February 28, 2009

pinewood derby champ

El Fuego's Cub Scouts den

And the winner is....

This trophy is passed to winner to winner every year.

It was huge and El Fuego was so proud!

I'm number one!!

I'm so happy El Fuego will have this memory forever even though I had to endure the masses amounts of pain and mushy brain syndrome that is The Cub Scouts Blue and Gold Banquet. Good thing there is only one a year.

it's getting pink in here...

Upon the realization of our Petite Artiste's pending birthday party on Wednesday, I have been in party mode the rest of the week. Shopping for groceries to gathering all the decorations to assembling goody bags has taken over the left side of brain. Today we baked. A very retro, home made birthday cake. I usually just order the cakes because they turn out so much cuter. But I hate the taste and mass amounts of frosting. So this time we decided to go all out and make one ourselves because after all it had to be strawberry cake with strawberry frosting. Plus I found this candle ages ago. And I so remember having those little sugar add-ons when I was a kid.

Other items on the Strawberry Shortcake menu:
Strawberry and Feta, spinach salad
Strawberry sandwiches
Strawberry jello
Strawberry muffins
chocolate covered raisins
Strawberry treats
Strawberry Juice
berry flavored Talking Rain
Strawberry cake and Strawberry ice cream

El Fuego's observation: "It's very pink around here now!!"

February 27, 2009

grace in small things 22

1. the smiling sun

2. kids club at the gym

3. lemons

4. rocking out to albums I would never buy on zune

5. chocolate covered raisins

just splendid

My friend, Monika, recently started a design blog called Splendid Willow. She is getting ready to launch her site very soon. You, too, can get a sneak peek at her talents. I hope she posts some pictures of her home soon because it's quite lovely!

February 26, 2009

it's all about the loot

Our Petite Artiste is berry excited about her Strawberry Shortcake goodie bags.

Check 'em out:

Tons of Strawberry goodness

with little Strawberry Shortcake hats.
Green for the boys and red for the girls.

Turned out pretty cute!

grace in small things: part 21 of 365

1. chocolate pudding cups

2. strawberry jello

3. bananas

4. berry flavored Talking Rain

5. fuzzy blankets

February 25, 2009

he needs fans people

I was perusing my favorite blogs the other day and I happened upon this post from Absolutely Bananas. Hilarious and genius I thought!! As I sat at my computer with Angus at my feet, it dawned on me that he too should have a very own Facebook page of his very own. And why not?! What kind of neglectful dog owner would I be if I didn't put his adorable mug up for all to see. So shortly after reading said post, I went straight to Facebook and set Mr. Angus Andrew Olson up his very own page. Now I've been obsessing over his fan count....a little bit. How can he get more? So not unlike Ms. Bananas, I am blogging about my doggy's Facebook page. I have stooped to a new low. It's all in good fun though, right. And what is life after all, if we can't have a little fun now and then?? Go ahead and become his fan....you know you want to.

strawberry shortcake centerpieces

The other day I purchased a piece of foam board, some floral stem wire and a couple of those florist deelybobs for making dried flower arrangements.

I found clip art of Strawberry Shortcake and printed it out onto 8x10 sticker sheets. Then I cut Strawberry out.

I stuck the floral stem wire into the deelybobs as well as into the foam board.

For a grand (and super easy) Strawberry Shortcake centerpiece.

a funny thing happened on my way upstairs...

I saw this!!!!!!

Our Petite Artiste got ahold of a marker and made herself gorgeous!

In spite of all the scrubbing I did, I couldn't get it all off.
And, for two whole days she had a blue tint on her face for all to see.

She, however, was pretty darn proud of herself.

I told you, didn't I? When this small child is wielding a writing utensil...nothing is safe....NOTHING!

grace in small things: part 20 of 365

1. Facebook page

2. good friends

3. nice people

4. love

5. sleep

heading to strawberry land

Last night I realized we have a third birthday party planned for our Petite Artiste this weekend. I have been buying Strawberry Shortcake supplies and stashing stuff away for a couple months now. But for reason, I kept telling myself we had two weeks until the actual party. Days are merging into each other, weekends come and go, and I seem to only really have a plan for the day until the day of. It's all been a blur. The good part about having our house listed is that it's already clean. Today I'm preparing a berry strawberry menu and finishing up the goodie bags. I'll post pictures later.

The house stuff is going. We have a very interested buyer but one half of the couple is worried about making ends meet. So they ponder and we wait. We've found a few places we like and we are going to take a some house tours of our own soon. I can't wait until this is all over. Continue to keep your fingers crossed for us!!

I bought a kids club card today for the gym. My plan is to drop the big kids off at school and put Petite Artiste into the kids club so I can hit the treadmill in the morning. By night fall I'm pooped. So I'm going to try and move my work outs to the morning time. This is also requiring some finger crossing. Mr. Hawthorne (aka J-man) wants me to sign up for a half marathon in June with him. I am warming up to the idea.

February 20, 2009

seriously hooked

I can turn this,

into this!! Brilliant!

Every time the little Polaroid pops out onto my desktop and I drag it back and fourth to speed up the process, I giggle with glee. Then the adorable, aged, retro looking image is staring back at me.


February 19, 2009

old skool

I came across the Poladroid Project via a stop at a favorite blog (can't remember which one now) a couple weeks ago. Today, I downloaded the easiest and funniest Polaroid image maker. With my first sample (see above), I was instantly hooked. It's a blast. A little Polaroid camera sits on your desktop. You drag your digital pictures to the camera and wait. The camera spits out a little Polaroid of you photo. The best part!! You have to wait for your image to process. Love.It!!

grace in small things: part 19 of 365

1. blue skies

2. fresh air

3. tulip buds

4. puffy white clouds

5. the Pooch Spa

the funny thing about selling a house...

is it sucks!!! No two ways getting around it. It's exhausting and stressful. This is our second time selling a house. The first time we had one child, two dogs and two cats. This time around we have three kids, two dogs and one fish. I relate the experience to being on a roller coaster of emotions. You are elated to get that phone call for a showing appointment. The call you have been cleaning, poofing, vacuuming, washing, fluffing, dusting, and wiping for. Then the showing time comes and you hustle three kids and two dogs out of the house and hurdle them into the car. You drive around stopping at the playground or McDonald's to kill time. You arrive back home after an hour or so and are hopeful. You might even spy on potential buyers and agents from the street above. Then you get an email informing you of things you can do nothing about, like trees!!, are making the house a no sale for the potential buyers. Up and down, up and down. Excited and hopeful can turn into disappointment and annoyance in an instant.

We've officially been on the market for three weeks tomorrow. Not too long. We have three interested parties. Two of which want to come back for second and third looks on Saturday. One of which are smokers and that makes my heart hurt a little that the possible new owners of my home for the last six plus years will plug up her lungs with black tar and cause her to age prematurely.

February 17, 2009

grace in small things: part 18 of 365

1. Trader Joe's

2. lamps on sale in the perfect color

3. sweet cards from mothers of classmates in daughter's class

4. showers

5. mojito salmon

February 16, 2009

grace in small things: part 17 of 365

1. working refrigerators

2. toddlers that bobble their head when talking

3. older brother reading Strawberry Shortcake to younger sisters

4. three siblings sharing sliced apples and peanut butter

5. sleeping in

my three

Our Petite Artiste
(aka Baby Love)
almost three years old

The Divine Miss O
five years old

Wonder Boy
(aka El Fuego)
seven years old


This picture was taken at a friend's famous karaoke night. No doubt I am belting out Dolly Parton's 9 to 5 and kicking ass if I do say so myself. No doubt I am flanked by two good friends I so kindly cut out of the picture. (You are welcome) And, no doubt I am having a great time laughing and chatting and laughing some more.

However, upon seeing this unflattering pictures of myself I am flooded with the self-blahs! I really look this bad and no matter what clothing I put on myself, it just doesn't get any better. I hate it! I do not understand clothing manufactures that think women who are overweight should only wear god-awful, gigantic flowers or overly sized boxy cuts on their bodies to make themselves feel and look worse. It's ever so frustrating!

I spend the majority of my day taking care of others. The constant constant of teaching, touching, cleaning, changing, redirecting, cuddling, smoothing, referee-ing, holding, feeding, clothing, bathing, stroking, thinking, correcting, playing, running, picking, dropping, hauling, and of course always being two steps ahead is down right exhausting. At the end of the day all I want to do is flop on the couch and not "ing" anything for a minute. It's hard to find time to take care of myself in the midst of constant taking care of others. And granted two cups of coffee and a cupcake for breakfast is not a good start to any ones day but I just find it just too tiring to try and do anything better for myself. Just the thought of preparing an egg (even) wears me out.

I work out pretty regularly. I attend weight watchers. And, although I have lost a few pounds and I've changed my exercise habits and portion control, I haven't seen a drastic difference in my appearance. Which is oh so very frustrating. Seeing pictures of myself (as exhibit A, above) only confirms my disappointment in myself. Granted I haven't gained back to or gained above the point I started at. But I still feel stuck. J-man wants me to run a half marathon in June with him. And I want to. I feel like having a goal to train for would be good. However, I feel like I could train my butt off and be able to run the half with him, but still look like this. Which is frustrating. I want to give up, bury myself under a blanket with a pound of M&M's.

February 14, 2009

happy heart day!

grace in small things: part 16 of 365

1. Saturdays

2. fridge repair people

3. sprouts of spring

4. conversation hearts

5. comfy sweatshirts

February 13, 2009


Check out a few new faves:

katie did





lunar boots

I stopped at Whole Foods this morning for a quick bite to eat and I walked past these funny little boots for babes. After further inspection I decided they are really quite cool. They are made of EVA material, lightweight and rubbery feeling. Our Petite Artiste is going to a very messy, dirty preschool next year (same on Miss O attended) and rubber boots is part of the dress code. They get muddy, dirty and wet almost daily so finding cheap rain boots on the clearance rack is something I keep my eye out for. But then I spotted these...good for rain, snow, mud and everyday use. Awesome!!

You can find them at iplaybabywear.

grace in small things: part 15 of 365

1. facebook

2. daylight staying out past 5:30pm

3. Valentine dressed girls

4. scottie dogs snuggled by your feet

5. lazy afternoons

two steps back

What is wrong with me? I have no idea!! I seem to be two steps behind everything I do lately. Sometimes I am on a blog roll and posts coming pouring out with ease. But sometimes, recently, I struggle just to get myself out of bed and kids to school on time, let alone post something. My mind is stale and I'm barely hanging on to all the things I need to get done.

Our routine has changed drastically as well. I no longer get to leave the dishes lay where they sit and pull clothes out of an unfolded laundry pile from the couch. Our mornings are a flurry of making beds, poofing pillows, doing dishes, cleaning sinks, vacuuming floors, fluffing, dusting, wiping and cleaning the house just in case an agent calls to show the house. I love having the house clean 24/7 but it does add an extra element of stress.

Did I mention our refrigerator broke a week ago? Yup, it did. We literally have been living without a fridge for a week. We have some milk and miscellaneous items in a cooler in the garage but that is it. No cold stuff. It's been a pain. We wavered on buying a used model off craigslist and dealing with all that includes, but decided to just call the fridge repair person...he or she comes tomorrow sometime between eight o'clock in the morning and five o'clock in the evening. Lovely!

Kid crafts, school parties and third birthday preparations have been occupying the majority of my brain capacity lately as well...I must admit. I signed on to be a party parent in Miss O's class and Valentine's Day and the 100th day of school required my attention. Luckily the class party was today and the shirts I made for the 100th day of school are done and delivered. Now, all the sudden I feel very tired.

Another time suck I have grown very found of is Facebook!! I love it!! I talk to my long lost friends, dear friends a long ways away and friends close by alike. It is fabulous!

Good news!! Miss O got a full day kindergarten spot and our Petite Artiste was switched from PM preschool to AM preschool. I am over the moon about how my schedule for next year is shaping up. What will I do with all that alone time I have no idea. The possibilities are exciting!!

February 6, 2009


Someone once told me years ago that friendships are relationships you have to work at. I disagree! True, long lasting friendships shouldn't be hard and something you have to work on all the time. How exhausting is that?! Friendships should be easy, carefree and comfortable like putting on your favorite jammies at the end of a hard day. Friendships should cause you to smile and be happy. Friendships should hold together no matter how far away you live from each other. You should be able to fall into easy conversation and laughter no matter how long it's been since you've last talked. Memories of your last togetherness should be able to carry you to the next. It's a soft shoulder to lean on, an adventure to be had, a cosmo in hand and laugh a minute.

That is what friendship is to me.
Thank you Kelly!

February 5, 2009

ladybug, ladybug

It's not such an unknown fact that I DON'T like ladybugs. I really, really don't like ladybugs. And, anytime I reveal this little quirk of my personality people usually look at me in shock and horror. "How can you not like ladybugs?" is the usual question I'm asked. Don't get me wrong, I think they are cute and all. Little cartoon drawings and embroidered clothing is downright adorable. But the actual "BUG" I do not like. I do not like at all.

It all started when I was a freshman in college. My parents and I moved into a very, very, very old farmhouse. And that particular year, there was a very unusual and gigantic infestation of ladybugs. They were everywhere!! It was so bad that one of the side wall of a white barn down on the farm was literally red being covered by millions and millions of ladybugs.

Just days after moving into the old farmhouse, I was the first to take a shower in the bathroom (not original to the house) with no ventilation and makeshift shower walls. The steam from the shower quickly filled up the bathroom and woke up thousands of ladybugs hibernating between the shower stall and wall. They started crawling up to the ceiling and the water condensation would make them lose their grip causing them to drop down in the shower and on me. I tried to rinse my hair in between falling ladybugs but there were just too many and they were falling too fast. I bolted out of the shower with soapy hair and screamed for my mom. I don't remember the resolution of the predicament...I just remember the grossness of the situation. The amount of ladybugs in that house was a constant battle. We would wake up in the morning with ladybugs in our sheets and on our pillows. They were in our closets and in our dresser drawers. We would often crunch them under toe. (I know: gross!!) We would vacuum them up with a shop vac constantly.

A little known fact about ladybugs is that they stink!!! Ladybugs excrete some of their blood as a defense. It is yellow and smells bad. Really, really bad. It smells sort of like dirty socks and baby throw up and yellow mustard ... all together. And when you are vacuuming up millions of bugs all trying to protect themselves by excreting stinky, yellow stuff, it makes for a very unpleasant experience had by all.

What's worse, I attended college in a very old building. And when ladybugs were having their little infestation party down on the farm, they were also throwing a kegger at the local college. I couldn't get away from those friggin' beetles. And let me remind you, they are beetles!! Not cute little pets that grant you good luck. But stinky insects that evolve from black and orange larva. They are transgender critters is what they are. Stinky insects dressed up in pretty clothes...strutting around in red and polka-dot cloaks. Think of it like this. Those little hamsters and gerbils at the pet store are cute and furry. They way their little whiskers wiggle when they smell the air is so adorable. But they are still a rodent and if they were living in the walls of your home, you would call an exterminator to get rid of them right?? I feel the same way about ladybugs.

February 3, 2009

missing: little irish blogger

I feel like it's been so long since I've log into blogger that I almost forgot my password. A snowball effect recently happened around here...it started with the listing of our home for sale. All belongings and extra clutter were packed into boxes and hauled off to storage. My laptop has a nice little hiding place in a basket and I lost my desk/work space to the demise of staging. I spend every morning vacuuming, making beds, cleaning up little messes and hiding laundry instead of my usual blogging and surfing the internet.

Then one morning after all my chores were done, I pulled my laptop out, plugged it in, turned it on, poured myself a nice cup of coffee, and sat it down next to my computer. At which time, my very active petite artiste dumped something or got some sort of chemical out that made me run leaving my unattended cup of coffee and laptop sitting together. I'm sure you can paint a picture in your mind of what happened next. As I was cleaning up mess, my little artiste decided to help her self to a cup of joe and spilled it on my laptop. I've felt completely lost without my email and picture posting and zune downloading. It's oh so terribly sad.

It hasn't slowed my facebook time down though. I LOVE facebook. Recently people have been coming out of woodwork. Long lost friends from high school and part time jobs. Friends that live too far away to see on a daily basis. Cousins I haven't seen in years. It's downright friggin' awesome!

Some heartbreaking news came by way of having the house we thought we were going to put an offer down on slipped through our fingers last week. We had found a house in a great location hitting most of our needs and desires. It had been on the market since June of 2008. We though we would be okay to wait until we had an offer on our house to put an offer on that house. But some buyers from December took an old counter-offer, changed the dates, and agreed to buy it. Poof! Like that it was gone. So we are still on track with selling our house but now back to square one house hunting. Our list of criteria is pretty picky but we are confident something is out there that will meet our needs. We have a potential buyer coming through today and his agent is pretty confident he will put an offer down. We are crossing our fingers but not holding our breath.

The weather has been blissfully sunshiney. It also has been staying lighter out past five o'clock. Not much but enough to notice the change is coming. Both does wonders for my mood. I'm trying to arrange a girls weekend with my dear friend, Kelly, to San Diego late spring/early summer if we can both find cheap airline tickets. I value her friendship more then she'll ever know.

Miss O woke up with croup last night having a hard time getting air in. For a minute it scared me and I almost took her to the ER. But then I got my head about me and pulled out all the croupy tricks. She went back to sleep in our bed and woke up sounding horrible with loads of energy. She missed her field trip today and I feel terrible for her. She was looking forward to it.

In other news: a big shout out is in order for my long time mate from down under. Congratulations Karin of the birth of baby Callan...he is adorable!!