bouncy house franchises (do I hear a collective groan?) that our kids adore so much. I really don't like these places because much like Chuck E Cheese, they seem to be teeming with germs. My son and daughter, however, are obsessed and can't wait to have their parties there. Lucky you, MM, BabyBoy had a Bounce House and Barbeque party for his 4th!

Here are some of the ideas that worked for me.

For BabyBoy's party I did a cake similar to this but with two tiers. Nothing too fancy, but super cute. You can find the directions at Martha Stewart's website.

I also found this cake that I thought was too cute. You could also consider doing a cupcake tower. Less work for you; just pass those puppies out and don't worry about having to cut anything.

For favors at our party I did a traditional baggie full of "kiddie" type goodies. I took clear cello bags and filled them with superballs, bubbles, ring pops, temporary tatoos and bubblegum. I tied the bags with brightly colored raffia and threaded a red, blue, yellow or green wiffle ball through the bow. If you don't want to go to the trouble of collecting so much stuff, you could do bubbles with custom made labels thanking everyone for coming to your son's party. They're really simple to make on your computer. Just buy some mailing labels and use the premade templates they offer on the box.

As for decorations, you really don't have to do too much. My experience at the bouncy place in my town is that they already have a room set up with decorations. If you wanted to jazz up the tables you could scatter these adorable Mini Gumball Machines around and let the kids take them home after the party.

I love all things monogrammed or personalized so for BabyBoy's party I had my friend at To Bee Named make me these adorable napkins. They kind of went with the primary colors theme and the stripes were a fun contrast to all the polkadots and bouncy balls.

Hope these ideas were helpful! Don't forget to take lots of pictures!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Bibbidi, Bobbidi Boo!

Today I'm featuring another kids party! This March BabyGirl turned 3 and of course, she wanted a princess party. She thought that having the party at Disneyworld was a fantastic idea. Unfortunately I had to drag her back to reality and asked her to consider a different location. "I guess we'll just have to have it at the club", she said. Say no more, I thought. This I can do.

We had about 13 little girls coming. I decorated the "grand ballroom" in high style with lots of pink and purple. I really didn't want it to end up being a big, cheezy Disney Princess fest so we tried to lay off too many Party Warehouse decorations. My adorable cousin dressed up as Cinderella and took pictures with the kids. She did an amazing job. I'm acting as her agent now so if anyone's interested....

We had two tables set up; one for food and one for crafts. I bought some little princess carriage purses from Michael's and let the girls decorate them. I found a website that sold tiaras and sceptors by the dozen for a pretty reasonable price so we had one of each for each girl. I borrowed a Princess Bounce House from a friend and you KNOW that was a big hit! Most of the girls dressed up in their princess attire. We had chicken fingers, fries, popcorn shrimp and salad. Most of the parents stayed so we had lots of wine, too! No 3 year old party is complete without a little Chardonnay.

We sent out this invitation from Picture Perfect. I ordered from Polkadot Design. They weren't too difficult to lay out and print. I invited all princesses to join us in the Castle Ballroom at the country club and to dress in Royal Attire for an Imperial Feast.

Cinderella was a huge hit. My cousin really got into the part. I had her go to my hairdresser to get her hair done. She had a blast.

The calm before the storm... Napkins courtesy of To Bee Named.

The kids really enjoyed posing with Cinderella, crafting, and playing in the bounce house.

I continue to believe that the person who invented pinatas for kids parties should be forced to attend daily birthday parties with screaming, fighting kids. He should also be the one who has to hold the pinata and receive the occasional blow from the blunt object with which the kids are pummeling the sugar filled timebomb.

I used to bake cakes in college to earn a little extra dough. (no pun intended) To all you mothers out there, let me save you some time and heartache by telling you that baking a "homemade" cake is a complete waste of time. I always use a box mix. Just get the yellow box cake mix, bake accordingly, and while it's cooling brush the tops of each layer with a grand marnier and sugar mixture (heat the sugar and grand marnier over low heat until the sugar melts). You cannot go wrong with this combo. The cake will be moist and tasty everytime and everyone will think you worked for hours.
So, this is THE CAKE. I felt like I was baking her wedding cake!!!

It was a big hit!

At the end of the party, someone who shall remain unnamed decided we should gather all the balloons and let the "princess" make a wish and send them off into the sunset. Adorable idea in theory.

Predictably, the wind was blowing just right and the balloons flew off not into the sunset, but the trees in front of the club. The princess was devastated but we couldn't stop laughing. The perfect end to the perfect part.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Bath Time!

I am so, so excited to feature a new website today! You see, when we moved to our new (old) house, we gave up a ton of bathroom space. The kids really got the shaft. So, I've been trying very hard to make their new bathroom cute. I was able to use our old curtains and shower curtain from the previous house. Then one day I was surfing the web and found this adorable website that had handpainted pictures that matched my shower curtain. You can imagine my excitement! Not to mention the fact that they are very reasonably priced. They are actually reprints that have been placed on a hand bordered canvas. You cannot even tell that they are reprints. They have been retouched much like a professional photographer's canvas prints and look amazing. Here are the results...

The view from the door...

The pictures themselves...

The shower picture is first and the second is the one from the Pottery Barn website. It's the A to Z shower curtain. You can't get it anymore on the website but it is available on ebay.

I found these adorable prints at Karen's Cottage Studio

Please check out her site. She really does have great stuff. I've gotten pretty picky about artwork. I have a "nothing but originals" rule. I've decided that these qualify even though they're reprints because they do have the custom retouch and they're giclee canvas prints.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Party Recipes

The cheese slaw pictured in my last post is truly a local phenomenon. It is amazing. I know it doesn't sound like it would taste good but I won't be disappointed. Dr. Daddy doesn't even like mayo and he loves it.

The recipe comes from this cookbook.

Lib Wilhelm's Cheese Slaw

1 pound swiss cheese, coarsely shredded (don't use the prebagged kind; it just won't work as well)
1 bunch green onions with tops, chopped
1/2 cup chopped mild banana peppers
1/2 cup finely chopped jalapeno peppers
1 head cabbage

Combine the cheese, green onions, banana peppers and jalapeno peppers in a bowl. Add enough mayonnaise to bind and mix well. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Add additional mayo if needed at serving time.
Hollow out the center of the cabbage and fold back the outer leaves. Spoon the cheese mixture into the center. Serve with corn chip scoops, sesame sticks, carrot sticks, Pepperidge Farm Butterfly crackers.


The chicken skewers with peanut dipping sauce is a Barefoot Contessa recipe and can be found here.
Grilled Lemon Chicken Skewers with Satay Dip

The Ginger Soy Flank Steak is super easy.

2 flank steaks (I buy them in packs of two from Sam's Club)
2 cups soy sauce
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh grated ginger

Over medium heat cook soy sauce and sugar until sugar dissolves. Cool. Stir in ginger. Add two flank steaks to marinade and place in freezer bag. Marinate 8 hours or overnight. Grill on medium heat for 4 minutes on each side or until preferred doneness. Slice thin and serve.


Birthday Party Revisited

I love to entertain, and in the past have done some event/party planning that I've really enjoyed. I thought I'd take today to revisit one of the parties I did a few years ago and hopefully share some great ideas with you!
This was a surprise 30th birthday party for a friend of mine. It all started with the invitations (which, of course, I don't have a picture of!). They consisted of a lime green square booklet with the invitation inside. Around the booklet was wrapped a black and white striped ribbon belt that I made with some grosgrain, d-rings, and a glue gun.

My girlfriend loves all green and white for floral arrangements, so in the entryway we put this arrangement of hydrangeas, white roses and hanging amaranthus (the green hangy downy stuff). It was a learning experience making this arrangement! I had never tackled anything this large before.

On the food table we lined up rectangular glass vases filled with white roses. We also added tea lights for effect.

Since the food was served buffet style I thought it would be handy to "package" all the utensils together. I tied them together with, what else?, a grosgrain ribbon belt. These are super easy to make and I've re-used them several times since.

For the food we had cheese slaw with crackers and carrots (recipe this afternoon), chicken satay with spicy peanut dip, soy-ginger marinated flank steak and veggie crudite with spicy asian dip (see prior posting for this delish recipe). As you can tell, we kind of had an asian theme with the food. I took some scraps of fabric I had and made horizontal table runners over a black tablecloth.

The cake was store bought. To make it look prettier I added some chocolate dipped strawberries and placed it on my Southern Living at Home Barley Twist Stand. YUM!

Last but not least, I made CD favors for everyone to take home. They had the top 10 hits from the year my girlfriend was born.

Overall, a great party. It was held at her house so when she came home from shopping with her mom we were all there waiting! Her sweet husband was the one who got the ball rolling by calling me in the first place. Good guy!

Hope you've gotten some great ideas. I'll try to post some recipes this afternoon.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Oh, NO she did not!

She really does appear to be such a sweet, innocent doll doesn't she? And for the most part, she truly is. Today, however, she confirmed that kids really do say the darndest things. At BabyBoy's school the teachers bring them out to the car at the end of each day. One of his teachers is quite large but is the absolute sweetest woman you can imagine. Nothing but nice things to say. She even manages to find ways to compliment the fact that BabyBoy talks constantly. Diarrhea of the mouth we call it. He's talking and he can't shut up...
Anyway. Back to BabyGirl. So the teacher is putting BabyBoy in his booster seat and as she walks away but BEFORE the door is shut BabyGirl shouts excitedly "MOMMY! That girl has a BABY in her tummy!!!"
"Wh, WHAT DID YOU SAY?", I asked as I closed the windows as fast as their little power motors could go.
"Oh, well, maybe she's just fat", she says.
Now, we have really tried to reiterate to the kids that some people are just bigger than others and that it's okay for everyone to be different. BabyBoy is really good about it. Obviously, BabyGirl is still working on that one. Thankfully, I think BabyBoy was talking so loud at the same time that the teacher didn't even hear her. Hopefully?

Sewing is Fun

This is what I keep telling myself! It's my new mantra. I would say that I'm an intermediate seamstress. My mom was an amazing seamstress (made her own wedding dress) and I learned some from her. Mostly, I just learn as I go. I have two huge sewing projects for the fall. My bedroom curtains (three valances and six panels), BabyGirl's curtains (two valances and four panels) as well as her bedspread, pillows and a small tablecloth for her bedside table. Normally, I'm not a procrastinator but I'm dreading all of these!!!
I think I've chosen the valances I will use. For my room I am using this fabric.

I'm pretty sure I'll do this pattern for the valances. (assuming I can find someone to make the cornice frames) Did I just hear my Father in Law volunteer?

BabyGirl's room is a different animal entirely. I'm no longer worried about how much I spent on her bedding because it doesn't match and I have to return it anyway! I think I've accepted the fact that I'm just going to have to make something myself.
This is the fabric for her room.

It's super cute but I've had a hard time matching colors and I have not yet found a coordinating fabric. Here's what I think I'm going to do for her valances.

I'm thinking I'll do an ivory pom pom trim for everything in her room. Any ideas for a coordinating fabric?

So, if you're a friend of mine and you don't see me for a few months, now you know why! Come by and visit me in my sewing cave!