Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My New Addiction

OMG~I have spent the whole day on this wonderfully fun website called Wordle. It makes those fun "word clouds" from any combination of words you create or from any website or blog you submit. Below is the cloud I created when I submitted my blog address.

What makes this site super cool is that you can choose the colors, font, layout and text. The site also includes a gallery of users' creations that can provide for tons of inspiration. It took me a little while to figure out how to save my creations and format them as jpeg images, but my perseverance paid off and now I'm hooked. My mind has been racing with all the ways I could use this. I'm thinking who needs a Christmas letter when I can just type in our year's highlights; format the text for red and green; and then print on a foldover card. How cute is that? I just finished making one for Big Sis that she proclaimed "really cool" and I'm planning to print and frame that one. The possibilities are endless. I'll keep you posted on other ideas I have, but right now you HAVE to head over to Wordle.

Monday, July 28, 2008

What a Deal!

Just had to pass along what I think is one heck of a deal from Brocade Home. With the coupon code: SUMMER, you can get 50% off all of their sale and clearance items. While I realize a lot of their stuff would not necessarily fit in with my decor, I still love to look through the catalog and dream. I do think some of these pieces might have to find a place in the Madras house since they're such a steal.

This gorgeous king sized duvet was originally $149, on sale for $79 50% off = $39.50. The matching square pillow covers are only $12 each.

This neat storage unit was originally $299, on sale for $149 50% off makes it $75

This chair was originally $299, on sale for $179. 50% off makes it $90

Maybe you'll find something to tickle your fancy...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Most Embarrassing Moment

I must admit I'm pretty embarrassed/ashamed to not have posted in over a week. I'd love to say I have several really good reasons why...but, truth be told, I just couldn't think of anything worthwhile to write about. Some of my favorite blogger friends can be so witty, insightful, articulate & intelligent in their posts that I think who would want to read anything I have to say...I can't do it as well as these other ladies. I just sit around and hope for some inspiration and divine intervention. I guess you could say that came tonight at dinner when I was sharing an embarrassing high school moment with Big Sis. After I finished telling the story, she said, "Mom, you should write about that in your blog." So here goes...

I was 17 and a high school senior at my New Jersey prep school. Our class was headed on the annual "Senior Trip" to Orlando. Wouldn't you know Aunt Flo (my period) decides it would be nice to join me on the trip? So, to be on the safe side, I packed an extraordinarily large amount of "sanitary protection" so as to not run out. Turns out, I used maybe a tenth of what I brought and had to stuff the rest back into my overloaded suitcase for the trip home. On our way to the airport, we made one last stop at some souvenir shop and fruit stand where people bought big bags of oranges and grapefruit to bring home. Fast forward to my entire senior class and some other random travelers at the Philadelphia airport's baggage claim. As the luggage started to make its way onto the conveyor belt you would see a lone grapefruit or maybe an orange on the carousel and it soon became apparent that the luggage handlers had been pretty rough on our stuff. Then, a wave of laughter broke out and fingers were pointing at this sad suitcase with a few maxi pads and tampons hanging out along with some more on the conveyor belt. My boyfriend at the time nudged me to point out the site and to my horror I realized it was mine. I looked him straight in the eye and said, "That's my suitcase. Get it off, close it and meet me at the bus. I'm getting out of here right now." Fortunately, for me, this was one time that he actually acted like he cared and handled the situation for me.

Let me tell you to have your entire senior class seeing your feminine protection spread out all along the baggage carousel is quite harrowing for a 17-year-old Catholic school girl. As I shared with Big Sis tonight, I did survive and the story makes for interesting conversation. What's your most embarrassing moment??? Care to share?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Favor, please...

Remember my absolutely adorable pink & green monogrammed tennis key chain??? (can you get any preppier than that?) Well, my blog friend Hazel, the wonderfully creative and talented artist who custom designed that little gem among many other delightful pieces, needs our help to win a great prize in Girl Indie Blog's Designer Chick Contest. If you can spare a second just click here and vote for Hazel's adorable custom kid's key chain which is #17. The grand prize includes a lot of wonderful items to help Hazel take her business to the next step. After you vote for her, visit Hazel's blog Just Add Dots and leave a comment that you voted for her. You'll then have a chance to win your very own custom key chain. Just look at some of Hazel's creativity at work. I would just love to help her take her talents to the next level.

Thanks for helping Hazel out. I know she appreciates it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

I could not agree with Dorothy more...We got back from our 15-day, 3,000 mile road trip on Sunday and I'm soooooooo glad to be home. While I love my family, I'd have to say this vacation included a little too much togetherness...
  • 3,000 miles through mid-America in the middle of summer with a 4-year old constantly asking to watch "The Polar Express" (her all-time favorite movie) while the 11 year old wants to watch Napoleon Dynamite for the umpteenth time and whines how unfair it is that Bonus Baby "always gets her way." (Her whining is just a little more annoying than his so she wins) Meanwhile, Big Sis just puts on her iPod and all I want to do is play a family game of License Plate Bingo, which never happened.

  • A 3,000-mile road trip means LOTS of public bathroom visits with Bonus Baby...I HATE public restrooms, particularly the hot, steamy, crowded, unclean ones at the ever-interesting interstate rest stops. To add to my disgust, is the fact that I am the only one that can take her "potty" at all of these places...Mr. Madras says how much he wishes he could help out, but he wouldn't dare take her into the men's restroom...(Another reason I love WDW is the very clean FAMILY restrooms they have, where dads can take their precious little baby girls). In all fairness to Big Sis, she does make a few trips to the potty with BB and I do appreciate the break.

  • Luckily, the long miles were broken up a bit by our visits to our family lake house in Wisconsin; another visit to my brother-in-law's island farmhouse and yet another stop to visit family in Minnesota. Mind you, all of these visits are with Mr. Madras' family (whom I dearly love, but once again a lot of togetherness!!!) It's hard to really relax with your in-laws everywhere. I wanted the kids to be so well-behaved, look cute and all while making it look so natural. That's a lot of stress on a mom!!!

  • Add to the stress the fact that the 5 of us shared one bedroom..bunks, air mattresses, etc. The best part of all is sharing one bathroom with the 11 of us that were there. The lake house is so cute and everything a cottage should be except for the whole bathroom thing. I spent most of my time there brainstorming how in the heck we could add a second bathroom...

  • Fortunately, the weather was great!!! I was able to run 5-6 miles in relatively cool, and wonderfully unhumid weather. Boy, that makes a huge difference... I think 3 miles in hot, humid Texas is equal to 5 miles in the upper Midwest.

  • Other trip highlights included Big Sis conquering water skiing; BB "swimming" with no life vest; Big Bro driving the boat; trip to the American Girl store in Chicago and the American Girl OUTLET (yes, it's true there's an outlet) in Oshkosh, WI which is also where the Land's End Outlet is.

All in all, a fun trip but I really do yearn for a relaxing vacation one of these days. Right now, I have to conquer Mount Washmore...I cannot believe the amount of laundry we have. I am really beginning to think that less is more...the less clothes we have, the less laundry we have to do.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Off To The Lake

We're headed on our annual trip "up north" to spend time at our family lake house in Wisconsin. Think "On Golden Pond." We'll be gone two weeks so I'll catch up when we return. Have a great Fourth of July!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lilly, Lilly, Everywhere....

Look at these classics that are getting decked out in their "Lilly-finest" to celebrate Lilly's Jubilee Year.

A Steinway Piano

A Lilly Jeep Wrangler~ I really want this.

Lilly is also partnering with some other companies who will be incorporating traditional Lilly prints and themes: Hasbro will introduce a Palm Beach version of its Monopoly game called "Lilly-opoly." Florida Natural Orange Juice containers will be decked out in Pulitzer prints. How cool is that?!?!

For anyone who's headed for a hospital stay anytime soon, might as well do it in Lilly style with these custom made patient gowns in Lilly Pulitzer prints. I stumbled upon this website Raspberry Bee and thought, "what a great idea."

Have you seen any neat Lilly stuff lately???

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sweet Treats

I just love all the fun stuff at Swoozie's. I absolutely adore it when it's on sale!! Thought these bargains were worth passing along. These would make great hostess gifts. I've stocked up on several things for the Madras house, as well as for gifts. The Initial Guest Towels are only $3.97; the Initial Cocktail Napkins in a lucite holder a mere $7.47; Initial Notes in a lucite holder just $7.47; and the Initial Soap Sets are only $7.47. Just too good to pass up.

Speaking of too good to pass up...I've fallen in love with these yummy Sara Lee Cheesecake Bites. Basically, these little treats are a Sara Lee cheesecake cut into small bite-size cubes. Each cube has only 20 calories, and, truly, two or three satisfy my sweet tooth . They're on sale right now at Kroger for $2.20 instead of the usual $3.79. Needless to say, I stocked up. As that old jingle goes... "Nobody, doesn't like Sara Lee..."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Did I Mess Up?

OK everyone, just have to vent a little. So please excuse my little rant here. As I've mentioned before I like to visit Kristin Armstrong's blog, Mile Markers. She's a creative writer, and I can relate to so many of her posts. Well, several weeks ago she had a great post Orange Shorts. As I was reading through the comments that readers had left, I was particularly annoyed by one reader, CGT, who had commented several times on a grammatical mistake in Kristin's post. Mind you, this blog is written by a mom and runner and gives readers a little inspiration when it comes to balancing all the stuff that comes with being a parent who has interests and a life. Well, I thought it was a little odd that someone would take the time to be fairly "ugly" in her comments when they really had nothing to do with the spirit of the post. (Thanks to all of you for never pointing out any of my writing errors...I try to use spellcheck when I remember and double check my posts before I publish...stuff surely slips by...blogging, for many of us, is like a journal or that quick note you would jot to a friend...all things that we don't worry about being scrutinized for grammatical errors) Anyway, it just irked me to see all of the real negative comments that this particular blogger continued to make about this post.

Fast forward to yesterday evening, when I was reading Kristin's latest post Some Like It Hot, Hot, Hot, all about running in this awful Texas heat and humidity. As usual, I browsed through the comments and found it quite ironic that the infamous CGT had posted not once but twice with the very common grammatical mistake of writing "alot" as one word instead of the correct "a lot." Since she had done it in two different posts, I figured it wasn't just a typo and since it was midnight and I was a bit tired and perhaps not thinking straight, I typed a comment on Kristin's blog addressing the mistake. I thought if CGT was going to take the time to point out the grammatical errors of others (and not in a very kind way) I thought I would inform her of the mistake. Since I had just reviewed this with the sixth-grade students I had volunteered to tutor, the lesson was fresh in my mind.

Well, she didn't seem to take the helpful information very well and decided to poke a little fun at my blog and question what I was doing teaching sixth-grade students in Houston during the middle of June. I had actually volunteered to work with a group of students who had struggled in the writing portion of our state assessment (TAKS). These kids have a lot going on in their lives that isn't so great, so I felt this was a way I might be able to help. I'm having a blast working with them, and I'm probably learning as much from them as I hope they are learning from me.

In a way, I'm mad at myself for even writing the comment to CGT. It's just that she was so unkind in her comments. The comments weren't just about the grammatical error in Kristin's post but about Kristin herself. While I didn't make a comment during her initial criticisms, I couldn't help myself yesterday. Did I mess up? Should I just let stuff like that go? Now, CGT seems to have decided to make a little fun of me. This has just really irked me so I had to vent. Thanks for letting me let it out. I promise my next post will be much lighter and fun.
(No doubt, this post probably has some grammatical errors...let's make a pact that our posts don't have to be grammatically perfect and that if we can't say anything kind in our blog comments, we won't say anything at all.)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cute Bargains

An email I got yesterday from CWD Kids led me to some incredibly cute bargains that I had to pass along. Here are just a few of the deals I put into my shopping cart.what a cute pink and green seersucker skirt only 9.99!!

pink and green flip flops embroidered with little starfish only 9.99!!

Sweet Potatoes bathing suit in fun Marimeko design ~ 19.99

Matching Sweet Potatoes dress ~ 19.99

pink and green seersucker dress ~ 19.99

There were lots more great deals. Cute Sara's Prints pjs and Mulberribush t-shirts. Some really fun patriotic outfits, too, that would look adorable for the Fourth. Hope you'll discover some great finds, too!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Just Add Dots

I've discovered one of the most creative and nicest ladies around...Her name is Hazel, and she's an incredibly talented artist. I recently purchased one of her custom-designed handpainted keychains and I just had to share. I was able to customize everything from color combo (pink & green, of course) to the graphic and monogram. Her Etsy Shop, Just Add Dots, has a sampling of her creative products, and she also does custom requests. My keychain is adorable, and I've received a ton of compliments. The "ball" is about 1.5 inches in diameter so it's easy to find in your purse. She paints these super cute keychains with whimsical portraits of your children.

Check out Hazel's blog so you can keep up with her new creations as well as her crazy, busy life as a mom and artist.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Garnet Hill Bargains

Just wanted to pass along a great bargain find...I just ordered these two adorable Lilly suits from Growing Up With Garnet Hill-Kids' Clothing and Accessories for Bonus Baby at $19 each. They actually had several kids' Lilly items on sale as well as a bunch of other goodies. Just so happened, I came across a coupon code for $10 off a purchase of $50 or $20 off $100. I couldn't just buy the two suits and not use the coupon -- so to get to my $50 total I also purchased this cute button pillow for $9 and fun scooter skirt for $9. The code is G6KMENT. Go check out the clearance section on the Garnet Hill site, you'll find some real bargains.

Friday, May 23, 2008

May Is The New December

I'm officially declaring that this time of year is crazier & busier than the holidays. Between all of the end of year programs, celebrations, assemblies, tournaments, concerts, I truly am about to lose it -- hence the lack of posts. Somehow it seems that anything I find remotely fun like reading a book, surfing the web, playing some tennis or simply a good night's sleep all fall by the wayside once May arrives.

This weekend I'll be making 140 luggage tags for Big Brother's Fifth Grade Appreciation Celebration. Then it's working on clever gifts for the myriad of teachers, office staff, nurses, counselors, administrators, crossing guards, etc. who make school such a great place for my kids. I'll also be fitting in a soccer tournament, band concert, choir performance, preschool end of year party, Big Sis' braces removal, and I'm sure some other stuff I have forgotten and will undoubtedly remember the night before...

Good luck to all of you who are in this same boat. Let's hope it just stays afloat and reaches a safe harbor very soon.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Nostalgic Notions

Tonight at dinner I found myself taking a trip down Memory Lane with my kids as I recalled some of my favorite tv shows and my celebrity crushes. Here's a bit of what I reminisced about...

  • Watching Pinky Tuscadero & Fonzie on "Happy Days." Fonzie really loved Pinky and I so hoped they would get married.

  • Crying like a baby when Jenny died with Greg at her bedside on All My Children

  • Hoping that Jamie Somers, the Bionic Woman, would remember how much she loved Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man, and they would be a couple.

  • Listening to my Shaun Cassidy album over & over.
  • Quickly finishing my homework so I could watch Willie Aames on "Eight is Enough"; Lance Kerwin on James at 15 (and after he lost his virginity the show became James at 16); Shaun Cassidy on the Hardy Boys; and Jimmy McNichol (Kristy's brother) on some show that I cannot remember the name of. I also remember watching a tv movie of the week with Jimmy McNichol where he was a hockey player and became a figure skater and his girlfreind was his partner. At the end of the movie, he died in a plane crash and I cried for days.
  • Wearing my oh-so stylish Starsky & Hutch socks and wishing I was old enough to marry David Soul.

Those were the days, my friend...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Few Quirks

I have to admit I'm not the best at this "tagging" thing. I would always be the one to break the chain in a chain letter. Not that I had anything against chain letters or tagging, I just tend to forget, procrastinate, etc. until it seems too late to do it. I am going to try and make the effort. The Preppy Engineer recently tagged me with Six Quirky Things Meme. Mr. Madras would claim that I have a lot more than six quirks, but here are a few...

  1. I love pretzels -- all kinds -- soft or crunchy. My latest faves are pretzel chips. They're these flat cracker-like pretzels with an awesome crunch. They have a variety of flavors and I can buy a HUGE bag at Costco. I crunch and munch the whole day long.
  2. I am a "pronunciation snob." I cannot stand it when people misuse words or, worse yet, "mis-say" them. You know, like "supposebly" instead of "supposedly." Some that really get me are "Barnes & Nobles" and "Krogers" -- there is no "S" people. You don't say J. Crews or Targets. It's "Barnes & Noble" and "Kroger"!
  3. I am a huge fan of the San Antonio Spurs NBA team. I can hold my own in any conversation about the NBA and particularly the Spurs. Eva Longoria Parker's husband, Tony Parker, is their starting point guard and one awesome player.
  4. I have to chew Orbit peppermint gum and wear Bigelow Mentha Lip Shine when I play tennis. I'm convinced the aromatherapy and peppermint help me focus.
  5. I have to wear socks all the time whenever I'm in a hotel. Whether it's a Motel 6 or The Greenbrier, I've got to have my socks on.
  6. I'm addicted to joining those book clubs like Doubleday, Literary Guild, etc. I keep joining, cancelling, rejoining, etc. Something about those ads "Get 8 books for $2" seems like such a bargain and I cannot stay away.

Just a few of my quirks...What are yours?
Rules of play:

a. Link the person who tagged you. That’s Me

b. Mention the rules in your blog post.

c. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours.

d. Tag 6 bloggers by linking to them.

e. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they have been tagged.

I'm tagging
Tickled Pink & Green
Magnolia Mama
Abnormally Normal
Preppy Pink Crocodile
Boo and Hooties Mom
Just Add Dots

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bargain Madras

Just had to share...In my quest to find more cute madras stuff to add to Tickled Pink and Green's growing Target list,I stumbled upon these AWESOME pillows from a site called TextileShop.Com. The best news is that they are such a bargain! A 27 x 27 floor pillow is only 9.99 and a 17 x 17 inch toss pillow is only $3.49!!! Here's the link. Hope there are some left after I made my HUGE purchase.

I'm In Love...

It's no secret that I have a fondness for madras. Everything from my ironing board cover to my key chain reflect my passion. So, needless to say, I was thrilled to get an email from the folks at Cape Madras letting me know about their absolutely ADORABLE madras collections. This is the REAL stuff, y'all...madras straight from Madras, India. Everything they have is quintessentially preppy and oh so cute!!! I must admit I have fallen "head over heals" in love with their Linen Collection. While they are still developing the linen line, I can tell from the "gotta have" madras chair and "too fun" ottoman, that I am a goner. Check out the linen collection here click on Linen Home. It's just fun to surf around the Cape Madras site -- the photo gallery is full of great pics that make you wish you were strolling the Cape right now.

I'm off to get my "madras fix" right now at Target. Tickled Pink and Green has posted about all the great preppy finds at Target right now. Can't wait to fill up my cart!!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

It's Official


Well, I did it. I just clicked "submit" and I'm now officially registered to run in my first marathon. I've run the Houston half-marathon twice (2007 & '08)and flirted on and off with the idea of doing a full marathon but could always find many reasons why it wasn't a good idea. Well, I've decided 2009 will be the time and Walt Disney World will be the place. I can think of no better place to trot those 26.2 miles than through the "Happiest Place on Earth. I've convinced myself that the atmosphere and sheer magic of that place will make give me the extra "oomph" I'll need to complete a marathon. So on January 11th, I hope to lace up my running shoes, sprinkle on a little pixie dust and enjoy a "leisurely 26.2 mile stroll" through my favorite place on earth.

One place that I've found some excellent running inspiration as well as some wonderful insights into life is Kristen Armstong's (Lance's ex-wife) blog Mile Markers. Kristen has such a way with words and an incredible view of life. Reading her blog is a shear joy and her posts always leave me with some nugget of wisdom or insight that changes the way I look at life.

Any other preppy runners out there care to join me...I'll spring for the madras running shorts :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Big Green Purse & A Cute Pink Bike

Happy Belated Earth Day, everyone!!! (it was actually yesterday, April 22) Life at the Madras house is becoming a bit more "eco-friendly" every day. We're trying to make some strides (albeit, baby steps) to living more "green." Last week, I purchased "The Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World," by Diane MacEachern. It's full of eye-opening facts and user-friendly ideas. Diane also has a website Big Green Purse that shares a wealth of information on how we can make a positive difference in our environment by using our spending power.

One of the areas where I've decided to make a change is my mode of transportation. While I will still be piling the kids in the Odyssey most of the time, the Madras family will also be traveling .by bike a lot more. This weekend, Mr. Madras gave my 15+ year-old Schwinn a much-needed tune-up and a little TLC in preparation for its daily use. I plan on riding it to my tennis matches. Our courts are embarrassingly close to most of our ., yet the parking lot overflows with our SUVs. In addition, that quick trip for milk & bread will now be made on my bike. Luckily, the store is nearby and besides having to cross a fairly busy intersection, it's an easy ride. I've decided that if I stick to this plan for a couple of months<., I'll invest in this cute pink Raleigh cruiser and add a few fun accessories like the adorable green bike basket by Swedish designer Marie-Louise Gustafsson . I figured I might as well make a statement in style...

I'll keep you updated on my progress.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Finish What You Start

Well, I know...long time no post...I'd love to say we've been at DisneyWorld for the last month, but we've actually been home since March 23rd. I can't quite explain why I haven't posted. I've certainly thought of many ideas to write about...but, like so many things in my life...I just never seemed to get around to it. I'd read all my favorite blogs and think how interesting and witty they were and how nothing I had to say was that creative and cute. I seem to have this habit of starting many projects (like this blog) and going "gung-ho" for a while and then just leaving the project half-done. I even do it with books. Tonight, Big Sis asked if we could please finish decorating her room. (A project I enthusiastically started two months ago.) I believe her actual words were "Mom, can you just finish one thing before you start something else?!" Oops, what can I say to that? She's right, and I've decided that I've got to "lead by example." By the end of May my "completion goals" are:

  • Finish decorating Big Sis' room

  • Finish "Jane Austen in Scarsdale" A fun, preppy read I found in the bargain book section at Barnes & Noble. I'm more than halfway through the book, and I haven't picked it up in weeks. Instead, I started reading "The Big Green Purse" in hopes of beginning to live a little more earth friendly.

  • Post on my blog at least 4 times a week. (even if I think it's not as good as everyone else's)

I'll keep you posted on my progress...Tomorrow is Earth Day so I hope/plan to post some fun facts from "The Big Green Purse."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

When You Wish Upon a Star...

We're off to the most magical place on earth. I admit it -- I absolutely LOVE Disney and can't wait to get there. I think I may be more excited than the kids. Needless to say, I won't be posting for a while. I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter, and I'll look forward to catching up on everyone's blogs when I get back.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Gift of Giving

Yesterday a friend told me that I was such a creative "gift giver." I had to chuckle a bit to myself as my most "creative" gift ideas seem to come at the eleventh hour the night (or hour) before I have to give a present. I've been able to come up with several easy & very meaningful gift ideas that have proven to be real "winners." I thought I'd share a few...

-Give a "tree." Visit historictrees.org and click on the Nursery Store. Here you can purchase the offspring of trees connected to famous people, events, and places. From George Washington to Johnny Appleseed, Walt Disney to Mark Twain, these trees witnessed the birth of our nation-and all aspects of its history thus far. The trees are very reasonably priced and proceeds benefit American Forests, the nation's oldest nonprofit conservation group. For Christmas last year, we gave my brother-in-law and his wife a "Williamsburg Golden Raintree" as they met as students at William & Mary. I promise this gift is a sure winner and you'll feel good knowing you've done something positive for the environment.

- Making a donation in someone's honor can also be very special. I suggested to my friend, who was struggling as to what to get her mother for her 75th birthday, to donate a book in her mother's honor at the library of the college her mother attended. Since her mom is an accomplished artist, I suggested an art book. You can simply visit the website of a college and usually get the information you need on the development page or alumni site.

-For the last several years, we have made donations in honor of the kids' teachers either at the teacher's alma mater or to a cause that means a lot to them. For instance, one year we made a donation to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation as my son's teacher had a real fondness for Jefferson and Monticello. Another year, we contributed to the Smithsonian to celebrate a wonderful Social Studies teacher. With the internet, it is so easy to just visit the websites of these organizations and find the "donations page." Don't forget, those donations are also tax-deductible.

-We love to give magazine subscriptions, particularly when you can get them very easily and inexpensively on eBay. The kids often give these as birthday gifts think Sports Illustrated for Kids, American Girl, Nick Jr.. We simply buy the current issue of the magazine and include a cute poem letting them know they'll be getting a subscription. I give them as housewarming gifts think Veranda, Southern Accents, Architectural Digest. New parents think Cookie, Wonder Years, Parents.

Just a few ideas that are simple, meaningful and as easy as a mouse-click.

Monday, March 3, 2008

A picture is worth a thousand words...

I couldn't have said it better myself! This is my life....
cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

This cartoon is by artist Dave Walker. He's got a real knack for finding the humor in the everyday. Find more of his cartoons at We Blog Cartoons.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

We Are Family...

You saved me once, and what is given is always returned.
We are in this world to help each other.
The Adventures of Pinocchio, C. Collodi, 1883

Almost four and half years ago I suffered from a serious bout of postpartum depression after Bonus Baby was born. My wonderful sister helped me navigate those treacherous waters with her care, nurturing and unending optimism and friendship. I am eternally grateful for her help during that dark time which is why I didn't even think twice when she really needed my support over the last week and a half as she faced some difficult times of her own. She's doing great now, and I am finally getting back to some of the stuff that I had put on the back burner - like my blog. I must admit my perspective on life has changed a bit over the past couple of weeks, and one thing I know for sure is that nothing is more important than family and the gift of unconditional love.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Container Store Cuteness

I had a few minutes before preschool pickup today so I ran into the Container Store for a quick look around. Several adorable items caught my eye...
This cute pink and green striped acrylic tray for only $9.99

How cute is this pink & green acrylic basket? It was $14.99.

I also spotted these market totes. I found the exact same ones in Marshall's & TJ Maxx for $9.99 compared to the $34.99 at the Container Store. I love to give these as gifts filled with fun surprises from my gift closet. I've found some in red, lime green & blue. I came across some other totes like these at Hobby Lobby, but instead of the aluminum frame they were white plastic. With a 40% coupon, you could get them there for around $6. Not too bad.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Simple Pleasures

Today, I am grateful for some of those little things that can really make a big difference...
  • Today was Bonus Baby's Valentine's Pizza Party at preschool so I didn't have to make her lunch. That extra 7 minutes this morning was so nice.

  • My full tank of gas that Mr. Madras so kindly filled up last night.

  • A dear friend who offered to do carpool pick up today
  • SUNSHINE!! We've had a couple of dreary days so the sun is such a treat.

I'm about to try and be a bit domestic in the kitchen & make these yummy sounding "chocolate pretzel buttons". I found the complete recipe and instructions at Enamor via one of my favorite crafty blogs, Craftzine. My 13-year-old thought these looked like a great Valentine's Day gift for her buddies. We'll see....