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.