Fabulous Friday

Here a few things I found this week that I thought were pretty darn cool. I hope you do too.

Skip to my Lou is a wonderful source for kids craft and DIY projects. Tuesday's product was DIY Thank Yous. It falls under the "why didn't I think of that" category. My guys are too little to write their own thank yous and I've gone back and forth -- do I write the thank yous as mom or write it from them. I lend towards using their voice but don't want it to be too cheesy. Cindy has the answer. She found a free font that looks like it came out of a handwriting exercise textbook. Have your kid dictate their thank you to you, print it out and then they trace over the letters. Grandma gets a precious thank you, and you sneak in a little schooling on the side. Pure genius!

Speaking of handwriting, go here to print your own personalized handwriting worksheets. That should make homework fun. You could also use it to practice address and phone numbers or other important information your little ones need to know.

To finish out the theme, do you know how to properly use a semicolon? Get schooled at The Oatmeal. Grammar CAN be fun! My thanks to Hannah for sharing this Web site with me.

Know of something fabulous? Feel free to share.


Eat less, move more

EAT LESS, MOVE MORE ... that's my new mantra. It is inspired by the recent discovery that clothes that fit me just a few months ago no longer do. I have some cute clothes -- I don't think that Stacy and Clinton would throw ALL of my clothes into the trash, maybe just a fourth. I want to wear my cute clothes!

Plus, swimsuit season is coming up. I plan to live at the pool again this summer. It's the only time I feel the membership fee is worth it. Will loves the water; he's a little fish. And I'm betting Joseph will like splashing too. Both will sleep sooooo good at night after a day in the sun. Now, I would put on my swimsuit right now and go to the pool and not care. When it comes to the pool and kids, I know folks are watching their kids, not me. But it still would be nice not to be the biggest momma there.

I wouldn't really call this a diet. It's more about getting back on track that just losing weight. This is just another area that mommy and daddy need to set a good example.

So, how am I going to eat less, move more?

Today I went to the gym for the first time in a long time. I bounced around the racketball court some. Chris will join me there in the future.

I'm going to drink less Coca-Cola. I love my Coca-Cola. But drinking about a 2-liter a day is a bad, bad habit of empty calories. I need more water. My body would like more water.

I'm going to try moderation. Instead of 5 cookies, maybe just 2. And so I don't try to claim cookie No. 4 as cookie No. 2, I'm going to write down ever bite I take. Many studies have shown writing it down leads to actual weight loss.

Last, I plan to check in here with my progress every Thursday. That's the day I'll weigh in at the gym using the same scale to keep things consistent. I may not tell you my exact weight, but I'll share my ups and downs.

Okay, I've got a plan. Time to put it into action.


DIY: Placemat presents

Belts are being tightened everywhere these days and our house is no exception. We love the handmade Christmas presents we receive from friends -- I wanted to come up with an idea that we could make for all our friends' brithdays throughout the year.

I chose placemats because have you tried finding personalized placemats ... that are affordable?! Or even just regular ol' education placemats? Most of the stuff in stores are character-driven. I finally found William a Solar System placemat at Kmart recently. (Hey Mom, Pluto's on here but it's just a rock.)

So we had the heavy paper and markers on hand. I used a placemat we had to determine size. Will colored the back while I tried to come up with fun things to do on the front. We got the finished drawings laminated at Staples (call around for the best price in your area). Now the birthday boys in this case will be able to use dry-erase markers to color and re-color* the activities (which include blank "frames" to draw in and practice handwriting areas).

*Note, the guy at Staples said to use alcohol to get the marker off the laminated surface. I'm betting that a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will also do the trick. It's magic ... no, really it is!

So, considering that Solar System placemat was $2, was this project a money-saver? The total cost for 2 placemats plus 3 dry-erase markers came to $9. I could have bought a toy cheaper. But Will enjoyed making them and hopefully the placemats will occupy those long minutes waiting for dinner to appear on the table. At least, those minutes are long at our house!

We, of course, made one for Will. It was fun working on a project with him. He stuck with this one instead of abandoning me like usual. It took a lot of time on my end since I'm a perfectionist (hello, how hard is it to draw a plane?!) ... easily something that could be done at night while watching favorite shows.

So, it's a draw. We might make a few more this year if we have the time. If I procrastinate like usual, we'll be hitting the toy stores instead.

What about you? Any handmade present ideas to share?
Either ones you have made or received?


Fabulous Friday

Today's Fabulous Friday find is this wonderful red purse.

First, a back story. My neighbor Laura is fabulous herself. You're not suppose to covet your neighbor's property but oh, do I covet Laura's closet and her tiny physique to wear it on. It's like living next to Audrey Hepburn. She even has a little black dress to dress up for any occasion!

In other words, Laura is one classy lady and is a classy, chic dresser. And she has an adorable vintage orange purse that I wanted as soon as she showed me.

Laura found it at Charm downtown on 2nd Avenue South, across from cupcake heaven or as others call it, Urban Standard. Charm carries a mix of vintage and new jewelry and accessories. I haven't had a chance yet to go (darn those two kids) but Chris knows that's a good thing for the pocketbook.

So a perfect day would be browsing at Charm, popping over to Urban Standard to meet a friend for a chicken salad sandwich and a Red Velvet cupcake then working off the calories checking out all the cool stuff in What's on 2nd? I just read a great description of the place on a review site, "Imagine your grandparents' basement turned into a store." A couple of hours would barely scratch the surface. At Christmas, I found a 1990 Hot Wheels Billionth Car Collection '63 split-window Corvette for Chris, his dream car and a rare contest piece, and vintage 1970s Vulcan Christmas ornament pre-renovation. But I'm off topic ...

So when I saw the orange purse's red cousin at Zoe Consignment and Vintage in Forest Park, I had to have it. Luck for me, I had built up a little bit of savings after bringing in some clothes for consignment. Mad money!

The red purse is vintage 1960s. It's unusual feature is not two, but three compartments. The two clasps are deceiving. I've built up a small (very small compared to most women!) collection of handbags so I'll have to add this into rotation ... once I don't have to carry a diaper bag! Until then, my purses sit in the closet waiting for the occasional kid-free outing.

Kitties love Boppys

Kitties love Boppys. Doesn't that look comfortable?!

Just what is a Boppy? Only the No. 1 best-selling
baby product on the market. Most often used
to help with breastfeeding, it's multi-purpose.

Babies love Boppys too. Here's William, May 2006.
Now, the label says do lot let babies sleep in Boppy.
For the record, mommy was always close by ...
and taking pictures.

Here's Joseph, May 2009. Boppy-ing with Big Brother.


What's inside? Grab bag fun.

I'm a big fan of CoolMomPicks. These, well, cool moms keep me up to date on the trendy stuff that I'm just not trendy enough to know myself.

A good example is Bunny & Bee. I would not have found the San Francisco-based children's line on my own. And to be honest, I would never order from them because I can't afford $28-32 T-shirts for kids that wake up bigger every day. But I did recently order a $20 grab bag filled with 4 random shirts. What a great idea to clear out the warehouse! What a good deal! I can't wait to see what William is going to be sporting this summer.

While I love a good deal and can ride the bargain high for a few days, in this case the main attraction is the anticipation. Grab bags will never go out of style in this house. Just ask my husband about bags o' crap ...


Martha! Martha! Martha!

We all have our quirks and different obsessions. Mine happens to be a love affair with Martha Stewart Living. It took me several years but I now own every single issue. And every single issue of the offshoots -- Everyday Food, MS Baby, MS Kids (oh how I miss MS Kids which no longer publishes!), and the Holiday special issues. However, I do not have every MS Wedding issue. I stopped buying them after I was married so as not to imply I was still shopping around.

It is quite a collection. Yes, they do take up some premium space on the bookcase. No, my husband does not complain. You just go ahead and ask him how many Hot Wheels he owes. Sound crazy? You might think that I am alone in this dedication but far from it. There are lots of us that enjoy the photography, writing and wonderful craft ideas. One such person is Andrew Ritchie, the man behind Martha Moments.

In Martha talk, it's a good thing — Andrew shares his thoughts on the magazine, tracks MS brand news/product launches, and sprinkles in beautiful photographs of things that inspire him. I enjoy reading his blog and he has not gone unnoticed by the Martha empire. So if Martha was going to do a show on blogging, Andrew would be a perfect guest ... so earlier today ...

HE GOT TO MEET MARTHA! ON HER SHOW! I haven't watch the episode yet but I'm sooooo excited for Andrew. That's just too cool. Looking forward to Andrew's upcoming posts about his trip to NYC for the taping. While I wait, I'll draft another letter asking Martha for an autographed photograph. It would look wonderful in a frame next to all my magazines.



Here's neighbors Shea and Joe with
the snow machine. The boys had a good
time putting it together. With some
fine-tuning, we'll have white stuff
the next big freeze.
(Photo/Chris Tutor)

And other ways my kid amazes me

So we had to go back to the dentist today for a filling. I know! Filling on baby teeth, what?! But those baby teeth aren't falling out anytime soon so got to take care of them too. I'm rather upset about it. We don't do soda (ok, Will doesn't drink soda, all I have in my veins is Coca-Cola), or gum and I never left a bottle in the crib. We brush AND floss. Ugh!

I was a little worried about how Will was going to handle the filling. He was a little more squirmy at the regular checkup than last time. But no worries, he was a big champ! Got a bravery award and (he likes to shout) TWO TOKENS for the gumball-type vending machines which he used to get a penguin for daddy and a mini-ninja man. Maybe we should start handing out tokens to everyone because them tokens are hot stuff.

Mr. President, here's your token for ending the war. "Sweet! I can get a bouncy ball!" Heck, I think that's worth at least two tokens.

And today's treat for being so good at the dentist? Usually, it's a trip to McWane Science Center which is our favorite place in the world. But today Will wanted a trip to the donut store! I know, pretty ironic to get a donut after the dentist. But he was sooooo good.

Of course I wasn't. FIVE, I had FIVE donuts today. Two of them "get them while they are HOT!" Hands down one of the best tasting things ever created. Tomorrow's post, how I'm going to lose 20 pounds this year. Yes, go ahead and LOL.


Dishes, dishes, dishes

The kitchen is still not clean. It's cleaner, and most of the dishes are washed. But I made two big meals this weekend. Not eating out is all fine and dandy for the pocketbook but it does create more work for moi.

Both boys are in bed, at least one is asleep. So now is a good time to wash/clean. Or jump in my jammies and watch a movie in bed. "Slumdog Millionaire" wins.

I'm also putting off some computer time with Chris to walk me (again) through the "how to post pictures on the internet" lesson. How he hates being my teacher. How I wish that I could retain this knowledge. I guess it won't stick until I'm posting pictures on a regular basis.

So this post, in my opinion, was rather lame. But my goal is to write daily. So the question is, is that a worthy goal when there is not much to say. Or will just the act of writing daily improve the quality in the future. I'm guessing you'll be getting more of this for the time being.


I'll now explain the name

I originally created this blog back in August. The idea was to share the recipes I like, either my own or found, with friends. And most of my recipes are quick. With two kids, I don't have much time to labor in the kitchen. I also love to eat out so that would pop up in a discussion or two.

And I posted zero. So now, I'll just write what I want with the goal of writing daily. I've got 30 minutes to meet today's deadline. So here's what happened today ...

Chris got together with neighbors Will and Shea to build a snow machine. Yes, a SNOW machine. I was rather bummed Thursday when we were promised 1-2" on the ground and we got nothing. Bummed is not the right word, I was mad. So the boys bought the supplies, headed to Shea's studio and 8 hours later, we got frost on the ground. I think the plan is to keep tinkering with it tomorrow and we should have some fun sledding down the hill. Thanks, hubby!

And here's what I made for breakfast. Both boys, big and little, like 'em and it's a super fast recipe. There are lots of versions floating around on the Web. I add more cinnamon and nuts. Tailor it to your liking.

Easy Cinnamon Biscuits

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups biscuit mix (Bisquick, etc.)
1/2 cup cold water
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

In a small bowl mix sugar, pecans and cinnamon and set aside. Prepare mix according to package directions, using the cold water for liquid. Take a good pinch, make a ball, roll in melted butter, then in cinnamon, sugar and pecan mixture. Arrange dough balls in 8-inch round layer-cake pan, pressing down slightly. Bake in preheated 400° oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve warm.



I can't stand it anymore

Lately I've been obsessed with DIY, handmade, projects-with-the-kids type blogs. And I've created a new idea notebook with all the things I want to make, especially for next Christmas. But what really pisses me off, is most of these gals have four or five or SIX KIDS!!! I don't even shower everyday and I've only got two. Just what am I doing wrong? So this is the year I take control. Of life, of who I want to be, how I want to live and how I want my kids to remember me. First, I'm going to go clean the kitchen.

Get obsessed with me. Here are my new favorite sites: