It's the song that never ends

Or the germ that keeps on giving. We are under siege and have been for more than a week. Since the last post was getting long I thought I would explain the mention of spots in a new post. YES, SPOTS! All over my baby. Warning, it gets wordy. BUT SPOTS! I'm sure you are intrigued ...

Fabulous Friday — Books galore!

I know Friday is almost over. Much earlier today I had planned to tell you about the fabulous books I picked up at the annual Emett O'Neal book sale. Even sick I did not want to miss it. You see, it's the library in the posh over-the-mountain suburb. They have the children's section that all the inner-city libraries would love to have. They offer a great selection of events for little ones to big. We slum over there from time to time.

No way do I want to knock our own library system. With the county still tottering on bankruptcy, the sewer system in shambles, public schools that too often aren't an option, they get something right here and it's our libraries. We have the best storytellers Mrs. Eve and Mrs. Cass. The fine folks at Avondale love my children and have provided a warm, safe environment for us to thrive. Yes, I love my library!

But we go slum in Mountain Brook. I love the book sale because there is a huge children's book section. I have a little problem with books, especially board books. I LOVE THEM. I try very hard to remember that libraries have books for us to borrow. But then I pick up a book and love the illustrations or story or how would love it to read over and over to my boys. Or we'll get a library book and read it over and over so I'll put it on the wish list for special occasions. Or it's old and I want to love and rescue it from the recycling plant. Like I said, I have a little problem.

Chris didn't want me to go this morning. He rightfully pointed out that we are running out of room for books. Reminded me again of the libraries just waiting to lend us books galore. But I said two words ... Hot Wheels ... and was out the door with my wallet. See, Kmart has these super cool events where you get to open the cases and get first pick to what' inside. Could be a special exclusive to Kmart car. Or a treasure hunt (rare). It's a fun spurgle. As is my book sale.

Because I usually find one or two books for me too. That will be another post. I'll share what I got the boys too. Good stuff I was happy to find. Look for that next week after Joseph's spots have faded.


Time me

In the spirit of dinner tonight, this post will only take 15 minutes to write ... 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... GO!

So I "found" this foodie Web site today and I use the word found loosely since Time magazine named it one of the 50 coolest sites way back in 2006. But it's new to me. That's what counts here. I discovered it and I'm passing on to you.

What I wanted was a ricotta gnocchi recipe because that's what someone else was making for dinner and I had a half carton of forgotten ricotta in the fridge. A while back at some restaurant Chris had gnocchi and said we should try to make it some day. Stuff like that gets filed way back in my brain ...

10 minutes ...

So the gal on Delicious Days has a recipe that she swears is super easy and super fast and look, I have all the ingredients so I decided to give it a go. The woman behind the blog, Nicole Stich, says 15 minutes prep. Holy kaaa-rap, she was right! It did just take 15 minutes!

Verdict, mine did not taste like velvet. But it did have this wonderfully light cheesy taste. Chris asked for more but it is a recipe for 2 to have just one helping. Most of my helping was devoured by Joseph who got MAD when I cut him off from eating it all. Will refused to try like usual.

running out of time ...

Go here for the recipe and pretty pictures. Enjoy!


Wash dem dishes

The other night I spent an hour on iTunes. The original purpose was to charge the Nano and create a new playlist because the kitchen was in some bad need of attention ... and I was in need of some motivation.

But once I get on iTunes, I remember there was some song I liked by that band that I can't quite remember and then an hour goes by. One song leads to another.

I looked up at the clock and realized I really didn't want to wash dishes (hence the stalling that even us grownups do) so I went to bed. The dishes have been washed tonight. And though I may be washing dishes at home on a Saturday night, I can pretend I'm at the dance club working the groove. Emptying the dishwasher counts as cardio, especially went you're doing the Cha-Cha Slide.

So you too may be inspired, here's the playlist I put together for washing dem dishes.

Dirty Work by Steely Dan. It's not a song you would hear at the club I know. But for some reason, I always start cleaning the kitchen with this song. After all, it is dirty work. And I love Steely Dan.

Major Tom by Shiny Toy Guns (remake for Lincoln commercial). I put this in because I bought it while looking around on iTunes and wanted to see if I liked it as much as I did in the commercial. Yes, yes I do. I often track down commercial soundtracks. I usually find my answers to who sang what here. I tell you, them marketing folks are genius because now they are using the music to lure you to their Web sites with free song downloads. They got my number.

Calabria 2007 by Enur featuring Natasja and Mims (radio edit). I don't know where I found this, maybe it was an iTunes freebie. It's in Spanish but has one heck of a beat.

Tootsie Roll by 69 Boyz. Well if you remember this song too, then we probably graduated high school around the same time. When I listen to today's pop music (most of which is crap), and I find some lyrics offensive, I have to remind myself that I know all the words to "Baby Got Back" and "Funky Cold Medina." But I stand by my earlier statement that most of today's pop music is crap.

Sabotage by Beastie Boys. Pretty much could have picked any Beastie Boys song. These guys have great energy and a great resume.

The Metro by Berlin. I like this song but it doesn't fit this playlist. Not sure why I picked it, but skipped right over when it came on. I think I'll replace it with "Work It" by Missy Elliott and "Ballroom Blitz" by The Sweet.

Cannonball by The Breeders. Another song from way back. It rocks, gets me moving and that's what counts here.

Galang by M.I.A. (radio edit). Another freebie from iTunes. They offer new songs every Tuesday. Many times the freebie is the hit artist you're talking about a few months later as was the case with M.I.A. Sometimes the freebie is crap. But worth checking out every week. 'Cause they free.

Cha Cha Slide by Mr. C (original live platinum band mix). This song is actually too distracting for washing dishes. I like any kind of line dancing. Bunny Hop, Funky Chicken, Electric Slide — I'll try them all. And it doesn't take an open bar to get me on the dance floor. Songs can fade from memory but a few years ago, McDonald's bought back memories of school dances with this commercial. It does not fail to make me smile. (I also can watch this all day). I think for the next birthday, I will have to find a dance club that will play the Cha Cha Slide for me because my kitchen is not big enough.

Crazy list I know. What would you add? What music motivates you through the "dirty work?"


Fabulous Friday — I like shiny things

I like shiny things. I'm a magpie like that. I can be stoppped on a dime by something that sparkles. Not that I wear a lot of shiny things; I like most of my jewelry and clothing to be simple and clean. Silver is simple ... and shines.

I know Valentine's Day is behind us, but I have been thinking about the necklace above ever since I saw it. Chris, if you are reading this, BOOKMARK Lisa Leonard Designs NOW. I also love this from Figs & Ginger ...

I've seen it with the single momma bird and baby birds but not with a mommy and daddy bird (or mommy and mommy or daddy and daddy, whatever you got.) They also have this ...

Come on, now isn't that just the cutest little necklace to celebrate being a mommy. Perfect for Mother's Day. I will warn you, they look much bigger on screen than in person. A friend has one and I was surprised at how dainty the necklace looked on.

I can tell you what is NOT fabulous, a house full of sick boys, big and little. It's a good thing I've stayed well -- when mom goes down, the whole house goes down. I'm off to tend the household. Enjoy your weekend!


DIY: Happy Valentine's Day, Part Two

I told you I went overboard. Here are two more crafty things we did for Valentine's Day.

It's not that I hadn't heard of melting broken/leftover crayons into new shapes; it's just a project I kept forgetting about. But a post on The Long Thread reminded me and I quickly put heart crayons on the to-do list. That she shares her Valentine for the crayons was icing on the cake.

Finding the heart pan was the hardest part but I finally found one at Wal-Mart hiding not with the baking supplies or the seasonal candy but with the Valentine's teddy bears. Go figure. I'm not a ruffly girl, but I like the ruffle.

Here's my helper. Normally, Will would have lasted just a few minutes. But this particular day was different. He was very serious about taking the paper off the crayons. When I left the table to check the instructions, he was quick to tell me I had not finished my share. Quite the task-master! He enjoyed making the crayons and delivering them to friends and neighbors. I think we'll do this again.

The second project I'm sharing today also involves a free printable, this one from Hello, Good Gravy!

Hard to see in this picture, but that is a really adorable pillow box that was easy to fold together and fun to fill. I put Cheerios and fruit puffs in one for Joseph and strawberry Valentine candy corn in one for Will. In the future, these would be easy to fill with jelly beans or conversation hearts for classmates. I'm thinking pillow boxes for Easter baskets or party favors too.

(Don't you love that bag, especially the arrow handle. Chris found those last Valentine's Day and filled two with goodies for Will and I. Which is nice that we have two bags since we got the two kiddos.)

How was your Valentine's Day?


DIY: Happy Valentine's Day, Part One

I went a little overboard this Valentine's Day. There were just sooooo many cute ideas out there. I tip my hat to all the talented folks who put their talent out there for me to print. I already have an idea for my own free printable next year as a way of payback.

First we made these thumbprint hearts, getting the idea from several places. The message says happy (heart) day with the boys initials underneath. These went to special folks like grandmas. After seeing the thumbprints did not show well on the textured paper, I drew hearts on white card stock and let Will go to town with the ink. Joseph was not into putting his fingers on the stamp pad. But he did like grabbing the stamp pad. You can't tell from the picture, but the hearts are on pop dots to give dimension. Besides, pop dots are fun. I really like how they turned out and would have kept them all. I am a sucker for anything that has my babies' sweet little prints.

For our out-of-town cousins, I printed the elephants from Up, Up Creative. And the puppy dogs from Hotcakes. I especially like the red elephant with the blue water. I tried HARD to get Will to give it to me but he sent that one to cousin Kirkland. Which is fitting because red and blue are Kirkland's favorite colors (HOTTY TODDY!).

Here's what my rock star is taking to school Tuesday. He would have taken them to school Friday but we got a snow day instead of a Valentine's Day party. I found the guitar lollipop cover on Zakka Life and the bag topper is from Fancy Pants Prints. I think they work great together. I added M&Ms and a bubble wand to fill the snack-size bag. It's a small class so we and our fellow moms tend to do more. This is nothing compared to Christmas!

Coming in Part Two, heart crayons and pillow boxes. Happy Valentine's Day!


Fabulous Friday — SNOW!

It finally did. It finally snowed when the weather folks said it would. Well, they said overnight and then early morning but finally it showed up around 10. And it's sticking a little. Yes, those are snow flakes. Turn your head, now squint.

Our little event is nothing like what the folks up in DC are getting but for those who don't get snow every year, it's a big deal to us. We cancel school and everything. (Yes, those in the North, feel free to laugh.)

Will nicknamed this guy Hangie Squirrel. He's fun to watch.

That's enough looking out the window. We're off to play in the snow.


What's inside? Grab bag fun PART TWO

Remember that grab bag of Bunny and Bee T-shirts I told you about here? It arrived. And boy, is my big boy going to be a hipster now. These styles might be even too hip. Skulls, birds and rockets are the theme. Tell me what you think ...

Despite the serious face, this last one is our favorite. Even if the little daydreamer is sitting on a skull. And daddy likes the black one ... it also has a cool rocket on the back which would make a cool shirt on its own.

While this was a one-time grab bag deal, if you like that sort of thing you should check out The Sampler. You get a package in the mail full of ... they describe it best ... "an ever-changing monthly collection of samples, goodies, promos and more from indie crafters, record labels and zines." Just like any good grab bag, you never know what you are going to get though they do preview some of the items on the Web site. I got one about three years ago; it had earrings, magnets, fabric samples, one or two CDs, a magazine and more. Fun to look through.


Fabulous Friday - Love is a printer that works

So I was suppose to check in yesterday after going to the gym. Thursday is accountability day. Well, I didn't go to the gym. And breakfast was three cookies and two Cokes. I know, I know. Feel free to shake your head and wag your finger. But I am going to go to the gym today.

But first, it's Fabulous Friday. You remember back in the day when you would go to the store with Mom and pick out Valentines to hand to all your classmates, and it had to be all your classmates because it's not nice to leave anyone out. Barbie or Transformers? Candy or no candy? Oh, the schoolyard stress of it all.

Fast forward 20 years and now it's Will taking Valentines to school. But I'm not taking him to the store. Why should I when there are all these lovely Valentines available online for free. So here's what I've been thinking ...

Check out these cool guitar suckers!

And an adorable snail. Both found at Zakka Life. Because we know candy Valentines are cooler.

Look at this rocket from Cottage Industrialist. Perfect for my little astronaut.

I really want to make this, found on The Long Thread, but I'm having trouble finding a heart muffin tin to melt the crayons in.

That's not all at The Long Thread. Check out these print and go Lovebirds. Scroll down under the clip art and you'll find 10 other DIY free printables. It's a good list.

Paper Crave also has a good round-up of free printables. I like the color-your-own elephant from Up, Up Creative.

Now the tough decision, what to print? Because I love them ALL!


Quiet week

Boy, it's been quiet around here. A big tree fell on our street, knocking out our cable. Which meant no internet for me for THREE WHOLE DAYS. It was tough I tell you, tough ... pioneer days tough. And it will be fodder for a post one of these days. But right now, I have incoming in-laws and a very cluttered house.

So real quick, here's what I've been up to ...

Watched LOST last night with the hubby. Last November, Chris was flu, stay-in-bed, "don't even think of breathing on the kids" sick and got to sit in bed for three days and watch LOST from the beginning. Yes, it was soooo hard on him to do that. He emerged from the bedroom well and totally addicted to the show. I tried really hard, REALLY HARD, not to watch with him. I've got enough to do and enough shows that I'm already not watching to watch another show ... you know what's coming, I caved around Season Three. LOST now joins "Fringe" in the "our shows" category. There's something special about having a show together.

Been burning everything in the kitchen. Chex Mix, cookies, butter ... My friend Vivi calls for more recipes here (it does have food in the title) but first I need to remember how to cook.

Got new shoes! It's been forever since I got new shoes. I had seen them in the Land's End catalog, chatted up another mom at the ped's about their comfort level and then saw them marked down to $14. So I got two! Now I don't have to wear my sneakers everywhere. And I love a bargain. Smiles all around.

Gearing up for the local Apollo Ball. We've never been. We hear that it is a big to-do. And I'm sure we'll enjoy going with our friends. But first there is STRESS. To find a dress, get a tux, clean the house for the IN-LAWS who happened to be driving through town and were talked into staying around (free babysitting WOO!). I've been feeding my stress chocolate and cokes so my Thursday check-in won't be pretty I'm sure.

So that's what I've been up to. I know, real exciting. Feel free to trump me by sharing your feats of daring-do. Or cute kid stories, I love those.

*Editor's note (2/8): We did not go to the Apollo Ball. Just couldn't work out the logistics this year. But maybe next year. Just in case, I'll be keeping an eye out for a fabulous dress.