Saturday, May 15, 2010

Days of Play--Side Walk Chalk

There is nothing like a bucket of chalk and a sidewalk that can unleash my inner child.  Grab a bucket of chalk and go wild on your driveway or sidewalk.  Teach your child to play hop-scotch or tic-tac-toe.  Draw your imaginary friend (you know you still have one).  Draw your house.

Beautify your world, one sidewalk square at a time.

(Let you kids help).

If you really want to get into it, make your own chalk!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Spy School #8--Casino Royal (great date night in)

Challenge your husband to an evening of cards and intrigue.

A week prior to his challenge, slip your husband the challenge with a new deck of cards.

The Challenge:
Gambling, Tuxedos and Bond--James Bond. If you accept this challenge your card skills will be put to the test and mankind's most precious commodity will be wagered.  If you are prepared to take this challenge, meet me _____date and time______.  Dress Vegas style.

Before the Date:
Learn how to play Texas Hold 'Em.  Google the rules, watch the video, etc.  You might want to have your hot date do the same.

On Spy School Date Night:
  • Set the scene--Put up a card table in your room or somewhere private in the house.  Use your imagination to make the space as "gambling" themed as possible.  Consider black and white linens, dim lighting, candles, jazz. 
  • Prepare some tapas and drinks (iced tea, wine).
  • Have a deck of 52 cards.
  • Have something to use for gambling chips/tokens (you can get chips or use pennies, sea shells, etc.).
  • Get dressed to kill (even if you are staying in, consider a dress or low cut shirt.)
Forget money, play with tokens/chips that represent a minute of your time (each start with 60 tokens representing one hour of your time). At the end of the evening, each person adds up the number of chips they have and they can use those minutes of your time for whatever they want.  So, if you have 15 of your husband's chips, you get fifteen minutes of his time to use for a foot rub, dishes, laundry, etc.

Need some Texas Hold 'Em tips? Check out this video!

You and your hubby take turns dealing and placing blind bets.

If you need more information or rules on how to play Texas Hold 'Em, click here.

Here are some card hands:

  • Straight flush (the best straight flush hand: A-K-Q-J-T, all of the same suit)
  • Four-of-a-kind (the best four-of-a-kind hand: A-A-A-A-K)
  • Full house (the best full house hand: A-A-A-K-K)
  • Flush (all cards of the same suit, the best flush hand: any Ace-high flush)
  • Straight (the best straight hand: A-K-Q-J-T)
  • Three-of-a-kind (the best three-of-a-kind hand: A-A-A-K-Q)
  • Two-pair (the best two-pair hand: A-A-K-K-Q)
  • One-pair (the best one-pair hand: A-A-K-Q-J)
  • No-pair (the best high hand: A-K-Q-J-9)

If you've never played poker, take your time and just try it out.  Have fun.  

If you want to make your evening **really** spicy, bet clothing instead of minutes.

For our Casino Royal night, we had virgin margartinits (margarita mix with ginger ale in martini glasses) and tapas.  Our tapas menu included: 
One of our Tapas plates.  Mmmmmm!

Our simple decorations--cards, candles, and poker chips.

Vegas gear?

Go Glam

Or rocker

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Things I love--A Good Cause!

Doctors thought Matt and I would have a hard time having kids.  Boy were they wrong.  Two weeks with no birth control and Wham-o ... bun in the oven (should I gross you out by telling you we got pregnant while on vacation with my parents?  I mean, they weren't in the room or anything--actually, they weren't even on the same floor in the hotel but still, it's a bit weird to think about).

Since we didn't think we would have our own biological children we were naturally thrilled.  And then came the question "Are you having a boy or a girl?"  To which I would smile and reply, "I'm having a baby."  Shocked O shaped mouths would reply, "You aren't going to find out?  I couldn't stand not knowing!"  (I always wanted to reply but never did, "Trust me, it is possible to NOT find out gender. People have NOT known the gender of their children prior to delivery for thousands of years. You could stand it if you chose to.").  Anyhow, this exchange always ended with this statement, "As long as baby is healthy."

And do you know what my reply was, "Even if baby isn't healthy."

Shocking.  I know.

Society puts such a huge pressure on what is "normal" and the hierarchy of health but that wasn't me.  I wanted a baby.  Whatever gender, whatever health--I wanted a baby.  Whatever baby God gave me, I wanted it.  Badly.  

Sure I wanted my baby to be healthy, who doesn't want that?  But I was counting on God more than good health.  

Just because we are given healthy babies at birth doesn't mean they will always be healthy. So rather than limiting myself, rather than thinking, "God just give me a healthy baby" I surrounded myself with thoughts of "God, be enough because if you are enough for me, you'll make me enough for my baby" and "Give me the courage to love regardless of what's coming my way (I meant the teenage years more than health--I think)" and "Help me to love You and trust You first ... always."

So far both of my children are very healthy.  And I praise God for their health.  I'm also realistic.  All it takes is one bad illness, one bad wreck and everything changes--everything but God.  That's why I'm counting on Him--first--always.

For one family here in blogland, that change just recently (as in May 5th) happened when they learned their 16 month old daughter, lovingly referred to as Monkey, has cancer.  Even if you've never experienced this crisis, you can certainly imagine what this family is going through (do you shudder when you think of such things happening to your children?).  They wanted healthy babies.  They had healthy babies.  Now they have an unhealthy baby.  

If you have healthy kids, show this family some love.  
  1. Go to their blog and leave them comments and prayers of hope and encouragement (and be kind about the F-Bombs.  Remember, they are scared and stressed to the max).  
  2. If you have a blog, grab a "Pray for Monkey" button and put it on your blog.
  3. If you blog, blog about this!  See the links below for more info.  Spread the (W)ord.  
  4. If you are blessed financially, click the link below and donate to help offset the financial costs.  
  5. Pray for this baby, her family, and the doctors who will treat her.  
  6. Most importantly, praise God because He is good.  He is good when things are good.  He is good when things are bad.  He is bigger than this illness.  He is worthy of our praise---even when we don't understand.  
I love a good cause.  Get on board!

Click on monkey to donate...please help!

For more information, please check out these links:

The Dose of Reality
Things I Can't Say

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What I Think About--RSVP

With wedding and graduation season upon us, I feel the need to talk about the art of the RSVP.

RSVP is commonly found on wedding, birthday, and other celebratory invitations.  However, if you've ever thrown a party--or known someone who has--you've probably heard the host or hostess bemoaning the lack of RSVPs for the event.

Perhaps not RSVPing is an indication at the growing rudeness in our nation (I've already complained about ingratitude and the lack of thank you cards).  Perhaps people simply don't understand what RSVP means.  In the spirit of giving people the benefit of the doubt, here is what RSVP means and what you should do about it.

The initials RSVP come from a French term "répondez s'il vous plaît" which basically means "please respond."  

If you receive an invitation requesting an RSVP, it clearly indicates that the host/ess desires a firm head count as to who is coming to the party.  Unless the invitation says "RSVP regrets only" then you should respond regardless of whether you plan on attending or not.  

Not responding to an RSVP request puts extra burden on the host (and causes countless other problems--how much food to order?  How many chairs to set up?  How many favors to have?).

Now for a sad story.  

A few weeks ago (on April 13) I did a tribute to my nephew on his 10th birthday.  In true etiquette fashion, my sister dutifully sent out invitations to her son's party.  NO ONE, not one single person responded to the RSVP.  Knowing that not responding to RSVPs is a growing epidemic, my sister thought little of it (though she was terribly irritated).  Come the birthday boy's big party day, not one child showed up.  Can you imagine this?  Being 10 and having NO ONE come to your party?  There was my sister with her crying son, a huge cake, an expensive pool rental, tons of food and toys for party favors and no guests.  Shame on the parents who didn't RSVP.  Now I know what you're thinking--she should have called to check in--but really, she did her part.  The parents of the invited children should have RSVPed "NO" if they couldn't make it. That way, my sister could have been prepared to deal with the hurt feelings of a disappointed little boy.

This season when you get those wedding invitations or graduation invites, do the polite thing and let the host know whether or not you will attend the event.

If you can't go, RSVP NO.
If you can go, RSVP YES.
If you aren't sure, call the host and explain the situation and see what she would like to do about your "maybe."

What I think about RSVPs is we all need to be more polite and respond when we are invited to an event. 

Featured Blog on Improbable Housewife

FYI--Jessica, the Improbable Housewife, has Where is the ME in Mommy? as her featured blog today!  Thank you for the honor Jessica!  Head on over and check it out!

Oh, and thank you PINK MOSS for my award.  I love Project: In my Daughter's Eyes.  Have you checked it out yet?!?!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Paxton's 1st Birthday

Pax turns one this month and I'm pretty emotional about it.  On the one hand I'm dying to get away with Matt for a children-free weekend.  On the other hand, it is so sad to let go of those baby days.  *sigh*

When I was pregnant with Pax my MIL informed me that May is a hard time to have babies because of the wedding/graduation season (Gee, I wish I'd consulted her before hand.  ha ha!  I love my MIL!).  Know what? She's kinda right.

Pax's first birthday is a case-in-point.  He turns one on Saturday May 22nd. Perfect, right?  Wrong-o!  That Saturday Dirk, a friend from Germany/Barcelona, is flying in for a visit.  Between preparing for his visit, getting to the airport, going out to eat, showing off our town, etc., there is really no time to host a birthday party for Pax.

Sunday then?  Nope.  Cousin Luke graduates on May 23rd and we'll go to his celebratory BBQ.  Monday-Friday?  Nope. No one could make a party during the weekday due to work obligations.  So, Pax's party will be held a week and a day later (so my sister and her family can come).

Here's where you come in.  Shower me with your advice.  Should I do something small on his actual birthday (perhaps a small family party)?  Should I pretend it isn't his birthday until his actual party (since he'll be none the wiser)?  What do you think?

P.S.  His party is "space" themed and we're doing a time capsule for him.  If anyone out there in blogland has something they'd like thrown in there, please contact me via e-mail and I'll send my address! (Wouldn't it be fun to send a post-card or something from where ever you are???).

Tuesday's Too Clean Tip--Dusting the small stuff

It's pretty easy to dust the big stuff but how do you get into the tiny nooks and crannies of stereo speakers and key boards?

Try a soft bristled paint brush--it'll work wonders on your phone, small cracks, and the crannies you can't get with your dusting cloth.

Now here's a big question:

Do you vacuum before or after you dust and why?

Monday, May 10, 2010

How to wear a Country Shirt

Plaid, floral, and denim button down shirts are hot this summer.  If you are a WY country gal like me, then you know these tops as "country shirts."

How can you style them?  Pair these tops with khaki bermudas and strappy wedges, dressy shorts and heels, or denim boyfriend cut-offs and ballet flats.

The country shirt is incredibly versatile. Dress it up. Dress it down. Add a scarf or necklace. Layer it up.

Do you have a country shirt?  How do you style it?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

What cookin' at my house this week? 5/10-5/16

Happy Mother's Day to anyone crazy enough to check my blog on Mother's Day!

Monday--Spicy honey chicken, rice and grilled asparagus
Tuesday--Red lasagna with salad and bread
Wednesday--Indian-spiced chicken gyros
Thursday--Chili-lime rubbed steak wraps
Friday--Penne and tomatoes
Saturday--Omelets and salad
Sunday--Pizza soup

You Are My Sunshine

Deb at Just Short of Crazy just gave me the You are My Sunshine Award!  I think because I gave her desk organization advice.  Maybe not.

Anyway, in keep with blog award rules, here are 12 Blogs I love:
  1. Chapters of Me
  2. The Munchkin and Little Miss
  3. Naptime Notes
  4. The Improbable Housewife
  5. Mommy's Camera
  6. $5 Dinners
  7. The (Un)Experienced Mom
  8. Knock-Off Wood
  9. Hello.  My name is Mommy.
  10. Everyday Mom Ideas
  11. A Beautiful Place
  12. Things I Can't Say