About Me

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I am old soul who covers the grey really well. I love to be active and creative. I am blogging to help keep the memories alive and to keep those special moments around.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

BabyTeen Firsts

Your darling teen-ager is changing day-to-day & hour-to-hour. First, stay out of the way & second, write it all down. You may need this for blackmail in the upcoming years.

First hair color change_____________________________

First piercing______________________________________

First rebellious act________________________________

First clothing shop_________________________________

First must-have item or she'll die!________________________________

First "It's not fair!" reaction__________________________________

First mean look directed at you___________________________________

First day she slept in past noon_________________________________

First book she read that you did not understand_______________________________

First music choice that hurt your ears________________________________________

More tomorrow....

Friday, December 26, 2008

The BabyTeen Book

Wah-wah. Do you miss the cries of your little one? That newborn baby smell? Remember the days of naps & not for you but the baby? That cute first word? The first food they ate? All you have to do is open the baby book and look fondly back at all your memories.

Now I have an idea for a BabyTeen Book. It is not for the feint of heart. It is for the parents of teens. Record all those great & cute firsts that your teen is now dragging you through.

Why? Because you can. Because one day you may look back on this experience wistfully & are glad you end up with an adult. Because you want something to share with your grandchildren. Because you want to know made it through the babyteen years too.

First Page:

A Teen is Born!

Announcing darling _________________________(name) just became a teen.

Second Page:

Gifts received from the begging and pleading teen:

Specific electronic thing_________________

Specific jeans_________________________

Specific shoes_________________________

Specific phone_________________________

Specific food__________________________

Specific music_________________________

Tomorrow Page Three: BabyTeen Firsts

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


We are busy prepping for the holidays. This morning it included finishing up our cookie platters for friends & neighbors. Thank goodness for my husband. Now he can make some good looking chocolate dipped pretzels. Although we had a delicious time eating my errors. I made oatmeal cookies too that sunk instead of puffed up. So I took the star cookie cutter & cut out smaller, better oatmeal cookies. Then drizzled them with chocolate. Now that is a cookie!

I think our favorite tradition is the Advent wreath. Who gets to light the candles? Who gets to blow them out? Who gets to say the prayer? This was a special week because we lit all four. Advent is a special time because the kids want to eat dinner just to eat around the wreath. Thank you God.

A new tradition at our house is the Christmas contract. This is a signed agreement between my teen and my pre-teen about when to get up and what to do first - presents or stockings. I love this. I want to keep it as a memory that they at this age, they did get along and could agree on 1 or 2 things.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Most Excellent

I am sorry to say that 1 of my favorite shops of all "High Wire Girl's" in B'ham, Michigan is closing. Curse you economy!!! She should have called & I would have Facebooked everyone to go buy something. I also feel horrible because she was selling off all of her old chests and furniture that held all of her wares. I wanted one and felt badly that I did. Luckily, most of them were sold & the one left did not appeal to me. So I had to start my Most Excellent with a Most Horrible but High Wire Girls deserves a good send off.

I have been following the Nie Nie blog for sometime. I have also started to follow her sister's blog called C Jane Run. It is nice to see such a strong, cool, creative family. Keep up the good work & writing. C Jane Run's blogs are always so colorful which is what we need in this dreary part of the world. It is cold & stormy in Michigan. Bleary Christmas!

I am close to the end of my Christmas shopping and wouldn't you know it, the kids grew out of their winter stuff. It took a storm to show me that they were busting through their heavy coats & snow pants. So I took my 13 year old daughter to Target to buy a $17 pair of boy's black snowpants. You go Target because even at Marshall's & TJMaxx the snowpants were at least $50!!! My daughter is a pro at finding a bargain in the boys & girl's section size XL or XXL.

I also love REI. I found a great down coat there for my son for $70 bucks and we could use our annual member discount of 20% off! I have not been to REI in awhile & I forgotten how much it feeds my quasi-outdoor-but-rather-be-indoor-soul. I mean after all, I do have to run outdoors! I also found him the the face mask that will let him be outside for a few hours in this crazy winter weather. Plus right now their North Face boy's coats are marked way down.


How excellent is most excellent? Does it seem like I love to shop? Yes, I do. You caught me. But I also love a deal and that is the most excellent of all!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Woman sleeps the day away

I am constantly amazed at how I can sleep a day away. I mean when I work full time I rarely get to take a nap. When I am home on vaca, I nap and then nap some more. How does vaca get so tiring? I love being on a beach somewhere in the heat and I am lulled to sleep. The worst part of my nap today as I dozed off in between pages of Twilight, my daughter said I snored. Oh well, maybe I need to practice sleeping more.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A few snowy, crafty things

So remember I said "I was NOT crafty." Well, that skipped a generation. I am uploading proudly my daughter's cupcakes. She created some cute cupcakes to give to friends. My favs were the Santas but I liked how she also made some into gifts.

I did mention the snow? Yes, it came and came and came. We had a snow day. The kids went outside and played. This quickly made me realize that we need more snow stuff. Everybody has grown out of everything. The rest of the day was spent on the couch. Later in the evening, our friends came in to visit & we drove or rather slid to their hotel. The most perilous part of the journey was getting out of our driveway. But it was worth every minute letting the kids swim in the pool while we sat by and had a few glasses of wine & talked.

Those poor cupcakes never made it to school. But they were enjoyed by us and our friends! My daughter will just have to think up a New Year's cupcake for when she gets back to school.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Blog Jog

The weather forecast is a snowstorm. Maybe there will be a snow day tomorrow but for now the sun is out & it is brilliant. I will go for a blog jog.

I throw on my long underwear, running pants, my trusty red outer layer (just as old as my son) and my 1/2 mits, 1/2 gloves plus any old hat. Here I go. The best part of running is deciding which way I go.

I turn right today and go down the hill. Going down a hill feels so good. I turn the corner and watch out for the ice. The snow feels like sand as I slog through someone's unshoveled sidewalk. God but the sun feels good although I should have worn my sunglasses.

I am out of the sub now and looking every which way so I can cross the street. The light is red on my side and the cars are stopped. I go. Beep, blare, beeep! What is wrong?! Somebody wants to turn and I am in their way! I look up and shrug at them. My fingers are in my 1/2 glove, 1/2 mits - the shrug is my only way to show them that they are wrong!

I am listening to my public radio station but it is just droning in my ear. My thoughts come and go about next week and how do I get my husband to wrap all those presents with me? I turn into the next sub and go by all of the familiar houses. At 4 p.m. it seems nobody is home and all is quiet.

I am crossing the street again to do my longest, yuckiest loop. This street is nowhere near plowed. Argh! I am done with this loop and going around the local high school. Ah, plowed pavement. O.k. I am more than halfway done.

I go through the next sub and cut back to my sub. I know my son's bus is near because I see parents waiting for their own kids. I start to run a little faster because running gives me an excuse to meet my 10 year old at his bus stop. And he still looks cool. I turn the corner and there is the bus. I am done and my son has a tin of popcorn from his teacher. Yes, this makes running worth it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Crafty, chocolatey goo

I think I am not so not crafty. No, I know I am so not crafty. I had great visions of beautiful chocolate covered pretzels drizzled in white chocolate to give out to everyone but in reality, they look sad and lumpy. Tonight, we attempted a few of those gorgeously drizzled chocolate covered pretzels. Well, they are pretzels and they are covered in chocolate but they do not look pretty.

I did this last year and took me 1-2 days to get the swing of it & make halfway decent ones. My pretzels turned out o.k. eventually. So why did I do it again this year? Why do I dream in Martha Stewart but wake up to a lumpy, chocolate covered reality?

O.k. so I am not crafty but wait for it, when you make chocolate lumpy messes they taste just as good as Martha Stewart's & nobody cares!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Living life by the holidays

It is true what they say about time going faster. I look at my 13 year old & still see the baby trying to walk. This Christmas marks a lot of lasts for us in terms of time. This is the last Christmas that we will have to play "Santa". He will still come but we do not have to play it up it anymore.

My husband and I walked by all of the parents madly waiting with their ideal children for a chance with Santa. That was not even brought up this year at our house. I did not have to go in 1 toy store for them and there will not be 1 action figure or Lego kit or doll anywhere near our tree.

New Year's Eve is having a revival at our house. We have for years been with the kids and just enjoyed the night with them. This year we are getting together with other adults and we will be having fun.

We won't even mention the dreaded birthday this year.

This Valentine's day may be the first dating situation for my young son. He seems to love the girls right now. I keep wondering does this mean he will want to buy a valentine for a special someone?! No more Valentines made of doilies and with children's love for me.

Whatever the holiday coming up, they seem to come and go too quickly. I have less time now with my oldest one as she will be going to college in a mere 4 years. I take out less and less for each holiday as the kids now pick & choose what should come out. We do have our traditions and stick with them. But there is less Easter grass in the cracks in the floors in my house and now the Christmas cookies are actually frosted and not all eaten all at once.

I can't believe time has revved up. I can't believe I am sitting here watching my kids do and be all on their own. I can only be happy for them and hope that they have cherished all of the time too. Even if they can't remember every little moment I hope that these memories have stacked themselves as a base so their life can go on strong.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Most Excellent

So I have to start with the Playmobil nativity scene that we bought years ago. It only comes out at holiday time. My kids who are 10 and 13 by the way, still love to set it up and play with it. I believe there should be a few toys in kid's life that only come out once in awhile. They are special and cherished like our nativity scene. The only question becomes who will get it when they are older for their own kids?

My friend had a box of toys that she could only play with when she was sick. She said it actually made her feel better. This can be created for rainy days and bored days too. I also made sure that nothing that was at either grandparents house was duplicated. Those toys were special because they were only there.

My husband & I did our annual Christmas shopping & dinner date last night. First stop was the mall. Yikes! We have older kids & it is now a necessity to go there. Urban Outfitters was a great store to buy kitschy presents for all of the teenagers. I especially liked the long photo display for the 16 year old that I need to buy for. Plus the table ping pong set might be good for my 14 year old nephew who has everything! Oh these kids today!

Ping pong: http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/productdetail.jsp?_dyncharset=ISO-8859-1&navAction=jump&id=15212475&search=true&isProduct=true&parentid=SEARCH+RESULTS&color=00

I also can't wait for my sister to get here today to enter this contest for $$.
It is a wildest holiday card contest. I think between Sue & myself that we can do something cool.


I am thinking of a silhouette of Rudolph drinking out a martini wit a red nose. Shine on into the new year!

Everybody likes Christmas cookies but I am always in the mood for hot chocolate this time of year. I like to experiment too. I am big on cinnamon & vanilla right now but I am willing to try anyone of these:


I am seriously nervous about two whole weeks off with my kids. I have a list of things to do but I also found this web site. I know we can find 1 or 2 things that they may want to do or create.


The countdown to Christmas begins....enjoy!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Let us all eat cake and then some more cake and maybe some more cake

Blogcation is officially over. I ended up having a long week, as predicted, but it is over officially too. On Sunday, I woke up sick & in denial. I decided I would just get rid of my sickness by running. As I limped back in the door after a few miles, I went straight to the computer to find out when the walk-in clinic opens.

The clinic made it official. I was sick with a sinus infection & nothing sounded good but cake. I did not want it to be just any cake but cake with lots and lots of icing. I wanted cake with lots and lots of flavor. And dangit, I wanted it fancy.

Of course, I went to work on Monday but I knew what to do. I was meeting up with friends at the end of the week and I called bringing the cake! That day I went to the fanciest, schmanciest high-end grocery store called Holiday Market in Royal Oak & stood in front of the cake display for a few long moments trying to decide on just one cake.

What to get? What to savor? What to enjoy? What can I eat the whole of? Voila, here it is the Kahlua mudslide cake with inches, yes inches of flavored whipped cream. It was divine. It was delicious. It was delectable and it was mine.

The evening was awesome with lots of wine and needless to say, lots of cake. I had 2 slices of that cake (a record for me) and also laughed and laughed with great friends. And the next morning, I woke up, went running for the first time in a week and then came home to breakfast of leftover cake!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Need a blogcation

I think I am mentally gearing up for finals plus my own students grades were due this week. I am literally spent. I hope you are all getting ready for the holidays. We did get our lights up this week & they are keeping me happy & sane. I will not be posting until next Monday after my final. Feliz navidad!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Leave a comment


Do you love or hate the blue? Personally I am not feeling it. I need to find a better background. Leave a comment on which 1 of the 3 above that you would like to see instead.

But I love my header & will not change it for awhile.

Thanks for voting! I will decide at the end of the week. Thanks CitrusMoon.com!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Most Excellent

O.k. I am not a Black Friday shopper. It is too much work. But I am also looking for a deal, any easy deals. I love the Freebies 4 Mom web site. It is a great place to peruse any deals on the internet. I wish she would expand into vacations!

So this web site led me to Ebates.com. Right now for Black Friday, they have boosted their normal instant $5 rebate to $10 rebate - woo-hoo. I have to buy my soon-to-be niece some stuff so I will definately be placing an order at Babygap & getting the 9% rebate back! Gotta love giving a little & getting a little back.

Most excellent are the patterns I have been researching & trying out for my blog online like at CitrusMoon.com. I like the blue but it is a little intense. This website helps you understand how to apply them to your blog: http://www.splitdecisionz.com/2008/02/how-to-change-background-image-in.html

I will be adding a poll to my blog soon once I decide which 3 patterns I will use. I can assure you, it will not be kitschy or holiday specific.

I am in love with Lisa Leonard's jewelry designs especially the double ring with my kid's names on them. I gave my husband a BIG hint about wanting these for Christmas. We'll see what is on my finger after the Dec. 25th. I am not a huge fan of the bird jewelry but the other necklaces are so cool. She also has a great blog to read once you are there. (Thanks Soule Mama for the link)


I am looking for a peaceful & calm holiday season after this hectic fall & I enjoy this zen web site. I have always been faithful to the color black when choosing my clothes & they strongly suggest choosing a few colors to wear. However, lately, I have been searching for some other colors to add to my sweater collection.


Hope your T-day was as good as mine! Enjoy the weekend, meet up with a friend, smile at a stranger and kiss your kids at least 10 times.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful days

I couldn't help it but I do get a little nostalgic at this time. Here is a list of my favorite T-day memories.

#1 T-day up North with my grandparents who lived on a hill. We would sled & sled. We would go back in with soggy mittens & put them on the heater to dry. We wanted to sled so badly that we couldn't wait for them to dry. Then we would sit down to a dinner table so filled with food, it was truly a feast. (Plus my grandma's cherry pie that almost always had a pit that almost always ended up in my dad's mouth. Whenever I get a pit in my pie now, I think she is looking down at us)

#2 A T-day in Cincinnati when it was just my husband and moi. My first use of the good china. We heaped the plates with Stove Stop stuffing (not interested in cooking then) It was a day so brilliant we could barely go inside to eat.

#3 T-days with toddlers & babies when we would be at Grandma & Grandpa's & put them in their pj's for the ride home. It was such a serene time driving home with little ones all settled in the back of the car under their blankets.

#4 My 1st Turkey Trot race downtown with all of the fun people who show up not just to run but to enjoy the day before digging in.

#5 A T-day at my house when we were young. My grandparents actually came to us. We did the Detroit T-day parade. My grandma burned all the bread stored in the upper oven that my mom never used but logically stored bread in.

#6 My daughter's 1st T-day when I dressed her up in the littlest dress. She was only 2 months old. She had on the littlest tights too.

We are entering T-day with pre-teens & teens. We now play an annual football game & then watch the kids entertain themselves while we relax & talk. So enjoy your T-day with your family & don't just fill up on food but fill up on memories too.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

If a cell phone goes off in the woods, who will hear it?

A few years ago I asked the kids if they wanted to go on an adventure. That adventure has turned into 1 of our favorite places in the world and it is 1 mile away from our house. It is an extremely tiny nature park called the Douglas Evans Nature Preserve. (http://www.rougeriver.com/wildlife/recreation/evans.html) It is a beautiful place where the Rouge River winds around and in between the land creating small islands that my son wants to own one day.

We get "lost" in that small section of nature. We cross the river in daring ways over trees that have fallen so perfectly that they have become bridges. Today, we found a tepee of sorts that someone else made. We opened up a few milk pods and let the seeds float away. It was pretty nice & cool & not a shopping mall.

The kids kept finding patches of ice in the low-lying areas that they wanted to skate on. On the way out, they found a huge patch so we left them there. We kept going but could hear them. Then I heard "Mom!?". I yelled where we were and we kept on walking. They were completely out of view but we knew they were o.k. My husband & I enjoyed the quiet and talked for a few minutes. Eventually a few minutes became ten but I did not feel like walking back. Then the cell phone rang. My husband picked it up & heard "Mom?! Dad?!? Where are you?" My husband then proceeded to shout "We are over here."

What would we do without cell phones? How would they ever have found us? Could they have gone around the bend & looked? No, our kids opt for the modern way & call us. Dare I say "nature calls"? (bad joke but I could not resist)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Saving your pennies and earning some...

I have so many friends who want to cut back on their budgets but how? It seems like when we think of cutting back, we think big but it is the small things that can help ease your budget.

First; make what you can like bread and cakes and granola bars & buy in bigger packaging. You spend so much on the packaging.
This is a decent granola bar recipe

Second; go to Aldi's. The store in Clawson is great. It is on 14 mile a few blocks east on Woodward. They sell milk for way lower than most other stores so stock up. But remember they do not take credit cards, bring your own bags and have a quarter to rent your cart. I buy lots of fruit there.


Third; cut down on snacks & pre-packaged stuff in your home. Popcorn is so economical.

Fourth; ask yourself why are you buying it & really, why are you buying it? I am constantly amazed at the people who buy lounge wear. When did this become a clothing category. Do you really need work clothes, play clothes, lounge clothes & active wear?

Fifth; sell your kids old, slightly used stuff. If they have grown out of their clothes then resell them. I once made $100 the year Riley was born after I sold all of her baby presents that she outgrew. I bought all of her Christmas presents with that money. 3 great places in Detroit are:

Children's Orchard


Funky Frog in Rochester


Once Upon a Child


Sixth; Water things down. You won't believe how much you save buy watering down your fabric softener, detergent, soap, etc. when it gets to be half full. It still cleans just as well.


Seventh; make bigger and better meals & serve leftovers. Plus plan out your week of meals. What can you do for a week with a whole chicken? Don't serve meat for at least 1 dinner. You would not believe it but there are Depression era recipe books you can look through too. They were geniuses at shaving off pennies from their budgets.

Good luck & hope money comes your way!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cowboy boots

Did I miss the boat or the stage coach? I was sitting at my daughter's conferences tonight waiting a long time for the 5 minutes I get with every teacher. Of course, I am people watching. I have never seen so many cowboy boots in 1 place in Michigan. There were brown, worn ones & black, tall ones and some other interesting ones. I have never been partial to cowboys boots. I have three pairs on the Danskin clogs that I absolutely love. My mom calls them my clogging shoes but who cares, when my feet never hurt. I am pretty sure I will stick with them but kudos to all of you Michiganders livin' like we are in the wild west.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cards & more cards

A sure sign winter has set in at our house is card games. The kids are old enough now, we can play more than a few hands of Euchre. Last night, we played this bizarre card game called Borderline that I found at an educational store. It has a U.S. state on the card. You put your state card down & the other person has to put down a state that borders it. It is bizarre but the kids love it.

We are also fans of Apples to Apples, Set, Quiddler and the infamous Uno. And now the kids are even beating me! Deal me in.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I have decided to make up a few new English words. The first one I decided on is Za-zing. This is the feeling that I am experiencing right now. Only you in the colder parts of the world can feel it. It is when the coldest of cold sets in during the winter but the sun is crisp & clear & feels a little warm. You want to be outside to enjoy the bright sun but the cold gets into your bones. So if you are like me on a day like today, go out with a cup of coffee before the sun sets & enjoy the za-zing.
(then run back in the house before the cold bites you & really warm up)

p.s. I will upload a pic once I find my camera battery charger

Monday, November 17, 2008

Home alone

I am at my house with absolutely nothing to do. Yes, I decided to blog a few words. Should I catch up on Tivo? Should I make a list of all of the things I need to do this week? Should pet the dog a few more times? I have so much time but what to do with it? I am all alone with nothing pressing. I can't tell you how long it has been since this has happened. Ah, it is just pure joy.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Most Excellent

Another tame weekend at our house. Right now it is snowing! Crazy. My son is at his football banquet & my lucky husband got to go. Which brings up another point.

We had to make a Kohl's run for some dress shoes for my son yesterday. I did not have one of my Kohl's coupons but I asked the cashier what he could give me. He gave 15% off! I have never tried that but I love it. I also picked up a 30% off Gap & Old Navy coupon at work this week(somebody left them there). I took my daughter for bottoms - being on the swim team, she needs lots of comfy clothes! She picked out a pair of day-glo green sweatpants at Old Navy. They were 30% off so we paid $9. Cha-ching. I then took her to the Gap. We bought a sweater which was 25% off but with the coupon that added another 30% off. We got 55% off the sweater. That was a huge cha-ching.

We went to the new Toast restaurant in Birmingham this morning for brunch. This is where we spent all of our savings from the weekend. It is a cute place and very aesthically pleasing inside. I can't wait to go back sans kids and have their Bloody Mary. The food was great. My son had the pumpkin pancakes which were a special and especially yummy. My daughter had a Greek omelette and loved the potatoes on the side. A definite visit should be planned by all.

We are on our way to a special furniture store in Clawson called Leon & Lulu's. The web site was cool and I am hoping the actual store lives up to it.


My daughter is into old movies lately. Friday we watched "Rear Window". It was fun to watch for like the 5th time. I love that the fact that my teen-ager likes all of these great old films. Remember some of the oldies are goodies.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I miss Cincinnati

I have been dreaming a lot lately about Cincinnati. I am always driving somewhere in the city trying to get from one place to another. I wonder what that means? Although in my heart of hearts, I do miss it. I miss the weather, the food, my friends and the time I spent there.

I told my husband this & asked him if he ever dreams about Cincinnati. He said "Of course!". I asked him what he dreams of specifically. He said he always dreams about 1 of the bars we used to frequent. So tonight in my dreams, Cincinnati, maybe I will get off the road and end up in the bar with my husband.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Google yourself

Hey, we have all done it. We have googled ourselves, friends and family. What is listed about them? When, where and why are they on google? I have many random little postings about me. I ran a few races, I joined Facebook but nothing more. None of it is big.

So what is Internet fame? I read a few blogs where the bloggers now represent Wal-mart & are "official" bloggers (a.k.a. they get paid), is that fame? My niece has a few YouTube videos about her? Is that fame?

How many google hits does it take to get you to the center of Internet fame?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Habits of the mind/forehead

The other day I started my annoying winter habit. I walked around the house in my coat. The house is cold and so am I. I get super busy & never take it off when I walk through the door. An hour or so later, I realize I have it on still.

I also have a scary habit. I have to run up the basement stairs. I started this in childhood. I always felt like the boogeyman was behind me so I started to run. I still can't shake him off.

I have a sad habit. I can't watch any sad commercials about animals. My whole family turns off the Humane Society commercial that starts with the song "In the _______ of...". We do not know the rest of the song, we just can't watch it.

I also have a silly habit. In the middle of the night when I am falling asleep, I will not turn off the light. I am so cozy. My husband hates this one since he becomes the official light-turner-offer.

I also have a needy habit. I am not feeling great & my husband needs to take care of me. I want the works; hot tea, cold juice, a warm blanket & more importantly, someone to unload the dishwasher. He has been with me long enough to know to run when he hears the words "Feel my forehead."

But seriously, honey, you do need to feel my forehead & unload the dishwasher at the same time tonight plus turn out the lights.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Most Excellent

Here we are again Sunday night. A whole weekend is gone and a whole week ahead. It was a weekend of cold and quiet but full of excellent things.

#1 My husband. There is no web site for him but right now I love hims lots. He cleaned the gutters, took the kids to a State game and helped my dad with his trees. All the while he is keeping me going through this hectic year & a busy weekend. I hate this anxiety over the economy & life in general.

#2 The Baldwin Public Library in B'ham, MI. My city has a new & pretty library but I love Baldwin. It has nooks and crannies to hide out and read in and an everlasting beauty all over the place. This Saturday as I was studying at my normal table in the main room, I looked up. The ceiling was breathtaking and divine with an ornately carved molding that could only be done in the past - craftsmanship. So if you have a few moments then I encourage you to go there & look up. If you do not then just look up & see if you can see anything new.


#3 "The Family at Home" by Anita Kaushal. I read about this in someone's blog but I picked it up at the library. What a great book of captivating pics full of color & love of home & family.


#4 Microfinance: In this world of crazy stock markets, one can be unsure about where to put money. I read an article about providing finance backing to the poor. Love this!

www.kiva.org or www.microplace.com

#5 Popcorn is a great treat & economical. I was just interrupted by my husband who is up at the local high school with my son & some friends. They are playing football. I am going to make them popcorn & hot cocoa. I'll make it my dad's way with a little olive oil & lots of salt.

#6 My new Lands' End coat is awesome. I originally bought it in ivory but ended up disliking the color on me. I returned it for a dark, dark brown with a shaggy collar. Yum! Plus it was on sale & had free shipping.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

What will my children be?

My son advised me the other day that he is getting a degree in football. He has made many career choices in his short ten years. This includes working for the FBI and being a ninja. He also wants not to just work but be a pro baseball player while he is working on his degrees. I have never shot him down. It is joyful to hear his dreams and who am I to discourage him?

My daughter has many dreams too. She is a bit more grounded than my son. She wants to be a journalist and live in New York City. At least it is only 1 career. I know she can do it. She can do whatever she wants and I will be proud.

My kids have dreamed big from early on and it has been great to see them act them out. I remember taking my 2 1/2 year daughter everywhere in a pink tu-tu for about four months when she wanted to be a ballerina. My son spent years "spying" on us in our own house!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Scary Halloween Goodies turn in to Christmas craziness

You may think you know what I am going to write about but boo! My son just opened 1 of his treats from his Halloween bag. It is a full bag of Snyder's honey mustard & onion pretzels. He received 2 of them. For many years in our neighborhood, my daughter has received a tennis ball. Yes, that is right 1 tennis ball. Guess what. It is her favorite goodie. My son loves his pretzels.

The kids have me thinking about Christmas, our budget and crazy-inspired gifts this year. What do my nieces & nephews want but do not know they want? Could it be a tennis ball, a bag of homemade chocolate covered pretzels or do we dare give them a CD of our favorite music? I do not know about you but my family has a lot of stuff & a lot to be thankful for this year. Do my relatives need 1 more thing?

What to do? What to make? Could it end up being a "crazfrugal" Christmas? I could save a little money & make their day.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I feel like

I feel like writing this morning. It hasn't been a stellar week & I am tired.

I have to remind myself like I did earlier this morning that good things happen especially when you are running through tons of crunchy leaves. I love that sound!

The weather this week has been perfect. I have been outside everyday with my kids. We have great video of them jumping in the crunchy leaves. (I am trying to upload it on Youtube. I am 1/2way there)

I am wearing a crazy sweater thanks to Boden with the biggest buttons you have ever seen, fashion-forward or fashion-fluke? My student's will let me know today. Plus I am wearing my favorite, most comfortable clogs today so who cares!

Thanksgiving is coming. I am already dreaming of turkey & my favorite stuffing! Yum.

O.k. I am ready to get through the rest of the week. How about you?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pumpkin carnage

Ah, nothing like getting rid of your pumpkins. We have a great tradition year after year. Smashing pumpkins, need I say more?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Save your house, stop buying Starbuck's

O.k. I am not the queen of frugal but I am learning how to cut corners. We are pretty good with our bills and bought a house we could afford on 1 salary. I am not bragging. I am confused.

This weekend on NPR, they were interviewing random people about the economy. They stopped 1 woman with a large cup of Starbuck's coffee. She said she was in the process of losing her house. Why is she drinking Starbuck's? Does anybody else see the disconnect? You can't afford a huge mortgage payment so you throw up your hands and buy a $5 coffee?

Does she drink Starbuck's everyday? Should she let them know so they can set up a cot in the back? When she is without a home, can she build 1 out of recycled Starbuck's cups? If yes, I want my house to be all decaf, mocha latte lights! Oh yeah & I want my walls decorated with all of the crazy CD covers that they have.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Celine Dion eat's Hamburger Helper?

As I was sitting in my cozy home enjoying a few moments of mid-morning tv, there was a commercial for Celine Dion's new CD. (BTW-Go Ellen & the View.) I know nobody who will buy that CD. I know nobody who likes Celine Dion. It made me wonder...who are all of these other Celine Dion lovin' people & where do they live?

Who are the people who listen to her? Love her?
And for that matter, who are the people who buy Hamburger Helper?(my mom would never let us have it)
Who are the adults who buy seasonally themed socks? (Why buy witch socks, you can only wear 1 day per year? Unless you are a witch like me, then it is o.k.)
Who are the people who still have time to watch afternoon soap operas?
Who are the people that buy all the clothes I want in the store before I get there? (I never see them wearing them - Don't hoard them in your closets!)
Who are the people that have fuzzy toilet seat covers?

Not that there is anything wrong with these people. I just do not know 1 of them. Do they live in another town? Do they just avoid me? I mean seriously who are the Celine Dion fans? Is it random women between the ages of 50 & 52. Where does she draw from? Do they have the fuzzy toilet seat covers? Do they all live in Vegas & eat Hamburger Helper?

Are you one of them & I just do not know?

Most Excellent

I can't say enough about these great clothes. They are fashion forward & trendy.
The coats are to die for.


I first found this line of clothing at 1 of my favorite gift shops in the world. It is Catching Fireflies in Berkley. Every time I walk in this shop which is not that big, I spend hours looking in every nook and cranny. Sadly, they no longer carry clothes but I have bought many gifts there. My last purchase was for my anniversary. I bought a wallet & change holder for my uber-organized husband.


Waiting on my nightstand is the new Real Simple magazine for November. I happen to like this magazine, not to mention my sis used to work there. They have some great tips & excellent photos.


I loves Cooks.com too. It always has good recipes plus on the side is a little bar of recently searched recipes. Yes, I am a huge snoop. I love to even see what random people are cooking. And sometimes I get inspired.


Finally, I liked all of these mommy tips from parenting.com but I do most of them already. I need more time or better tips.


My biggest tip is condense all of your errands in 1 trip & try to map it out before you go!
What are some of your time savers?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The best intentions

I do have the best intentions for today. I am going to run but it so windy. I am going to make dinner but they are giving away free tacos at Taco Bell. I am going to get the rest of my son's Halloween party together but I going to forget the contact phone numbers again. I am going to smile at my students but the dog kept me awake from 2-4:30sh. (the pain pills hardly worked at all last night): ) I have to get everybody everywhere but my husband is not here. I will spell check & read this blog.

I can do this. I am taking the kids to Starbucks for breakfast. I am massaging the dog's legs so he can relax plus 1 more pain pill. The kids will love Taco Bell for dinner. (2 times out in 1 day - unheard of) I will crack a smile today when somebody says something nice or funny. I will run tonight while my son is at practice - less wind. I have the best intentions for today. Oh yeah, where is that bottle of whine? Whoops, I mean wine that I cracked open earlier this weekend & make some phone calls when I get home.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Not much of a weekend

Yeah, I slept through the new Indiana Jones DVD but Run, Fatboy, Run was soooo funny. I also opened a great bottle of wine & had a few glasses. Cheers! We got the Halloween thing done - my son is going to be a nerd then an alien at night with glow in the dark make-up. My daughter is furiously writing a report that takes 2 poster boards but did not miss the new High School Musical movie. My son has been hanging with us but we did get this awesome quote up on his wall. He has the perseverance of his dad & I love to see it in action. Whew. Hope your weekend was just as good.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I was inspired by an article a design magazine called Dominoes that I read about what is a luxury to me. My life has small luxuries but I do love them. Here is list of my top 10 luxuries

1. Someone else unloading the dishwasher
2. Tiramisu from the Astoria Bakery in Royal Oak
3. Having my hair blown out. I have a lot of it & I always give up.
4. Paris, Paris, Paris, Paris.
5. Having a day with my kids with nothing to do & the sun is shining
6. Dinner out with my husband at a really nice restaurant. I feel like I am playing grown up. I especially like it when they sweep the crumbs off my table with a mini-broomlike thing. Fancy!
7. A sweet pair of jeans that fits no matter what.
8. A pair of shoes that I love & buy w/o looking at the price tag. Or any other clothes for that matter. I am a clothing fiend!
9. Las Olas in Mexico - my dream spot!
10. A stack of magazines that I have not read yet & I read & re-read them over & over again.

What are some of your luxuries in life?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

There is nothing....

Yes, the economy sucks. Yes, my life sucks. Yes, there is nothing on t.v. What happened? I need some diversion, some entertainment, something. I have to say I do not like any new tv shows. What is there to like?

First, it seems like there are hardly any new shows. And the ones that have been on for a year or two are just old & tired. I do enjoy 1 or 2 shows. The Office is good but the new plot is pretty weak. Old Christine is funny. I love her sidekick but I find myself switching to reruns of Friends. Gotta love Joey & coffee shops are still in.

I am a tv-aholic & I can't feed my addiction. There isn't even anything to Tivo. I try to catch as much House as I can. I have also seen every Law & Order rerun at least 3x. Du-du-dun!!! I hate to say but it is a crime.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A tree & a memory

I drove up on this tree and looked at its beautiful colors and smiled. I drive past it at least once if not twice per day. I do not think about it often but today I did. My sister said the tree was a friend's favorite tree in the fall. She passed away a few years ago. I saw the colors and the beautiful day & thought of how great and bright this person was. She lit up a room wherever she went. So thanks to this tree, I had a moment full of good memories.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fabulous & Most Excellent

There are a few cool things that I found this week.

I went to a Cabi party last night. The clothes were great. They were a little too worky for me but the shirts, casual jackets & sweaters were nice. Plus they have these great blouses made of t-shirt material. I am sure many of you like me have that peek-a-boo effect with the buttons that just do not seem to close in the chest area. These shirts do not button but cleverly zipper! The clothes were classic and comfortable. That is a great fit for anyone. I bought a great black shirt for going out. I also loved the shoes but guess what, they were not part of the line. Darn!


Guess who is planning the 5th grade Halloween party at my son's school? You!! You are awfully generous. No, it is moi. I have done a few of these and my go-to web site for ideas is the Family Fun website. They have great recipes, games & party ideas. I can't say enough about this web site & magazine. It has been a great help to me with ideas to entertain and excite my kids on sunny & rainy days, any holiday and anything in between.

Plus I was there yesterday looking for recipe ideas for dinner. They have a whole month of recipe ideas. I am going with the baked ziti - what about you?


Have you been to the E.L.Johnson Nature Center yet? My kids & I went this summer. They loved it. Plus what an inexpensive outing for a family, It has an old-fashioned cabin with a working swing. The walkway over the small lake is fun too. They also have some animals to visit. My neighbor told me all about this great place. Go & enjoy the quiet time with your own family.

E. L. Johnson Nature Center
3325 Franklin Road
Bloomfield Township, MI


Don't wear the Cabi clothes to the nature center. Save those for dinner out! Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Nie Nie

These next few blogs are going to be sad. Caution stop here if you do not have kleenex close by. I happened upon NieNie's blog about a month ago as a link through other blogs. Her pics are stunning, her family is beautiful and her life is full. It is all wrapped up in a great blog. She also was involved in a plane crash with her husband. Her family has stepped in to help with her children. She and her husband are recuperating and her family is continuing the blog.

So if you have a moment to visit and then say a prayer for her and her family, please do


Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Last night I sat on the couch with my 2 kids. We were all doing homework. I could not help but think how crazy that is. I am trying to write in Spanish, my son is trying to add numbers & my daughter is asking for help with French. They have been so good with me back at school. I keep looking for signs of neglect in either of them but so far, it seems we are all scraping by. Their smiles are still planted on their faces. The only things really neglected in my house are the floors. So please do not look down! Thank God there is not a college degree in scullery! I really think I would rather do the academic homework than that kind of home-work.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Where did the weekend go?

It was a busy weekend and I even went out! My friend invited me to go out Friday night. That turned out to be fun. My daughter had a tennis match. My son had a football game. I looked at tiles. Hopefully we are going to get the bathroom redone. My dad had a birthday. I took 1 nap. I ran my 6 miles fluidly but now my knees ache just a touch. I think I am going to need the week to rest up!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Early risers

It's a typical weekday morning at my house in the fall. My son pops his head up at any slight noise. He is an early riser like me. Then he goes straight to the tv and chair. My dog enjoys his peanut butter on a spoon with a pain pill mixed in. He is such a polite eater.My daughter now gets up & goes to the shower hence the empty room. My computer and coffee await me for my small amount of me time in the morning. The best part of this particular morning was the spinach pie waiting to be cooked in the fridge. It was not cooked by me but by my daughter who did an awesome job!!!The dark picture is the view of the outside - it was way too early!

Friday, October 10, 2008

I have some $$

First of all, I have some money & I do not know how to spend it. It is a reimbursement check from this summer so technically it is free money for me. It is burning a hole in my pocket and my mind. I need a new purse but do I really need a new purse? I need good make up - the discounted mascara that I bought is horrible! I need a good martini & with this money, I can buy at least 5. (I know, a DUI ticket will cost way more)

Last night I was reading my Reader's Digest. It is the one I frugally recycled from my mom's house. There was a great story about a couple from a rural town in Michigan. When they died, they had savings of 3 million dollars! Nobody in the town knew. They lived frugally and made well-thought out purchases. Then they left their money to various people in their lives. The people that they left money to were not just nieces and nephews but friends and neighbors. Their generosity made me cry and helped more than a few people.

So in the spirit of generosity, maybe I will take half this money and give it away and then with the other half, I can get some better mascara and at least 1 martini. The purse will have to wait because now I have no money to put in it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Convenience wrapped up in convenience

Ever since I have been trying to be more frugal and we have had our economic downturn, I am not willing to give up so much of my money. Yet, I can't even be half as frugal as most of the people I turn to for frugal help on the internet. However, I am amazed at how much we pay for in little bits of pre-made & pre-packaged groceries that add up.

There is so much wrapping out there. My son wanted this new product called bagel bites. I had a coupon so I bought him a box. There are 4 bagels in a pretty colored box and each is wrapped in plastic. I am sure that all costs me something. I mean, can I not handle all of the bagels toughing each other? This happens with granola bars too. I can't believe they do not do this with Oreos! (No family I am not buying Oreos!)

I also think it is ironic that when our babies our newborns we are buying and making most of their food to keep them safe and ultra-healthy but as time goes on, we rely on the someone else to do that.

Also, does anyone remember that in a pinch or if needed, you can make all kinds of of food that you buy prepackaged like cake, frosting, ketchup, bread, syrup, BBQ sauce and much more? These cost pennies to make but a few dollars to buy pre-packaged at the grocery store. Most people have all the stuff needed to make them right in their pantry. During weeks when the dollar doesn't stretch as far in my budget because someone wants bagel bites, I am not above making a few of these. Did we lose this education somewhere or are we just too busy being busy? Or I do it just to save another trip to the store.

The plus side too is my kids love to do this stuff. We even made peanut butter together just to see if we could. (Well I made it & they tasted it - it was o.k.) I guess the point is that we have become so accustomed to what is offered in all of its fancy packaging that we are forgetting the basics.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I heart Old Navy

I have to say "Score!!!" I love Old Navy's clearance. I just ordered 3 pairs of shorts for my son for $4.99 apiece for next summer online. I also went into the store & bought 1 more pair of plaid shorts for $10 for next year. That is 4 pairs of shorts for about $25! I made an earlier purchase earlier of 2 bathing suits on clearance for him for next year too. Yes!!!

I love the fact that he has not developed discriminating taste yet. I bought him oodles of boxer shorts on clearance too. I mean who really cares at such a young age if your boxers are seasonally appropriate?! Last spring, I also bought his favorite athletic pants on clearance & they sat in the closet all summer waiting for him to grow.

I found baby presents for my friend in Houston at Old Navy. (if this is you, friend in Houston, then stop reading now & do NOT ruin the surprise!!) The baby summer clearance was an additional 50% off. Since she lives in Houston, she does not need winter baby clothing. Perfect!

My former babysitter for my daughter in Cincinnati gave me the best advice of my life for clothing purchases. The advice was buy ahead if anything is dirt cheap & put it in a closet. She ought to know how to get a deal because she had 6 kids & needed to buy things as cheaply as possible. I have been doing this for my kids and myself too. I buy mittens, hats and boots in the spring when I can. I buy bathing suits in the fall. Wait, maybe I do not just heart Old Navy...maybe I heart cheap!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Most Excellent List

I love to explore. I explore the web, places and of course, stores. Here are some things I found this week:

I saw The Duchess this weekend and it was most excellent. I now want to read the book. (in my downtime) We went to the Maple Art Theater where my husband and I were the youngest people by at least 20 years - it was great! I looked positively young. I only had 5 wrinkles compared to the 15-20 wrinkles on most of the women.


I will be buying 1 thermal tee at the Gap by next Friday (stay in the budget)(but which color?) http://www.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=17083&pid=581230&scid=581230052

We explored Lake Orion while waiting for my son's football game. I loved it there! Wish I could move there a.s.a.p. I found the best places like Elements with great clothes and Paint Creek Bicycle where my husband finally found a bike! (save gas!!!)


I also LOVE Shoe Envy on Telegraph in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. They have yellow and orange colored Ugg boots there! Shhh - do not tell my daughter!


Speaking of my daughter, she has a great nose & eye for chocolate! Her new favorite place is Moonstruck Cafe in Twelve Oaks Mall. Their chocolates are beautiful & yummy. They have little ghosts and bloody fingers made for Halloween made out of skillfully designed chocolate. Yum!


My new favorite comic on the web is Stone Soup Comic. It is a light-hearted look at a mom raising teens (such an outrageous concept - I can't relate)


Have a great week!

Friday, October 3, 2008

This is for K- just to bug her

This is for all teachers & my friend K. We are experts in crowd control but it only takes a small moment, a slight distraction, an itty-bitty sound to disrupt our students from learning. When I went to K's room today on the THIRD FLOOR of our building, she had the above bug pasted on her window. How & why it got there she does not know.

She believes it is dead. She believes it is frozen to her window...for all eternity. It did not move all day. It only served as a mega disruption. I, myself, frequently checked to see if it would move & even banged on the window. I think she should name it or put a headstone above it so the kids know it is gone from this world. Or maybe frame it with a picture frame...

I have a ladder outside of my window. It stays there. I am on the second floor. It is part of the scenery & not so much of a distraction anymore. However, every once in awhile, just as I am teaching a great lesson, one lone hand is raised & I call on that particular student who then says "Madame, do you know there is a ladder outside your window & you are on the 2nd floor?" Argh!!!!

Have a great weekend & pray a great wind will come sweep this bug away!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I have fond memories of my mother making dinner almost every night rain or shine. And I mean almost every night, we rarely went out. She cooked a lot of different things from tacos to goulash to chop suey. On the other hand, many of her friends typically did the same dish 1 night per week. I think she kept herself entertained cooking different & sometimes exotic foods as well as to expose us to new foods. The amazing thing is we almost always ate what was in front of us. (Although I still have a vivid memory of my older sister throwing up quiche because she hated it)

I too have turned into this kind of cook and in the midst of my hectic lifestyle, I am driving myself nuts! Yet I can't just eat the same thing week after week. I do not make everything from scratch but I do often become inspired. I was on a huge baked chicken, potatoes, gravy, stuffing, etc. kick this last week.

My mind is already thinking about what sounds good for next week - spinach pie & Greek salad. If you are good at baking spinach pie then you can get the phyllo dough layers tasty & crunchy with lots of butter! Oh yes, I could go down to Greektown in Detroit but like I said I get inspired. Even if this kind of cooking drives me crazy, it is sooo tasty!

Try it yourself.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Late to the party

I know I was not going to make a million dollars but I had a good idea. Like all good ideas, it has already been marketed. I have been giving people gifts in reusable bags. I was thinking it would be great to make some up for the holidays. Well, here they already are...http://www.delight.com/RuMe-Reusable-Holiday-Gift-Wrap. Like I said I am always late to the party. BUT I will still use them - much cheaper than gift wrap & environmentally friendly.

Monday, September 29, 2008


All is quiet here at our house. Nobody is fighting. The dog is not barking. Dinner is done & the kitchen is clean. My book is waiting for me to read. My son has no homework tonight thanks to Rosh Ashanah. Instead in his planner it said "Think peaceful thoughts."

I am thinking peaceful thoughts for the first time in months. I am happy fall is here when I usually dread it. I am full of peace knowing that tomorrow I can run after school. I am peaceful because the lawn is mowed, the bills are paid, there is milk in the fridge & chocolate somewhere around here...Yes that is it peaceful thoughts = chocolate.

Enjoy some chocolate & think peacefully of me.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

What to write about?

I could tell you about this beautiful weekend, my great run & a family visit. I could tell you about my son's horrible football game - a bad loss. I could tell you about the great applesauce I made this weekend or a pair of pants that I found. But wouldn't that be boring?

I could tell you both kids were dragging this weekend with slight colds but things had to be done. My daughter had a Bar Mitvah. My son came home from 5th grade camp & then played football. I could tell you my husband helped his friend with his car this weekend instead of helping me!!

Am I boring you yet? Plz don't read on...

I could tell you about the great other pair of pants I ordered which are backordered for 11 weeks. Or that I finally had a Corona Light which oddly I have been craving for about a month now. (& it was all alone in a bar with my husband) I could tell I watched Sex & the City & liked and hated it. I could tell you I ate dessert for dinner last night. It was a brownie with ice cream and caramel sauce plus nuts!!! (I curse my friend who told me I was losing weight. That was the best excuse for indulging this weekend. A beer & a brownie, unheard of..)

I could tell you lots of things but wouldn't that bore you? O.k. I'll stop! Have a great last week/first week of Sept/Oct!

Friday, September 26, 2008

1/2 summer, 1/2 fall

As I was unloading groceries this afternoon, I turned and saw the beautiful fall tree across the street. What a great shade of red. No, wait. 1 half of the tree is a gorgeous shade of red and the other half is still green and full of leaves. What is up with that?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My new favorite thing

The other day when I was at Trader Joe's Market, I found a sea salt scrub. It is called Purify & it is grapefruit & chamomile. This is not my normal choice. When I opened the jar which btw, was made out of plastic - super un-green, the smell was heavenly.

The smell perked me right up. The delicious smell actually made me feel calmer and serene. Then I used it. It was awesome & my skin felt baby soft. Now you should know I am not a bathing salts, lotiony kind of girl but this is definitely worth a trip to Trader Joe's.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Be aware if you care

So I was driving home today listening to my favorite radio station WUOM out of Ann Arbor, Michigan & catching a good show called Talk of the nation.(http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/michigan/guide.guidemain) They were discussing how easily someone can take all of the information that you have put out on the Internet to access your accounts. If you are on Facebook, blog or have any web sites with genealogical information among other sites then you are giving out key pieces of information about yourself. These pieces of information can help somebody access your accounts via a password change option.

I had my purse stolen in February and I am just waiting for the new "me" to show up somewhere. I am still double checking everything like bank accounts and credit reports. BUT when I applied for a new credit card the other day, they asked me some security questions like my mother's maiden name, my dog's name, etc. This is information that if someone wants to dig enough on the Internet then they can find it about me.

So yes, I went into Facebook & changed my birth date & age to some crazy date & even crazier age. Plus on my computer access now, I do not answer the codes honestly. I enter whatever I want because after all, it is not like a computer knows the correct answer. Nobody will double check if I lied & said my pet when I was young was ice cream. It is nonsensical & nobody can guess. So plz be aware if you care and make it harder for someone to access your info!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Happy birthday to my 13 year old

I can't believe I have a 13 year old daughter. Happy birthday & enjoy this great day. I am wishing you many happy returns & I do not mean your presents. (1 more trip to the mall) I remember falling in love with you the instant they handed you to me as a newborn & it has not stopped. I also remember seeing your dad fall in love with you too. I will never forget how his heart melted when he saw you.

You are my daughter who came running down the stairs on the day after Christmas when you were 2 and said "Is it Christmas again!?!". You are my daughter who told grandma to go home when you were 2 1/2 so you could take care of your newborn brother. You are my daughter who always smiles. You are the lucky one who got all of the Irish kisses/freckles. You are my daughter who wrote on your facebook updates "Riley is happy like always." (That melted my heart too) You are my daughter with whom I love to chat and watch movies with and above all, is my Starbuck's pal.

I want to give you the world. You deserve it all. I wish for a smooth next few years in high school. I wish for a great first love. I wish for you more time with your music and great sports experiences (volleyball -woo-hoo). I wish for you summers filled with sun like we like. I wish for you days and nights full of laughter with great friends. I wish for you inspiring teachers and more time with people and pets you love. I could go on and on. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Freebies for you and me

I stumbled upon this blog about a year ago. (www.momadvice.com - click on blog) It is called Motherload the Mom Advice. It was 1 of the best days for me. We were in the midst of back to school shopping & guess what she had. She listed a coupon for $10 off at Pink by Victoria's Secret. Now if you have a pre-teen daughter like mine then you know this place is like a candy store for them. We printed off two, of course! My daughter used 1 for 1 purchase & I used 1 for another purchase.

Ever since then 1 of my Friday joys is to visit her web site & see what I can get for free. She calls it Freebie Friday. So let's see, today I signed up to get 3 products. The first is another free reusable tote - more on those later. The second is a free Kashi cookie. MMMM, cookies! The third is a free sample of Bare Naked granola - good stuff.

The kids love getting all of the freebie foods in the mail. I love supplementing some of the things I would normally have to buy or buy a lot of to try. To quote the other Martha - It's a good thing or for me, It's a lot of good things. Visit her blog anytime & see what you can get for free!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Buying clothes on a budget-part 2

I love Boden clothes (lamaman-wonderfull.blogspot.com/2008/06/bodenite-bodenphile.html) but I live on a budget now so I can't order every piece I like on a whim. Sorry Johnnie! But they do have a great offer, if you recommend 4 friends each month who are not on their mailing list then you get $20 off your order. I can handle that. I have been recommending people religiously for almost a year now so let's see that is $20 x 12 which equals....$240!!!

The kids clothes are great. My daughter lived in the bootleg sweatpants year after year in such delicious colors. They have the best little girl's dresses too. My son always gets one of their bathing suits.

Believe me I have recommended many friends & neighbors, my mom, a few cousins and some very old relatives for this great catalog. I wish my dog had a separate address. I have no shame! But this $20 comes in handy when say a top is $40. I have now cut the price in half. I'll do anything for Johnnie.

Here is the Johnnie Boden web site. Enjoy!


p.s. Johnnie, you can sponsor my blog anytime!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Buying clothes on a budget-part 1

TJMaxx, Marshall's, Old Navy, Gap & Loehmann's are just a few stores that I prowl through looking for a good bargain. I had 3 sisters growing up and we all had clothing needs. I remember when the first discount store came into town, it was as if my mother had found nirvana. All of the other mothers and daughters were thankful too because there were lines out of the door and down the street. I remember my mother driving an hour away just to get discounted Jordache jeans for my older sister. When my parents went to San Francisco they would go to the Esprit warehouse and come home with armloads of clothes for us. I still dream about that place.

I digress. I have a plan of attack for bargain shopping. I do not keep an eye on the sales. The clothes I want never go on sale or sell out quickly. When I go to a store, I hit clearance first. Places like Old Navy and Gap cycle through their clothes so quickly that if I love a black t-shirt in the window, chances are there is a similar one on the clearance rack for way cheaper. Or I buy the shirt I love and find bottoms in the clearance rack. I wanted black yoga pants from Old Navy. The pair in the front of the store was $10 more than the pair in the back! I love saving $10 because than I can possibly go to Starbucks and save some money at the same time...

Monday, September 15, 2008

I hate my name...

The other day, my son told me he hates his name. It is too common. He wants a name like his dad has. This is ironic because his dad has 1 of the most common names in the world. I loved my son's name. It was unique even though it was major Beverly Hills 90210. We had to go with an Irish name and hated all of the traditional ones like Patrick and Sean. I told him to be happy because he might have hated some of the other unique Irish names that we were considering. He could have been an Aidan or Liam or Ciaran or Keoghan (which I could not even pronounce).

I hate my name. It is too old-fashioned. Nobody likes to say it. Everyone wants to shorten it to Marty. You do not even want to see what the Marty in my mind looks like! I read recently that my name could have been shortened to Maddy. Now I like that. I could have been a whole different person with that name.

My 1 sister is pregnant. She already has a daughter to whom I thought she gave a unique name too but now I hear it everywhere. My daughter says she should name the new baby Kailey or Lily or if it is a boy, Evan or Sam. Believe or not, I have dozens of girls and boys named those names in my school. We have no Patty's or Carol's or Tracy's or Molly's or Steven's or Kevin's. Those names have cycled through. I now have a Kora and Lauren and a Grace and thousands of Brandon's and Zack's. I understand I will be seeing lots of Olivia's and Madison's plus a few Jaden's and Jackson's in the near future.

So, who loves their name? Does it fit you?

Btw, if my pregnant sister reads this blog today, my daughter & I both agree that all of the Sarah's we know are sweet and kind and calm or Kyra for "little dark-haired one" and we like Benjamin for a boy. Do you know it means 'youngest one"?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Teens and flexibility

I know you think you know what I am going to write about but this day was a good one. True, it rained all day but my kids are older now and more flexible. Our whole life is more flexible with the older kids. I no longer have to feed them at set times or give over huge chunks of time for naps for them. I do not even remember what my diaper bag looked like! We travel light and easy and flexibly now.

Saturday started with rain and ended with rain. Of course, I took my daughter to the mall. Then we came back home and grabbed a way overdue DVD to return to the library. My son and husband decided to come along too. When we arrived at the library, we saw an art fair next door. My son wanted to go. Why not?

It was rainy and yucky but everybody could handle it. We walked around the fair and sympathised with the craftsmen who were not getting any visitors. My daughter did have a moment when she walked in mud in her new Converse but there were no tears. Remember, we are flexible. She just walked in the next puddle and cleaned the mud off herself.

The library was great too. Everyone went their own way to find their own treasures. I did walk the stacks with my son to help him find his books. Once we were done though, I could leave him and get my own selections. There was a time when my kids were young and I felt like I was caged in the children's wing of the library. I could only just barely see into the adult stacks and could rarely get over there alone to peruse the stacks.

We came home and watched a free DVD from the library. My daughter's choice was Breakfast at Tiffany's. Then my son took over the tv to play a Wii game that he rented free from the library. We just hung out. We just chilled but the best part was that everyone was happy and flexible and this time I got a nap!

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