Thursday, March 31, 2011

In search of...

I've been spending a lot of time on Zappos these days, searching for the perfect summer sandal.  I love summer and I love sandals, but I don't have the budget to spend a ton of money on sandals for every summer outfit.  What I buy has to be neutral enough for most outfits, comfortable enough for everyday and high enough that my short legs look elongated.  That's a tall order for one little sandal.  I have worn my very favorite Danskos for a least three years(I really can't tell you how much I have loved these shoes...they are perfect and I highly recommend them).  I considered ordering another pair, but don't you think three years is long enough for one style?  I'm holding onto my old ones, and might try and catch a pair on sale(fat chance), but I went ahead and put my faith into another style.   

How important are comfortable shoes?  Nothing makes me crabbier than tight, ill fitting shoes.  Well, that's not totally true....something makes me's tight, ill fitting undies! Anyways, I was getting my hair highlighted last weekend and sitting under the dryer next to a woman who had huge banyans on her feet-yuck!  She was my age, and I think way to young for a banyan the size of Mt. Rainier. Yikes.  I started looking around and I saw a lot of women with squished up feet, bumps and strange things going on in their shoes.  I'm thinking 4 inch heels caused all this and Podiatrists must be busy people.

I'll let you know(will it ever warm up enough) if these shoes fit the bill.  You, should go shopping for your perfect pair. Have fun! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

virtual decorating

Ok...we hung a mantel and we disagree whether it's hung at the right height.  This fireplace is a smidge unattractive and strange.  The previous owners had nothing on it-probably ever.  It was rustic brick and that's where it stopped until we moved in.  If we were handier I think we could build a beautiful hearth etc., but we are not and I have to work with a store bought ledge.  So, I think the height is fine, Todd thinks it's too high.  The ultimate problem with mantels is once you have one, you have to decorate it...which is hard.  I just put a bunch stuff on it to help with the debate. 

 from this angle things are levitating.

Wow, that's white.



Monday, March 28, 2011

this is not a post about cardboard

You may not believe that this post is not about cardboard, that could be as hard to believe as the fact that I have wanted to stop using cardboard, but the addiction proved impossible to kick.  This post in fact is about Martha Stewart and Dogwood trees. 

There are a few things I love about Martha.  Her Food magazine, her not published anymore Baby/Kids magazine, and her sticker line at Micheal's.  There are also I few things that I can't stand about her. One being her Living magazine.  Here is my complaint.  Who the heck does she think is reading this magazine?  It's woman like me, decorating on a budget, crafting to be happy.  If anyone is reading her magazine that could afford the furniture and other products she uses in it, they would also be paying a professional decorator...hence not needing Martha design advise.  I am not inspired by things I can not afford.  It's a love/hate relationship I have here. 

Any hoo, I love her Dogwood stickers the most(I'm calling these Dogwood blooms, I have no idea if that's what she intended).  I have used these on several little tags and cards. I just can't get enough of them. 

For the record I made this sign for teacher appreciation week.  I didn't make it for myself-although it's tempting to place in my kitchen window since the praise around here doesn't exactly flow like wine  ;)

Which brings me to my newest discovery. We have two Dogwood trees in our yard! Hooray us. This is our first Spring here so I was tickled to see the adorable blooms. Knoxville is FULL of flowering trees-like there is something new blooming every other day.
This is the view out our front door.  See the little scraggly branch of Dogwood flowers across the top of the picture?  Yep, that's my tree that is trying with all it's might to live.  It's been trimmed up to just two branches and I fear for it's life.  I'm pretty sure if I leave too long for some Saturday afternoon shopping Todd will chop it down.  I might have to chain the baby to it, maybe plan a save the tree rally with the boys.  I think it's days are numbered, but I'm enjoying it for now. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

the first of many steps DONE!

Our updating has begun!  I think I made it through the worst part-replacing the floor.  Wow-that was a lot of banging around to get the previous tile up.  It was way messy and a total pain in the rear not using the kitchen for three days, but we made it.  What a difference a new floor and new doorway make. 

I'm on to scraping off wallpaper, ordering new appliances(!!!), and discussing shades of white with the painter. This is pretty fun, even though I complained about the mess and my husband looked at me like "what the heck did you expect?", the really good stuff is up next. 



 It is wonderfully convenient to have the refrigerator right next to the dining table.  We certainly wouldn't have a milk jug problem when you can grab the milk out of the fridge from your chair :) 

*These pictures don't really do the new tile justice.  I am happy with it, my favorite part about it was the fact it was on sale at Lowes.  I can pretty much love anything when the price is right.  The grout still needs to be sealed and we are hoping(?) it will darken the "mocha" grout that is looking more iced vanilla latte.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

working on my inner golden apple

"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a silver setting"-Proverbs 25:11

A while back I blogged about the little miracles happening here in Knoxville.  Some of these miracles are general, but oh so important. Finding a doctors office that cares about my kids before they even meet them, a school that is just the right fit, a neighbor that goes out of their way to recommend a preschool, only never to run into them again after nearly a year.   And just as many of these miracles have names.  Mrs. Goodwin, Holden's first grade teacher that appreciates him for all that he is. Hollis, my friend in the neighborhood.  Rachael, a fellow mom and newbie to Knoxville that shared vital information to get connected to the city.  And, if it's allowed to have favorite miracles, Elaine. Favorite because she is the most unexpected, and exactly what God knows I need.

I know Elaine through a couple of avenues.  Through church, through MOPS, but the way I know her that holds my heart the tightest is through Apples of Gold, a mentoring ministry that she hosts in her home.  Elaine and several of her good friends spend an evening once a month serving a group of women just like me...women who want to live, love and serve deeper.  Who better to teach that than women who have lived(a little longer), learned from other great mentors, and want to share all they know.  

   So we(me and about 20 others) walk into her house on Thursday nights.  We are served dinner.  By served I mean we sit down and have a meal brought to us while we chit chat and talk about the subject for the night, then our plate magically disappears and desert is brought to us, and we eat and feel all fat and happy. Then Elaine gives a cooking lesson on the meal she so expertly prepared, and then we have a bible study on becoming better wives, mothers, Christians by women who have once been in our shoes.  It's wonderful to say the least,  but it's not even the reason why I love Elaine so much-I know-she could have stopped at just making an amazing meal-but she doesn't.

Elaine is curious and that is what I like about her.  She is a wonderful cook-like in a southern living kinda way- really yummy. She serves others by making delicious food in beautifully portioned presentations.  What I love is she tests recipes, and finds ways to make them more efficiently, more delicious, more fun, more family friendly.  She is crafty and goes about projects to see how they work and if they will turn out.  

After meeting me she asked  if I'd like to go for a walk because she was curious about who I was.  She wasn't going to let time go by without trying to know me better.  She is quick to laugh, and she takes people seriously.  When I think about her I almost always tear up. Mostly because I appreciate all that she does with such amazing grace, but also because some how she has given me hope for my future.  

So I am a student of life, and Elaine is a teacher of all things good.  So like every good student, I do my homework.  After every Apples of Gold I bring home a little stack of recipes.  I make everything on those sheets and my kids cheer and do the happy dance.  So here is one of their favorites.  From Elaine, to me, to you....

Mama's Mini-Cinnis-sounthern living february 2002

2 (8 ounce) cans refridgerated cresent rolls
6 tablespoons butter softened
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup pecans(optional-I never use with kids)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Unroll cresent rolls, and separate each dough portion along center perforation to form 4 rectangles; press diagonal perforations to seal.

Stir together butter and next 4 ingredients; spread evenly over 1 side of each rectanlge.  Roll up jellyroll fashion; starting at long end.  Gently cut each log into 6(1 inch thick) slices; using a serrated knife.  Place rolls, 1/4 inch apart, into 2(8 inch) greased cake pans.  Bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes or until golden.  Cool 5 to 10 minutes.  Stir together powdered sugar and remaining ingredients.  Drizzle over warm rolls.

note: to make slicing easier, place unbaked rolls on baking sheet, and freeze for 10 minutes


Thursday, March 17, 2011

lending a hand

 I know you feel like me, so sad for Japan, so uncertain about their situation.  On a blog I read often she had a link to these t-shirts from the Salvation Army.  100% of the proceeds from this shirt goes to the relief efforts in Japan.  Most of the time I prefer not to get something in return for giving, but I thought this was a cool t.  I'm all for cool and advertising for the cause.   To order one for yourself go here.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

in no particular order

I feel very fortunate to have taken an all expense paid vacation to Nassau because my husband works his booty off for us and Mack Trucks is generous enough to reward him.  We enjoyed and appreciated every second of it.  Food, sun and bahamian music is just better when you don't pay for it!  After looking back on these pictures Todd and laughed at how sorta pathetic the photos were.  I guess we were too busy relaxing  to really take the time to capture it in great pictures-you'll get the idea though :)

The Sandals Resort main building

The view from our hotel room

My wonderfully goofy husband

This was all the tan I got-thanks(I think?) spf 50!

Nassau harbor on our way to snorkel

My wonderfully goofy husband

The boat we traveled on for the snorkeling trip-pretty rickety, but not nearly as bad as the local street transportation

a fire show on a rickety boat out at sea....totally makes sense.  This guys stage name is "Action", again, totally makes sense

 My husband clearly works a lot because this skin hadn't been in the sun for like 4 years.  He needed spf 50 but opted for 15, just that was a battle won for me!

Before you question why the heck I would post a picture of myself in a bikini let me say's not getting any better people.  If this blog is my family scrapbook of sorts, then all things must be documented. I'm not getting any younger, gravity is not getting any kinder, and when I'm 60 looking back at this blog I will be ecstatic that at one time I had knees and not just wrinkes that act as knees ;)  With that said, I should have posted a bikini picture 4 years ago-things looked a lot better then!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

back in the saddle again...

We're back from The Bahamas, and happy to report that:

  1. We had a great time.
  2. The kids, house and dog managed to stay intact while we were gone.
  3.  more did their grandparents!
I'll post more pictures this week, I know, isn't that mean and nasty of me ;)   I can't help myself, it was all too beautiful not to share.  Enjoy your Sunday!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

It could be a guy thing

Do you leave your milk jug on the table during dinner?  I've got to tell you that is completely against my nature to let it happen.  I did not grow up with anything on the table except the salad bowl, but I also grew up in a house dominantly female.  I don't think milk was a major food group to us like it is for boys. It seems so rude to have a big plastic thing in the middle of dinner, but I have to say that I am so annoyed with getting up for refills and even more annoyed when little people get up from the table for a refill-a way to distract from eating one's veggies I do believe-that I can't help but think I might have to bend a rule and leave it at arms reach for everyone. 

In no time at all these people are going to eat and drink us out of house and home, something that probably didn't happen when I was growing up either-I have never heard my mother complain about how she had to pick up 3 gallons of milk at a time.  I have also never heard her say that at the dinner table we tried to talk about farts and cheered when our siblings had milk shooting out of their noses.  Nope, I'm pretty sure my sisters and I never did boys however, won't be able to say the same.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

It's possible I'm a fun hater

{crazy hairs}

It's Dr. Suess' birthday this week.  You know what that means, theme days.  Oh man I can't stand theme days.  I couldn't wrap my mind around them as a child and I resent the heck out of them when I'm at Target shopping for crazy socks!

I've come to the conclusion that I like to be silly, but not goofy-there is a major difference. To enjoy theme days I think you have to be a lot of both.  Holden may be taking after me.  I reminded him of crazy hair day, I did his hair, he liked it, we hit the car lobby line, he patted his hair down...I guess he's only silly too.