Saturday, June 12, 2010

Want to Read Stephanie Meyer's New Book for Free?

Stephanie Meyer's new book--the Short Second Life of Bree Tanner--is online and available to read for free (online only--not copying/pasting/printing or saving) until July 5, 2010.

Follow this link if you're interested.  But remember my chick-flick warnings.  It is a story.  Only a story.  Your husband can't/shouldn't be Jacob or Edward :)

Days of Play--Write on Windows

My delightful little home has a ton of windows.  I hate to clean them but we LOVE to color on them.


Yep.  Grab a box of dry-erase markers (or window writing markers as marketed by Crayola) and let your kids doodle all over the windows.
Need to erase?  Just use an old rag.  To clean up, windex and wipe.

I'm not sure if this is fun because it's unusual or because it feels naughty (kids tend to love the naughtiness).

You decide.

Can't commit your windows to art/graffiti?  Try making your own white board.  Take a piece of white tagboard (any size--I used 5x7 notecards when I taught.  Yesterday I made an 8x11 for my daughter) and wrap it in clear contact paper.  WaLa!  A white board that travels and cleans easily.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Date Night--Quarter Date

Okay, most of my date ideas are "Date Night In" ideas but this one is still pretty cheap and fun.

Here's what you need:

  • A car
  • 1 roll of quarters (which is $10).
Here's the challenge:

You and your husband must drive around town and get a full meal (main course, vegetable, drink, and dessert) for two people using ONLY $10 worth of quarters.  To make it even trickier, you can spend no more than $2 at each location (and this includes tax).

Your dinner might be a taco, french fries, a free cup of water, and a chocolate chip cookie but you'll have a good time.

Don't want to pay for a sitter?   Take the kids and make it a family date (but you only get to an additional $2.50 for each kid). It's good for them to see you and your husband being a little silly.

Gonna try it?  Tell me all about it!

the "IT" list

Welcome to the "IT" list!
Every week Jill from the Good Life For Less rounds up the best blog ideas and compiles them into one smokin' hot, link lovin' good time!  Take a minute, or an hour--whatever, and check out these fab finds (and the inspiring blogs that showcase 'em)!

And by the way, do you recognize the watch?  I can practically feel the forces of nature telling me that Matt should have it for Father's Day!

We have a SUPER fab line-up this week gals... as I was compiling the "it" list I kept saying, "...that is my favorite... no, no, this one has got to be the best... wait, wait, I just love this one!" Take some time today or this weekend to visit each of these brillz blogs - you won't be sorry!
  • Jess of jesslc and makeundermylife is hosting one (or NINE!) hot giveaways this week (it ends today so scoot on over bunnies!)... Five Days, Nine Blogs, Nine Giveaways. The best part - there is a great cause behind these fun necklaces!
  • the pretty bee has me *buzzing* over this doily wall art! I even had to get the behind the scenes details on pricing (you know me!) - the objects of my affection cost less than $2.00 at the fabric store. Don't miss this!
  • the good life for less reminds you that the Summer looks:book is up and ripe for the picking! It's all the wardrobe inspiration that you will need to get you to fall.
  • where is the me in mommy rounds up Father's Day gift ideas (which reminds me.... I need to get on that.)
  • do. think. wear. see. love. dream. is inspired by Sundance... so she shops her own closet to achieve the look. LOVE THIS. Also, she offers new readers a re-cap on what's up at her blog... what a good idea! She's a doll, just a doll...
  • a spot of whimsy is inspired to throw a beach themed party... and after reading that post, I am too. She has captured the essence of "beach" perfectly.
  • karina, ink in all her craftiness takes dollar bin finds and makes them into a memento display. She makes it looks so easy... always.
  • one hundred inspirations brings us January Jones' simple & chic summer look for less than $70. Nice. Very nice.
  • sweetie pie pumpkin noodle whips up an outfit inspired by this sunset and it's drop.dead.
  • merci, blah, blah rounds up, hands down, the most glamorous selection of chandeliers I have ever seen. I'll take one, or a million, of each.
  • one sweet find has me dreaming of champagne hot air balloon rides. Swoon....
Interested in being featured on the "it" list? Small businesses, retailers and bloggers alike are welcome to join this weekly publication! email goodlifeforless (at) for info!

Thanks for checking out this week's IT list.  If this is your first time on Where is the ME in Mommy? I'd love to have you take a peek at some of my most popular posts!

Click the following phrases to read up!

Letting Go
That's What She Said!
Wearing Black and Brown Together

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Things I love--My Pots and Pans

For our wedding we were given a set of stainless steel pots and pans from QVC. Th brand is Cook's Essentials.

I consider myself to be a pretty dang good cook (and if you disagree, you are henceforth formally disinvited to dinner).  Anyhow, I've run the gamut of pots and pans.  Calpahan, La Creucet, cast iron, Pampered Chef, Rachel Ray--you name it, I've tried it.  And you know what, I always, always, always come back to my fairly inexpensive Cook's Essential pots and pans.

They are heavy duty, non-stick, and dreamy.  And remember, I'm not getting paid or getting new pots and pans to say this.  These are the pans I use.  The pans I love.  The pans I recommend.  And I'll tell you, after 8 years of hardcore cookin' there's not a scratch in the non-stick coating (though I'm also anal about NEVER using metal cooking utensils!)

If you've got a wedding this summer, look into the 10 piece set of Cook's Essentials.  The cook in the marriage will thank you.

I love my pots and pans! *sigh*

What cooking gadgets do you love?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What I Think About--Dating Your Husband

This was one of my first posts and I feel like I owe it to myself, my marriage, and to you and your marriage to re-post it (since I now have more than 6 readers!).

Matt and I have been married for nearly seven and a half years but together for just under eleven.  It was just the two of us (well, and two slightly dysfunctional dogs we played "house" with) for six years.  In that time we were given to weekend trips to New York, moving to Vegas for the summer, and recklessly wasting time and resources dining out, going to the movies, and sleeping in until ten (*sigh*).

My how things have changed since we had children!  Most of the changes have been good but a few times I've looked at my husband and tried to remember the husband he was before he became a father.

Let me say that no man has been or will be as great of a father as Matt is (I expect you to disagree so we'll just agree to disagree).  He plays with our children, changes diapers, makes toys, plays dress-up, cooks, carries, cleans vomit ... He is not of of those men who comes home from a long day at work and is "done" for the day. He finishes his day when I finish mine, and sometimes later.

Though I love and admire the father in him, I also yearn for the Matt who wasn't a dad--fearless, reckless, spontaneous, dangerous, carefree.  Deep down he still is all those things but the daily routine grinds him down.  What I realized this December is that he felt the same way about me. And what we learned was that the key to igniting the pre-parent passions we had for each other was within our grasp.

What follows is an excerpt from an e-mail Matt sent to me on December 1, 2009 in preparation for our anniversary.
I tell you all the time that you are beautiful, and I tell you often that you are a wonderful mother.  What I don’t tell you all the time is that you are so mysterious…and I love that about you.  Though you tell yourself and others that you like to plan, play things safe and keep control at all times, one of the mysteries of you is that those things are not entirely true.  Even though you would never admit to it, I have come to realize your secret affinity for adventure and more importantly… spontaneity. 
One of the things I committed to you nearly seven years ago was that I would make you happy.  And while I know that you are happy in a general sense, it bothers me that we so easily get bogged down in the routineness of being married, of being parents and of life tasks.  Every time I have asked you in the past three months about your happiness and what about life is causing you stress, it is the daily reality that is grindingly numbing.  You are so tough.  You raise our children with excellence, you care for your family and you are a wonderful friend.  But deep down, I know that a little adventure….a little romance…..a little passion and a little spontaneity just might create an opportunity for us.
Every day from now until our anniversary, I am going to present you with at least one opportunity to do something completely spontaneous.  There is no pressure on your part to accept each opportunity.  Some will be more adventurous than others.  Some may even stretch your comfort level.  But deep down I know there is an inner Bond girl dying to escape…
Thus was born the Legacy Parkway Spy School.  For the next twenty days Matt sent me on wild goose chases taking secret photos of him, creating movies, practicing "Unagi" (we love Friends), and learning how to box. These games, these spontaneous "challenges" were nothing more than little thoughts meant to brighten my day by reminding me that before I was a mom, I was a sexy, confident woman . . . and still could be.  

When I share this story with friends I always get comments like "I wish my husband would do stuff like that."  All I can say is this, DO IT FIRST.  Be the change you want to see in your marriage.
  • Date your husband.  
  • Wow him.  
  • Remind him that he is a sexy and confident man.
  • Remind him that before he was your children's father, he was your lover.  
I've re-created some of my spy school challenges (and created new ones).  
If you want to spice up your married date life, check out these links.  Do them. Have fun with them.  

If you blog, blog about the benefits of sending your man to "Spy School" (and send me the link so I can read about it).  If you don't blog, e-mail me messages and photos to post!

Bond Spy School for Hot Dads

If you want to bring back pre-baby passion to your marriage, I think it is partially your responsibility to inspire it.  Date your husband!

Just a little photo (one of the few we could post) from our Body Paint date night in!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tuesday's Too Clean Tip--Clean Your Oven

Even though my oven is "self-cleaning" I am loath to actually turn on the "clean cycle."  I mean, it smells so nasty in my house for five hours that I'm certain it's not worth it.  The problem is, I don't exactly like the burnt and dirty oven smell when I'm baking cookies either.

What I generally end up doing is spraying some commercial, chemical based oven spray in my oven and then cleaning it and getting a chemical-spray induced headache.  Lovely.
Isn't there an easier way?

Truthfully?  No.

But there is a chemical free way!

The night before you want to clean, get a bowl and fill it 1/2 c. of ammonia. Close the door and let it sit all night (okay, this is a chemical but it's the pre-wash part so it doesn't count).

The next morning remove the ammonia and let the oven air out for a few minutes.

Now, take 5 teaspoons of baking soda, 2-3 drops of liquid dishwashing soap, and white vinegar and make a paste (you thought I was going to say lemons didn't you?).  Scrub the inside of your oven with the paste and a cotton cloth.  Get a spray bottle and spray with water to rinse then wipe dry.

If your oven is UBER nasty and you have some seriously tough stains, mix 1 c. baking soda, 1 cup of salt and enough white vinegar to make a heavy paste.  Rub all over your oven.  Turn oven on to 500 and leave for 30-60 minutes.  Turn off.  Leave the door closed and allow to cool.  Spray with a water bottle to rinse and wipe dry.

The good news is that this is mostly chemical free.  The bad news is that it still can be smelly (just not burnt-oven/chemical smelly).

If you think you hate cleaning your oven more than I hate cleaning mine, plead your case in the comments!  Wouldn't an "I hate oven cleaning" haiku be fun?


Monday, June 7, 2010

In Celebration of Hot Dads

Father's Day--June 20th

It's nearly that time of year.  You know, the day when your husband gets to be "World's Best Dad" according to every greeting card, mug, and T-Shirt out there.

When I was growing up my dad always wanted the same two things for Father's Day: cologne and socks (black ones that he'd wear with sandals.  Now do you understand why I'm nuts?).

For some reason, like having it ingrained in me since I was six, I always get my dad, my father-in-law, and my husband really practical gifts for Father's Day (read: cologne, socks, and every now and then, blue underwear with yellow bananas on them.  No, I'm not kidding).

This year I want to break out of the mold and give my husband something that he would love.

Here are some thoughts.

If I'm going to get him cologne, I giving him Acqua Di Gio.  If this cologne was a piece of clothing it would be Mister Roger's cardigan.  Classic.  Comfortable.  Sexy (okay, not the first word you think of when you hear Mr. Rogers OR cardigan but trust me, it's awesome).

I'm one of those women who TOTALLY lucked out and married a guy with an a-maz-ing fashion sense.  He could (and does, actually) pull of cardigans.  Matt loves to go shopping and he never looks at sizes.  While I'm obsessing over whether I'm a 4, 6 or an 8, he pulls out a pair of pants and says, "These'll fit.  Trust me."  And I do because he's always right (about shopping, that is).

Anyhow, even though he has to wear dress shirts and ties and suits to work, I'm not getting these things for Father's Day.  Instead, I'd look into these:

Super Casual--Super Cool--Did I mention hats and jeans shirts/jackets are hot this summer?

Hoodies and Flips--Tell me I'm not the only one who digs this look?

Country shirt--Thank God he's a country boy (really, Matt graduated with 13 other kids).

My husband loves all things sporty and outdoorsy.  Hiking, road biking, rock climbing, skydiving--you name it, he loves it.

Some ideas if your fella is outdoorsy:

  • Grill set
  • New bike helmet
  • tent/sleeping bag
  • grill
  • tickets to his favorite sporting event

Even though he can be a bit wild, Matt is at heart, extremely sophisticated.  In this vain, here's what I'm thinking:

  • The book Freakonomics.  Reading ANYTHING written by an economist would elicit tears of boredom from me.  Matt's been drooling over this one for a couple of years.  Maybe this is the year!
  • A really nice pen set
  • A briefcase
  • A Bocce Ball set
Practically Impractical

  • A homemade jar of bacon butter (If you just said ewwwww join the club.  If your husband would eat bacon on ice cream, then trust me, he'll love it.)
  • An acre of land on Mars (talk about Americans being imperialists!)
  • Chuck Norris T-Shirt
Quality Time with a Quality Man
  • Buy Ladder Ball and play a game (or two) with the kids.
  • Pack an amazing picnic get outside for a day in the park, or mountains, or lake.
Home made
  • With your children, put together a skit or song about your husband and perform it for him.
  • Make the un-original breakfast in bed an original 5 Star meal.  Serve puffed french toast, fresh berries in cream, and  3 cheese scrambled eggs with orange juice.  Serve your husband on your best dishes.  Have breakfast by candle light.
  • Give your husband coupons for acts of service (include one sexual act for when kids go to bed).
What Matt Really Wants

Though I've come up with lots of thoughts for Father's Day--mainly just to throw Matt off my trail--I know what he really wants.

Matt has a watch thing like I have an accessory thing.

Here's his latest watch crush--A Luminox Navy Seal Dive Watch.

Well, there are my rambling ideas on what to get the man in your life for his special day.  I'd tell you what Matt's getting but it's G14 Classified.  
Stopping by from the "it" list?


If this is your first time on Where is the ME in Mommy? I'd love to have you take a peek at some of my most popular posts!

Click the following phrases to read up!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

What's Cooking 6/7-6/13

This coming Friday and Saturday I'm going to a Beth Moore/Kay Arthur/Pricilla Shirer conference with my BFF Kim, my sister Randean, my mother-in-law, Aunt Julie and a slew of other gals.  Not only will I be spiritually filled AND get out my word count, I totally get to stay in a rockin' awesome hotel without kiddos.  Ahhhhhhhhh!  I can't wait!

Until then, here's what I plan of feeding my lovies!

Monday--Spicy Beef tacos on whole wheat tortillas with all the trimmings (cuz nothing can be easy at my house!)
Tuesday--Chicken Penne with salad and French bread
Wednesday--Orange Honey Teriyaki Chicken a la Frontier Kitchen (Photo is from Frontier Kitchen)
Thursday--Grilled steaks with home fries and green beans
Friday--I'm at the conference and daddy is cooking
Saturday--Matt's choice
Sunday--BBQ Salmon with wild rice and mixed greens