Monday, November 15, 2010

The Spanish Inquisition

"No one expects the
Spanish Inquisition!"

Tee hee, just had to throw that one in there. :o)
"How do you say 'thank you' in French? What is 'you're welcome' in German? How do you say 'happy' in Spanish?" My 6-year-old is very curious about other languages and loves to learn new words. "Wow, mom, 'hellifino' means three different things. Amazing!" Let's just say, it's a good thing I'm not teaching her.

Learning a new language was never my forte'. I took a class in 9th grade and then French in 10th, but I ended up dropping the French class after two weeks. Mostly because half the class was repeating it from flunking the previous term and frankly, the teacher scared me.

I love that Peri wants to learn new languages, and being so young, it'll be easier for her to pick them up. Spanish seems to be the most interesting to her. She has a couple of friends in her class, that wait at the bus stop with her, who come from a bilingual household. Every morning, the two girls wait at the bus stop with their mom/aunt, grandfather and their dog, Cosita. As soon as Peri learned the dogs' name, she couldn't stop saying it. She loves the way it sounds. Whenever she sees the girls she always exclaims, "Hola! Hola, girls! Hola means hello in Spanish."

The other day, we were all waiting at the bus stop and Peri was petting Cosita and repeating her name over and over. Then she stopped, looked at Jasmine's mom and said, "Does Cosita bark in Spanish?" We all laughed and I just thought it was so cute. I guess you never know. After all, Cosita understands Spanish, so I guess she could bark in Spanish.

In any case, as soon as a class is offered, I think I'll enroll Peri. Perhaps she can teach me a new language. I mean, if a dog can understand Spanish, there's hope for me yet.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mama Drama Mondays!

As the smoke machine fog begins to dissipate and the jack-o-lantern smiles start to wane as they slowly turn into pies, there is a collective sigh of relief and a somewhat anti-climatic feeling. It's over, we survived... and we'll do it all again next year.

When I think of all the preparation that goes into holidays in general, it's a little overwhelming. And during this time of year, as soon as you've finished one, it's immediately on to the next. Which is why I think it's especially important to celebrate... YOU! Remember you? I say it's high time for some me time because it's going to be in short supply for the next couple of months.

In attempting to plan my weekly girls night out, I've heard a lot of reasons why some of my girlfriends couldn't make it. I'm guessing that a lot of you have the same reasons and while they may be completely legit, I'm telling you, YOU are more important than that last batch of laundry and the cleaning can wait until tomorrow. And really, how will little Timmy ever learn to manage his time if you're finishing his science project? Don't deprive him of a valuable life lesson. He earned that C, let him own it.

Perhaps you're just downright tired, and I hear ya there! I also know that when I have a night out to look forward to, it doesn't matter what else is going on, I can't wait to go have some me time! It's like dessert, there's always room.

So, now that you know you are more important and deserve some time with your friends, I thought I'd give some tips for some of the other common reasons you might be missing out.

"Sorry, I'm broke!"

Broke schmoke, who said you even had to leave the house? Put the kiddos to bed and invite the ladies over. Keep in mind that the idea isn't to throw some rockin' party, but to enjoy the company of friends.
  1. Potluck and a movie - pizza, snacks, drinks, popcorn and even the movie. Make a list and let your friends pick what they'd like to bring. Or theme the food around the movie. Watch Avatar and eat nothing but blue food or Fried Green Tomatoes with well, fried green tomatoes and baby back ribs ("secret's in the sauce.") Get creative.
  2. Soup Kitchen - I read about this a couple of weeks ago in our local paper. Now that the weather has gotten colder and we'll all be a little busier, how about hosting a soup exchange. Everyone brings 6 containers of soup (make sure they're labeled) and trades with everyone else. The best part? With the exception of cream soups, soup freezes beautifully and you have ready made meals for you and the family.
  3. Game on ladies! - throw some chips and dips on the table and break out the Monopoly. Invite your friends to bring their favorite games, choose a couple and have fun. I've personally done this one at someone else's house and it was a blast. The sillier the game, the more fun.
  4. Come on and get crafty - put on a movie or some music and everyone can bring a project their working on or someone can teach their craft to the group. Either way, crafting with friends is way more fun that crafting solo.
"I don't know, what do you want to do?"
We could play this game for a few rounds, but let's save ourselves the time and assign a date. If you have a few friends interested in a ladies night, rotate the planning duties every week (or however often you'd like to get together). In addition to the ideas above, and the traditional dinner and a movie out, don't miss out on these gems:
  1. The classic mani/pedi - seriously, what's more fun that being pampered and spending time with your friends? Plus, newly painted toes are just cute.
  2. Mini Golf - an oldie but a goodie.
  3. Museums - Yeah, sometimes these are just more fun without the kids. You don't have to scream at anyone to stop running or don't touch that $2,500 painting.
  4. Happy Hour - whether you drink or not, it's not called Happy Hour for nothing. Cheap eats and good times.
  5. Shopping - this is definitely way more fun without the kids.
  6. Karaoke! - what's an off-key note among friends; they'll still love ya.
  7. Community Service - You don't even have to wear the orange jumpsuits. Find a cause you and your friends support then sign up as a group to volunteer.
  8. Take a Class - If you have a parks and recreation, they're bound to offer classes for adults. And if you and your friends sign up for one, the weekly night out is already planned for you.
"I'd love to go, but I don't have a ride."
With friends scattered all over, there's bound to be one of us along your route. We'll pick you up and we might even take you home afterward. :o)

And there you have it. No excuses ladies, Me Time is now! You'll thank me later.

PS, I posted a pic of the girls' costumes on the Facebook Fan page, in case you wanted to check out my cute little Veruca Salt and Oompa Loompa. :o)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mama Drama Mondays: Sew Frustrating

It was decided. Back in April or May, I can't remember which. Peri knew what she was going to be for Halloween. I thought for sure she'd want to revert to her Alice in Wonderland costume for the second year in a row, but to my surprise (and likely due to the movie being watched daily) she announced, "I'm going to be Veruca for Halloween!" We're talking about the original Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory from the 70's. (Pssst, she's the bratty, I want it now, child, in case it's been a while).

Ever since we started watching the movie, Peri has been acting out all of Verucas' lines and even singing and dancing to her song, then pretending to fall down the garbage chute. Yup, Veruca's her favorite and she just had to be her for Halloween. I wasn't worried about her changing her mind, that is one thing I can always count on with Peri. Stubborn girl. :oP Knowing this much in advance, I took to Ebay to see what I could find. While I could have spent $60 on a custom made costume, that was a bit out of my price range, and instead, I made an offer on a red velour Christmas dress for $5 and called it good. I knew some modifications would need to be made, but hey, there's a first time for everything.

Anyone that knows me, knows that my sewing machine and I are not on a first name basis. We have a mutual respect for each other, but we don't tend to work well together. So I was resigned to the fact that any modifications would need to be done by hand. I'm happy to say, that after a few hours, I finished Peri's costume and it turned out pretty cute.

Since I try to have my kids sorta match, I originally thought of making Ryah into a giant blueberry so she could go as Violet but thought it would be a little awkward for a 3 year old to walk around in. Now if you ask her what she's going to be for Halloween, she says," I'm gonna be a Oompa Loompa." You should hear her say it, it's so cute. It was such a great idea, in theory, until I realized that costume would need to be made from scratch. :oP

After many many many hours of sewing by hand (and a little help from my friend Mandi and her sewing machine - seriously, she cut about 5 hours of my time in just 15 minutes) the Oompa Loompa costume is done. Woo hoo!

I love Halloween, and all the traditions; pumpkin carving, decorations, candy corn cookies... but I won't be adding "making costumes" to the list. I can say I've done it, conquered it, but won't be going there again. Well, not unless my sewing machine and I can come to some sort of agreement, like, sew for me and I won't melt you down into scrap metal to be used in some hideous yard art project. Now there's a thought...

PS. I'll post pics of the girls on the Mama Drama Facebook Fan Page next week.

Happy Halloween!!!!

Originally written for The Mama Dramalogues

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hey! I'm hosting a giveaway over at The Mama Dramalogues! Win a super cute set of Falling for You hair bows. Don't miss out! Contest ends 10/25 and multiple entries welcome. Click on the Mama Drama link or the image above.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ooooo Scary... Read it Again!

Since the first hint of pumpkins, goulies and witches hit the stores weeks ago, my girls have been begging me to break out the Halloween goodness. I have a hard time doing anything before October 1st, so now that we're officially past that, I could no longer procrastinate and Jim and I were forced to venture under the house and dust off the Halloween bin.

After a fun filled evening of spooky inspirational music and candy corn treats, we've put everything out and the girls are super excited. I dug out all the Halloween/scary movies (Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline, Corpse Bride, It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown) and pulled all the Halloween books from the shelf so we have a month of spooky reads. Yup, we're all set!

Alyssa's book post got me thinking about all the Halloween books we like to read around here. They've become even more special since we only read them this time of year. So I thought I'd share our faves and hopefully, you'll share yours because we're always looking for more! Plus, it's early enough in the month, that there's still time to check them out!

Big Pumpkin
by Erica Silverman

This is probably my favorite one. The girls and I just read it tonight. It's about a witch who grows a pumpkin so large, she can't manage to pull it off the vine and she's got quite the hankering for pumpkin pie!
Lots of fun to read and cute repetition for the kiddos.

I give it 5 out of 5 pumpkins

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson

The story of a witch out for a nice leisurely flight. She meets some friends along the way, each one hoping that there's "room on the broom" so they can come too. Super fun rhyming tale (I love cute rhyming stories) and there's definitely room on the broom so don't miss out!

I give it 4.5 out of 5 pumpkins

In the Haunted House
by Eve Bunting

Not a whole lot of story to this one, but the girls love it, so I have to include it in the list. Cute story about a little girl and her dad who venture into a haunted house, but who's the one who's really scared? Like I said, not the most fun to read, but the kids enjoy it.

I give it 3 out of 5 pumpkins

Spooky Hour by Tony Mitton

Another fun rhyming tale as the "midnight spooks" countdown to their Halloween party. Cute story with lots of different ghoulies and fun to say sound words like "clickety clack."

I give it 4 out of 5 pumpkins

Pirates Don't Change Diapers by Melinda Long

Technically not a Halloween book, but with the pirates, I'm sneaking it in here. I was reluctant to read this originally, but found out that it's a really cute story and it's made even better if you use your best piratey voice when you read it. Argh, matey, don't pass this one up!

I give it 5 out of 5 pumpkins

Happy spooktacular reading! :o)

Written for The Mama Dramalogues.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Is it taunting you too?

Thought I'd change it up a bit and succumb to the dark side; just in time for Halloween. Thank you Millstream Cottage for providing these super cool scrap page elements! You're so talented.

What's new with you? I hope you're peachy keen. What's new with me? Well, in my quest for becoming the much hotter, thinner version of myself, I've recently turned to a Naturopath for help. I wouldn't consider myself "granola" by any stretch of the imagination, but I definitely lean more towards a natural way of doing things rather than pharmacuticals. After all, I have a feeling some of them might be to blame for my current woes. So, I figured it was worth a shot.

After meeting with my Naturopath, and ordering up some bloodwork, she informed me that she wanted me to cut out milk and gluten. Cold turkey for the gluten. Yikes! What would I ever do without my beloved carbs?!! We suspect that I may have a gluten allergy (I've had a hunch for a long time), and we'll see if bloodwork confirms that, but for now, no wheat products for this chica. I have to admit that after being gluten free for a couple of weeks, I do notice a difference. On the one hand, my cravings and gluteny goodies, hope that it's all in my head, but we're resigned to the fact that this may be where we part ways.

Have you gone gluten free? Please feel free to share your tips and tricks and any gluten free brands you love. I've tried a couple of gluten free bread products and haven't been impressed yet. I had no idea those evil little gluten bits were in so many things! I now know that there is such a thing as gluten free fries at Red Robin. You have to order them without their "special seasoning," which contains gluten. Who knew? I think this may all be a weight loss trick because there aren't as many edible food options out there now, so I'm definitely eating less. :oP

I'm going back Monday for a follow-up appointment and to go over my test results. Hopefully we can get a routine going and be on the fast track to the more fabulous me! Wish me luck.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mama Drama Mondays: The Kindergarten 15

It's hard to say "no" to a face like that.

This is the year I finally have a kindergartner. She's almost as excited about it as I am. Almost. I'm pretty darned exited about it. Especially since her younger sister started preschool and I have 4 whole hours to myself each week! I know the mind boggles with what to do with all that "free time."

There have been a few hiccups with the new routines; the bus drops Peri off at 11:25 and Ryah's preschool is over at 11:30, so I've had to find work arounds for being in two places at once. Fortunately, I have great friends that help me out. But for the most part, things have been running smoothly and we've all adjusted. Imagine my surprise when I got a phone message the other day, from Peri's kindergarten teacher...

"Hi Holly, this is Amber X, Peri's teacher, and I just wanted you to know that Peri has been eating breakfast in the cafeteria in the mornings. I only just found out today and when I talked to her about it, she said it was her second breakfast and she was able to tell me what she'd already eaten at home. I thought "Oh no" and I'd better check with you about that. Sorry I didn't catch it sooner, but she's been charging her breakfasts. I'll send her account balance home with her next week."

I didn't know whether to laugh or groan. I mean, it's pretty funny that a 5-year-old can just walk in there, get breakfast and have it added to her non existent account. But I was also a little annoyed that I was footing the bill for such an obvious oversight on the school's part. After I called her teacher back, to let her know that Peri should not be eating at school and that I would pay the balance next week, I was baffled as to how that could even happen. I remember as a kid that you either had to pay cash for your school food or have a prepaid card from your parents, there was no "tab."

So, for the last two weeks, Peri has been running up a cafeteria bill, unbeknownst to me and her teachers. I know she did it because it was there and she saw other kids eating and thought it was okay. But I wonder how long it would have gone on? Maybe until her next well check up visit, when the nurse would inform me that Peri had managed to gain 15 lbs since her last visit and that it's a little excessive. Or those brand new school clothes start fitting a lot snugger than they should.

In any case, there is now such a thing as the Kindergarten 15 and you heard it here first. This will be one of those things I tease her about in the future and we'll just laugh it off, but for now, I have to go pay the bill. Then again, today is her birthday (Happy 6th Birthday Periwinkle!); perhaps we'll just write it off as a gift and not add it to her tab. :oP

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wonderland Party Recap


It's been almost a year since our trip down the rabbit hole, but with the CSI theme being parties this week, I thought I would compile some of the best bits to share again. This party was a blast to plan and I'm looking forward to doing an unbirthday one. Enjoy!

The invitations to Wonderland...

Greetings from Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum. Online images on cardstock and foam wood sign from the dollar tree, cut up, and sharpied.
Used online image and cut out the middle for the knob. Both sides of the door.
Wonderland Tea Party

Thrift store finds! Perfect table decor.
Made using card stock, online images and birdcage from thrift store.
Made using regular playing cards, card stock and heart topiary from thrift store.
Played Pin the Grin on the Cheshire Cat. Printed online image and cut out smiles. Homemade shortbread cookies with pink "Eat Me" icing. Also had heart shaped pink cupcakes with "Eat Me" icing. And of course tea!

Tea bag favors made with white paper sacks, string, card stock and "Drink me" sticker labels on the tags. Filled with mini tea sets and goodies.
Everyone posing for "I'm a Little Teapot"

I wrote several posts regarding planning and tips for the party (it wouldn't all fit into one). You can view them here, here and party photos here. Have a great day!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ah, the perfect setting, sometimes you wait weeks for this night, but in the end, it's all worth it to spend some quality one on one time with your sweetheart. No, not that sweetheart. I'm talking about date night with your kids. Wait, what? Isn't the point to spend time with your hubby without the kids? Well, yes, you should go on dates with the hubs, he kinda likes spending time with you too, but if you have kids (especially more than one), it's nice to go out on dates with them individually as well.

We've started a new tradition in our house and every other Friday, Jim and I each go out on a date with one of our girls. Then the next time, we switch. Now that the girls are old enough, we thought it would be a fun way for them to get to spend some one on one time with us.

Our first night out, Jim took Peri and I had Ryah. We went to different restaurants for dinner then different stores so that each of the girls could pick out a gift for her sister. Peri chose some new jammies for Ryah and Ryah picked out a princess frog shirt for Peri. The girls had a blast and it was nice getting to spend some alone time together.

This past weekend was round two. I had Peri this time around. We had a lovely dinner at Panera Bread then off to Barnes and Noble where she picked out a new book about the Tooth Fairy. Food and books, two of Peri's favorite things. I could have spent more time at the bookstore, but when your child starts complaining to wandering sales people that it's time to go, it's time to go. She had fun though and loves her new book.

The kids are so different in what interests them, so it's going to be fun coming up with different things to do. Peris' dates will likely be creative with crafts, books, movies and going to the theatre while Ryah is more active and will enjoy things like skating, parks and sports. It'll be nice to change things up for myself too and I know Jim's having fun as well. Having it regularly scheduled is great too because we all know it's coming and we look forward to it.

We're redefining date night in our house and having fun with the possibilities. Not to mention, we don't even need to find a sitter. :o)

Written for The Mama Dramalogues

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

YouTube Tuesday!!

Wow, it's been a while since I did one of these, but thought this was too cute not to post. I like the song, and my girls love the counting part, but the video is just too fun! I love that it's all one camera shot, the various angles, the simplicity (no fancy effects) and how the dancers appear and disappear, seemingly out of nowhere. Very clever.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I Want to Care-a-lot, But Just Can't

You know what I love? All those 80's cartoons, toys and games I enjoyed as a child. What do I love even more? Watching my kids fall in love with those same things. In our house, we're enjoying She-ra, Jem, Alvin & the Chipmunks and Care Bears, and thank goodness that these former VHS classics have been upgraded to DVD. The only problem with going vintage is now it's almost impossible to buy dolls, playsets and action figures without taking a second mortgage out on your house. The fact that my childhood is considered "vintage" is kind of depressing too.

We've been on a huge Care Bear kick lately; watching the original cartoons and movies, playing with the two stuffed bears we have and acting out the girls' favorite scenes. With all of the lame new toys and cartoons out now, it's nice that we can rely somewhat on the cooler classics. Since the girls are having so much fun, I've taken to surfing Ebay (trying to outbid, Alyssa *wink*) and scouring thrift stores looking for some characters and playsets for them to enjoy. Ohmygoodness, reclaiming your childhood is spendy! Makes me wish I'd kept something other than my old Barbie dolls.

The whole thing is a bummer because I'm not a collector and will end up getting rid of them once the girls have found a new favorite, but I can't imagine any parent investing in their kids' toys, knowing how quickly those fickle little minds move on. There should be a discarded toy co-op for vintage toy "emergencies" such as these. I'd buy into that. :o) We'll call it "What's Mine is Yours....Again!" I've got some Barbies to add.


Me Time Follow-up: I think I've decided on a headshot and will be printing and submitting to local agencies this week. Wish me luck!

What will you do this week?

Reposted from The Mama Dramalogues

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The iPhone Widow

You may have heard of this newfangled technology called the iPhone. If you haven't, you should come out from under that rock every once in a while; if for nothing else because you're missing out on the one week of sunshine we've had. Now, some of you may have one of your own or you know someone who does and if you're the latter, you'll know exactly where I'm coming from. If you're the former, you're not reading this anyway because you're too busy playing Bejeweled or searching for a new app that will feed your dog while you're out of town.

We've had this new technology in our house for a while now, since last year when my husband upgraded from his Crackberry (er, Blackberry, whatever, same difference). But when Apple decided to come out with their latest and greatest, he got online and ordered immediately. In fact, none of his co-workers could get onto the Apple website because it was so bogged down, but Jim managed to find a way in, so his computer became iPhone ordering central. He was a superhero (like iPhone Man ---->). I think he was more of an enabler, but that's because the only addiction I support is chocolate.

Then came the waiting game. Since the phone was being delivered to the house, Jim would call for updates. "Did it come yet? Did it come yet?" Like a giddy child waiting for Christmas. He told me to call him the moment it got there. I should note that I've asked him to join the kids and me for lunch on several occasions, but I'm usually met with, "I have a lot of work to do," but once I made that call...

"Hey, guess what I have and you don't?"
*GASP* "I'll be home in 15 minutes!!"
And he was. More like 10 minutes, I think he ran a couple reds.

I'm somewhat amused and appalled at the number of applications available for that thing. "Look Babe, a Lightsaber!" "This one is like Restaurant Roulette and picks a place for you." "Haha, now our childs face is on a monkey."
Personally, I'm a little irritated with Apple because if they're going to steal my husband away, the least they can do is send me a replacement model too. Preferably, Taye Diggs, or his twin. Just sayin.
Hello gorgeous. :o)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mama Drama Mondays

It's all about the drama! I'm over at The Mama Dramalogues today. I had to share the news that my 5-year-old apparently went and got married!

Read about it here.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More Goonie Pics!!

More pics from The Goonies weekend in Astoria on Sunday!

The fabulous couple (Shelly and Jim) who had the extra ticket.

Posing with another fan; pretty cool Sloth mask.

Intros at the beginning of the Q&A. Um yeah, we all know who you are! :o)

Jeff Cohen, Richard Donner, Sean Astin and Corey Feldman

We were told the actors wouldn't pose for pics (due to time) but Hell yes, I wanted a pic with both of us in it anyway. Jeff was super nice, kinda shy, but really nice.

Ah, Sean Astin. He wasn't supposed to be there, but was talked into showing up to this last Meet & Greet. Thank you Sean!

And yeah, I look horrible in this pic, but Sean actually posed for this one (though I didn't know it at the time). Oh Sean, I luv ya. :o)

And finally the last of The Coreys. Who was in a hurry to get out to perform with his band that night and refused to sign my second item. :oP Oh well.

What a day!


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