Saturday, May 31, 2008

I've been tagged!

So, it's my last morning in Maine and while I'm waiting to check out of my hotel, I decided to take advantage of my first tag ever. I'm so excited! Kat at Sunshine & Lemonade has bestowed the honor of my first tag, so here goes.

What was I doing 10 years ago?
That would have been 6/1/98, which means I was probably coming off my 3rd shift job as a mental health tech at a facility for kids. I hated that job.

Five snacks I enjoy:
1. Chocolate ice cream
2. Chocolate frosted brownies
3. Chocolate chip cookies (are we sensing a theme here?)
4. Cheese lovers Munchies
5. Tomatoes (any variety, raw, no salt)

Five Things on My To-Do list today:
1. Work on my current cross stitch project
2. Call Disney to make character meal reservations for our December trip
3. Work on meal plan for next 2 weeks
4. Have dinner with my family, who I'm missing terribly right now
5. Not get on my computer tonight, since I've been gone for 4 days

Five Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
1. Buy the summer house that I found in Maine
2. Pay off our debt & my parents debt
3. Donate to animal & kids charities
4. Buy a private jet so my family & I could travel all the time in comfort, together
5. Start college funds

Five jobs I have had:
1. Movie theater projectionist
2. Proofreader
3. Accountant for a poultry company
4. Mental health tech
5. Program staff worker for a church camp

Five of my bad habits:
1. Biting my fingernails
2. Procrastination on EVERYTHING
3. Getting bent out of shape about the small stuff (I'm really working hard on trying to let stuff go)
4. Trying to please everyone (it'll never happen, so I just need to be happy with what I can do)
5. Accumulating clutter at home (again, something I'm working on feverishly to change)

Five places I have lived:
1. East Ridge, TN
2. Chattanooga, TN
3. Hixson, TN
4. Duluth, GA
5. Portland, ME (ok, so I ASPIRE to live here someday)

Five people I would like to get to know better (yes, this means you are tagged!):
1. Angela, even though she's my BFF, because I know there are things I don't know about her
2. Jules at Just Because
3. Sky at Peachykins
4. Steph in Her Little Corner of the World
5. Michelle at Honest & Truly

Five Random Things:
1. I had a dream 2 nights ago about this elaborate tattoo that I was trying to get. One of the contestants from the last season of Project Runway was the tattoo artist. What do you think this means?
2. I do NOT understand how people can watch the weather channel. My parents and hubby are among the victims of this channel and it's apparent subliminal powers to suck people in for lengthy periods of time.
3. I had to purchase an additional suitcase last night because of the amount of stuff I bought while on vacation. That's pretty bad. So much for getting a handle on my decluttering problem.
4. I discovered, just recently, that Patrick Dempsey is from Lewiston, Maine. Another reason that I love Maine and Patrick Dempsey!
5. I quit one of my jobs last week. Now I'm down to full-time mom, part-time church secretary, and part-time admin assistant to a music program. Phew, I'm tired just typing all of that!

Maine Trip - Day 3 recap

Day 3 didn't quite turn out the way we planned. As I had mentioned earlier in the week, we were planning to go whale watching today, which is something I've wanted to do since I was a little kid. Well, mother nature rained on that parade...literally. So, whale watching goes back on my 43 Things List as something I want to do someday. Oh well.

Not one to let a little rain get me down, we headed south to Kittery, which is the home of some serious outlet mall shopping. It was also the place where I picked up the newest addition to my brand new 7qt Le Creuset French Oven. Behold it in all it's awesome-ness!

I have been coveting one of these pieces of cooking genius for a while now, so, it's coming back to Tennessee with me. I only hope that this won't put my luggage over the weight limit tomorrow. Be easy on me Delta!

Another thing that I found on this trip, was pretty momentous. My friend Rhea blogged about bumper stickers last week and I commented to her that I had none on my vehicle. Well, I finally found one that I am deeming worth enough to adhere to my precious vehicle when I return home tomorrow. Check it out.

I came across this saying on a "Welcome to Maine" sign several years ago and it stuck with me. Now I can spread the news all over the South!

Tomorrow we are flying home, which is bittersweet. I love it up here so much, that I hate to leave, but I'm really missing hubby & the kids this time, so I'm kinda happy to head home. I hope you've enjoyed tagging along on my photo journey. Back to real life soon enough! Next week should be quite interesting. The girls start swim lessons on Monday. I have 1 word to describe my thoughts on that...yikes.

Maine Trip - Day 2 recap

Friday morning started out with a fabulous walk along the wharf and then stumbling upon a great "hole in the wall" diner called, aptly, Big Mama's Diner. The space was no larger than my kitchen at home and the food was yummy! Nothing like a plate of silver dollar pancakes, home fries and bacon to get your day started right.

We decided to be really tourist-y today and ride one of those trolleys that takes you on a tour of the city. As many times as I've been here, I've never done this, so off we went. We stopped by the Maine Pier and saw this amazing mural by Robert Wyland. He painted life size replicas of humpback whales and dolphins on the side of a huge warehouse. It was gorgeous!

Next on the tour was a stop at the highest point in downtown Portland, which had some gorgeous views. View this picture up close and enjoy the beauty.

Then, we ventured into town and saw the home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Portland has an amazingly rich history and it's ASTOUNDING how many buildings from the 1800's are still intact.

Then we headed out to Cape Elizabeth, home of the most photographed lighthouse in the U.S., The Portland Headlight. There's a pic of that coming up. Here's a view of Casco Bay from the lighthouse grounds.
Oh, and here's a picture of my if I won the lottery summer house. Nice huh?

After our delightful trolley ride, we headed back into town for lunch at a cool, local hangout. There's a history behind the name of this place that I found to be hysterical. The building that houses this restaurant used to have the following painted on the side.
"$1 Looky...$2 Touchy...$3 Dewey..." And so, we enjoyed lunch at $3 Dewey's.

While waiting for our afternoon cruise to depart, we did a little shopping and more walking on the waterfront and then headed out to sea for a hair-raising adventure. A Mainer once told me that there are 2 seasons in Maine: Winter and the 4th of July. After yesterday, I'm pretty convinced he was right. It was so cold out on the water that my fingers turned blue while I tried to take gobs of pictures. I managed a few before retreating for hot cocoa in the galley.

Here's a gorgeous schooner that people pay a LOT of money to sail on. The maneuvers this craft was making almost gave me a heart attack.

And here's the Portland Head Light. Not a great picture, but very recognizable. It's the 2nd oldest lighthouse in the U.S. It was commissioned by George Washington and is now surrounded by a gorgeous state park that I would visit OFTEN if I lived here.

And so, we ended the day back at the hotel, where we enjoyed the pool and spa and headed to bed early, since the sun would be up before the roosters.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Maine Trip - Day 1 recap

Well, after a small plane delay yesterday, we finally made it to my little slice of heaven...Maine! We're in the southern coastal area and it's absolutely gorgeous. The weather has been beyond perfect so far (a bit breezy, high of 68) and the people are just as nice as I remember. I'm so glad to be "home". I think that's part of why I love it up so here so much. I feel like I've come home, rather then left home to come here. Ok, it's way too early for philosophical, so here are some pics.

Upon arrival, we picked up our land yacht. Apparently, Avis lost my memo on needing a small vehicle.

Then, rather than wasting time checking into the hotel, we went to the most important place on our list.

So, that I could purchase the most important item on my list.

And we met some locals while we were there.

All in all, it was a great first day. We got some serious shopping accomplished before our heads hit the pillow last night and I slept like a rock. This Hilton has the most comfy hotel bed I have EVER slept in. However, they need to work on the drapery in the room, because I was a little annoyed to be woken at 5am this morning to this scene peeking through my window.

The sun was completely up and shining before 5am, so I guess it felt I needed to quit wasting time sleeping this morning! That's ok, because every waking minute that I can enjoy this place, just makes me smile even more. Happy Friday everyone and I'll have more travel updates later tonight. And while you're waiting on the update, how about entering my summer giveaway contest? Only a couple of days left to enter!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Today is a spectacular Thankful Thursday! Today, I'm thankful for a really generous Dad who loves to travel and knows how much I share in that love. I'm thankful for a Mom who shares in my passion! I'm thankful for my girls who will actually miss me when I'm gone this time. I'm thankful for a hubby who actually LOVES spending time with our kids! And most of all, I'm thankful that in an hour, I will be on a plane bound for my favorite place. I love MAINE!! Check in for travel updates later tonight! And while you're waiting for my plane to land, how about entering my giveaway? Tell a friend!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Let me begin this rant by pointing out that I am a GRITS. Girl Raised In The South. Although my family background is diverse, I was definitely brought up with a lot of traditional southern values. One of these in particular is writing thank you notes. You could say that in many situations, I'm kind of a stickler about it. Here's a couple of examples for your amusement.

Scenario 1: Hubby's good friend from high school is FINALLY getting married. He graciously sends us an invite, but we can't attend due to the infant in our house, and the fact that the wedding site is 10 hours from our home. So, I feverishly comb all the "popular" wedding registry sites and finally locate some lovely barware for the happy couple's new home. I purchase it and have it shipped to their home, a couple of weeks prior to the big day. According to the shippers website, they received the package. However, I wouldn't know because it's been over 3 years now, and no thank you note.

Scenario 2: Hubby's step-sister is getting married at a site within reasonable driving distance of our home. We pack up the, now 2 kids, and the wedding gift and head for the hills. I received an invite to a shower for this girl, which so tactfully showed all sites that the registries resided, so I didn't have to do much investigating thankfully. We arrive and walk (for what seemed like miles in the most uncomfortable shoes EVER) and are horrified delighted to find that the affair is an outdoor event. Nothing like nuptials in 105 degree, 100% humidity, Tennessee August heat. After melting faster than the candles enjoying the redneck quirky ceremony, we head indoors (thank god) for the buffet reception. We head home soon thereafter and wonder if she's enjoying the gift that we left on the gift table for them (last August). Know why we're wondering...yep, no thank you note.

Scenario 3: Hubby's cousin sends us a high school graduation invite. The thought of attending this event with about 1,000 other people, just isn't our idea of a good time, plus we had scheduling conflicts. So, I head down to the Hallmark and pick out a delightfully witty card to mail him. I enclose a check for a nice sum of money and wish him well. I hope he spent the money wisely, because the check cleared our bank account. I also hope he used part of it to purchase a stamp for the thank you card that we have yet to receive.

I realize that with the digital age, letter writing has become a bit of a lost art. However, there's no excuse for not picking up a phone, sending a text, or drafting an email just to say "Thanks, I really appreciate you thinking of me/us!" So, for those out there that I might have been remiss in thanking for a gift that I (or any member of my household) received in the past several years, this is for you. THANK YOU from the bottom of my forgetful little heart!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Getting to Know Me

Happy Tuesday y'all! There are these "getting to know your friends" emails that circulate almost as much as chain letters used to. I get them ALL the time and enjoy reading them, but rarely ever answer because of time constraints. So, for all my friends out there who think I just ignore you, here are the answers that you've been waiting for! Enjoy! (And don't forget to enter my giveaway contest!! See the next post down)

1. What time did you get up this morning? 7:30
2. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Made of Honor
4. What is your favorite show on tv? Grey's Anatomy
5. What do you usually have for breakfast? What is breakfast?
6. What is your middle name? It's my maiden name
7. What food do you dislike? There are so many! We'll start with brussel sprouts.
8. What is your favorite CD at the moment? Jellyfish - "Bellybutton"
9. What kind of car do you drive? Nissan
10. Favorite sandwich? Club
11. What characteristic do you despise? Dishonesty
12. Favorite item of clothing? Jeans
13. Anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? MAINE!!!
14. Favorite brand of clothing? Old Navy or Gap
15. Where would you retire to? MAINE!!!
16. What was your most recent memorable birthday? My only memorable bday was my 8th
17. Favorite sport to watch? soccer
18. Farthest place you are sending this? My readers are from all over the world
19. Person you expect to send it back first? not applicable
20. When is your birthday? August
21. Are you a morning person or a night person? Night
22. What is your shoe size? 7.5
23. Pets? My beloved German Shepherd, Chloe
24. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us? I'm going on vacation this week
25. What did you want to be when you were little? Architect
26. Who was your 4th grade teacher? Mr. Bullinger - He was super cool!
27. Do you think people have any misconceptions about you? Yes
28. What are your plans for the weekend? Whale Watching in the Atlantic Ocean
29. Do you have anything bothering you? Not really
30. What is your full name? I have to have a couple of secrets right?
31. What are you listening to right now? A 7th Heaven rerun in the next room
32. What was the last thing you ate? Chicken with Rice soup
33. Do you wish on stars? Nope
34. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Red
35. How is the weather right now? Sunny, but a bit overcast and HUMID!!
36. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Hubby
37. Favorite soft drink? I haven't had a soft drink in 5 months (it used to be Coke Classic)
38. Favorite restaurant? Mojo Burrito
39. Hair color? Dark Brown
40. What was your favorite toy as a child? My Little Ponies
41. Summer or winter? Winter
42. Hugs or kisses? Hugs
43. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate
44. Coffee or tea? tea
45. Do you want your friends to email you back? I would like them to comment on my blog! :-)
46. When was the last time you cried? Last night
47. What is under your bed? A lot of dust! And missing kid's toys
48. What did you do last night? Watched Jon & Kate Plus 8 marathon
49. Where is the next place you're going to? The YMCA to workout
50. Salty or sweet? Both
51. How many keys on your key ring? 5
52. How many years at your current job? Mom since 2004
53. Favorite day of the week? Friday
54. How many towns have you lived in? 1
55. Do you make friends easily? Yes
56. How many people will you send this to? Not sure how many readers will stumble upon this
57. How many will respond? Everyone I hope!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Giveaway Announcement Time!!

Hi everyone! So, I'm totally stealing her idea inspired by my new friend Kat over at Sunshine & Lemonade. She had an AWESOME giveaway last week and I've decided to follow in her footsteps. I had a lot of stuff here at my house that I was too lazy to list on ebay knew would be appreciated by someone else in this lovely country, so I'm giving it away! There are 2 prizes up for grabs and here are the rules.

1. To enter this contest, all you have to do is post a comment to this thread as to which prize you want and how you intend to use it. It's that simple. If you don't have a blog that I can link to from your comment, then please include your email address. Limit 1 entry per person please.

2. I can only ship to the 48 contiguous United States, so if you don't live in one of those states, I at least need the shipping address of someone there! *UPDATE* Ok, so I've reconsidered the shipping restriction. If you live outside the lower 48 states, and are willing to help with shipping costs, then I'll open it up to international shipping. Believe me, I will find the least expensive way to ship this!

3. The contest opens at 12:01am (eastern time) on May 27, 2008 and closes at midnight (eastern time) on June 2, 2008.

4. I will randomly draw 2 winners on June 3, from all the comments posted, and post the results to my blog that day. So, be sure to come back for the results!

And without further ado, here are the prizes!

Prize #1 - Summertime Leisure Reading

This prize includes 3 books that I've enjoyed reading. "Let's Roll" by Lisa Beamer is a very uplifting book, written by a 9/11 widow. Her husband was on the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania. "The Girlfriend's Guide to Getting Your Groove Back" by Vicki Iovine is a hilarious perspective of life as a SAHM, written in a girlfriend's advice tone. I love her whole series of books! "Unstoppable Women" by Cynthia Kersey is a great book for empowering women by helping them with goal-setting and goal accomplishment. It's great for all aspects of goal setting in life. Now, while your sitting by the pool, enjoying your books and a nice beverage, I want to be sure that you're protected from the sun. I'm including my absolute fave sunscreen. It's by Avon's Skin So Soft line. It's tinted blue, so you can tell where you've applied it and it has bug guard built in (which is great for afternoons by the lake). I'm also throwing in a couple of gift certificates for Baskin Robbins. What's a summer giveaway without ice cream?

Prize #2 - The Scrapbooker's Corner

Sorry the picture isn't great, but here's the listing of everything in this prize.

  • A green polka dot 8x8 Colorbok album
  • (3) Creative Memories paper packs in various themes
  • A brand new pad of 8x8 girl themed papers
  • (2) Books of Vellum envelope cut-outs
  • (3) Packs of Laura Ashley vellum envelopes ready to stick on your pages
  • A plastic template to trace journal boxes in varied shapes
  • (5) Creative Memories page completion kits
  • (4) Brand New Stampin Up ink pads (green, blue, red, black) for rubber stamping
  • (3) Brand New ink pads for rubber stamping
  • Stampin Up rubber stamp cleaner pad
  • A variety of stickers and diecuts that I couldn't fit into the picture

This prize would be great for a seasoned scrapbooker looking to add to their stash or a new scrapbooker who needs a boost to get them going. If a new scrapbooker ends up with this, I'll probably throw in some adhesive and basics that they would need to really get a project going.

So, there it is folks. Feel free to advertise this on your blogs or email your friends. I would love to meet some new visitors and have some lurkers finally come out of the woodwork. Enjoy and I'll look forward to giving this stuff to some new homes!!

Angie's Great Giveaway

Ok folks, I think I've almost narrowed it down to a cool collection of goodies. Actually, I think there will be 2 "baskets" to choose from. Anyway, I plan to get pics done today and get the actual giveaway posted tomorrow. So, come back soon and be ready to get in on the drawing!

Jon & Kate Plus 8 is Great

I am a huge fan of "reality" t.v. All the usual suspects like Survivor, The Amazing Race and The Girls Next Door are shows that I have watched religiously at one time or another. However, in recent years, a new type of reality t.v. has popped onto the grid and that's the kind that follows the lives of seemingly ordinary people. These are the shows that have sent my hubby running for the hills because he just doesn't get how I can watch these edited lives as entertainment!

One show in particular that I just cannot get enough of is Jon & Kate plus 8. I watch the show on TLC and my little heart almost exploded when I saw that today was an episode marathon!!! For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Gosselin phenomenon, here's my really condensed summary. This lovely couple from Pennsylvania used fertility treatments to get pregnant and had twin girls. Then when trying to have 1 more child, they ended up pregnant with sextuplets (3 boys/3 girls). The show basically chronicles the challenges of raising 2 sets of multiples and gives the public a very small glimpse into what life is kind of like for this family. There are ups & downs, laughter & tears, kind words & harshness, but in the end, I really feel like you see how much this family works.

Now, there are a lot of haters out there who bash this family (especially the mom, Kate) for tons of reasons. Kate is a little high strung and she readily admits that she's a germaphobe, but I don't think there are many people out there who can honestly say how they would act in her shoes, while being filmed constantly. I know that as a full time mom of 2, there are things that I struggle with and I surely wouldn't want my life documented on film for the world to see. I can't imagine what it would be like with another 6 kids & a film crew on top of that! Plus, the fact that days of their lives are edited into a 30 minute show really can't possibly give the public a true perspective on what their lives are like. But, I love it all the same!

Ok, gotta get back to my show. There's only like 12 more episodes on today and I don't want to miss any! Ha ha!

Friday, May 23, 2008

I AM The Biggest Loser!

Happy Friday everyone! Today is a GREAT day because I have been crowned The Biggest Loser in the 20-week competition that I've been participating in! Excited doesn't even begin to describe what I'm feeling at the moment. I weighed in with a 5 lb loss this week, which not only puts me at a 25.2 lb loss for the competition, but also puts me back in the 100's, where I haven't been in many years. Woo hoo!!

Ahem...(tapping the microphone)
I would like to thank all of my friends who trash talked for the last 5 months. Without you, my urge to strangle you competitive drive might not have been as strong as it was. I thank my girls for driving me crazy keeping me busy, so that I really didn't have to time to think about all the food I was missing. I also thank my loving hubby, who has never given me a hard time about my weight and has tried very hard to be supportive! I share this honor with you (not the jackpot of cash, though) because I couldn't have accomplished this alone!

With my big winnings, I do plan to blow it on my trip next week, so fear not, I will be doing my part to bolster our economy. Thank you all!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I have a lot to be thankful for today. I've got 2 gorgeous girls that are growing up so quickly before my eyes. My oldest had her last day of preschool (until Fall) today and they announced that the teaching assistant in her class is retiring. There wasn't a dry eye in the house! Ms. Vivian is an AWESOME lady and I'm really thankful that Ashlyn had the opportunity to be in her class. I'm sad that Ailey will miss out on that experience, but I'm sure they will put a great person in her place.

I'm thankful that (as of this morning) I'm down 4 lbs from last Friday! I have a good chance of winning my biggest loser contest tomorrow, but I'm still holding my breath because I know I'm not the only one who's been busting tail for the last week. Overall, I've lost almost 25 lbs this year and that's a huge accomplishment for me!

I'm thankful that we've got beautiful weather here so far and that I can enjoy it (with my family) out on our new deck. I'm hoping to get some furniture out there this weekend, so we can enjoy it on something more than beach towels.

I'm thankful that I have so many friends and family who love my family and support us in all that we do.

And because I don't say it often enough, I'm thankful for you!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Hat Lady

Being a woman in this day & age, I find myself wearing many different hats within a single hour. I can start an hour with my chef's hat, then add my chauffeur's cap and round out that 60 minutes with my personal shopper chapeau. When you add in the "real" jobs that I actually get paid U.S. dollars for, well, my closet is bursting with the various sizes and shapes that those hats bring to the game.
Yesterday was a really hectic day as my, previously tiny beanie that I was wearing for one of my jobs, all of sudden turned into a 10-gallon cowboy hat! Suffice it to say that I am a bit overwhelmed with my sudden increased responsibility and am trying to figure out a way to redistribute some of these hats onto a hat rack for a while, so I can get back to doing what I really love: raising my kids and blogging of course!
I did manage to spend a lot of time yesterday checking out new blogs that I've come across and to glean some inspiration from ones that I lurk on pretty regularly. And so, having said that, brace yourself for an announcement later this week. In an attempt to lure some lurkers out of hiding and to welcome some new surfers to my site, I think I'm going to do a giveaway. Yes, I'm crazy! In the spirit of decluttering some of the wonderful treasures that I have here, I think I'm going to giveaway a nice jackpot of goodies that just don't have room in my residence anymore. Details to come!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Weekend at Angie's

It's Sunday afternoon and my 2 little angels are having a delightful and healthy lunch, while I sit here and blog away. We just finished watching The Little Mermaid for the first time and boy, am I feeling nostalgic. That is just a great movie! Both of my girls are going through a princess phase right now, but my oldest is really taken with Ariel. So cute!

Speaking of great movies, hubby & I watched Charlie Wilson's War last night and LOVED IT! I knew nothing about the premise of the film prior to popping it in the DVD, but since I love the 3 main actors (Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman), I knew it had to be at least a decent flick. It definitely exceeded all expectations and I highly recommend it!

Girls night out last Friday night was great! Gorge-fest lived up to it's name and I began my race for the gold yesterday morning. I can report that I was down 2 lbs this morning (since Friday a.m.) and I'm very hungry. Only 5 more days to go! Woo hoo.

Yesterday was consumed with kid activities, including a dinosaur themed birthday party. The venue was a good choice and the games were cute. My girls loved it! Of course, their favorite part was the cake. I think that was my favorite part too! (Yes, I had a piece of cake. I'm human, ok!?!)

I received some disturbing news from the world of scrapbooking yesterday. I am a devotee of Creative Memories and have been using their products for almost 12 years now. I use their albums and pages exclusively for my scrapbooks and was very angry to hear that they are discontinuing the size that I use! Now, this wouldn't be a big deal, if it weren't for the fact that (before the kids came along), I stockpiled about 13 albums for future use. So, now I'm in the unfortunate situation of having to obtain and stockpile pages and page protectors for these 13 albums and just hope that I have enough when I open up the last album in about 10 years. Oh, the things we do for our addictions hobbies.

Alas, the girls have finished their lunches and are now enjoying 5 minutes of free play until it's naptime. I am spending my afternoon with a little activity I call "The Great Toy Excavation". I'm sure there will be pictures to document this feat, later this evening. Have a great Sunday everyone!

Friday, May 16, 2008

The War Wages On

Happy Friday everyone! This week has been quite a challenge as the girls & I have been sick the whole time. My youngest is finally almost better, but my oldest & I still have raging runny noses and coughing spells. Yuck! But, I'm trying not to let all that gloom bring me down, so here's the positive spin.

Today was the Week 19 weigh in for my biggest loser competition and I gained a fraction of a pound, but I'm still in the lead overall. Less than .5% separates me from my 2 closest competitors, so this week is crucial. Tonight is girls night out at a friend's house and we are affectionately referring to it as "Gorge-Fest". This is because starting tomorrow, for the next 6 days, I will be living at the YMCA and enjoying all varieties of green leafy vegetables (and not much else). I'm in this to win it, so desperate times call for desperate measures! Stay tuned next Friday for the final results.

I was talking with a friend recently about my perspective on why I've been heavy for so long. I think a lot of it has to do with my house being a constant source of clutter. The clutter has gone on for years, and not surprisingly, my weight has gone up exponentially right along with it. So, in my ongoing battle with the clutter, I have some wonderful news to report.

First, here is a pic of the computer cabinet that I said I was going to clean the other day. See, I really did it! I'll try not to break my arm patting myself on the back.

The next series is of my oldest daughter's room, which we now are referring to as "Stuffed Animal Sanctuary". You see, all those plush animals that you pass at retail stores, well, they have all somehow made it into my daughter's stay. We knew that the animal population was a little out of control, but last night gave us a new perspective on the madness. While I was resting, hubby and his friend, installed new shelves in my daughter's room, which was to house all of these animals. Or so we thought. Here's the before pic of the madness.

And here's the after. Amazing difference! Wow, I had forgotten that she had a rug! The sad end to this story is that there are still animals floating around this house, which hubby has already decreed "Need to go to other little girls who are starting their own zoo".

Just to give a little more perspective on the magnitude of the animal invasion, here are more pics of the full shelves. Now, keep in mind, that these shelves line all 4 walls around her room. Crazy!

And a last pic of Ashlyn being cute. She had just finished doing a forward roll and was doing her "ta-da". She's so adorable.

So, to finish up today's entry, I have to add that I attacked the laundry room also today. It's amazing to me that this week I have managed to declutter my kitchen (the biggest room in my house), my laundry room, and most of Ashlyn's room. Sadly, the master bedroom is still being neglected. I think I'm saving the best for last! Oh, and I need to send a huge shout out to Freecycle. If you aren't aware of this website, go there now. It's a wonderful place to give stuff away and feel good about decluttering! So, for today: Angie 1, Clutter 0.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Interview with a 3 year old

Greeting SITS friends! I'm so glad you're visiting me today and I'm super excited to have you over. Please grab your favorite beverage and a comfy chair as you read some of my mindless drivel. And don't forget to check out my front page. Last week's entries were pretty good, if you like cute boys and celebrity meeting stories. My claim to fame is my Monday Morning Eye Candy feature. It's not to be missed!

I'm stuck at home today, for the second day in a row, with 2 sick kids and myself being sick. So, I'm pulling out an entry that I did last week for you to enjoy.

My new friend Rhea over at Word Tangle, has done some adorable interviews with her kids. So, I'm borrowing the idea from her today and bring you "Interview with a 3 year old". Enjoy! My words are in blue and my 3 year old's words are in red. My 2 year old's words are in green.

Hi sweetie! What's your name?

How old are you?
Fwee. (That's three for those who don't speak 3 year old)

What's your favorite food?
Um, grapes.
Grapes? Oh, grapes are yummy!

Ashlyn, what's your favorite thing to do with friends?
Um, playing with friends.

Ok, well, what's your favorite thing to play with your friends?
Um, playing with grapes with my friends. They like to eat grapes.

Let me see. Let me see. (Little sister wants to watch the interview on my camera screen)
Ok Ailey, come here. (I try to pull her onto my lap)

Ashlyn, what do you want to be when you grow up?
I would like to be a ballerina, just like Angelina. (Angelina Ballerina is a very favorite show in this house)
Oh, that sounds good!

What's your favorite tv show?
Race cars.
Race cars? You're silly. (Lots of laughter from both of us. The only reason I can assume she said this is because we had watched the movie CARS yesterday. She loves Lightning McQueen)
That's me!
No sweetie, that's Ashlyn. (My 2 year old is watching her sister on the camera screen)

What's your favorite thing to do with family?
Playing with my daddy. Where's daddy?
Daddy is outside painting the shelves for your room.
Painting shelves?
Yes, we're going to put shelves up in your room for all of your animals to stay, so they won't be all over the floor like they are now.
Oh, I love shelves.
I know. Shelves are great!

What's something that makes you happy?
Playing with mommy! I love playing with you mommy.
Oh, I love you too sweetie.

If you had 3 wishes, what would you wish for?
Um, Uniqua.
You would wish for Uniqua?
Yes! (Big grin on her face)
Is she one of the Backyardigans?

What else would you wish for?
Um, my cup.
Your cup?
Yeah! This one here. (She points to the sippy cup of milk sitting next to me)
Oh, ok.

And, what's the other thing you would wish for?
Um, flowers.
Flowers? (Meanwhile, my unruly 2 year old walks over and hits her sister)
Oh, Ailey, we do not hit people!

Ok, Ashlyn, are you tired of answering questions?
Can you say bye?
Bye bye! (She says with a huge grin and a sugary sweet southern drawl. Adorable.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Deck Project & Tomato Garden

Well, tonight was very productive in the home improvement arena! Actually, I guess this would classify as landscape improvement. Anyway, I got home late from work and was delighted to find that our deck is finished! Woo hoo!! Watch out neighbors, because the sun-bathing will now commence. Hubby is planning to add railing to this structure soon and we're going to stain it, but for my purposes, this project is done. Once it moves into the category of "safe for my kids to play on", then that's good enough for me.
The finished deck
Finished deck by the light of the moon

Hubby was so excited about his progress with the deck, that he was ready to move onto the next project. My original Mother's Day present was supposed to be my tomato garden. So, he decided to jump on this because it's supposed to rain here for the next several days and the window of opportunity was closing fast.

Tomato Garden space (8pm)

Finished tomato garden!! (11:30pm)

Hubby watering the new garden

He has worked so hard for the past several days and I'm really proud of him! We will be enjoying these new additions to our home for many years to come!

To Blog or To Clean...That is the question

So, a good friend of mine dropped by my house yesterday morning and was welcomed by a horrible kitchen clutter. While she told me stories of her latest shopping excursion, I asked her the question that always seems to come up. "Why do you continue to spend money that you don't have?" Ok, not a nice question, but an honest one. However, her response to me this time was not one that I welcomed with open arms. "Probably the same reason that you can find time to blog but not time to clean your house." OUCH! That one hurt. Probably because it's true. So, friend, in honor of you, I found the time to do BOTH today.

Horrible kitchen clutter before

Beautiful kitchen after

Horrible clutter before (different angle)

Gorgeous clutter-free after

Ok, so I cheated a little by closing the computer cabinet doors, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. I'm tackling that cabinet this evening after the kids go to bed.

And for those of you who have been keeping up, no, the master bedroom is still not decluttered. One mess-free zone at a time. (Insert big grin here)

Sex & the City The Movie!!

I am a huge fan of the t.v. series and absolutely cannot wait for this movie to come out! I'm trying to figure out a way to have the countdown down the side of this page, but this will have to do for now. So, which SATC girl do you most identify with? I definitely have Miranda tendencies, but there's also a bit of Charlotte in me.

"The dream is dead" or "Fun with Dentistry"

Well, it's official gang. There will be no bathroom remodel home improvement project this year. Bummer.
I don't know if things work this way in your house, but here's a typical scenario in mine. We find out that we're going to get a tidy little sum of cash and we immediately start dreaming of all the wonderful ways we can spend it. Then the money arrives and we sit on it for a few days, because we know that doom is coming. And last night, doom arrived, right on schedule!
The deck project is well under way and I was beginning to plan the bathroom project when my tooth broke. Yes, I was enjoying a wonderful chocolate chip cookie and that blasted tooth broke in half. I know, I shouldn't have been eating the cookie, but stay on point here folks. Luckily, the tooth wasn't causing me excruciating pain, but I knew that an emergency trip to the dentist was in my future.
So, I've just returned from the dentist...less $500 in my bank account. Ouch! (That hurt worse than the tooth) And I get to return to see them next week to offer them my right arm in exchange for a lovely root canal and permanent crown. Woo hoo, it's my lucky day!
Hope your day is going better than my Toothache Tuesday!

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Deck Project - Day 3

So, we're in day 3 of this little project and major headway was made today. Yippee!! Hubby wasn't able to concrete the footers last night before bedtime, so that was first on the agenda this morning. This picture kind of shows the footers supporting the framework. This was around 10am this morning. Concrete took a while to dry, so he couldn't start laying the deck boards until after lunch. This didn't make him particularly happy.

Right after the girls went down for nap time, he was back outside working on laying the deck boards. This is really the most exciting part of this project because this is when you see the final product really coming to fruition. It's all very exciting!!

After leaving for a few hours for the kids show and dinner, we came back home and hubby immediately ran outside to start working again. He was determined to get as much done as he could, before the neighbors started complaining about hammering noise after 10pm. He got about half of the boards nailed down before he threw in the towel.

Before he called me outside to document today's progress, he went ahead and laid the remaining boards down, so I could get a feel for what the finished project is going to look like. I almost had a heart attack when I saw it. I can't wait for this to be done because this is going to be such a wonderful space for us all to enjoy this summer! Hubby is hoping to get the remaining boards nailed in tomorrow after work and then we're going to look at the railing part of this adventure. Stay tuned for more pics tomorrow!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Today was an absolutely wonderful day! This marks my 3rd Mother's Day as a mom to 2-legged kids and my 9th as a mom to 4-legged kids. They are all very precious to me! I was rousted out of bed just after 9am (which is now sleeping in very late) and greeted by my lovely hubby who asked what I would like for breakfast. When I replied that I wasn't very hungry, he said that I had better change my mind real quick.

A few minutes later, I was greeted by a wonderful breakfast in bed! That never gets old. Here's a pic of my youngest who insisted on climbing up to have her pic taken. Yes folks, this is what I look like first thing in the morning. Scary, I know.

After spending several hours in bed, reading the paper, watching a favorite movie , and cross stitching, I finally got dressed and got the kids ready for an outing. My parents found out that the Backyardigans Live stage show was coming to town and insisted on getting tickets for my kids. It was a very sweet gesture, but the only show was at 4pm today. Not exactly how I had hoped to spend my Mother's Day. The girls enjoyed the show, but my youngest was more interested in climbing on the chairs.

We hopped over to one of our favorite eating establishments after the show and enjoyed a lovely dinner together. Hubby and the kids really made this day great for me and I only hope I can continue to live up to their expectations. I'm the really lucky one!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Deck Project - Day 2

So, hubby worked until about 11pm last night doing the really not fun stuff. Nobody in the house got much sleep last night (I guess because we're all too excited about this deck project). So, an early start happened this morning.

The supervisor, Chloe, clocks in for work at 8:30am. She wants to know where her laborer is.
Hubby makes it out a few minutes later, assessing his handywork from last night and hoping that the light of the moon didn't mislead him. Everything appears to be in order.

So, the kids & I were gone for the better part of the day and then naptime ascended upon us. I tackled the master bedroom declutter again while the kiddos slept and before I knew it, the time was almost 5pm. I slipped outside to check on the progress and he had the framing well under way. He's doing the project 100% solo, so I'm impressed with how quickly he's moving.

My parents wanted to take us out to dinner for Mother's Day, but hubby wanted to stay and keep working. This deck has pretty much turned into my present for tomorrow, so he's really motivated to try and get it done. How sweet! The girls & I left for dinner and when we returned 2 hours later, hubby had made TREMENDOUS progress! The framing is about 90% complete. He's out there right now putting the last support posts in and concreting all of them.

He says he's going to wait until tomorrow to do the actual decking across, but knowing him, I have a feeling I'll be going to sleep to the hum of a hammer in the backyard.

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