Thursday, January 31, 2008

Meeting Mr. Madras

Well, I'm finally home after a crazy few days of traveling, cancelled flights, airport food, lost luggage and a bunch of other travel-related headaches.

I was so excited to see that Abnormally Normal had tagged me for my very first time so here's the scoop on how I met Mr. Madras...

It was my freshman year (his sophomore) during the first week of school. The RA of my floor was dating the RA of Mr. M's floor so there was always some kind of good-natured fun going on. My first encounter with Mr. M was the night we had a "boxer raid." All the girls on my floor stormed the guys' dorm rooms, opened their dresser drawers and attempted to "steal" a pair of boxers. Lucky for me, Mr. Madras was a true prep and a pair of freshly-laundered (I think/hope) tartan plaid boxers was sitting neatly folded in his top drawer. I grabbed them, caught his eye for a split second and ran like mad out the door with my prize. Since we attended a relatively small (2,000 students) private college, it was inevitable that our paths would cross again--sooner rather than later. Several weeks later, his dorm floor had a party, and we actually talked a bit. He introduced me to his roommate and kept on making the rounds meeting some new freshmen girls. That fall, I'd see him on campus and say "hi," but it wasn't until we had a class together "Child Psychology" Spring semester that I knew this guy was worth a little flirting. Luckily, he felt I was worth some of his time as well. We met up at a fraternity party that spring and ended up spending most of the night together -- just talking, about everything and anything. I knew that night, without a doubt, this would be the guy I would marry. While it may not have been totally smooth sailing after that night, we did get married 5 years later. This year, we'll celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary, and I can't imagine anyone more perfect for me.

I'm tagging Impoverished Preppy and Melissa C.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Living in the Lone Star State provides opportunities for some fun traditions. Among them "Go Texan Day" where everyone in Houston is encouraged to dress in Western attire and celebrate the arrival of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. It's not unusual to see wagon trains along the sides of busy Houston freeways as real-live cowboys and cowgirls travel from their Texas towns to take part in the festivities of rodeo season. Festive, it is!!! There is nothing quite like the rodeo in Houston. Where else can you watch high school students rope calves to earn college scholarships then cheer on cowboys in wild barrel races and finally be a part of the "sold-out" Hannah Montanna concert (or see Fergie, Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, just to name a few)? Check out what it's all about here.

Since "Go Texan Day" is quickly approaching, I thought I'd do a little shopping for Bonus Baby. Some great cowgirl bargains I found...

Orient Expressed sale $32.88. The t-shirt ($15.88) and sweater($18.38) below also on sale at OE .

How cute is this Sara's Prints fleece coat from CWD KIDS. Only $14. There's a lot of cute stuff on sale at CWD right now.

Every cowgirl needs a pair of fashionable cowboy boots. Here's a cute pair from Target...

I wonder if I paired all of this with a green cowboy hat...Preppy that an oxymoron??? Happy Trails, Y'all...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Just had to share...

See a bargain, pick it up ~ all day long you'll have good luck.

Just had to share about some of my good fortune over the last few days as I stumbled upon some really fun bargains. I've discovered that half the fun of discovering these great finds is being able to share the news with others who appreciate a good deal.

First, at Tuesday Morning. Lilly Pulitzer abounds. They had several of these multi patch quilts along with matching shams. There were also several different Lilly sheet sets and dust ruffles as well. I got the king quilt for $119.99 and two matching king shams for $29.99. We're redecorating Big Sister's room and Lilly is something we can BOTH agree on.

Also got this Lilly book for $4.99. It's got great recipes, ideas and photos.

Then it was onto Marshall's for more bargain finds and all "On Clearance" nonetheless. These were all Toss Designs, and I've paid full price for their stuff before because it's so cute! Needless to say, this stuff was literally jumping into my cart...

Adorable laminated cosmetic bag only $5 along with a matching tennis racket cover for $15. For $15, I could afford to get this cute racket cover, too, (which coincidentally matches a Toss tote I got at Tuesday Morning before Christmas).
Marshall's had a lot of other Toss stuff, too, ~bucket hats, flip-flops, lots of cosmetic bags. Oh, and some cute rain boots that I just HAD to have...only$16.

Also, I picked up some Vineyard Vines $3 boxers and a $5 belt for Big Brother. If you've got a Marshall's nearby, it's probably worth a stop. On a quick whim, I also ran into Ross, which I consider the "black sheep" of the TJMaxx/Marshall's imagine my surprise and disbelief when I came across this Vera Bradley Nantucket Red suitcase "On Clearance" for $89. It's huge with lots of great features and I knew it was meant to be since Mr. Madras and I are headed on a "weekend getaway" in a few days, and I really did need some new luggage... Mr. M doesn't seem to find the same joy in my bargain finds. In fact, his only comment about my Vera bargain suitcase was that it would probably get really dirty. So thanks for letting me share here...I'd love to hear about some of your great bargains. I really do think it's twice as fun to share the excitement of that "fabulous find."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Since you asked...

Several of you have asked how "Bonus Baby" got this wonderful nickname. Well, it's because she is exactly that -- a bonus. You've probably noticed there's a little age spread between Big Sis (13), Big Bro (10) and our three and half-year old "bonus." People would often ask us if she was our "OOPS" or "Surprise Baby" some would even dare say "Mistake." While BB may not have been on my "Life's To Do" list, I'm well aware that my "to-do" list is not always the same as the list of the "man upstairs." So when that stick showed two blue lines, I knew it was meant to be and life was about to get even more exciting. I can tell you that our little girl has been nothing but a true BONUS in our lives. The excitement and joy she has brought to our family are immeasurable. Just a few of the perks she's provided:
  • Trips to Disney are even more thrilling for Big Sis and Big Bro because they see things through her eyes. They get so excited watching BB's reaction to hugging Pooh or riding Dumbo. Christmas morning is like this, too, and the older two rush by their own gifts to show BB her new bike or doll house.

  • My older two have become so responsible and more patient. Big Bro is so nurturing and caring that I know he'll be a better boyfriend, husband and father when the time comes.

  • Big Sis is real popular with all her friends because her little sister is soooo cute and fun to play with.

  • A chance to get to do the whole "little girl "thing again as an older and, hopefully, wiser parent.

I just looked "bonus" up in the thesaurus and here are a few of its synonyms. Our little bonus is all of these and so much, extra, reward, perk, plus, treasure, benefit, goodie, boost, enhancement, prize, advantage. We are truly blessed!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Help Wanted

Animal crackers, and cocoa to drink,
That is the finest of suppers, I think;
When I'm grown up and can have what I please
I think I shall always insist upon these.
"Animal Crackers," Christoper Morley, 1921

If making dinner could only be that simple. That's exactly what I need ~ some simple supper recipes that everyone in my family will eat and that I can prepare fairly easily. You see, I must confess I don't like to cook. Trust me, I've tried to enjoy it. If you looked on my kitchen bookshelves lined with all sorts of cookbooks, you would swear I was a seasoned chef. But my family knows better and that became all too clear today when I was "planning" tonight's meal. Here's the conversation:

Big Brother: What are we going to have for dinner tonight, Mom?

Me: Why don't we go out to eat tonight? Let's see, it's Tuesday, where do kids eat free?

Big Brother: Mom, kids eat free at home every night.

Well, if that didn't say it all! I have to cook more here at home where "kids eat free." So I'm asking for a bit of help. Does anyone have a great cookbook or helpful website where I can find easy and tasty meals? (The easy part is kind of important for me.) Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Pass the Kleenex, please

I stumbled upon this fun idea while browsing one of my favorite new sites Craftzine's Blog. How fun is this...Design your own Kleenex box at the Kleenex website.

From photos to your own patterns just upload your image and follow the simple directions. I'm thinking you could scan a cute Lilly print or for the Photoshop users among us you could create your own patterns. The design interface looks really easy to use. There's also a neat 3D preview of your creation that you can spin around. Here's the link. It's only $4.99 + shipping. Not bad to get your own personalized Kleenex box. Once the Kleenex are finished there are probably endless possibilities for the empty box...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A Myriad of Meandering Musings

Today I was so lucky to be able to do my morning run in absolute perfect weather. Total sunshine and around 50 degrees which is perfect for a runner like me who sweats profusely. Honestly, I have met few people who can get as drenched as I can from just a mild workout. Anyway, the idyllic weather had me running a bit farther and longer than usual so my meandering brain had more time to wander & wonder, and here are just a few of the thoughts that I pondered...
  1. Could it be that last night I attended the "New Parents Freshmen Orientation" at our local high school? No, it's not possible that I'm the mother of a child entering high school this fall. But, alas, it is true and I tell you I left that meeting totally overwhelmed. Honestly, the counselors made it sound like the course selections you make today will affect your entire life --college, career, etc. They really were saying things like "if your child wants to be an accountant, then he/she should do this...if your child is planning to attend medical school than you need to consider this..." My daughter can't decide what to wear on most days, let alone know what career she is interested in. Do they really expect our kids to have figured all of this out? Then all the talk of AP, IB (International Baccalaureate), Distinguished Diplomas, weighted GPAs~my head was swimming. My hope is that I can digest this info. a bit more in the coming days and get the real "scoop" from friends who have already done the high school thing. I can tell you that a one hour meeting in the school cafeteria just doesn't cut it!
  2. While all of this is weighing on my mind, so is the fact that tomorrow is "Brown Day" at preschool, and I cannot think of one thing in Bonus Baby's wardrobe that has a stitch of brown in it? I can handle "Blue, Yellow, Red, Orange, and of course Pink & Green Day," but "Brown Day"????? All I can think about is the fact that if BB does not have something brown to put on in the morning, she will be one very mad & unhappy camper. Oh great!
  3. Next, I begin to wonder how Big Bro is doing at school today, since exactly five minutes before walking out the door for school, he informs me that he is supposed to "dress-up" like a Patriot for his Social Studies debate today. I think we could have maybe thrown together a New England Patriots football uniform together, but an 18th century Son of Liberty?? Luckily, the dress-up part was actually worth five extra points. He ran upstairs and got his navy blue blazer. I grabbed some construction paper out of the pantry (that's where we keep all our school craft goodies) along with some scissors and a stapler, and we were able to assemble some sort of hat with the three corners that maybe if you squinted real hard somewhat resembled a colonial-looking hat. We did all this while creeping through the carpool line! I guess I could have really gotten mad and lectured him on checking his assignment book and managing his time better, but since the apple does not fall far from the tree, and I've been known to get into predicaments like this myself, I decided I would share the skill of "winging it." I don't think that's the way to go through life, but sure is a skill worth having!
  4. Those thoughts led me to ponder the fact that I truly think my ADD brain comes with many gift and advantages. I think my creativity and ability to think on my feet all come from my somewhat busy brain. I can definitely "think out of the box" with the best of them...
  5. Even more snippets that ran through me head...should I paint BB's room; I want to read more poetry; maybe we should get Netflix; what vitamins do I really need to be taking; my college roommate's birthday is this weekend, maybe I should call her; what should I wear to the Heart Ball next month...

Just a few of the things I ponder during a run. I used to run with my iPod, but I have found that the time goes much faster when I can just let my mind wander. I actually think it's kind of fun! I equate it to productive daydreaming -- I'm actually doing something worthwhile (exercising) and getting to daydream the whole time. Try it, it might work for you, too.

Monday, January 7, 2008

My Subscription Addiction

I admit it -- I am a magazineaholic. I love magazines and subscribe to an inordinate amount. Mr. Madras wishes one of my New Year's resolutions was to conquer this addiction. Sorry, Mr. M, that's just not happening. In fact, I've just subscribed to a few more in support of my resolution to cook more. I've found that without a doubt eBay is the best place to get bargain subscriptions. Today, I ordered Martha Stewart's Everyday Food, Living & Everyday with Rachael Ray. Here are the links to these deals:

Martha Stewart's Everyday Food 1 year subscription was $8.75
Martha Stewart's Living & Everyday with Rachael Ray $16.98 1 year subscription for each magazine.

Here are a few other great deals I found on eBay. You can get a 3-year subscription to Traditional Home for only $5.99 or 1 year of InStyle for only $8.89! It's no wonder that a popular gift from the Madras family this Christmas was a magazine subscription. I've found lots of great deals on kids magazines which make great birthday presents, too. Below are some of my favorite reads...
Coastal Living
Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion
Better Homes & Gardens
Traditional Home
Cooking Light
Town & Country

Another little problem I have when it comes to magazines is that I hate to throw any of them away. That also drives Mr. M crazy. Today, on a quick Target run, I saw these really cute magazine storage boxes in the Dollar Spot. I'm planning on organizing some magazines tomorrow and will post pics of the cute boxes then.

After one more load of laundry, I'll be off to bed with a few magazines in tow along with my "Itty Bitty" book light since Mr. M will undoubtedly be asleep by the time I finally roll into bed. He's never too fond of my late night reading, particularly magazines since I turn the pages much more frequently and they seem to make a lot of noise...Perhaps, another reason he hates my magazine obsession...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!

It was back to school for Big Sis and Big Bro today, although Bonus Baby doesn't go back until Monday. I must admit it sure was hard getting up this morning...we have all enjoyed sleeping in the last two weeks so this morning we were all a little cranky. I guess if I was a "good mom" I would have tried to ease us back into the morning routine over the last several days, but since the snooze button and I are best buds, that just did not happen. Maybe, next year... I'll just add that to my New Year's resolutions. Speaking of resolutions, I've got several items on this year's "To Do" list from the simple to the grand.

"So many things are possible, just as long as you don't know they're impossible." from The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster, 1961
  1. Reconnect with some old friends...(this year is my 25th high school reunion so what better reason to get back in touch)
  2. Try to cook more and eat out less
  3. Maintain this blog
  4. Organize my cottage business and start a website
  5. Win the HGTV "Dream Home" Enter here (I'm entering daily online and bribing my son to fill out postcards since you can enter by mail as often as you like)
  6. Train for a marathon

Those things should keep me fairly busy...I'll keep you posted on my progress (let's just hope there is some!)