Georgia...Georgia...On My Mind

So a few of The Girls and I are jetting off for Savannah, GA tomorrow morning. It will be a weekend fraught with laughter, sightseeing, giggles, pink boas and food. And more giggles. And more food. Um, did I mention the food?

I leave you with a picture from my first flight ever...

Nice, huh?

Late 70s, shag hairdo, white patent leather shoes, polyester 3 piece dress, Snoopy purse filled with Pez, and a pair of plastic pilot wings. Oh yes, that was me, I am so proud.

I wonder if I still have that Snoopy purse...

Thankfully by now I have rethought that look. I hope.

I will be back after the weekend with all the scoopage on the girls' trip along with plenty of pictures. I hope Savannah can handle us!


A Home of Her Own

The other day this appeared in front of our fireplace. The napping black fur ball is Fifi, one of A.'s stuffed friends.

The architect and interior designer credits belong to this little girl.

If only all animals fared so well, right?
I love catching these glimpses into her imagination. Sometimes I wish I could freeze time and keep her from growing up, but since I can't, these pictures and memories must suffice.

Gotta Share Some Good Mail

Yesterday was a fabulous day to go to the mailbox! Look at all of these fun surprises...

Annelise was thrilled to get some goodie mail (an original masterpiece) from her friend Macy. They get a kick out of sending each other notes and pictures. So cute.

I was such a lucky duck yesterday to get my LOVE Swap package from Anna.

She sent me an adorable set of button note cards. Aren't they cute? Yes! Some of my favorite Gu (hmmm...I guess I that means I should be running), a CD she made, a really cool vegetable peeler (I've never seen this kind) and a book by Gordon B. Hinkley called Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes. I skimmed through it and it sounds very inspiring, I look forward to reading it. I love all of it Anna! You are so creative and thoughtful, thank you.

Gabi surprised me with some personalized notes along with a very thoughtful note. You are so sweet. Thank you Gabi!

Roro sent me a nice note thanking me for the LOVE swap package I sent her. Silly me, I forgot to take a picture before I sent it on its merry way, but these note cards were part of it. I'm so glad you liked everything!

I can't believe all of that arrived yesterday! Truly an excellent good mail day.

Here is a little bit more goodness that has come my way recently:

A sweet note arrived from my friend Maria for some Valentine good mail I sent her. Thanks Maria!

Heather sent me this cute coffee card filled with kind words. Thanks Heather!

Kim totally surprised me with this good mail the other day--Pizza Goldfish along with a pretty card. This just tickled me because we had casually talked about how we both thought Pizza Goldfish were the BEST (I did not know you could still buy them). She surprised me by sending me some. Thanks Kim!

Posting about good mail helps me remember the kindness and joy that swirls around me. Sometimes it is refreshing to come back to these posts whenever I have a droopy day. I am so grateful for all of my friends, those in real life and the virtual variety too!


Love Triangle

You might recall that I am a fan of swaps. I'll pretty much swap anything that isn't nailed down. So when I read about Beth's Love Triangle Swap I just could not resist. This one was great because it was simple, cheap, and involved cards. Yippee! It was also all about spreading love, friendship and some Good Mail too.

Here are the cards I sent:

And here are the cards I received in return:

This cutsie card came from Chi. Isn't it darling? Thank you Chi! She was so thoughtful to send a blank card that I could in turn send to someone. Not that I could easily part with this treat though.

Then the swap hostess herself, Miss Creative, otherwise known as Beth, sent along an adorable card that she made (stitched even!). I love it! Thank you Beth.

I squealed with delight when I opened up this package from Aranne. She was so kind to send me four, count them--FOUR hand made cards!! Oh my goodness! Thank you so much Aranne, you sweet thing you.

If you have never participated in a swap, I encourage you to give one a whirl. You not only exchange fun treats, you have an opportunity to meet other bloggers and share in a bit of fun. It's a win-win.


Book Club of One

I wish I was part of a book club, but sadly, I am not. I still feel an urge to discuss my recent reads, so I guess I will hold my own little book club here on my blog. Please join me, won't you?

For the past month or so I was away on an adventure with The Count of Monte Cristo. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, however I was worried I would never finish. Grasping a few moments here and there and trying to read a bit more before falling asleep at night made completing 1200+ pages a rather daunting task. When I turned the final page yesterday, I actually felt a sense of relief. I was free of The Count! I don't mean to imply I did not like the book, because I did. I just felt a bit trapped and was eager to start a new story. Maybe that's just my attention span mixed with a healthy dose of book guilt.

I soon grabbed this delight from the recesses of my nightstand and began to soak it up. I could not put it down and devoured it within a day (it is not very long). Can I just say that it was swell (inside joke from the story) and that I wish it had been longer? It is the story of three generations of southern women that led somewhat unconventional lives from the turn of the century to WWII. Utterly delightful. I laughed, I cringed, I cried, I hated for it to end. Sigh.

Now I am beginning this...

Well, I guess that's it for this book club meeting. Thanks for coming out tonight. Snacks anyone?
What is the longest book you have read? What book has you in its grasp? Are you part of a book club?
****EDITED TO ADD: Has anyone been a part of an online/bloggy book club? Would you be interested? Any ideas how one would work best? Maybe each member could post their thoughts on the book for that month's choice like a blog carnival? Let's brainstorm...


I Have Bone to Pick With a Certain Mouse

Scott and I have been married almost 13 years. He has been talking about taking a trip to Disneyworld for almost 13 years. I must admit that I have been the naysayer and foot dragger. Once we had Annelise, he was convinced his ticket to Disney had finally arrived.


I don't know if it's the forced happiness or the extreme over the top Disney commercialization or large costumed animals, or maybe a combination, but I have always been anti-mouse.

In a weak, sentimental moment recently I may have whispered something to the effect of, "Well, Annelise will turn 5 this year, she will probably enjoy it, maybe we could go around Christmas time." or something along those lines.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Over the last two to three weeks, Scott has ordered a Disney vacation DVD, purchased at least two travel guides, picked the brain of several coworkers and perused the Net relentlessly. I have unleashed a monster. He is living, breathing, thinking all things Disney.

While I know that you have to book certain things early, and on some levels I appreciate his foresight (since I am a terrible fly by the seat of your pants procrastinator), my mouse resentment is building.

Are you pro or anti mouse? Any Disney Must Dos? Any Disney Don't Bothers?


What's Going On Over Here?

For some odd reason I have been feeling very domestic today. Not really a cleaning type of domestic, but more of the the cooking variety.

I blared SIRIUS Classic Country and proceeded to make this . (Well, the crock pot is doing the actual work. Love that thing.) Not only is Mique a fabulous wife, mom, absolute creative force, she is an awesome cook. She has been kind enough to share lots of her tried and true recipes on her food blog and they all sound YUMMY.Thanks Mique! I also have a hankering to make several of these. Honestly, I have had a blog crush on Christie for a long time(she IS so cool) and now I like her even more (but not in a creepy stalker way, promise). Thanks Christie!

Lately I have been quite disappointed in myself because I have not been cooking like I should(don't fret, the eating has still been taking place, just not the best things). I seem to have fallen off the Menu Plan Monday wagon and have not been able to hop back on. I had a hard time picking up my jaw after it crashed to the floor when I read Rochelle's 3 Month Plan. Oh my. Yet it inspired me to try to get my act together. Baby steps. Must take baby steps.

On a completely different note, I am ridiculously excited about something. Yesterday afternoon I started reading Little House in the Big Woods to Annelise. I have been dying to read chapter books to her/with her when she's older, etc. I might be rushing it a bit, but I thought I would try and we will see how it goes. She paid attention and seemed interested, so I was of course thrilled. I am also thankful for the black and white sketches every couple of pages.

I am off to mix up those cookies now...

Do you experience moments of domesticity (like me)? Or are you consistently domestic?(Seriously?)
How soon did you read chapter books to/with your kidlets? Did you want to be Laura or Mary growing up? (I wanted to be Laura desperately.)


SPT: Pick-Me-Up

Lelly has been wondering, "What do you turn to when you need a pick-me-up?"

When I am bleary eyed in the morning or dragging a bit in the late afternoon, or whenever I just need a pick-me-up I visit my latest BFF for a fresh cup of joe. Have you seen these one cup wonders? It's as easy as setting my happy Fiesta mug down, plopping in a coffee pack (called K-cups) and pushing a cute little button. See?

No filters, coffee measuring, grounds spilling, or half a pot wasted because it didn't taste fresh anymore, etc.

A fresh, hot cup of coffee is ready in seconds! Plus you can have a variety of flavors and strengths without buying several cans of coffee. I keep a cute little glass container filled with several K-cups next to the fabulous machine.

The caffeine itself provides a boost I'm sure, but to me there is something comforting about enjoying a cup of coffee, and that is a pick-me-up too. Especially coffee with girlfriends. Any chocolate would not be turned away either.

I mix in a bit of my favorite creamer and rest my spoon on my cute little spoon rest I picked up from Maine and I instantly feel better. See?

What do YOU do for a pick-me-up?

Click over HERE to read about other's pick-me-ups.

SPT side note: I seem to always relate these to music. This week The Rolling Stones" Start Me Up" popped into my brain. Appropros, no?


Goodnight John Boy...

Just about every evening A. takes a few minutes to put her Loving Family to bed. The lucky ones get a blanket, which is actually a rug. Tonight I happened to walk by and cracked up at this scene, which is somewhere between Walton's Mountain and a CSI crime scene I think.

She makes everyone lie down, even the dog.
Unfortunately, we are one crib short. Maybe you should call shotgun faster next time little guy.
Somehow though she overlooked these prime slumbering spots.
Oh well, lights out anyway. Nightie night, don't let the bed bugs bite and all that.

**I promise I just stumble across these scenes, I don't set them up. It's 100% four year old imagination and Fisher Price.


Spreading the Love Through the Mail

There has been a lot of friendship and goodness circulating through the U.S. Mail lately! Let me take a moment to document some of this happiness...

Jen sent a cute thank you note for some birthday good mail I sent her. Thanks Jen!

Annelise received some Valentine Good Mail from her Aunt Jerry and Uncle Dan in Maine and a cute dinosaur valentine from her good buddy Kannon. She also got two thank you notes for little treats she had shared recently. She LOVES good mail in any and all forms!

A sweet thank you note arrived from Anna for some good mail I had sent. Thanks Anna! She and her darling family are in the exciting process of adopting a baby girl. Please keep them in your prayers as they travel next week for the birth.

Natasha sent a kind note of thanks this week too. She just got back from a trip to Disney to avoid the Mardis Gras craziness. Smart, huh? Thanks Natasha!

We received this darling valentine from our good friends Jason and Kim. They have two precious boys Rylan and Jacob that Annelise loves to play with. Thanks Kim!

This darling polar bear card arrived from Kim's sweet mother, Olivia. She loves to make hand crafted cards too and they are always beautiful. Thank you Olivia!

This beautiful card arrived the other day filled with sweet words from Patsy. Is it gorgeous or what?!? I love it! Thank you Patsy!

Once you start sending and receiving good mail going to the mailbox takes on a whole other meaning. Much of the good mail that comes my way is from blogging friends that I have never met in person. Isn't that cool? I certainly think so. It is a another way blogging helps people connect and interact. Remember that good mail does not have to be extravagant. Just a note telling the other person you were thinking of them constitutes good mail. Why not send some today?

When I started typing this post I soon realized many of the cards I received were thank you notes. I don't know about you, but I enjoy receiving these and I enjoy sending them. I do not expect them, but I do believe written thank you notes are a very thoughtful gesture. I must admit I am not always as prompt in writing my thank you notes as I should be, but I make every effort to acknowledge a kindness received. In today's technological society written thank yous might be considered an outdated social more and not necessary. I disagree, I believe they are appreciated and are important.

What do you think? Is a written thank you note still a must do? How do you usually say thank you? Let's discuss.


SPT: Love Me

My own treat for Valentine's Day had to wait until the morning after. I like to live on the edge you know. Guess what I treated myself to...

You are right! A brow and lip wax. Isn't de-furring special and romantic? Over here in the real world it is. Please don't be frightened by the redness, it fades in time. Like a few hours. Nice.

I also popped into Walgreens for a much needed new lipstick. You might remember that I am constantly seeking the perfect shade and I just never quite get it right. I settled on two this morning, Caramel Glace and Silverstone (Revlon and Loreal respectively). This is Caramel Glace, but the redness and slight swelling encircling my lips doesn't provide the best setting.

On another note, Pappo brought Annelise a Valentine yesterday. Can you guess what it was? Oh, yes, that's right an accordian. Because all four year olds need an accordian. The only saving grace is the fact that she is not strong enough to play it for long periods of time. I can live with that.

Pop over to visit Lelly's blog to see how others treated themselves for Valentine's Day.

Are you constantly changing lipsticks/glosses in hopes of finding the Right One or do you always wear the same color? What colors do you gravitate to? Any recommendations?


How I Feel Today

I know that it is Valentine's Day. I know that it is a day to declare and demonstrate love to your family and friends. Scott was so sweet and got Annelise and I little gifties. I appreciate that and him so much, but I must confess...

I'm grumpy today.

Right now Oscar's life and attitude mirrors my own. So on this day of forced love, take a moment to enjoy a little diddy with Oscar and his pal Johnny Cash, compliments of Miss Grouchy Pajama Pants over here (that would be moi).

(Still love y'all though!)

Cupid Strikes in Pre-K

Because nothing says I Love You like sugar and small rectangles of paper.
Happy Valentine's Day!!


From Her Viewpoint

A. might just be a descendent of the VonTrapp family. She has been into, of all things, The Sound of Music lately. It's so funny to see her sing along and act things out. And try to yodel. She is infatuated with Liesl and marching. Anyway.

I walked downstairs the other afternoon to find all of her Loving Family children standing in a row. Hmmm...what do you think A. was playing?


Happy Birthday Daddy-O

Annelise and I took my dad out for a birthday breakfast at IHOP the other morning. He turned 67 on Tuesday! I have so enjoyed seeing him in the role of Pappo to Annelise. She adores him, and vice versa, so there's is the ideal relationship.

I puttered around the other day looking for pictures for this post. Every time I open up the photo box I am underwhelmed at the quality and quantity of pictures from my childhood. Of course, I am thankful to have some, but I wish they were better. If you looked through the box, you would think we only took severe candids of Christmas, my birthdays, a few other family events and some puppies. It's rather pitiful. Obviously, photography wasn't their thing.

I digress. We celebrated my dad's birthday. And I took a nice picture. There.

Here is a little collage I had fun fiddling with :

Here are a few tidbits about my dad:

He grew up with 6 brothers and 1 sister, he was the second to the youngest.

He married my mom June 30, 1961. They were married 22 years.

He became a widower at 42.

He is a true Mr. Fix-It. He can build or repair just about anything.

He has always enjoyed restoring old cars. He rebuilt a 1936 Ford and a 1957 Thunderbird.

Because he was a teenager of the 50s, I grew up listening to a lot of be-bop and what is now known as classic country. Hank. Johnny. George. He has no comprehension of rock and roll after, say, 1965. I think the Beatles caused some disillusionment for him.

He kept cows and horses on our back property when I was a child.

He bought my mom a goat one year for a surprise. Isn't he romantic?

I was an only child and of course, a girl, so I had to cross gender lines occasionally.

I helped him shingle the roof of our garage (that he built). He tied a rope to my waist in case I slipped.

I knew my tools.

He nicknamed me HotRod because I blew out a piston when I was helping him work on our car. In my defense, he told me to give it some gas.

He walks at least 3 miles just about every day. I keep encouraging him to walk a Half Marathon and he always says maybe.

He has always had a thing for motorcycles.

He was married to my stepmother Ruby, for 21 years. He became a widower again at 65.

It is even a shade sadder to see him in his retirement years, after a life of hard work, alone.

He stays busy though and even has developed new interests.

Take the pies. He bakes pecan and oatmeal pies like no one's business. His new thing is to make individual pecan pies. Cute. And tasty too.

One of his oatmeal pies

My dad has always been a constant presence in my life. In a movie or TV show when I hear a dad ask his daughter how her car is running or if she is current on her inspection, I just tear up because I know that is how tough guy dads show their love for their daughters, you know?

I love my Daddy. Yes, I am a grown up, but he is still my Daddy.

Happy Birthday Daddy!


Cue Gene Autry Singing

Back in the Saddle Again...or in my case, running shoes.

I must confess that ever since my marathon I have not been one with the running. I won't whine or make excuses, I'll just admit I have been a bit slothlike these last few weeks. I could probably count on one hand the number of times I have run, and it's been on the treadmill. Yawn. I don't have another race scheduled until April, so I have a feeling keeping my motivation and my feet going might be difficult this spring. Not good news for my thighs, so I best keep at it, huh?

This morning though, I hit the streets and I have to admit it felt pretty wonderful. My body remembered what to do, thank goodness. After all, it's just putting one foot in front of the other, right?

This running thing, I think I like it.

How are your fitness goals coming along?

Drum Roll Please...

We have a winner! Using my technologically advanced system, Lynn's name was picked this morning. Hooray!! A set of handmade notecards and tasty chocolate will be on its way to you.

Thanks everyone for playing along, it was fun!


I Promise I Tried...

to give this version

another chance. Even though I knew NOTHING could top this...

I wanted to be sure. I am now sure. Even Barbie and her friends

are better than Keira and those A&E Wanna-Be Austenites.
What do you think?
Don't forget to drop your name into the hat for my little giveaway!


Finally: A Giveaway

Forever and a day or two ago I celebrated my 200th post and made grand promises of a giveaway. Ahem.

I promise I didn't forget, I just showcased my true nature. A procrastinator.

So without further ado, let's have some fun. How would you like to win a set of handmade note cards and a few sweet treats of the chocolate variety? All you have to do is leave a comment (one per person, please). That's it. I aim to please, folks. I'll draw a winner Friday morning, February 8th. You don't have to have a blog to participate, just an email address. If there are any lurkers out there, jump on in and join the fun too.


I'm Just a Few Stages Away from a Snap-Up House Dress

With large tropical flowers plastered all over it.

When did I become such a fuddy-duddy? Sadly though, my friends, here is the evidence:

* I change quickly from my real clothes to comfy clothes.
* I am not opposed to wearing said comfy clothes out and about either. Nice.
* Because I seem to be overly concerned about my digestive system, I bought Activia yogurt. And I like it.
* We eat earlier in the evening.
* I keep prunes in the pantry. Hey, they are high in antioxidants too!
* I daily check for, and pluck, pesky chin hairs. Yes.
* I am routinely referred to as m'amm. Polite, but still...m'amm?
* We no longer watch Entertainment Tonight.
* We find ourselves watching, gulp, Wheel of Fortune.
* I am a major homebody. I look forward to a night on the sofa with the DVR remote in hand.
* Staying up late means past 10:30 PM. Then I pay for it the next day, badly.
* We are planning a trip to Florida. Granted there is a mouse and a large castle involved, but I bet we'll fit right in with the retirement culture anyway.

So, what color mumu should I shop for? I'm thinking something in pink...


The Day the Mumbo Was a Little Less Jumbo

There are moments when the stars are in alignment, the winds are blowing in the right direction and my brain fires on all synapses. Or whatever it churns on. Coffee. Chocolate. Salsa.

Finally, Thursday afternoon something clicked in my brain and I began to understand what certain photography terms mean. I received this for Christmas, but had not been making much sense of it. To me, it was like reading Charlie Brown's teacher's syllabus. WHA-A-wa-wah. After two classes at a local camera store and much page turning of this, I was ready to try once again to experiment with my camera's manual modes.

Alert the media, because I took several pictures in Av mode AND full manual mode. And the pictures turned out pretty good, I mean for being my first attempts and all that.

So, why am I telling you all of this? Well, friends I am challenging myself to practice these barely acquired skills by taking and posting more pictures. Just not here. Take a peek over on my sidebar and you will see a new link. That's right, it's my photo blog, in all of it's two or three posts glory. Pop over and check it out if you feel like it. No pressure.

Any Given Moment


Sure, There are Other Things to Worry About

Right now I choose to let this bother me.

Text messaging culture.

Granted, I'm sure I sound like a dottering old Granny complaining about these kids and their rock-a-billy music. I am okay with that. I am worried about these kids and their text messaging. On many levels.

I am worried the young children growing up using text, shall I say, lingo, will never know how to form a complete sentence. I'm concerned not only for their parents and teachers, but their brains. I am worried that they will come to believe "How R U?" is actually a sentence. Instead of choosing words to express themselves, they rely on strange abbreviations. What if they never learn the real words?

A person could lose sleep.

Sure, this would be the same person that is deeply disturbed by creative spelling in advertising (Kountry Kookin' Kitchin', et. al.) and missing possessives in signage.

Maybe it's my own fear of losing my own vocabulary through Mom Brain, I don't know. I worry. I cringe. I shake my imaginary cane.

I say use your words people! Stretch your vocabulary. Engage your brain.

High-Horse Soap Box Disclaimer: I am by no means perfect. I make spelling and grammatical mistakes. Commas vs. semi-colons confuse me. However, I try to use the gift of language correctly. This text messaging vernacular really concerns me as it gradually permeates our communication. Sure, I take shortcuts and use abbreviations from time to time. I understand why they are helpful, they still bother me.

Have I hit a nerve? How do you feel about Text Lingo? Is there a solution?
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