Thursday, April 30, 2009

Today I Will...


~ start making plans for summer vacations

~ take my dogs for a nice long walk on the dock and look for manatees

~ go to my favorite store, Anthropologie and use my gift cards.

~ help my girls with their blog, Peace, Love & Cupcakes

~ take some pictures of my neighbor's Plumeria tree/bush (?) Soooo pretty!

~ start planning/shopping for Mother's Day

~ enjoy the delicious dinner that Taylor is making tonight

~ catch up on some reading

~ buy tickets for a ballet recital

~compliment someone while I am out shopping

~ paint my nails:-)

Hope you have a wonderful day, too!

Please visit mama kat for more writing prompts.




Wednesday, April 29, 2009

When life hands you headaches...

...you have a tough time starting an exercise program! Okay, so TODAY is the official start of the 3o day challenge for this girl because yesterday was a total bust. I planned on getting my teeth cleaned and then going to the gym but while at the dentist for a deep cleaning (give me a root canal, any day) I started to get a headache. I could see the signs were there for a fast approaching migraine so I put off exercising until today. Good thing, as I can't imagine my head pounding any worse than it was. Times like this, I am so happy I have a bedroom that is painted choclate brown. It makes shutting the blinds, keeping the sun out and curling up in bed so much easier:-) Speaking of chocolate, didn't I hear it is good for migraines??? hahaha Anyway, today is the dreaded "day after a migraine" which means I feel as if i was hit by a truck...or maybe lived through another session with the personal trainer:-) Anyway, I WILL start the challenge today but with a nice long walk around the neighborhood and along the dock.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tip of the Day...Clean your Computer Screen

My sister sent this to me. She must have noticed how dirty my computer screen gets. I figured some of you might have the same problem. I mean, we all know how to clean the outside of the computer monitors. But, have you ever wondered how to clean the inside of the glass? It's a particularly perplexing problem, but, it's been solved. You must put your internet page on full screen mode (that's the little box in the top right of this page.) Then click on the link below. In a minute, it will be all sparkly and clean. Happy Tuesday!!!

30 day Challenge...Get in Shape!


I've been saying I was going to do this for a long time...and putting it off...so here goes. Thanks to Megan, this is the month I finally get back into exercising, which I USED to love. She is hosting a 30 day challenge to help the rest of us out. If you would like to join in, check out her blog for more info. Basically, exercise for 30 days (Sundays off) and drink your water.

Last week, I had a session with a personal trainer who showed NO MERCY on me, but did give me a good plan to get back in shape, or at least in better shape. Basically, I use the exercise balance ball and hand weights, as well as a bosu balance board. These exercises are for my "resistance" training. Trust me when I say they were much tougher than they looked. The benefit of doing your weight work on one of these balance thingies is that while you are exercising your arms or legs, you are also working your core stomach muscles. Double benefit...Yay! Then, I need to do some form of cardio for at least 5 days...ideally 6. If I do one of the machines at the gym (treadmill, ellyptical...) I can get away with 30 minutes per session. If I choose walking at home or biking, she said I need to do one hour. Yikes!!!! Since my goal is not only to tone and get stronger but to lose weight, I need to make sure I am burning those calories. Anyway, I think I can do this. My girls are on board to help me out so wish me luck on Day 1 of the 30 Day Challenge:-)

"The advantage of exercising every day is that you die healthier."

"I know what Victoria's Secret is. Nobody under the age of 30 can fit into their clothes!"

Sunday, April 26, 2009

What I Learned This Week...


Okay, I think the "What I Learned" posts from Jo-Lynn at Musings of a Housewife are going to be a keeper for this blog. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that we all learn little (and big) things every day, so here are a few things I learned this week.

~When you sit the family down for a "family discussion", you better be prepared for the rest of the family to have their own thoughts and opinions that are totally different than yours. When...and how did this happen?:-)

~That just because I worked out ONE TIME with a personal trainer (who I am sure tried to kill me) doesn't mean it's time to start swimsuit shopping. Oooh...that was not pretty! Back to the gym:-)

~That it is scary when your child has surgery...even if it is minor and you know the dr. does it over and over again. Walking away before they put her to sleep was way harder on me than her...she was already feeling pretty easy thanks to the pre-op meds!

~That the guy at Publix who was weighing his luggage yesterday was one clever guy. He said he knew he had over packed for the family vacation and couldn't afford the overweight luggage fees and needed a big scale to weigh the bags. He was over...and went home to re-pack. Me...I would get to the airport and tell my husband it wasn't my fault. It's what he gets for buying such heavy rolling suitcases in the first place:-)

~That Slumdog Millionaire really was a good movie...and tragic doesn't even begin to describe the situation that some children are forced to live/grow-up in.

~I think I have learned, once and for all, that when you chip or crack a tooth and it doesn't hurt...it will eventually. And THEN you will pay much more money than you might have if you took care of it right away. Trust me on this one.

~Lastly, that kids eventually WILL try new foods if you eat them and give them chances to try them. I never forced my girls to eat anything other than the basic food groups prepared simply...and today at 14 and 12, they will request salads, stir-fry with TONS of veggies, veggie burgers and even fish...sometimes. They lived on chicken tenders, mac-n-cheese and spaghettios...and now want to try everything they can...even the healthy stuff! Have faith, moms of picky eaters:-)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I've Been Tagged...


Okay, I confess...I love things like this. Thank you to JenJen at GottaLoveMom
for thinking of me. I'm sorry it took me a few days but I had a hard time narrowing my lists of wishes and stuff down to 8. (Notice on many of them, I cheated and combined
a few similar answers:-)

**8 Things I'm Looking Forward To**
1) Christmas time...always!
2) Visiting Seaside, Fl this summer
3) Taylor's recital and performance at ABT Alabama
4) Hopefully going to the World's Longest Yard Sale
5) Finally getting the haircut I have been wanting all along
6) Going to a Univ. of Florida/Gators football game...in the SWAMP:-)
7) Reading a few books I recently bought...hope they're good!
8) Going to an uncrowded beach this summer with my girls, floating in the Gulf, long walks on the beach and looking for seashells.

**8 Things I Did Yesterday**
1) Went to the gym with Jordie
2) Took Taylor to ballet and then a birthday party
3) Went out to dinner with my family to Iguana Mia's
4) Read my favorite magazine...Victoria...while drinking Chai tea
5) Watched the movie HouseSitter with Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn
6) Helped my husband fill holes on our shutters created by a cute but VERY ANNOYING woodpecker!
7) Walked my dogs
8) Went to bed early

**8 Things I Wish I Could Do**
1) Visit the Paris Flea Market...often, and open a boutique selling the great stuff I found.
2) Live in Tuscany for a month and learn to cook real italian food.
3) Write a book for my daughters...or a children's book
4) Lose 20 lbs...or 15lbs...or even 10!!!:-)
5) learn to sew, knit, crochet, paint and take better pictures. My "learn to do" llist is endless:-)
6) Finish my scrapbooks
7) Learn to speak French
8) Avoid the dentist!!!

**8 Shows I Watch On TV**
1) **24**
2) American Idol
3) What Not To Wear
4) Today Show
5) Food Network Star/Design Star
6) Dancing With the Stars/So You Think You Can Dance
7) Project Runway
8) Martha Stewart...yep, I'm one of THOSE people:-)

**8 People I Tag** (Please visit them... And to those I tagged, I can't wait to see your answers..unless you've already been tagged with this and then I excuse you from the tag:-))
1) Pink Martini @ Pink Martinis and Pearls
2) Betty @ It's Me Betty
3) Laura @ A Form of Therapy
4) Ronda @ Stella's Mom
5) Jennifer @ It's a Beauty-Filled Life
6) The Pink Tutu
7) Becky @ Farm Girl Paints
8) Beth @ Manic Mother




Thursday, April 16, 2009

3 Things that made me HAPPY today!

You know how they say it isn't the big things, but the little things that can make your day. Well, I'm having one of those days. First, I finally watched Susan Boyle's audition on Britain's Got Talent...and what can I say, she made me smile, laugh and cry. Thank you to the others who have posted it...now it's my turn to pass it on to a few people. Please click on this link to check it out. You'll be so HAPPY you did:-)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY

Next, while buying a few things at my favorite little grocery store, Fresh Market, I saw the most beautiful Gardenia plants. I LOVE GARDENIAS!!!!! As soon as I walked in the door, I cold smell their beautiful scent...and put one in my cart. I've been wanting one of these ever since I moved 2 years ago. I used to have them by my front porch and would smell them when I walked out to get my morning paper. So nice...happy again:-)

The third thing to make my day was discovering these treats in the frozen section at the market...milk chocolate covered bananas. OH MY GOSH...they are so good. We went crazy over them on this hot, sunny day. Here's the thing...I always thought these would be so gross so I've never tried them. Lately, my daughter has been slicing bananas and freezing them briefly for a snack so I gave these a try. They're 130 calories...not bad considering a good chunk of that comes from a banana, right? They also have dark chocolate ones so I'm trying those next. Dark chocolate is supposed to be good for you and a banana isn't all bad...so this must be an OK diet food. Maybe??? Let's hope:-)

Anyway, pay attention to the small things today...and Be Happy!

P.S. Freddy would like to thank all of his loyal fans who wished him a Happy Birthday. He got a new bone and stuffed dinosaur, so he's a happy boy:-)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dog Wisdom

Today, my little guy is 6 years old. Yep...he's a tax day baby!:-) I know what you're thinking...another post about my dogs. You had to expect this...I mean, he had a 3rd birthday party with my daughter and her friends...and he was on the cake! He's just a little spoiled:-)

This is the little boy I never had so bear with me, please. Freddy deserves this, after 6 years of being dressed up in tu-tu's, pushed in doll strollers and riding in Barbie jeeps, trust me:-)

I decided to share one of my favorite pieces of
"dog wisdom", in honor of him. Happy Birthday Freddy Boom-Boom! (That's right, he was named after a famous golfer, Freddy Couples:-)

Things A Dog Can Teach Us
Author Unknown

1. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

2. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

3. When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

4. Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.

5. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

6. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

7. Be loyal. Run, romp and play daily.

8. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

9. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

10. When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

11. No matter how often you're scolded, don't buy into the guilt thing and pout...run right back and make friends.

12. When it's in your best interest, practice obedience.

13. Let others know when they've invaded your territory.

14. Take naps and stretch before rising.

15. Never pretend to be something you're not.

16. Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

17. On hot days, drink lots of water and lay under a shady tree.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Say Yes to Treasured Moments

Today, I had the pleasure of taking my 2 beautiful girls for tea. What a treat! Taylor, my 14 year old, loves tea and everything old-fashioned. She was as happy as I have ever seen her. Jordie likes tea too but went along more as a good sister...and ended up having a wonderful time.

We visited a sweet little place called Brambles Tea House in Naples, FL. It is a lovely little place owned by an English couple. All I can say is if you are ever in Naples...

Taylor and I had the Pumpkin Cream tea and Jordie had the Caribbean tea. Both were good but we especially loved the coconut flavor in Jordie's tea. We had the most incredible scones and Jane, our waitress, explained how to eat them. First, you split them in half horizontally, spread the strawberry preserves and on top of that, the devonshire cream. Finish by placing a sliced strawberry on top. And DO NOT put the halves back together sandwich style:-)

Anyway, we had such a great time. I kept thinking how special moments like this are. My girls are growing up so fast. Like everyone else, I had a million other things to do today but I am so happy I said "yes" when they asked to spend the day this way. Sometimes, I have no choice but to say no, so I think they were as surprised as I was that I agreed to their request.

My suggestion to you...before automatically saying no to your child's request, stop and think if there is any way to say yes. Sometimes there isn't...but many times there is. I will always remember the special day that we had because for once I said "yes".

Inspiring Quote From An Inspiring Man...

Today marks the anniversary of the Apollo 13 incident (1970)
which nearly took the lives of 3 astronauts. What was almost a tragedy turned out to be a miraculous survival. Here is today's quote from one of those astronauts, Commander Jim Lovell.
"There are people who make things happen, there are people who
watch things happen, and there are people who wonder what
happened. To be successful, you need to be a person who makes
things happen."

-- Jim Lovell

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter tidbits...

I hope all of you had a beautiful Easter Sunday. I don't have anything major to write about but did want to pass on a few things that were special about our day.

First of all, I should say I was awakened not by kids excitedly looking at their basket but by my husband saying" Wake up...I think Maui is throwing up". Happy Easter to you too!!! hahahaha Maui was okay but that's how my day started. Fortunately, it got much better.

My girls loved their Easter treats and hunting for eggs (you never get too old for an egg hunt). We had a great church service and then had brunch that was mainly prepared last night and today by...my wonderful girls. Here was our menu...
Broiled Grapefruit
Chilled Strawberry Soup (Jordie's recipe)
Raspberry Danish
Scrambled Eggs with Swiss Cheese & Bacon
Hash Brown Casserole
Baked Bananas Foster French Toast (Taylor's recipe)
Fresh Fruit
It was DEE-LICIOUS!!!!!!!

That was brunch but what of dinner? Well, we weren't very hungry so the girls had a few slices of Honeybaked ham and my husband and I had some incredibly good stone crab a friend gave us. As soon as I get off this computer, it's time for lemon merengue pie baked by Taylor and a cookie cup by Jordie. Does this sound good or what??? Diet tomorrow, for sure:-)
We even got to watch one of our favorite movies, Sound of Music. How perfect is that?
Guess that's about it. See...I told you there was nothing big to report...just a really nice day. Hope yours was, too. I'll sign off with a picture of my little guy showing off the Easter egg he found. Be warned...this is too cute!:-)

Freddy

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Believe...

My Easter Basket

hahaha...Okay, it's not usually all about me but I got my Easter basket yesterday from my friend at Tales From the Fridge, Connie. First of all, I was happy just to be a part of the Easter Basket swap that Beth set up but I didn't realize how much fun it would be putting together a basket and especially getting mine. Just look at all of the cute things Connie filled my basket with. I got an adorable mug with some white tea, 2 cute springy dish towels, "chocolate" decorative bunnies (no calories there:-) and cute little chicks. (I used them on our table...aren't they cute?) She also added some easter eggs filled with candy and a few beautiful easter egg ornaments that I have a feeling this talented lady may have made. I took a pic to show you...and my girls and I are definitely going to do this with our ribbon collection next year. Check out Connie's blog for lots of awesome recipes. She was kind enough to include one in my basket that I will be making next week, as well as some special ingredients. Thank you so much Connie and I hope you have a wonderful Easter!!!

P.S. I couldn't resist taking a few pics of my Taylor, taking a break from setting our Easter table.
And just look at the big smile on Maui's face...to go with his big nose:-)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Jen's Cookie Bouquet...

Who wouldn't love to receive a bouquet of flowers as sweet as this?
My niece Jennifer made this beautiful arrangement and I just had to post this. Isn't it incredible? You would think it came from one of those cookie companies but this bouquet tastes as good as it looks, I'm sure of that!
I know there are a lot of you who would love to make something like this...
and many more who would like to receive it...like me!
I asked Jen if she had any tips to share and this is what she said...
"I found it worked best to lay the skewers on the cookie sheet
and then place the cut out cookie on top of it and press it down into the cookie.
It seemed to come off the stick easier than having the skewer on top of the cookie
when it came time to eat them.
Also, make more than you need as there will be casualties."
(Jen has 75 cookies in this arrangement...WOW!)
If you like to bake and decorate, this would be a great idea! (Click on the picture to see up close how perfectly these are frosted:-)
I have never tried such a big bouquet but used to make
small arrangements for teachers and friends.
So beautiful, Jen!!! You could sell these:-)

Thought for the day...

We tend to forget that happiness
doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have,
but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.
~Frederick Keonig

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Super Easy & Yummy...

...last minute Easter treats.
Okay, you have to bring some sweet treats for the kiddies and you have NO TIME to roll and cut out those cute bunnies and chicks. What to do??? Here are a few simple ideas...all kid tested (many times) and approved!:-)

Sugar Cookie Cups
~1 pkg refrig. sugar cookie dough
~Frosting and cute toppings
http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/recipes/1689001190_cookie-cups-recipe.jpg
~ Grease mini muffin cups.
~ Sprinkle dough with flour to minimize sticking, if necessary.
~Cut dough into 12 equal pieces; roll into balls.
~Place 1 ball in bottom of each muffin cup.
Press dough halfway up sides of muffin cups, making indentation in centers. ~Bake as directed at 350 degrees OR until golden brown.
(Cookies will be puffy. Remove from oven; gently press indentations with teaspoon.) ~Return to oven 1 to 2 minutes, just to set shape.
~ Cool cookies in muffin cups 5 minutes. Remove to wire rack; cool completely.
~Spoon or pipe fluffy frosting into cookie cups
~ Use cute colors, sprinkles, jelly beans...

Easter Brownies

Simply bake your favorite brownies and cut out with Easter egg or any other spring cookie cutters. Pipe on your favorite frosting and you're good to go. (You might even be able to put the brownies on a cookie stick. it could be cute and worth a try.)

Rice Krispie Treat Eggs...
enough said:-)
http://www.nickjr.com/finder/recipe/assets/sponsor/kellogg%27s/rk_easter_egg_mainImage.jpg

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
~you can decorate with pastel easter sprinkles.
These are super easy to do...and always a favorite.
Easter Smores...seriously!
I saw this on cakespy...Is this cool, or what?
Simply assemble the smores using marshmallow bunnies or chicks, pop in the microwave for approx. 30 sec. and voila...instant dessert!!!:-)

Peeps S'mores

Don't you just love Easter treats?:-)

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Happy, Rainbow Cake...

My daughter had a friend visit over spring break and to celebrate,
Taylor made the coolest cake I have seen in a long time.
It is totally wild...just see for yourself!



I first saw this cake idea on lillypulitzer.com
from there, you can find a link to the step by step procedure
and a recipe for cake using a box mix and adding sprite and a few other things.
We didn't follow this recipe, instead just making the recipe on the box,
but I will tell you how we did it and if we can do it... you get the picture:-)

First of all, we used 2 round cake pans and 2 boxes of french vanilla cake mix.
(If you don't double the recipe, the colors don't pop
as much since the layers are thinner but you can use one if you like.)
After mixing the cake batter, seperate into 6 bowls and add food coloring. (we used red, yellow, orange, blue, green and purple.)
By the way, the gel food colorings work much better when you want bold colors
...and this cake is bold!!!:-)
Add a color to each bowl. In the center of the pan, scoop one color batter (approx. 2/3 cup) in the center. Then, you add another scoop of a different color in the center of that batter,
so your pan will begin to look like this.
We baked it as directed, checking it after an additional 5 minutes to see if it was done.
(You have to bake it a little longer than you would if using one cake mix.)
We then used a family recipe for frosting that we love but you could use anything...
even whipped cream. I'm telling you, the girls are CRAZY over this cake!
Kids and adults will love it.
How perfect for a retro-60's or 70's party, too.
Or now that I think of it, you could make one with softer, Easter pastels.
(Another cool thing to do for little kids is ask your bakery at the grocery store
to dye the bread rainbow. I used to do this for our preschool
and make mini sandwiches.
I think the kids ate just because they had rainbow sandwiches:-)
Happy Monday!



Thursday, April 2, 2009

What's Wrong with this Picture?????


Can you see it? There is something verrrry wrong with this picture. I just got home from the store and saw this magazine while waiting in the grocery line. It was full of simple diet and workout tips, so I bought it. I was just walking out to my balcony to sit and read it cover to cover when the irony of it all hit me. Yes, that is a BIG sugar cookie on top of the magazine...complete with a bite out of it! (The fact that it is shaped like lips probably doesn't matter, right?:-) It's hopeless!!! But...rather than starting my diet AGAIN tomorrow, I'll get back on track now. Maybe I can actually make it through half a day this time:-)

Breakfast at Mickey's Cafe


How lucky was I today??? I had breakfast at Mickey's Cafe...and it was soooo good!
Jordan and Frances (her friend who is staying with us for spring break) woke up at 6 a.m and went to work in their "cafe". At 7 a.m, they invited Taylor and I to come for breakfast. The table was set, we were given a menu, my coffee was poured and music was playing in the background. Wow...I like this place!
Frances was my wonderful waitress and Jordie was Taylor's. You can see all of the yummy food we had to choose from. I ordered Pluto's Pancakes with a side of sausage and Taylor order the Mickey waffles with sausage. We both had fruit with our breakfast, too.
I was in awe at how smoothly they ran the kitchen, how delicious all of the food was...and how they cleaned up...yeah:-) (Note to moms of young kids...teach them to cook. You'll
never regret it:-)
Thank you for breakfast, girls!

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