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Showing posts from December, 2011

Virtual Girls Night - Share A Positive Resolution!

I was getting into a nasty habit of starting my day in the social networking world by visiting sites that either focused on stories that were antagonistic or sad.  I would get sucked into the anger of someone else or into empathy for someone else's sorrow.  What a sucky way to start the day, right?  Now, if someone is hurting I will do what I can to help them, but it was draining my spirit to do this almost every morning.  I don't need to take on someone else's drama as my own. Ugh.  I will be leaving that bad habit in 2011 and focusing on positive ways to start my day in 2012.  Let the resolutions begin!!!  Happy last Virtual Girls Night Out of 2011!!!

*The Virtual Girls Night Out is for those that don't have a chance to get out of the house but still want to "hang with their friends". So, make yourself a cocktail, put on something cozy and have fun. Leave a comment to let us know you stopped by. We'll visit your blog and say "Happy VGNO!&quo…

Important To Remember

Family Reunion

***Guest post from: Constance Rodgers

My dad is from a very large family. He is the oldest of eleven children. They were all born and raised right in the middle of the Great Depression. I guess his parents did not have much work to do so they just decided to have a bunch of children. Believe it or not, the family is all very close. They all get together about twice a year for a reunion. We are all about to go the reunion that is always around the Christmas holidays. They have one sister that lives out of state, and the rest of the family always chips in to buy her a plane ticket home. I have always thought that was a really sweet thing for them to do. Anyway, somehow I got involved with helping find the most economical plane ticket for them to buy for her this year. It was probably because I had to open up my big mouth to say you could find all kind of deals online. Since we got, I am always looking for deals for just about everything…

Let's Get This Straight

How High Can I Go?

Now that I've bought for my loved ones on the "Nice" list, it's time to add myself to that list and pick out something extra special for me, like the Miz Mooz Bloom boot!

During my shopping/browsing this season I was noticing many women with their long boots.  I'm not sure how this look will go over on me because I've got thighs, and I mean thighs.  (Not that I could knock down a small child with them, but I'm sure I could jostle them a bit).  I think tucking jeans into my long boots will make my thighs look bigger.  But hey, I'll never know until I try it out!

I've been looking at boots from  The style "Miz Mooz Bloom" has caught my eye.  I'm 5'10" and don't walk that well in heels, so the little lift of 1.5" and a wedge heel seems fine. The Miz Mooz Siri is the same look only with a 3.5" wedge heel.  I know my center of gravity and this height would have me toppling over, for sure!  I admir…

I Could Have Used This Cat!

I wish I had had a Nanny like this!

The Christmas Card

~Thank you Terry Gilliam  /  Monty Python
Merry Christmas dear blog buddies!

Virtual Girls Night Out - Pass The Cookies!

I just don't think my jeans can be stretched any further.  I hear my body saying, 'No more Christmas cookies Ann.  No more baked goodies of any kind, pretty please?'  But come on!  Did you see the Baklava that our friends made just for us?  It would be insulting to pass that up!  Well... ditch the jeans, grab the sweat pants - and a big slice of pie - and let's enjoy our Virtual Girls Night Out!

Time For Some Tunes!

"Animals of YouTube Sing Jingle Bells"

Time For A Cocktail!
Champagne Mojitos
Ingredients: 3/4 cup sugar 3/4 cup water 1 1/2 cups packed mint leaves, plus 12 mint sprigs, for garnish 6 limes, cut into wedges 2 cups light rum Cracked ice 3 cups Champagne or sparkling wineDirections: 

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and cook over high heat just until the sugar has dissolved. Let cool to room temperature. In a large pitcher, combine the sugar syrup with the mint leaves and lime wedges and muddle well with a wooden spoon. Add…

Planning Ahead

While my oldest gets ready to enter high school next year we have been talking about College for a few years.  We live in a city that has excellent schools of higher education so it's not uncommon to start putting your sights on "majors" while in middle school.

Our neighborhood holds a wonderful college, however it's a private school which translates to "Big Bucks".  As of today my newly minted 14 year old says that she wants to go to that school and still live at home.  Fine we me!!!  (You and I know that the "living at home" bit won't stick ;->)

If she has her mind set to attend this private school she needs scholarships. No doubt.  That is it. That is all.  We are looking at websites to help with this endeavor.  I've found a site where you can browse hundreds of scholarships,  Their information is thorough and so helpful. They also provide guidance on military scholarships

I may be jumping ahead of myself regard…

Are People Serious With These Christmas Cards?!

Please, oh please, will someone send us a card like this. (I need a good laugh)

Check out more amazingly ridiculous Christmas cards here:  "15 Bizarre (or awesomely bizarre) Christmas Cards".

*And really, please send your strange Christmas cards this way.  We need to liven up our mantel!

Reminded Of My Blessings

I was reminded of my blessings yesterday.  It felt like a club had hit me on the head.

Every day I have a horrible habit, I'm going to call it an 'ailment', of being overly aware of our finances.  It's on my mind when I get in the car wondering if I should walk instead to save on gas money, I reconsider a purchase of some grocery item because maybe we don't truly need it today and it might be on sale later.  I'm woken up with debt $$ spinning in my brain.  I hate it.

While Christmas shopping/browsing with my youngest daughter I was tired, she was tired, we had had enough and needed a break.  While we sat with her "I-tried-on-10-pair-of-shoes-can-I-have-a-treat" milkshake, I saw a little girl who was unquestionably showing the signs of going through chemo.   Her grandma was holding up the most beautiful pink, fluffy, sparkly dress to make her smile.  This bald little girl.  Little girl. Cancer.  My eyes go to my healthy little girl.  Healthy girl. 

My …

California Dreamin'

There was a time when our finances were, well, different and Rob and I could take mini-vacations while our little one's stayed home with family.  It was a complete dream to me to visit the Napa Valley;  The sun, the blue sky, and the wineries.  Ah yes!  Some of the most beautiful properties I have ever seen in my life.

One of our favorite locations was the Niebaum-Coppola winery.  The grounds were beautiful and the house had the largest trellis I had ever seen holding up dark purple grapes.  Visiting that area of California has really had an effect on me and I've wanted to live in a chateau ever since ;->

I would like to have a beautiful gate greet me at my driveway and shrubs trimmed to look like elephants and bears.  (Oh, maybe not so much elephants and bears, perhaps your basic round topiary would be fine.)  A wall of my chateau would have a large garden trellis holding lovely roses.  And I believe trellises guiding climbing rosemary would be wonderful.

Ah!  To dream!  T…

Marriage Advice From An Eleven Year Old

Conversation as I get ready to go Christmas shopping with my 11 y/o daughter today:

Me:  'I think I'll wear pearls today.'

She:  "Mo-o-om.  You're married!"

Me:  'Yes.  So?'

She:  "You're already married.  You don't have to look good when you go out."

Oh dear.

What Are They Up To?

My daughters have been very sweet regarding gifts this Christmas.  They aren't doing usual maneuvers like, leaving notes, or certain websites open to items that they would like to receive on Christmas morning, they have actually asked me what I would like for Christmas.  Wait... Wha'???  Did I really just hear them ask me what I would like to receive?  (The faint song of angels plays while I visualize the possibilities of the question.)

I've had my eye on things I could have in our yard that would attract birds for the winter season.  Our winter doesn't get completely frozen so we have visits from birds through out the season.  It's really lovely.  I would really enjoy a bird bath that looks like a lovely piece of sculpture and also proves to be a bird haven. Blomus Stainless has some beautiful designs.

I don't mind traditional looking bird feeders however, the designs on this site are truly like art and I know they would be a great conversation starter for our…

Wishful Thinking

Today I am officially the mother of a 14 year old and an 11 year old.

Wouldn't it be nice if they really felt this way? ;->

Ideas From My Neighbors

OK.  I am seriously considering adding window boxes to the front of our house.  While driving around, looking at all the pretty light displays on peoples homes I loved one in particular.  They had their window boxes lit like a toy train, spilling over with toys, and the wheels appeared to go 'round and 'round.  I want to do that too!

We live on a slightly busy street and I really want to up our Christmas light decorations.  December is such a dark, and most evenings dreary, time weather wise here that I truly appreciate when I see homes decorated for the holidays.  It helps elevate my mood.

If I'm going to be all gung-ho for these window boxes I need to put them in good use year 'round - not just for my lighted Christmas display.  I promise my husband that I will create a lovely garden window box full of herbs and a window flower box over flowing with sweet alyssum, lobelia, petunias and pansies.  He'll definitely go for that!

Something to add to the "Honey Do…

I Need More Cake!

I'm all for eating healthy, but heck, pass me the butter!

Starting My New Years Resolution's

After picking my jaw up off the floor from our last water bill I'm seriously considering investing in rain water barrels.  We have a shrub that really isn't doing much for the beautification of our yard, in fact it attracts large ants, it sits right below a gutter and would be a perfect spot for a rain barrel.

I find it so hard to believe, seeing as we live in such a rainy part of the country, our water bill is so high!  Yes, we have a garden that we water in the summer, but it's not being doused daily.  What happens with all of that rain from September to June?  I know there's a lot of effort (management of rivers, system maintenance, etc.) that goes into our sewer system that I'm not aware of but we've got to get this under control.

We've installed the low-flow shower heads and make sure we don't have leaky faucets or pipes.  I believe the next step is rain harvesting. Sounds like a great option to me. This idea will be on my New Year's Resolution…

Into The Woods

While driving around the mountains in search of the Christmas Tree farm I looked at the sweet homes tucked back off the road, imagining how cozy it must be to live in the woods. Since I'm not great at camping my husband wonders if I would really like to live in the woods but, as long as I have heat, running water and an inside toilet I'm fine.  (That doesn't sound like camping, does it? ;-> ).

While I see these tucked away homes I notice that their mailboxes are right on the road.  Is that safe?  Regarding privacy theft and all.  And what about those crazy teenagers that I see in movies who drive around with a baseball bat smashing mailboxes during their bored nights.  (What movies am I watching?!)

What I'd love to do is get one that looks like those classic mailboxes but have it made from cement.  Hit that!  Oh, how about I just think of exciting it must be to see that little red flag standing tall on your Keystone Mailboxes letting you know you've got mail. (O…

So Mad!!!

You know what's not fun?  Using your debit card at a gas station and not knowing that a hold, or rather a "pre-authorization" is being held on your funds?

Yea, see, you go to the gas station like a good little consumer and put $20 into your tank.  You go about the rest of your day taking care of business and your family.  You make a run to the grocery store and go to pay with the same debit card you used to purchase the gas only to have the words "Insufficient Funds" show up in lovely red letters on the machine.  Silly, you think.  'Let me run this again', you say to the clerk.  Again you try, and again the mean red letters appear.  I bit of panic hits you. 

When you return home and call the number on the card the recorded voice tells you that it's past business hours and asks you to leave your name and number for a return call in the morning.  How are you not to think/worry/panic all night about this while you wait for the call???

When the company …

A Little Tip



Let's see, items that we least like to go shopping for:  Swimsuits.  Jeans.  Bras.  The first two you don't really have to buy, but a bra?  It's a necessity.  A job that is in my arsenal of "I can't believe I did that" was a bra fitter at J.C.Penney.  I did learn a lot of things with that experience.  One of them being, by the time women get much older we lose any issues with our bodies and don't mind walking around a fitting room with our boobies flopping about.  (I'll never forget the first time I learned that!  Or, the second. Or the third. Or...)

As our bodies age we're always looking to maintain "features".  Do we want them perkier?  Or, perhaps a smoother look in the back?  Or, just get them off of my waist line?!  I've been doing a lot more shopping for bras lately (due to the fact that my daughters are growing up) so I'm going to share something I found through a lovely, little resource known as Oprah. 

If you…

Virtual Girls Night Out - Controlled Chaos

I've planned 3 birthday parties for the month of December.  I'm on the eve of the first one for my newly minted 11 y/o old and her friends, so I really need to hang with my blog buddies and have a Virtual Girls Night Out with the "big girls" before I'm covered in pink and glitter and too much sugar.  Whoo Hoo!

Time For Some Tunes!

*I'm not going wild with this choice. Feeling a calm vibe from the impending full moon tomorrow night.*

Nick Drake "Pink Moon"

Technically the Pink Moon is in April so... I will most likely be playing this video again.  Love it so!!! :->

Time For A Cocktail!

Full Moon Number 2
1 partamaretto almond liqueur
1 partGrand Marnier® orange liqueur Directions:
Tilt a brandy snifter and pour in the amaretto. While still tilting, add grand marnier. Gently "roll" snifter in the tilted position, set upright, and serve.
Short and sweet.  How delightful.

Time For A Question!

How is your holiday season going so far…

Swimming Pools, Movie Stars

While my computer "rests" my screen saver of past summer photo's splash on the screen.  What a lovely reminder of sunshine and warmth during this winter chill. 

I live in the Pacific Northwest and we seem to be the focus of jokes about how rusty we are due to our rain fall, and how our State flower is mildew.  Yea, ok.  We get it.  But it does get warm here too.  Truly, I'm not kidding. 

We are so fortunate to have neighbors that have the most lovely pool in their backyard.  It's really dreamy.  The house was built in 1956 and has never been remodeled.  If you are a fan of Doris Day movies, where women are perfectly quaffed and martini's are poured when the gentlemen returns home from work, then you would love this house.  (I do!  I absolutely do!!!) I was told JFK dined in this house while campaigning!  Most of our summer pictures come from my girls playing in the neighbors pool, while I lounge in the shade (pretending we live there ;->).

There are those…

And Now We Are Eleven

Happy Eleventh Birthday, my dear, sweet Lily.  

Leave it to you to want to open your presents before you go to school :->

The years have gone by.

You are truly a blessing in my life, in our lives.

(And yes, Guitar Guy, thank you ;-> )

Karen Walker Is Not The Best Form Of Reference

When my daughter asked, "Why are there 12 days of Christmas?" I almost went into a similar description as Karen Walker's:

I need to do my research

Free Way To Travel

Time to dream.

I have always wanted to travel out of the country but I haven't really been able to... yet.  So I placate myself by watching The Travel Channel (Samantha Brown has my dream job!) and by visiting real estate website's from countries I want to visit.

I've been day dreaming at Scottish Accommodation Index,, lately.  I've found delightful apartments in Edinburgh that are within walking distance to Scottish Paliament and Holyrood Palace.  There seem to be many places available near Holyrood Palace so I should look that up and see what that's all about.

It's so easy to get caught up in my daydreams.  I can clearly see myself walking along a cobble stone street, all bundled and scarved, walking to the market to buy groceries.  And what a mysterious place the market must be!  As long as there are pictures on the products I would be fine.  But even with pictures, who knows?  And I wouldn't care, I would absolutely love discovering what'…

Reminders From 5th Grade

Because of the unruliness of my daughters 5th grade class the teacher had had enough and gave the class a stern speech, along with an assignment to write 250 words on what each of them would do to make their behavior and class time better.

My daughter is the kind of student that takes herself very seriously and is very responsible.  (She was definitely born this way.  In certain situations with her I ask myself, 'Who's the adult here?').  When we got home she went to work on her paper.

She shared her finished work by reading it to me. I was very proud of her however, I brought to her attention the fact that she was calling out some classmates by name and how that isn't such a good idea, kids don't really like being "tattled on".  She wrote "Mr. Camp, I hear so-and-so and so-and-so talking and I feel you should separate these two so I can concentrate.  Also, "kid 1" and "kid 2" are bad listeners and..."  You get the idea.  I a…

Virtual Girls Night Out - Burning Diaries and The Rock Is Back!

I did something yesterday that was necessary for me, but not understood by most.  I burned my diaries.
While up in the attic, searching for our Christmas decorations, I came across my journals from the ages 17 to 22.  I sat on the cold floor and read them.  I laughed at some things, cringed at most, and was depressed when I got to the end.  Reliving those times really isn't necessary.  Oh, I'll share more later, but for now it is done - burned - ashes - done.  So I'm going to celebrate at our Virtual Girls Night Out!

*The Virtual Girls Night Out is for those that don't have a chance to get out of the house but still want to "hang with their friends". So, make yourself a cocktail, put on something cozy and have fun. Leave a comment to let us know you stopped by. We'll visit your blog and say "Happy VGNO!"*
Time For Some Tunes!
R.E.M. "We All Go Back To Where We Belong" 

No matter how new their songs are, I will hear R.E.M. and &qu…

The Power of Chocolate

If I want my girls to go anywhere with me it seems to involve a little bribery.  It's funny, there was a time when I couldn't wait until they were old enough to be left home alone, but now that that time is here I get a little lonely when I'm "out and about".

My oldest hates to go clothes shopping! I understand that I should accept that as a blessing, but there are certain items that I need her physical body to try on.  She can be plugged into her MP3 player and off in Linkin Park-land, I don't care, I just tell her I need her body over at the wool coats please???

I remember when I used to trace her feet on paper, then take that piece of paper shoe shopping.  I avoided a lot of *tsks* and heavy sighs of boredom, but I also had to make enough trips back to the store for returns that I've given up on that plan.

A shopping trip for "undergarments" is due.  (Does any woman really enjoy that shopping trip?)  I might need to pull out the big guns and…

What's In A Name?

I think I should start naming our house.  My husband can blame it on all of the British movies I've been watching lately.  When I see beautiful address plaques with fancy fonts and titles I get inspired.

My street name is a bit difficult for most to pronounce.  If you live in the Pacific Northwest you aren't as stumped by a name that has a Native American vibe to it , however when I take care of business over the phone I enjoy listening to those from other coasts try to pronounce, 'Willamette'.

So let's see what I would like my house plaque to read... 'The Cottage of Harrison' perhaps?  Or maybe I could have different house plaques and change them out accordingly... 'Hormones Are Raging At Harrison House'.  Yep, that plaque would be used.  As well as, 'The Bungalow of Dirty Laundry on the Boulevard'.   All worthy ideas but perhaps I would be sharing too much.

Well, we'll see.  For now, I'll just stick with address numbers wi…