Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ka-Boom! Pow! (and other heroic lingo)

Man oh man, did I ever want to be Wonder Woman when I was little. What girl in the 80s didn't want to take down bad guys in smokin' red boots, gold cuffs and a tiara? Lynda Carter made it seem so...twirly. Not to mention the killer vocabulary inherent in comic book hero-ness. Whamm! Zing! Ka-Pow! Life just sounds more exciting in onomatopoeia, doesn't it?

Well, if you can relate at all to my comic book identity envy, I have a site for you. You can customize your own superhero here! I know, I know, Lynda had it better: one twirl and she was transformed. But, with just a few clicks, you too can become heroic!

Check me out:

Thanks Jenni at One Thing for helping me fulfill my childhood dream.

Buzz! Whiz! Bang! Reality check: my two-year-old is reminding me that life, indeed, is NOT more exciting in onomatopoeia. (i'm off to become baroness von dual-chambered vacuum)

Hey, if you create your own hero, tell me! I wanna come see... !!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Another Backward Glimpse

After posting about my great grandma's recipe book discovery on Friday, I found another little treasure inside one of my old books! A small red volume called The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come fell open (actually, to be more accurate, Bug flung it open... have I mentioned that he's turning two this month? He's practicing.)

Well, inside the book was a darling card:

On the back it says:
Pray think of me when flowers you view.
Their beauties all expressed in you.

Being a sucker for anything nostalgic or romantic, I like to imagine that this little memento was given to the book's owner by her dearest friend, as a token of her devotion. I love it. It's so... Anne and Diana!

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Sweet Treasure

We have collections of old books all over our house: on the mantle, our nightstands, even in our powder room! Hunk's grandfather's calculus book, my mom's Uncle Wiggly series from her childhood, an old family Bible, my grandparent's Reader's Digest volumes....and many more I've picked up at antique stores through the years.

One especially raggedy volume that sits beneath a picture frame on the back of the piano caught my eye the other day. Its spine has deteriorated beyond recognition, and I suddenly realized I had no idea what its contents contained. I opened it and was thrilled to discover a treasure: my great grandmother's hand-copied recipe book!

Here it is:

In its pages are recipes for many interesting little items, like Crisco Salmon Treats (I should make those for the next shower I host. ha!). I also now possess recipes for homemade catsup and four different types of pickles.

Also tucked within its pages are clippings from old magazines and newspapers, which offer such an intriguing glimpse back in time. Check it out:

Tuna squares, anyone? ...Anyone?

Love her 'do.
(And is it just me, or are several elements of this ad...suggestive??)

These next two pics were featured in an article on "modern kitchens." Check out that lovely light fixture! Actually, I think I saw that at IKEA a few weeks ago....
Since Bug LOVES to cook ("gook! gook!"), we decided to try my great grandma's recipe for "Sunshine Cake." Although I overcooked it a bit (couldn't quite figure out what "bake in a moderate oven for 30's-40's" meant), it was pretty good! Kind of like a pound cake.

Bug approves of the batter...

...and the cake!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Cutest Shoes on Earth

Bug is tough on shoes. His current go-to little suede pair has been rubbed to a patent-leather polish on the toes. Time for a new pair.

But, see, here's my dilemma. Our household's current economic stimulus plan (no bail-out included) does not accommodate for new shoes for... me. Which is quite a sad story, given all the super cute spring styles out there right now (more on that here).

Yeesh, I'm cringing at how selfish that sounds, but I'm just having a little honest maternal moment and ad
mitting that I sometimes find it difficult to shell out major bucks for a teensy speck of a cow (a mere bovine iota, really) that Bug will inevitably outgrow in the next six weeks.

But, the cuteness factor of baby shoes does help to compensate for the fact that my oblivious tot has more fashion sense, literally, in his pinky toe than in his mother's entire wardrobe these days.

Check out the edibleness of these little pairs...This little red suede number is "Avery" by See Kai Run (my favorite little boy brand). And for just $32 on www.tinysoles.com, they're a comparative STEAL.
Oh, Bug would flip if he saw these. Let's just say that he loves dump trucks almost as much as vacuum cleaners. Which is a lot.
Robeez Tredz "Trucks," $34.95 @ tinysoles.
Two words for you: PENNY LOAFER.
Pediped, $31 on tinysoles.
And there is something incomparably cute about a tousled toddler boy in Polo.
$53.10 at Zappos.

Reviewing these top picks, I'm suddenly feeling a strong, STRONG urge to call one of Bug's grandmothers.

Now that's an economic stimulus plan that I can live with. ;-)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Deep Thoughts... on Wallpaper

I have NO wallpaper in my house. It's all paint, paint, paint.

But most of my favorite spots in the world (the historic home in Roswell where we held our wedding reception, the bed-and-breakfast where Hunk took me for our first anniversary, my friend's sunny yellow kitchen) are all wallpapered. Coincidence? I think not.

We are getting ready to transform our guest room into a Big Boy Room for Bug, complete with a walk-in-closet-converted-to-play-space, and I'm toying with the idea of wallpapering the play space.

I've been seeking a little cyber-inspiration, and here's what I've got so far. Not all are kid's rooms, obviously, but all serve to satiate a little of my wallpaper curiosity.

I like this living room. The wallpaper print looks formal to me, but paired with the casual furnishings, it looks put-together and timeless. And I like how it's papered just above the chair rail, too.

Too bad my living room is two-story. I don't think Hunk would ever forgive me. It would be worse, even, than when I eat his leftovers without permission. teehee.

Now check out this nifty little idea. Just a stripe, please! A little radical for me...but I appreciate the originality! (and I really like that funky yellow chaise thingy)

Now we're getting somewhere!

(Of course, leave it up to Martha to come through for me. She and I have a long-term love/hate thing going on....)

I love how just the closet is wallpapered. It's inviting and fresh... and close to what I want to do in Bug's room (but not so floral-y or Martha-y).

And, for the finale photo: look at this cutie-pie kid's paper! Can't you just picture it lining the walls of Bug's Big Boy closet?!

Now I just have to convince Hunk of my idea (and stay away from his leftovers... for awhile.)

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Little Spring in Your Step

All this warm weather we've been enjoying has made me long for pastel pedicures and strappy sandals. One of my favorite things about spring is new-found foot freedom! And since a girl (and her closet) can never be too prepared, I decided to do a little snooping online to see what spring-y delights are in store....

Look at this paisley cutie from Unlisted by Kenneth Cole. It's "all girl" with a cork-covered heel and a charming bow... for $50 at Piperlime.com (free shipping and free returns). Long live the peep toe!

Now here's a versatile little sandal: Snopea by Nine West. This one is light gold leather (love it!), but it comes in seven other shades. And unlike with the heel above, my ankle will not give way when Bug gives chase. $58.95 at Zappos.com, which also offers free shipping and returns.

Check out the awesome color of Marc Fisher's "Glow" Wedge. A great match with jeans, skirts, shorts... so much potential in this kicky little orange number! $51.75 at Macys.com.

Okay, enough tootsie temptation for one day! My constricted, boot-clad feet are crying uncle.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Something Hilarious

I noticed that someone from the UK read my blog today. Curious, I checked out their referring URL. Wanna know how they found me? They googled: "the simpsons plate of eggs pierce bronson robot house." If you google that exact odd little combo, guess what's your first hit? MY BLOG. Ha ha ha ha!!! (if you want to know why, read the post below this one... ;-)

You've Gotta Try this Recipe!!

My dear friend Jeanette is having a little boy (Bug says Yippee!) in about a month, and I had the honor of helping host a shower for her this past weekend. Aren't showers great fun? There's so much joyful anticipation floating around...not to mention FOOD.

Did you ever see the Simpson's episode that's set in the future? No?! You don't watch that silly garbage? Well, let me enlighten you: the Simpson's futuristic house robot (with the voice of Pierce Brosnan... can I get one of those, please?) prepares everyone's favorite dinner every night. Marge has filet mignon, I think, and Bart has a hamburger and fries... and Homer has a plate of "various eggs." A lump of scrambled eggs, a little hard-boiled one, a fried one. Hilarious. Well, my Brosnan robot would definitely make me a plate of tiny shower foods: little sandwiches with no crust, petit fours and at least three items whose main ingredient is cream cheese.

Speaking of cream cheese, here's one of my favorite shower recipes. I get more requests to share this recipe than any other. The best part? It's super simple and can be made a day or two ahead of time.

2 8-oz pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 6-oz pkg. dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, divided

In mixer, blend cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.
Fold in cranberries.
Dump half of pecans into a round bowl with high sides. Dump cream cheese mixture into bowl, on top of pecans. Mold into a ball-like shape (it will be messy). Sprinkle and press remaining pecans on top and sides of ball. It's okay if it's a mess; you can reform it better after it firms up in the fridge for a few hours.
Refrigerate until firm (or overnight). Form into a more presentable ball.
Serve with gingersnaps, butter crackers or graham crackers.

You can substitute low-fat cream cheese, but the original version is worth every calorie, I promise! (Homer would definitely agree).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Elusive Baby Handprint

About a year ago, a couple of Bug's little friends enrolled in a local childcare program, and all of a sudden, artwork started appearing on their refrigerators. Colorful shapes, funny finger paintings and indiscriminate scribbles provided magnetized proof of all the wonderful things these young ones were learning.

I started to fear that keeping my son at home with me might be putting him behind in life. Because while he could talk on a cell phone, bang a computer keyboard and fold some mean laundry, the craft projects were few and far between in Bug's world.

So, we bought some chubby crayons and alphabet magnets, and Bug went to town coloring and gluing and having a downright grand old time decorating our fridge. I felt better.

Until I noticed the handprints. Bug's little childcare-attending pals regularly carted home perfectly captured little handprints stamped onto their artwork. Try as I might, I could never, never seem to get Bug's squirmy little digits to cooperate with my plans to capture their cuteness for time and eternity. Whenever I attempted a handprint, it ended up looking like an inkblot gone wrong.

And so, alas, Bug has tragically few handprints preserved in the baby book. Until I checked out a friend's blog the other day, that is. She had the most ingenious idea for memorializing tiny fingers. It's called the copy machine. No more inky smears. No more fists full of paint. I finally have a way to preserve the preciousness! Check it out:

And please, please, please nobody tell me that copy machines cause cancer. I might just be forced to enroll Bug in preschool tomorrow.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Weird Things We Do

Kids make you do weird things. Like wipe someone else's little snotty nose with your bare fingers (and not even flinch). Like tackle the dog under the highchair to remove a stray grape from his mouth. Like invent songs about rainbows and meowing cats to keep a cranky toddler appeased in the backseat.

Or like climb the ladder to the attic and hang out up there. In the attic. That's Bug's current favorite place to hang, especially with Dada. "Up agee!" is the rally cry as soon as Hunk comes home from work. And so my patient husband pulls down the attic steps and helps our delighted son clamber up. Then they just sit up there, at the top of the steps.

Yesterday, I asked Hunk, "What do you do 'up agee,'?" and he said they "talk about life." Really? "Yeah, about furnaces and insulation and Christmas decorations. You know, life," he said.

Ai yi yi. Kids make you do weird things.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Knowing Your True Self

When I was expecting Bug, the most common comment I received when people would gawk at my over-sized belly was, "Oh boy, things are about to CHANGE!" They always said it like that was a bad thing, like I should go fill my pantry with canned goods and hole up for the inevitable nuclear fallout I was about to experience.

They were right that things did change when Bug was born. Everything changed! But, and I know every mom out there would agree, my life changed for the better. It morphed into something richer and deeper than I knew possible. As cliched as that sounds, it is so inexplicably true.

I honestly feel like I am more "myself" now than I have ever been, and while I am not sure if my comfort in my own skin is due to becoming Mommy, to having recently completed another decade in my life (grrr), or just to natural maturity, it feels nice to be a little more kindred with myself.

Here is a prayer by George Appleton, shared with me by a dear confidante and mentor, which speaks to this...
Give me a candle of the
Spirit, O God,
as I go down into the
deep of my own being.

Show me the hidden things,
Take me down
to the spring of my life,
and tell me my nature
and my name.

Give me the freedom to
grow so that I may
become my true self,
the fulfillment of the
seed which You planted
in me at my making.

Out of the deep
I cry unto thee, O God.

Here's to learning our natures and our names. Here's to becoming our true selves.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

All Dressed Up... and Somewhere to Go!

Valentine's Day is only nine days away. Having a little Bug running around has made date nights less common than Hunk and I would like... but Valentine's Day is an exception! It would just be too depressing to stay home with Netflix and popcorn (again), so for one night, my anal self will concentrate very hard on not cringing when I hand over the babysitter's money and head out for a little rekindling of all feelings pre-Bug with my hubby.

But, what to wear?! I decided to do a little searching for date night duds online, and while I doubt my conscience (i.e. my husband) will let me purchase any of these items, lookey at what I found!

Lauren by Ralph Lauren Vega Silk Turtleneck Halter Dress
What is more romantic than a silk, sleeveless, turtle
neck dress? One that's also a halter, that's what!

Check out the back:

$135 at www.macys.com

J.Crew tissue rolling-ruffles tank
Isn't it sweet? Flirty but casual. I think it'd look super cute with a fitted pair of dark denim jeans, a casual blazer and heels... me likey!
$44 at www.jcrew.com

GAP t-shirt scarf dress
A cozy little scarf attaches to this t-shirt dress... which can be worn alone (yeah, if your legs looks like hers in mid-February) or over tights or skinny jeans. Gotta love a multi-tasker!

$48 at www.gap.com

Okay, so I'm out of time, but I think that's a nice little start for some date night ideas. Regardless of your plans next weekend, I hope you find something fab to wear... even if it's just for Netflix.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Cuppa Tea

After yesterday's "deegup" post, I seem to be in tea mode. But few things in life are as cheerful as a cup of tea on a cold afternoon, right? (Bug says RIGHT-O!) My favorite brand is Harney & Sons. Every blend I've tried is great; I have yet to be disappointed. But I must admit that my favorite part is the pretty little sachets. I am a sucker for packaging.

Here are my faves:

Just add a tad of honey to Canton Green Tea. Antioxidant heaven!

White Peach...Being a Georgia girl, I'm a sucker for peach teas. And see what I mean about those cute little sachets? I wanna stuff them in my sock drawer!

African Autumn: The first Harney & Sons tea I ever tried. It won me over.
It says it contains "herbal redbush, cranberry and orange." Not sure what herbal redbush is, but it sure does taste g-o-o-d.

In honor of the season, I've got this next one on my wish list. I haven't tried it, yet, but "chocolate tea and rosebuds" has me way too curious to pass it up. Besides, look at that packaging!

I promise that next time I'll post about something besides tea! Maybe I'll get wild and crazy and move on to coffee.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Superbowl Deegup

What do blenders, vacuum cleaners, toothbrushes and teacups have in common?

Give up? They're all Bug's current obsessions. (That's "bubba," "vagoo geegee," "toobup," and "deegup" in Bugese, by the way).

Take the latter, for example: deegups. On Sunday night, we watched the Superbowl at a friend's house. It was a football frenzy in the family room, but where was my son? Trying to sneak into the formal living room to snatch a teacup. He was hanging over their baby gate chanting, "Deegup! deegup! deegup!" It wasn't at all embarrassing.

I have no idea why he likes teacups. It can't possibly be because the child has been overexposed. I mean, we've only done this a couple times:

One, two, five times max. But-- in my defense--notice the bib!! He's exposed to guy stuff, too.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Vampires and Werewolves: Could they be real?

I was never a fan of Buffy. I just didn't get the whole vampire allure. And you know what? I still don't. What's so intriguing about creatures that suck blood? And then there are werewolves... even better! I mean, come on: men that morph into wolves and go around snarling and growling and shedding and molting? (sounds like some of my ex-boyfriends-- ha!)
If this post seems incredibly random to you, then you obviously haven't been sucked (no pun intended) into the whole Twilight craze. Well, good for you. Take it from me: stay away from those books. Far, far away. Because once you start reading Stephenie Meyer's bestselling series--even if you never liked Buffy, even if you thought Michael J. Fox was the ONLY good thing about Teen Wolf--you will find yourself developing an uncanny fascination for these mythical monsters.

My sister gave me the first book for my birthday, and now I have the third on hold at the library. I must admit that I just got a WHOLE lot more motivated to take Bug to story time this week.

And, I'm not alone! If you google "vampire," you'll get 18,400,000 hits...including several articles on how Meyer's fictional series has bolstered the economy of real-life Forks, Washington. Apparently Twilight fans from around the world are flocking to the book's setting to try and spot... you guessed it... a real vampire or werewolf. NOT kidding you. You can read about it here.

So, take my advice. If you've never caught yourself standing in the shower, bar of soap in one hand and washcloth in the other, pondering whether or not vampires and werewolves might be more than myth, don't start now. It's a downward spiral.