Hair Extensions, Kid Rock, Lesbian Dreams & Party Bread: A Baby Shower.

31 December 2009 | 6 Comments

Y'all {allow me to channel Ash for a moment} I have the BEST friends in the world.  I mean, I really do.  You know about the besties already.  {And I got to see the fun one this week for the first time in FORever.}  But let me tell you my dirty little secret.  I have internet friends.  Oh yes... in addition to my bloggy BFF Ash, I have a wonderful group of girls that I met while wedding planning and we've remained friends ever since.  Hear me out... it may have been an unconventional way of meeting, but these girls I talk to on a daily basis, they are my sanity, they make me laugh till I want to pee my pants, and they are there to listen and {mostly} not pass judgement when one of us does something assinine.  They are my warm and fuzzies and I think they are freaking fabulous.

Two of the girls are pregnant with their first babies and due within weeks of each other.   We're a baby making bunch, let me tell ya.  There are currently three others {that we know of} who are also pregnant & one has a newborn.  Loads of babymaking juju going on, some *cough* {Noelle has FOUR!} *cough* more than others.

And I know I promised pics, but I was having too much fun with those girls to take them.  It's ok if you want to nominate me as the worst.  blogger.  ever.  I can take it.

That really is the problem with good parties or dinners or whatnot.  You get caught up in the laughing about hearing Kid Rock one minute and Dixie Chicks or disco the next.  You force hugs on certified non-huggers, mostly because you don't get to see them enough, but a little to make them squirmy from the love too.  You get to hang out with your husband's work girlfriend who is hilarious and talks about things that should be wrong to say out loud, but are so funny that you want to pee your pants a little... and you also want to hate her just a little because she is a skinny freaking minnie, but she's too nice to hate and you actually like her.  You marvel at the fact that everyone was having a great hair day except for you.  {Why does that always seem to happen?}  But then you feel a little better when one of the girls proclaims her hair is totally FAKE.  What?!?!  So then you're forced to think about getting your own fake hair until someone points out that you would look like Crystal Gayle and you laugh some more.  You touch baby bellies and make a guessing game of Lori's belly called penis or not and analyze the merits and pitfalls of finding out vs not finding out.  {We're right down the middle on that one.  Some of us are control freaks and some like surprises.}  You eat Emily's party bread until you want to burst, but it is so good that you just.  can't.  stop.  Oh the garlicy, cheesy goodness.  And then your husband comes home with your toddler who hasn't eaten dinner, with a bandaid stuck to his face looking like a CRAZY person and you wonder what he's really been up to all night.

I'm not going to lie, Bunny & Thor's Mama, it warms my heart to shower you with love and weirdness and friendship and laughter and craziness, because that is exactly what you give in return.  So many blessings on both of you as you begin the insanity that we call motherhood.

See you in 2010.

29 December 2009 | 2 Comments
How annoying and yet hilarious was it in grade school to say "See ya next year!" as you were leaving for Christmas break?  Ahhh, good times.

Sorry that I didn't get it together enough to schedule some posts to keep you occupied... especially those of you back to the daily grind.  I am taking a little time off to spend with the family, my husband is off all week as well.  Plus, I get to throw the most fun baby shower for two of my fave girls. Stay tuned for pics... but not from Finn's new camera, we're getting a lot of the ceiling and random objects.

We had a fabulous Christmas & I hope you did too.  What did Santa bring to your house?? 


Thin Mints

21 December 2009 | 4 Comments
The first time I met my fab friend Steph, she made these AMAZING peppermint patty cookies that everyone raved about for days.  That was four years ago and hers are still WAY prettier than mine will ever be, but as long as they taste just perfect, that's what really counts... right?  When she gave up the recipe for these, I thought she was joking because they are the easiest things ever to make!

First hook up a double boiler by sticking a glass bowl on top of a pan with simmering water in it and pour two bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips in.  Let them melt and plop a tablespoon of Crisco in it.  Stir in a teaspoon of mint extract.  When the chocolate is totally smooth, start dipping Ritz crackers in the chocolate using two forks to coat and then fish them out.  I sprinkled some with crushed candy canes, but fancy pants Steph melts white chocolate and flings it like an artist... so hers are prettier.

I also made a batch of white chocolate with almond extract and topped those with crushed Heath bars.  The possibilities are truly endless with different types of chocolate and extracts.  How about orange with dark chocolate?  Mmmm...

Guess what else I did tonight?  Made 88 of these!

If you haven't done so, check out my $10 gift series and get those last minute gifts taken care of!

$10 and an Hour - Romantic Gift for your LOVE

20 December 2009 | 0 Comments

 The romantic gift would also be great to use for stocking stuffers. 

First, I created a cd of love songs {we already had blank cds in the house} and designed a cover for the cd case.  We have a printer that allows me to print directly onto the cd to personalize further, but you could also leave it blank.  I just used songs already in our music library, but if you wanted to go over the $10 limit, you could easily purchase all kinds of new music online at iTunes or Amazon.

Next, I purchased the candle {Shhhh... it's a Glade with the label removed} at Target for $2.50.

I also made {some cute & some hot} love coupons to spice up the gift a bit.  It doesn't take any money to give a massage or make out like a teenager, but it does show that you're thinking of your love. 

The last piece of this gift was a love letter.  There is nothing more romantic than telling the person you love all of the amazing reasons why you're enamoured with them. 

So, the grand total was $2.50.  I think I may add some chocolates or maybe some baby oil for that massage I've promised.  Both would still be within budget!

And a little gift for you...  You can download and print {share with your friends!} the LOVE COUPONS that I created to use for your own romantic gift.  There are ten different coupons from a date night to a quickie.  Enjoy!

To see more of the $10 Gift series, click here.

$10 and an Hour - Gift for the MUSIC LOVER

For the music lover we found 3 great cds {Barenaked Ladies, Phish, & Josh Kelley} at the Dollar Store.  Grand total was $3.  You read that right!  THREE DOLLARS.  You can even tuck a schedule of all the free concerts in your area into the gift if you'd like.  I used red and black wrapping paper to wrap each individually, then I used a band cut from a coordinating paper to wrap around all three, but you could substituate in scrap paper in a pretty pattern if you'd like for the band.

To read more about the $10 gift series, click here.

$10 and an Hour - Gift for the BOOKWORM

It is great if you can match the packaging to the gift.  For the bookworm, I chose The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society found at the grocery store!  OK, ok, so I went over budget by 50 cents with this one as well, but based on reviews I know this will be a gift well loved.  I had some left over map & photograph scrap paper that I used to make a bookmark, the other side was plain red, so I printed a Christmas message to serve as the tag as well.  I wanted to use something vintagey, so I went with a red, gold, and green poinsettia tissue paper to wrap and finished it off with an off white and gold wired bow.  I tied the bow, then used a marker to roll up the ends of the bow, slid them off and pulled them out a little to create the curly ends.

To read more about the $10 gift series, click here.

$10 and an Hour - Gift for the GIRLY GIRL

19 December 2009 | 1 Comments
This is a fabulous gift for your sister, your niece, or your best friend.  I did go slightly {58 cents} over the $10 budget for this one. 

For the girly gift, we chose the ELF Cosmetics Eye Encyclopedia for $5 and a great cocktail ring on clearance for $5.58.  Wrap with a gorgeous wide ribbon, slipping the cocktail ring over the ribbon before tying a pretty bow.

Other ideas for the girly girl?  A gorgeous scarf, a giftcard for a manicure, or some cute hair products.  Another $10 option?  This cute Merona purse I *may* have picked up for myself while we were shopping.  Absolutely love the pumpkin color and the cute shape.

To read more about the $10 gift series, click here.

$10 and an Hour - Gift for the MOVIE LOVER

This is a great, very easy gift to put together for really anyone on your Christmas giving list.  From men, women, or couples, you can customize the movie and the candy to the recipient.  Fabulous classic movies can be found at Target for less than $5 or you may even luck out at the clearance bin at the grocery if yours carries movies. 

For this gift, I had leftover popcorn containers {on the left} from Dave's outdoor movie screening party, but we found these cute plastic popcorn containers {on the right} at both the Dollar Spot {DS} at Target and the Dollar Store, so  you can inexpensively recreate the same look.

Now the goods.  We picked up When Harry Met Sally {a classic!} at Target for $4.75.  The Target Dollar Spot yielded a 3 pack box of Act II mini popcorn bags and the cute popcorn container for $1 each.  The Dollar Store had a wealth of 'movie candy' so our choices were endless.  We went with a bag of Jolly Ranchers, an 8 pack of mini Butterfingers, & Cookie Dough candy for $1 each.  That brings the Grand Total for the cute movie themed gift to a whopping $9.75!

To put it all together, I opened the bag of Jolly Ranchers and the box of Act II so that I could fit everything snuggly into the popcorn box.  I loaded a little tissue paper into the bottom of the box and gently fit everything into the box so that it could be seen & tucked When Harry Met Sally into the back.  You can wrap in cellophane if you'd like, give it as is with a bow, or pop it into a cute gift bag.

Other options for the movie lover that might be slightly more expensive?
Add in a movie rental giftcard instead of a dvd, a giftcard for a pizza or other takeaway dinner, & a bottle of soda... you can even give them Netflix for the number of months you'd like.

To read more about the $10 Gift series, click here.

Give Me $10 and an Hour.

Last minute gifting that you still have to shop for?  Stockings still to stuff?  At a loss for something to give?  Broke?  Zero time for creativity?   

Hang in there.  I've got some help on the way in the form of some unsuspecting elves that I have conned into participating in this blog series. 

The Challenge:  Create FABULOUS {inexpensive} gifts for all the people in your life.

The Rules:  The total spent on each gift can not exceed $10 and must be purchased at The Dollar Store, The Grocery Store, or Target.  Be creative & put some meaning & love behind your gifts.  Anything NOT purchased at the above stores must be found around your home and/or FREE.  Package everything in a lovely way so your giftees don't know that you didn't spend a mint... unless they read your blog.  Well, then you're screwed.

The Mission:  Gather your friend, two sisters, and hightail it to the Dollar Store, The Grocery Store, & Target armed with a list of everyone you still need to buy for and a good dose of the holiday freaking spirit.  {Drinking wine is highly recommended for those who are not driving.  Starbucks is a close second.}

So Much Awesomeness I Don't Know WHAT To Do With Myself.

18 December 2009 | 4 Comments
Can I just tell you all the fabulousness that is Miss Elizabeth?  If you're visiting {So Wonderful, So Marvelous} for the first time from her blog you already know how fab she is!  {Welcome!  Welcome!  Kick up your feet and take a look around my little corner of the 'net... there is more info about me right over there in the sidebar.} Oh yes, yes, it says she's an Evil Overlord, but she may want to look into re-branding her blog into Best Secret Santa Evah. I opened a box filled to the brim with all kinds of fun stuff. I especially loved all of the thoughtful little notes she included explaining why she chose to send that particular item to me. You can tell how much time and thought she really put into even wrapping each little thing! There were beautiful cards, yummy smelling goodies for me to use in the bath, a gently used {LOVE that you passed on a book to me... I always do this with my friends too!} book and a cute bookmark, ribbon candies {we totally tore into those IMMEDIATELY} from New England, a quirky {pure awesomeness!} Christmas cd that she made for me, and on and on it went. Those things weren't even the best part. The best part was all of the gift tags she made me from her last year's Christmas cards. Included with the cards was a story of how when she was little, her family used to do this yearly & what that meant to her and I am so touched that she shared that tradition with MY family.

So Elizabeth, I am happy to have 'met' you, you made the Secret Santa Soiree such a wonderful, positive experience for me.  I hope that though we may not run in the same blog circle we can make an effort to stay in touch.  I think that the best part of participating in the swap is being exposed to many many new, wonderful people that I wouldn't have otherwise found.  I would also like to thank Georgie & Amy for their mad organizational skillz.  You girls rock {especially you Miss Georgie & next year I want your name in the swap!} and I am so thrilled to have been a part of it this year.

For a peek at the gift I sent to Rona, peek here!

Please stay tuned this weekend for my new series on inexpensive, thoughtful, last minute gifts for everyone on your Christmas list!  They will be starting tomorrow and will last through Monday.

WFMW - Meals for New Moms

16 December 2009 | 7 Comments

One of the most fabulous gifts we were given after coming home with Finnegan was several weeks worth of meals.  It started in the hospital, my mom would bring us lunches and dinners from favorite restaurants so we weren't subjected to the horrendous hospital food.  Then we came home and lovely friends would stop over with a day or two of meals, often something that could be frozen if we didn't want to eat it that night.  My Meme made us sloppy joes, Suz brought an unbelievable Greek salad, my mom made pork tenderloin & fabulous green salad, Annie dropped off a lasagne and on and on with delicious meals, most homemade.  They included desserts, side dishes, sometimes breakfast items for the next morning and if we were lucky they stayed and held Finnegan and we actually sat down to a hot meal together.  It was heartfelt, amazingly helpful, and gave us one less thing to worry about in our sleep deprived crazy new parent state.  It was bliss.  Pure bliss.

Since those days two and a half years ago, I have had the pleasure of delivering beef & black bean enchiladas, pasta & sauce with garlic bread and salad, and beef stew to my friends in those first days home with their new babies.  I get to witness those exhausted, appreciative smiles as a warm meal is put into their hands and it makes me happy that I can do something small to help ease them into their new reality.  Tomorrow I get to see TWO of those happy faces as I deliver my chicken gyros, tzatziki, orzo pasta salad, & fruit salad to Colin James and his happy parents & big brother and Matilda Mei and her loving parents and gaggle of siblings.  It is quite a Christmas gift to me to have two new little ones that I get to oooh and ahhhh over... and promptly return to their parents!

If you haven't ever taken a dinner over to a new parent, I encourage you to do so.  And if you have, please leave a comment for me telling me what great dish you've taken.  It's always fun to have new items in my meal delivering arsenal!  If you've enjoyed this tip, head over to Works for Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family & read other great ideas!

Happy Wednesday!

Name that Baby 2009 Edition.

14 December 2009 | 6 Comments
My cousin and his fantastic wife {whom we love even more than we love him} had their newest baby... it's a BOY!  Myles is a big brother.  She had an extremely fast labor, meaning she wasn't even at the hospital for 20 minutes and she delivered after THREE pushes.  Lucky duck.

My family is weird with the naming.  It took us four days to name Finnegan, it took them three.  They even ended up filling out the paperwork twice because they thought they had decided on a name and decided against it.  How did they end up naming sweet Myles?  By popular vote.  Yes, you read that correctly.  They called every member of the family and we had the choice between Myles, Hudson, and Logan.  Every single person in our family had a say and the popular vote won.

So they're at it again... Numero Dos will have the distinct pleasure of having been named by every member of our family.  Our choices for this round were Colin James, Gavin James, or Kyle James.

Care to weigh in?

{Update:  We have a Colin James!}

It may or may not be Christmas.

11 December 2009 | 3 Comments
I know you're going to be shocked by this, but I am that annoying person who has matching bows, coordinating papers, tags, the whole Martha Stewarty shebang... usually under the tree for weeks before the actual day.  I am a freak and have been since high school when my sister and I would plan together.  I have enough ornaments in different colors to even coordinate the tree to whatever my choice of papers might be.  Mantle filled with garland and three stockings hung with care.  Holiday centerpiece on the table and Christmas cards mailed just after Thanksgiving and usually a party or two or three thrown in the mix.  Oh yeah, I am THAT girl.  Or was. 

Not this year.  This year I am being purposeful in my Christmas and on a MUCH smaller scale.  We're not doing gifts for our siblings and the gifts we are doing are much more personal and lovely in nature.  The tree is up with whatver ornaments and garland I pulled out of the box.  I am using every single Christmas paper that I already own {you should SEE the wrapping paper stash} even if that means there will be golds and plaids and bright modern papers all mixed into one jumble.  It might mean I'll have the shakes, but I am going to embrace the imperfections uniqueness.  Dave is calling it the "Best Of Christmas Past" and he cheered when I told him the plan.  There is not a doubt in my mind why I married that man.

Speaking of Dave, he and I are scaling back on gifts for each other too, mostly because we spent more on U2 tickets than I usually do on plane tickets to practially be sitting on Bono's lap in June.  That sounds way more fun to me than a sweater or a cd or a pedicure... though you know my toes will be done to see Bono.  When you're struggling to come up with a list of things you would love to own, chances are you probably don't need a whole lot.  I have seriously never been more content in the things that we have, the life that we live, I feel like we don't want for much and I'm really kind of over filling my house with stuff that I'm not super in love with.  Plus, I was maybe sort of a bitch to him last year on Christmas eve because he didn't put much thought into gifts and I was feeling overloaded and our Finnegan tried to actually take money OUT of the collection basket at the children's mass and there were 900 people and WAY too much hurrying and rushing. 

I just don't want time with my family to be about that this year.

This Christmas is about Finnegan, about family, and about friends.  You know... my three other favorite F words.  I am participating in a fantastic cookie exchange with my girlfriends, I am only sending Christmas cards {late} to my family, and we're slowing it all down.  Dave and I are really lucky that we have three grandmothers to dote on, plus my unbelievable great aunt in her 90s, amazing families, a child who is too young to be absorbed with {plus we try our damnedest to keep him unaware of} the commercialism.  There will be years for ZhuZhu pets, but this isn't one of them. 

For now, I've been oogling all kinds of loveliness all over the blogosphere and delighting in reading about, but not keeping up with, the Joneses.  What does your Christmas look like this year?

And pssssst.... after Christmas, I'll be back in full {crazy} force with a fabulous non-traditional baby shower {because cocktail parties aren't for babies} for two of my favoritest girls in the whole wide world.  This one *may* have involved me flying back special supplies from California and I can not wait to share it with you.

On Blogging.

10 December 2009 | 7 Comments
Did you know that when your Google Reader hits 1,000 items, it no longer lists the actual number of items, it just gives you the shameful, glaring 1,000+ items until you once again hit 999 items? I don't even know how many I read, but I deleted 964 items because I just couldn't take it anymore. I figure if any of you had anything that earth shattering to say the last 5 or 6ish days that I was only sporadically checking Reader, it would just have been C&P'd and highlighted on a few of my other blog reads. It amazes me some days how viral social media can be. Oh sure, I have my favorites that I always {mostly} check, but for the rest of you, you're just not that important. I get it, I'm not that important to thousands of other bloggers either. I'm ok with that. You should be too.

A lot these days, I feel like people are forgetting what the deal is with their own blog. You see... I write mainly to preserve my sanity. For days that I feel like Wonder Woman and can conquer the world and for days that I feel like a jackass and for days that I feel like a shitty parent. All of them. I look to other women who stay home, who are able to balance a career and family, single girls who embody the person I was 10 years ago, people who create amazing things, who are more stylish, less bitchy, and on those days that I need it, who bring a voice of reality and a gut check into my living room. What are your reasons?

Maybe it's because I'm not looking at this blog as a business, and it really is ok with me if you do, but I'm becoming more and more annoyed with daily giveaways of products you probably wouldn't even buy, really shitty jokes that I don't think are funny, lying to readers about who you are as a person, misrepresenting how successful you are and feeling marketed to. Be honest with your intentions and I'm good with that. If I am going to the Google Blog, I am pretty sure they're going to talk about Google, that much I'm ok with. And it's not just the marketing thing, it's someone regarding me like a commodity rather than a person, being genuinely not happy down right bitchy towards someone else getting something they wanted, lying/embellishing and printing it as fact, and/or being a full on creep. {Please say it more like creeeheeep in a singsongy way in your head to really get the full effect.} There has to be a point that you just have to bloggy break up with peeps that are not doing it for you. Right?

So why is it so hard? There has only really been one person that I've bloggy broken up with before because she was an asshole in the way she spouted off things I don't believe in, right after she lamented on why her reader numbers were down and berated a commenter for posting their opinion that she openly solicited. Mostly she was rude & I didn't so much feel bad about that one. I do feel bad that otherwise fabulous writers are consistently not writing decent content because they're worrying about numbers or ratings or being successful. It's annoying. And for the sake of everything holy, be who you are because fake doesn't do it for me and truly, don't you watch enough movies to know that the fake ones always get exposed for who they are in some horribly obvious way?

Where was I? Oh yes, my rant, which I am now totally done with.

Just one more thing... I promise you that I'm going to attempt not to be douchey, I'm going to occasionally {that means a lot probably} swear because I do in real life and it's something I'd like to change, but at 33... I mean 27, probably won't. My genius posts, the ones I am really proud of, are sporadic at best.  I will likely make you ill talking about my amazing son because he is awesome, mostly not by anything Dave or I've done, but we like to take credit anyway. I might be funny, I might be sappy, and some days I will just post that I am alive. Because I'm a blogger, and that's how I roll. HA, see there?  I would totally NOT say that in real life.  Oh, and since we're being honest here, I totally got out of bed with my sleeping husband to write this in the middle of the night because it was bugging me to write a post in my head since I knew I would forget it, but by the magic of bloggerland it's POOF 8:00 am because I didn't want you to know I am one of those lunatic write in the middle of the night writers who ramble n' stuff. 

Happy Thursday.  Fill me in on the goings on with you since, uh, you sort of accidentally on purpose got deleted from my Reader.  Oh, and for crying out loud people who haven't said hi before, say hi so I can check out your blog too, don't you want to be on my future Reader-overload list?

My fingers are broken from crafting and the flu.

08 December 2009 | 1 Comments
I'm still alive, I swear.  I'm just not entertaining, yet.

Last week I was swamped with prepping for a holiday bazaar.  I ended up doing pretty well between the decoupage frames and the ahem irreverent greeting cards.  I am half contemplating an etsy store, but I'm not sure yet.  My sister's whimsical drawings ended up being huge sellers, so YAY for Lyndsey!

Now for my mild diatribe to the bastards who decided to get the seasonal flu vaccine this year thus rendering my doc's office vaccine-less.  I know you punk asses thought by getting the seasonal vaccine for the first time ever was a smart move and it sure was, but for those of us who WANTED it, who get it every year, who were left woefully unprotected and got the flu for the first time in years... I say good day sir. 

That is all.  I promise to be back shortly or have someone fill in with an emergency guest post until my mojo returns and the bleach is dry on every surface of my house.


01 December 2009 | 5 Comments
I'm feeling angsty. 

That is all.  Well, not really all I guess, I just don't know what to write that isn't going to be angsty.  Instead of wallowing in it I'm going to pick up around here {highly contributing to my angsty-ness} and maybe go to bed early.  I'm going to go for a walk tomorrow with my {extremely} pregnant friend, she is very much ready for that baby to make her appearance.  I'm going to finish up my card printing and have everything ready to set up on Thursday.  I'm going to snuggle my two year old in the morning and hope for know it will be a better day. 

What do you do for angsty days?


Congrats to Emily for winning the frame. 
{So glad you're local & can come over and pick one out for your new house!}

And to Jackie for winning the notecards. 
{I can't even think of anyone better suited for these!  I'll pop them in the mail to you this week!}

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