Thursday, February 28, 2013

February's Favorite Things

Dang, the end of the month already? February's only-28-days is totes throwing me off. If you're new to the blog, then you're in for a treat with this post. Ok, not really. It's just a photo dump with my attempt at witty captions. It's kind of a monthly thing I like to do. Do you do something similar? Link me! I love pretty peektures.

Valentine's pictures that are suitable for posting. If you read this post, then you totally get it. 

Doing Fat Tuesday all wrong: in a spinning class with a great song.

Why I'm late for work every morning. Seriously, there is no better breakfast date than my daughter.


Monthly Girls' Dinner at Mandy's. She just moved into a beautiful new home and all her wine glasses were still packed up. Her husband had to take the wine cork out with a screw driver, bless his heart.

Puppy Bowl >>> Super Bowl.

Waiting for yoga to start.

February Ipsy bag.

Studs. 'Nuff said.

Collecting flair & building shit.

My baby brother's first Snowcoming Dance. Sigh. I can't with this kid's growing.

Speaking of growing, our Lainey girl turned one on Monday. Happy birthday sweet girl (yup, she's 100% grown on me). She and Narls are still tight. I used to be the recipient of his love notes, but now the dog is as evidenced in his Valentine Poster hanging at school. All the other kids wrote about their parents, Narls wrote about his dog. (This is Lainey's winning face.)
More love notes. "I love the dog that once in a while she poops in the house." Em, however, does not still love that dog that once in a while she destroys her favorite stuffed unicorn. (This is Lainey's shame face.)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

DIY Distractions: St Patrick's Day Garland

We had another snow day today. I think it's our third in just as many weeks. Basically all my kids and I have done is watch movies and cuddle under the covers. We're still in our pajamas, as a matter of fact.  It's 3:24 in the afternoon. I ain't even mad.

The only time we really even moved is to gather some artsy stuff from the supply closet. They colored and I did this simple St Patrick's Day garland. In all honesty this craft is a distraction to all that's swirling around in my head. Some of it I can talk about: the boobs I mentioned the other day (thanks for your support by the way; it truly means the world to me) and we just booked a Disney vacay for the first week in April, have I mentioned that? It'll be my family's first! Any tips???  And then there are some things I don't want to talk about yet. Mainly in fear of jinxing them. You know how that is- you mention it out loud, it becomes real, you decide you might really want it, then it doesn't materialize and your heart is broken. So, yeah. Distraction. And since I'm too lazy to walk to the fridge for wine, crafting it is.

I'm not exaggerating when I say this is the easiest craft in the world. Gather up some green-ish scraps of fabric and a length of twine and you're good.

Fold the fabric exactly in half, then cut into 2-1/2 inch wide by 4 inch long rectangles (I used 15).


Take your folded rectangle, and fold it width-wise; cut out a notch, then unfold the width.

Now unfold at the length crease, add a couple dabs of hot glue, and refold over the twine. Add a couple more dabs of glue at the bottom of each rectangle's notch. Continue adding your rectangles about an inch apart.

And that's it. Told you it was easy.

Do this craft: it's perfect to spice up your St Patrick's Day life, and it's perfect to distract yourself from all that may be dancing around in your head.

Linking up at Rainbows & Honeysuckle's Craft Yourself Crazy Link Party.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

The Bigger the Better, the Tighter the Sweater...

I have my bra stuffed today. Although that's nothing new. I'm the owner of many bombshell bras, which contain way more padding than underwire.

But today's padding is different.

It's full of rice. 

No, really.

There's actually a technical name for filling thigh-highs with a measured amount of uncooked carbohydrates, tying and cutting the ends, then stuffing into one's bra: rice sizers. They're used to (unscientifically) determine how a certain size breast implant will look on a certain body.

Because friends, after 16 years of contemplating a boob job, I'm finally getting one.

My first consultation was when I was 18, and despite desperately wanting bigger boobs, I opted instead to pay off credit card debit.

My second was when I was 26, and despite desperately wanting bigger boobs, I decided it'd probably be better to wait until after I started a family.

My third was last week, because here I am: 34, credit card's paid off, kids are had, and I'm still desperately wanting bigger boobs.

 I'm nervous, definitely, but excited and confident in my decision and ready.

So ready.

I've been waiting (praying) for boobs since I've been 12. I've logged countless hours as a teenage girl, sitting in my room doing the "I must, I must, I must increase my bust" exercise. Which doesn't work. I'm looking at you, Judy Blume.

At least they're perky!, I'd say in my boob's defense. I can't even say that anymore. A pregnancy, followed by eight months of nursing, then another pregnancy, followed by ten months of nursing has taken its toll.  My boobs are most certainly not perky anymore.

 And working out? Only increases my desire. The flatter my stomach gets, the flatter my chest gets.

My lingerie drawer is filled with water bras and wonder bras and push up bras and even those chicken cutlets. You know what I'm talking about.

So I'm finally doing something about it. No more talking (thinking, wishing, dreaming) about how much I'd love a boob job. No more being a baby about the pain or feeling guilty about the expense.

I want to feel 100% confident in my skin.

I'd love any and all advice from anyone who's had - or has even contemplated - one.

Monday, February 18, 2013

That One Valentine's Day When I was Half-Naked and Completely Drunk. By Myself.

I've been awfully quiet about Valentine's Day, have I not? Usually I'm on the next morning with butterflies and rainbows and pics to prove it. 

But ah, not this time. Let's recap shall we? Remember how I mentioned in my last post that I had an "off-the-wall surprise" for Clay? Well it was of the more ... intimate ... variety.

Family, you're probably going to want to stop reading now.

We rarely do gifts on Valentines, usually it's just a bottle of wine and a card. Well I guess just a card, since the bottle of wine is a pretty normal occurrence. But I wanted this Valentine's Day to be memorable.

So I decide to act out something I read about in Cosmo many years ago: rent a room in a seedy by-the-hour motel and greet my surprised husband wearing nothing but a smile and heels. (Well, and knickers, because to be completely honest, I was nervous about my bare lady parts actually coming into contact with any thing in that room.)

I called Clay that morning, and mentioned how I just dropped our daughter off at school and oops, looks like she does have a Valentine's program. At noon. Can he make it? Wink, wink.  He's sorta flustered because he's already leaving early to make our son's afternoon Valentine party, but yes, he can rearrange a few things and make it.  

Did I forget to mention that I'm trying to plan a sexy romp immediately prior to our son's ice cream social? I wasn't really thinking logistics at this point.

I call a couple places beforehand to reserve a room, and run into a bit of trouble here; I come to the conclusion that establishments of this nature may not have big advertising budgets because their presence on google is nonexistence. Thanks to the help of my bestfriend, I finally track down a motel that does, in fact, rent rooms by the hour, but they don't do reservations; it's a walk-in kind of thing. Ok, that's fine. I get ready, pack extra sheets (because you just never know), load up the ipod, grab the wine, and head out.

I get to the ... interesting ... motel on the ... interesting... side of town, and walk into the office, trying to look as unembarrassed as possible. HI. I'M HERE TO RENT A ROOM. BY THE HOUR. FOR ME. AND MY HUSBAND. WE'RE MARRIED. TO EACH OTHER. I'm babbling, which is ineffective considering the very very old man at the desk apparently speaks very very little English.

I  hand him my debit card and I'm pretty positive I'm his only patron who's ever tried to pay for a by-the-hour room with a card.  He stares at it for a full minute, runs it, then tells me it was declined. ARE YOU SURE? HOW MUCH DID YOU RUN IT FOR? Twenty dolla. THAT'S HOW MUCH YOU RAN IT FOR? OR DID YOU INCLUDE INCIDENTALS? CAN YOU RUN IT AGAIN? I HAVE MANY TWENTY DOLLAS IN MY ACCOUNT. He now stares at me for a full minute, repeats "twenty dolla", re-runs the card, and again, declined.

In hindsight, I fully believe this was a message from St Valentine himself, trying to stop this train before it fully derails.

But not knowing this, I trudge on. I run to an ATM, easily withdraw $20, return to the office, give the man my money, and he leads me to the room where the magic is going to happen. Cue cheesy porn music: brownchickbrowncow.

I text Clay's coworker, asking her to stall Clay from leaving for (what he thinks is) our daughter's program until I call him. She texts back that he's already left. Of course the first time in his life that he leaves for something on time would be today... Next I text Clay, I need help, I have no signal and can't call, but I have a flat tire at this address, please come pick me up. Now. First. Before Em's party.  Then I start changing into my Valentine knickers. 

That's when I notice the room is unnaturally bright, like highschool-gymnasium bad-florescent totally-unflattering bright. And there's no lamp, just that one god-awful overhead bulb. For $20, I expect a damn lamp, thankyouverymuch.  No worries though, I brought a candle. But no matches. WHO FORGETS THE MATCHES? Anything is better than this light though, so I shut it off and am engulfed in total darkness. I open the curtains in the room's only window slightly and find that this one window faces the motels bustling "courtyard", which is filled with all sorts of interesting patrons engaging in all sorts of interesting things. 

WHERE IS CLAY. It's been ten minutes since I texted him and have heard nothing back. What if I really had a flat time? Or WHAT IF I'M NEARLY NAKED WAITING IN A MOTEL ROOM FOR A ROMP? I open the wine, pour myself a healthy glass, and call him. No answer. I call Emerson's school, and explain that when my husband shows up for our daughter's made-up Valentine program, please tell him to check his messages because his poor wife has a flat tire.

I wait another 20 minutes, texting and calling Clay, drink another heaping glass of wine, and try to figure out how to shut off the room's decrepit heating and cooling unit because it's a nippy 58 degrees in the room.

At 12:40, forty minutes into our allotted sixty minute "date", guess who shows up? My long lost husband. He's greeted with a half naked, drunken crying wife.

After his initial confusion with all his what-are-you-doing-on-this-side-of-town, but-what-about-Em, and where-are-your-clothes questions, he realizes that this was an impromptu rendezvous, but to be completely honest, I WASN'T FEELING IT ANYMORE. You just don't keep a half-naked lady waiting, folks, you just don't.

He spends the next few minutes consoling me, explaining how he was sitting in the parking lot of Em's school, waiting for me. He couldn't answer my calls because he was on the other line with work (a meeting he was phone-conferenced in since he had to miss it physically to make Em's "party") and his piece. of. shit. first generation iPhone is so old, it no longer buzzes when he gets texts.

Right when we decide to salvage our last ten minutes, someone walks by - and briefly peeks in!  MOOD. RUINED.  We get dressed, pack up, and head out.  I don't even have to check out because I was never given a room key!

My apologetic Valentine then takes me for coffee to sober up a bit before we have to party with 26 kindergarteners at 2pm. We laugh, I fix my tear-streaked mascara, and he makes me promise that I plan this again, only with him knowing in advance.

Lessons learned: Cosmo may not give the best advice, spontaneity is best implemented when it's fully planned and agreed upon by both parties, and Clay is getting a new iPhone. ♥

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Play Me A Love Song

Happy Valentine's Day, Friends.

I have (what I hope is) an amazing day planned. An off-the-wall surprise for my husband, a classroom Valentine party for my son, then maybe some time to myself in my spin class? We shall see. But first, coffee.  And a bit of blogging.

We finished Em's Valentine's last night, so I thought I'd share them with you today. She made the girls in her preschool class - seriously, there are only girls in this class, ten of them, all 3 going on 13 - Valentine Mix Tapes (and for the record, I'll never stop calling them mix tapes).

I created the CD cover with photoshop, leaving room for Em to sign her name. She picked a couple of the tracks (Call Me Maybe and Never Ever Getting Back Together - we're calling that one the anti-Valentine), but Clay and I picked the rest.  Em didn't get full creative control because I wanted a couple new songs for her to enjoy as well. And because I didn't want to hear her two picks over. And over. And over. Well not anymore than I already have to. Totes included a Britney track by the way, because, obviously. 

Homegirl can make fierce E's and M's.

Then we printed the covers out, inserted them into the CD cases, and burnt the songs onto the discs. Total dance party commencing in three, two, one...

Now that coffee is done, it's time to break out the wine, right? Day drinking is totally acceptable on holidays. And work days. And weekends. ♥

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

33 days...

It's never too early to start thinking about one's St Patrick's Day outfits.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Make-Ahead Lunches: Salads

I meal plan. Sometime on Saturday, usually Saturday night, Clay and I will sit on the couch and plan out our meals for the upcoming week. A couple of wild and crazy kids, I know. Speaking of kids, it does help if our kids are involved in the planning process, because I found they tend to eat better when they help pick the breakfasts and dinners.

I have a very tried and true formula for planning our weekday meals: for my husband and kids, breakfast involves a complex carbohydrate and fruit, the kids eat lunch at school while Clay and I have salads, and dinner is a protein and veggies. Simple and satisfying. 

I then buy everything we need on Sunday morning. I try to go super early, around 8am, when I basically have the whole store to myself. Plus I can sneak out before my kids wake up; grab a Starbucks on the way, and a child-free trip to the grocery store can pretty much be considered a mini vacation.

I spend Sunday afternoons assembling my and Clay's salads for the weeks. I was preparing them daily, but it got to be too much work to wash the salad containers, grill the meat, chop the veggies, assemble the ingredients every damn morning.  No thanks. And with a little care, the salads keep until Friday without getting soggy or gross, so why not do one day of prep instead of five?

For the base of the salads, I buy a 1 lb clamshell of Earthbound Farm's Organic baby spinach leaves. There is exactly enough spinach in this container to make ten salads. I boil a couple eggs and throw a chicken breast or two on the Foreman grill, then get to work.

Chicken Caesar Salad

I like to eat the salads with chicken first. Even though our containers are air-tight, I still don't like the idea of the chicken that was grilled on Sunday sitting until Friday, so Monday's salad is usually a chicken caesar salad made with spinach, grilled chicken, shredded parmesan cheese, and caesar dressing.

Cranberry, Feta, and Walnut Salad with Chicken

Tuesday's lunch a mixture of dried cranberries, crumbled feta cheese, chopped walnuts, and grilled chicken served with a side of Greek dressing.

Southwest Salad

We take a Southwest Salad on Wednesday. This is made of spinach, sliced turkey, shredded Mexican cheese, corn, and black beans with chipotle dressing.

Chef Salad

A chef salad, made with spinach, cherry tomatoes, crumbled bacon, a chopped boiled egg, and shredded cheddar, is on the menu for Thursday. I usually have ranch dressing with this salad.

Antipasto Salad

I save my favorite salad - antipasto - for last. It makes me hungry just thinking about the spinach, turkey pepperoni, mozzarella, red onion, banana pepper, cherry tomato, black olive combination. Italian dressing is a perfect compliment.

There are a couple things to keep in mind when preparing salads in advance. 

Make sure every item that's added is completely dry. This is crucial, because moisture is what is going to make the salad soggy and yucky. For the sake of these pictures, I pre-mixed our southwest salads, but when I typically prepare this salad, I use a container that has a removable insert. I find it's best to put the lettuce, meat, and cheese on the bottom of the container, while the beans and corn wait on the insert until we mix the two when that salad is eaten. It's really hard to get the corn and beans "dry" enough to not wilt the salad.

Also, I never pre-mix the salad with the dressing. I pour the various dressings into 2-oz containers, then stick those containers within each salad. Not only does this keep the salad fresher, it helps with salad dressing portion control.

I was recently asked how just a salad can get me from breakfast to dinner without going hungry and honestly, it doesn't. I try to pack our salads with as much protein and veggies as I can so this meal is filling and satisfying, but my "lunch" actually involves much more than just a salad.  

At work I consume:
  • two hard boiled eggs and 3 pieces of bacon - and yup, my cholesterol is just fine - at 9 am (this is my first meal of the day, prior to this I have only had water and coffee)
  • string cheese at 11 am
  • one of the above-mentioned salads at 1 pm
  • half of a red pepper with hummus at 3 pm
  • and then a handful of pistachios, walnuts, or almonds at 5 pm during my drive home
  • lots - and lots and lots and lots - of water all day long
So I still have a bit of lunch prep to do each day besides just grabbing a salad, but it's minimal compared to how long I was taking by making the salads daily.  I'm all about anything that makes my life easier.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Monochromatic Valentine Nails

Here is an easy nail style perfect for Valentine's Day.

I used Lovie Dovie (a lovely pale pink), Watermelon (a juicy pink), and A Cut Above (a pink glitter), all by Essie.

On tin foil, I added white drops to each color to get a paler version of that shade, then painted each of my finger nails a different color. For my thumb, I added glitter over Watermelon.  Easy and fun.

Friday, February 8, 2013

L.O.V.E. Letters

One of these chilly February days I'm going to post something other than Valentines stuff, but until then, enjoy a very simple, but lovely, craft.