Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Series

Yes, I know - it's not like the one thing this blog is missing is a regular series. What it's missing is regular posting, period. But... just for fun, I'm starting a monthly series called Outfit of the Month.

I subscribe to way too many magazines and all of them have at least a fashion section, if not more. I often see things I like, mark them, and then let the stack of mags grow to 3 foot proportions. I've been working my way through that stack recently, tearing out and scanning things I feel like I need to save. It's usually just a product or two, but sometimes I see an entire look that grabs me and I show it to my husband and say, "That's what I wish I was wearing." Only I don't want to spend $3,829 on the outfit.
And voila!

A new series is born. I will post looks that I love, but show what I would substitue instead - pieces that would be in a real person's budget.  I will be posting the April Outfit of the Month this weekend, but just to get my three readers excited, here's the look I'll be going for.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why Did I Only Take Two?

We went on family vacation this week. A vacation we've been planning for five months and that took us North to lovely, cool Pinetop. And on the 1st day of that vacation my four year old started throwing up. And he didn't stop. On the 3rd day my three year old started too. I sighed a lot, stayed in while my sweet husband took the well kids out, did a lot of laundry, watched a lot of basketball, and wondered why on earth I only took two books on vacation. Why, oh why?

We made it home mostly in one piece, and I realized I haven't done a book review here for a while, although you can follow all my book reviews on Goodreads. So I though I'd recap some worthwhile things I've read lately.

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
If you love mystery, action, intrigue, and great characterization you will enjoy this book. The plot is unique and intricate - it jumps beween two characters, who eventually come together as we start to see the bigger picture. Many secrets hang on until the end... to be revealed in the next book, Sapphique, which was great too.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Another dystopian series - but I loved the characters, dialogue, emotion, and fast-action of this book. The 2nd book throws in some interesting plot twists, but is a little slower paced. I'll be checking out the 3rd soon.

My Life in France by Julia Child
I loved this partial biography and now I definitely want to see Paris, try much more French food, and get ahold of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. This book is full of interesting stuff about France, Europe, history, politics, relationships, and food! The writing was 1st person, journal style, and was a hodge podge of stories and anecdotes. It wasn't formal or fussy, just like Julia!

Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster
A thoroughly charming novelette about a young girl who was raised in an orphanage and is sent to college by a secret, wealthy benefactor. The entire book is in letter form, as Judy writes to her Daddy Long Legs and tells him all about her studies and college life. I enjoyed the historical aspects, the simple straightforward writing, the light-hearted comedy, and the happy ending.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Under the Sea

Recently Mom Select sent us a 3D Sneaky Floor Puzzle from Patch Products. This is a large floor puzzle, about 2ft by 3 ft, with thick pieces that stand up well to my three crazy boys. My kids have really been enjoying puzzles lately, and it's one of the few things they can do together without fighting too much. Even my three year old can get in on the action a little with my help. The boys loved this big puzzle, with large, easy to match pieces and the fun and colorful underwater scene. There are 46 pieces, so it's challenging enough for a 6-8 year old, but not too bad for a 4-5 year old.

And where's the Sneaky part, you ask? Hidden in the background are all 26 letters of the alphabet and 10 numerals. This was so exciting for my 3 year old - "Mom, there's a T!" This feature makes this puzzle much more fun for the younger set. And when you have it all put together... you can put on the included 3D glasses and all the letters and numbers jump out at you. It's pretty cool, even for an old mom like me.

There are three puzzle scenes, the Singin' Sea Creatures that we had, and Lightning Bugs All Around, and Midnight Safari. I think these puzzles would make a great gift for boys or girls, especially for families, and at only $10-15, won't break your budget. We might pick up a few for Christmas gifts next year. I found them for sale on Patch's website, Amazon, Target online, and a few other online retailers.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Musical Mornings

I'm not ashamed to admit that Honeycomb is my all-time favorite breakfast cereal. I don't buy it often because I can eat an entire box dry while watching TiVo for an hour. It's so light and crunchy and addictive! But this week my boys convinced me to buy a box for them as a special spring break treat. While munching on it the first morning I noticed the box said there were 15 free music downloads inside! And hey, I like music.

When I went to I found that someone at Post put together a sampler of music, supposedly all new, up-and-coming bands. And since Honeycomb is targeted at kids, it looks like they were careful to keep the lyrics clean, which I appreciate. I have never heard of any of the artists (not that I'm any kind of music guru) but I kinda love all the songs. The boys and I have turned out living room into a dance floor! You can check out the website and hear all the songs full-length without the code and if you like what you hear then run to your grocery store for a box of crunchy, honey goodness and get your code inside to download the album.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sprucing Up My Boring Shirts & Front Door

I still love my monthly craft group - this month we made some fabric flowers. I see these everywhere and they seem so easy to make, and so expensive to buy at a store or botique. And I was right, they cost maybe a dollar, and take 10-15 minutes each. There are so many tutorials out there, but we just made 2 kinds of flowers: folded pieces of felt or flannel glued to a circle backing, and acetate/polyester type fabric circles stacked together with burned edges. They can be made in many sizes and used for pins, hairclips, headbands, belts, wreaths, etc. Here are the ones I made to add a little variety to my boring, solid-colored wardrobe.


Then I decided to make some larger flowers out of spring-y fabric to embellish a yarn wreath for my front door. I chose some boucle suiting fabric with a large weave and when I cut out the larger flowers, they were a bit floppy so I sprayed them well with ironing starch & they worked perfectly. I've been wanting to make one of these yarn wreaths for a while & I like that I can add/change embellishments whenever I like. I just pinned these flowers on for now & can make it into something else later. That's one of the reasons I picked solid cream yarn.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Why Do I Love Him?

There's a link I've been saving on my computer for about a year. Swiss Miss blogged about a poster that says, "i love you because" and then leaves a blank for you to fill you your reasons. You frame it and then use dry erase markers to change your reasons whenever you feel the urge. I've been wanting to flat-out copy this idea and gift it to my husband because I'm not always great at telling him how wonderful I think he is.

I finally put this together in Illustrator (though the simple design could have been completed in any word processing program) and had it printed at Kinko's. I took my own paper - textured, watercolor paper that prints beautifully on my home printer. But it looked awful on their fancy printers & I had them print it again on plain, white card stock. And it looks so nice! I put it in a simple frame and hung it up to surprise my husband for Valentine's day. And of course, part of the gift is that he gets to hear different reasons I love him every day. Which he seems to like.

Naturally, as soon as I finished my husband's gift for Valentine's Day, I've been seeing homemade versions of these all over blogland. But I'm pretty sure my sweet hubby appreciates his own anyway.