Friday, November 30, 2007

Then There Was Five

I forgot to tell you that we did have a bit of Thanksgiving Drama around here when we woke up to Lenny the Beta fish "sleeping" at the bottom of his cookie jar. The Girl went through the grieving process in about 13.8 minutes:
  • Denial, disbelief, numbness - Mom, do you think he's just sleeping?
  • Anger, blaming others - Mom! That lady at the pet shop told me he wouldn't die until I was eleven!
  • Bargaining - Mom, since Lenny died, do you think you could buy me a new fish? Like maybe a catfish?
  • Depressed mood, sadness, and crying - Mom will you snuggle with me?
  • Acceptance, coming to terms - Mom, I'm sad that Lenny died, but it's probably good timing since you do all that holiday baking. You're gonna need that cookie jar!
OK, So maybe that last one was more my thought process, but she did come to accept Lenny's demise very quickly.


You were a good fish. It was nice having you hang out with me, on the kitchen counter, in my cookie jar, when I was doing dishes or cooking. You always seemed to appreciate when I cleaned out your bowl, even though I was promised that wouldn't become my job. I am thankful that you didn't howl, bark, roll in poop, or beg when you hadn't been fed exactly on time. You never complained, or woke me up at 3am to go outside. You were a good pet. I hope that (as quoted in Nemo) your ride down the Porcelain Express was everything a fish dreams about in his life. Thanks for the memories...

On Behalf of the La Vida Dulce Family,

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cool, Rainy Day

Guess who's wearing her tan corduroy pants and pink feathery slippers?

I have been working my little fingers to the bone trying to get projects done. If the blogging is a bit slower this month it will be because I need that hour (or two) to accomplish things around here.

On Monday I had all these little pieces of paper cut out to make paper ornaments to give away at an event for my Mom's business. Today I finally completed 24 paper flower ornaments.

Well, they still need a ribbon for hanging but that's easy! I wish I could get a picture that shows how sparkle-y they really are!

Glitter is good.
I still have 10 more I want to get done for teachers gifts, but those can hold off until....
...the Advent Calendar is completed. Seeing as how December 1st is in two days and I still have 10 pockets left to make, i figure this is next on the priority list. The good news is this project is very easy after you get the pieces cut out. And the simple, repetitive sewing is kind of peaceful-like. I had to put it down for about a week due to the ornament deadline and because I ran out of red embroidery thread. But as soon as I can get the glitter and glue off my hands I will pick up it back up.

On Saturday, after the Advent Calendar is hung on the mantle with care I will tackle this..... sewing corner is full of material waiting to be made into stuff. I had a few things on order from J Caroline Creative which arrived last night (goodness that UPS guy works late!), so now I can get that finished and wrapped before I start on the next thing.

OH! But you know what makes all this seasonal activity SO! MUCH! BETTER!?

I found something wonderful on the Internet last week. Taste of Texas Coffee's
from H.E.B. For those of you not in on the Texas jive, this means that Kellie at La Vida Dulce is one happy gal!

When I found the website I ordered Taste of Austin to be delivered right to my door without pestering my sweet suppliers (Jen with one N, Lara, Becky, and Jane). I looked high and low to see if there might be the slightest chance that La Vida Dulce was back on the menu. It's not, but Taste of Austin comes pretty darn close. So I bought a bunch. Just like I did on December 31, 1999. Everyone was storing water, plastic sheeting and duct tape in preparation for Y2K. I stocked up on Central Market (HEB) tortillas, Rosarita refried beans, and La Vida Dulce coffee. 'Cuz if we were gonna be shut up in our homes with fear of anthrax I wanted to be prepared.

Anyway, I was so excited to find that I could order coffee online and actually share it with people this Christmas (instead of rationing like I usually do).....cause, friends, if we drink it I'll buy more!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Favorite Tree Ornaments - Part 1

Instead of dealing with the b'gillion projects I have lying all over the house, I spent way too much time trying to keep this blog entry down to 5 pictures. Y'all, I just couldn't limit my favorite ornaments to five. So I thought that I would share my favorites over the next four Tuesdays.

Pictured above is an angel that is probably about as old as I am. I cannot remember a Christmas without this bit of Pink Sparkly sweetness. Every year I take her out of the tissue layered box and just look at her. I have been mesmerized by this doll for over 30 years! My mom may know more about her story, but from what I am remembering she was made for us (me?) by the mother of one of my Dad's friends (got that?).

With every year that passes I think to myself that I could make an angel like this, but it just wouldn't be the same.

OK! so if Pink Sparkly Angel is the oldest decoration on our tree, the one pictured below is the most sentimental.

This ornament is not handmade. It is a sterling silver rattle that longs for some polish.

Here is the story...I babysat for a family with four girls. The two youngest babies were baptized at the church and after mass there was a sit down dinner and a party to celebrate. This rattle was set at each place setting. The date was May 8, 1993. It was at this event that The Mister and I had our first date. We gathered again at church one year and 360 days later on May 13, 1995. Those four little girls were our flower girls. Every year, I ring the rattle (it has a beautiful sound) and put it on our tree. Then I say, "An angel got his wings!" and the kids roll their eyes and say, "Yes... Yes.... The rattle from your first date. Can we have have hot chocolate now?"

When The Mister and I got hitched we got a lot of nice presents. The picture above (sorry it's blurry, I was fighting with the camera), and the closeup below (so you can see the detail), was one of those presents. A teacher friend of my Dad's crocheted these delicate snowflakes and carefully packaged them with directions on how to re-starch them when they needed it. I have only re-starched them once: The year The Boy decided to taste one and was delighted to find they all tasted like sugar. He carefully chewed on each one until the flavor ran out, and then he carefully placed each snowflake, a white chewy mound, deep into the branches of the tree. We couldn't figure out why he would do this until I read the hand written directions on how to re-starch the flakes when the got too yellow or limp: Place snowflakes in a mixture of 1 cup scalding water and 1/2 cup sugar. Lay flat to dry. Yup. He's got my sweet tooth.

In December of 1995 The Mister and I were living in a duplex on campus. The university was sponsoring a hot air balloon festival/fund raiser. The winners of the raffle would win a free hot air balloon ride. My uncle owned a balloon called The Potted Plant. We went to the balloon lighting (which happens at night) and my uncle told me that there was a chance his winners wouldn't show up in the early morning for their ride. If I wanted a chance to ride I was to show up at 5:00 am to help out and wait. His 'winners' stayed in bed and I got to fly.

After the ride it was tradition to drink champagne after landing. The picture above was the cork from the champagne bottle. My uncle turned it into a hot air balloon shape and wrote down the date and name of the balloon on the side. Such a great day.

I am so excited to share some of the others with you. If you have some of your own that you would like to share, please comment and let me know when you post...kind of like a cyber ornament exchange! Fun!

Tomorrow I may be brave and post pictures of all the various projects I have going here. I was too chicken to do it today. I am up to my eyeballs in fabric! and paper! and glitter! My house looks like a craft store explosion. AUUUGGGHHHH!!!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Happy Weekend

While I sit here and eat my PB & J sandwich I thought I'd check in. I've missed blogging but I have to admit the break was great! But now I have to remember all the bloggy things that have come to my mind in the last week.

Y'all, Thanksgiving out in here in the desert was fantastic. Not only was there incredible food and fun with our family and friends, but the days after were awesome as well.

Friday was The Misters birthday. One of the gifts I like to give him is the ability to do exactly what he wants, without the need to plan and ponder, even if what he chooses to do feels un-productive and frivolous (to him, not me)! He never takes time to do nothing. He needs down time, but when he takes it he always has the "I-Should-Be-Doing-Something-Productive-Monkey" on his back, and that keeps him from enjoying his down time. But on his birthday he can do it and not feel bad about it, which is, as Martha Stewart says: A Good Thing.

Normally, on the day after Thanksgiving we decorate for Christmas, but that would require The Mister pulling out all the boxes and doing work on his birthday, so we postponed decorating festivities until Saturday. The Mister read all morning and hung out with the kids and I all afternoon and then we feasted on his dinner of choice: grilled steak and chocolate cake, served on The Red Plate. Then, in keeping of our Friday-after-Thanksgiving-tradition we watched It's a Wonderful Life after we put the kids to bed.

Thanksgiving weekend tradition also includes (as mentioned before) decorating the tree in our pajamas; watching the Sound of Music; crafting; playing games and reading. We even hiked up a little desert trail to the grocery store on Friday evening.Also, I haven’t done a lick of laundry since Wednesday of last week, which is why this post is going to be short.

What are your after Thanksgiving traditions?

Tomorrow I am going to share with you some favorite Christmas ornaments from our tree. Most of which are hand made. Our tree is not the most beautifully decorated but it has ornaments on it that have great sentimental value to me and my family. I can’t wait to show you! Until then…

La Vida Dulce!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

It's 10pm. We just got home from a terrific day.

To close this great day with family and friends, good food, red wine, laughter and joy, I am eating a small slice of pumpkin pie and then I will tuck myself into bed for some sweet dreams.

I pray that your Thanksgiving was truly a day of great joy for you. A day of thanks and giving.

This day marks the start of my favorite time of year. Let the festivities begin!

La Vida Dulce!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Christmas Spoiler

If you are related to me, live in the same town, and are under the age of 11, please don't read this post!

I have been working on several projects this past week and I though I would share.

Last year I found this tutorial at All Sorts. I had bought all the felt and supplies. I didn't end up making it but was so happy to find all the "ingredients" so I could actually make it before the 1st of December and use it as an Advent Calendar. Instead of just using the tags as a decoration to hang on the button each night, I am going to write a daily Advent scripture on the back of them. There will also be a piece of chocolate in each pocket for us to eat. I will be sure to post a picture when it's completed...only 21 pockets left to go.

These are two of the aprons that my nieces are receiving this year. I found this tutorial on line as well.
They are super easy, not very time consuming and fun!

The chicken apron was for The Girl. It was the first one I made. Poor Girl always gets the "Guinea Pigs" of all my creations!

This was a robot I made last year. I got the pattern from crafter blogger Wee Wonderfuls.
I have been reading her sight (along with Posie get Cozy) for several years now and they always inspire me! Anyway, this Robot and his Spaceboy (I don't have any pictures of him for some reason) will be made for my nephews these year.

Today I spent the day sewing and finishing up a few projects here while the Termite people were drilling holes into my house and drowning our little home eaters. Tomorrows porjects will include baking up some turkey shaped sugar cookies and homemade bread bread, and preparing for my little portion on Thanksgiving. Oh! and I also have to paint my toes since I will be wearing flip-flops with my Thanksgiving Outfit! ;)

La Vida Dulce!

Monday, November 19, 2007

They're Messing With Me

Today when I was on my way to my Mom's office I noticed some city workers doing work near a small bridge. As I got closer I realized that they were flipping open all the "Bridges Freeze First" signs.

Uh, someone needs to tell the city that it is 84 degrees outside?

Maybe there is a cold front coming that I am unaware of, but really, with two days left before Thanksgiving and still wearing flip-flops, flipping those sign over is a little "twilight zone", if you know what I mean.

Then again, maybe I am just grumpy. I still haven't found my ring but I am still hopeful that it will show up. I have looked everywhere I can think of, but at this point I think I need to stop and move on because, quite frankly, the constant searching and wondering about it borders on crazy. My sister-in -law, saw me at the gym this morning. When she asked me if I found it I cried, right there in the gym. I am not really a public crier, but the lack of sleep and obsessive looking has taken it's toll.

I have received so many kind emails and heard amazing stories of gals who have lost their ring only to find it again sometime later, after they had given up the search. I am hopeful that this will happen to me, and I am ready (after three days) to get back to the projects I am working on and to do some baking in preparation for the holiday. Don, a dear friend in NC (Actually, they are more like family. Don and his wife Linda fed us dinner before we had even been in NC three nights. Which, for us is kind of like legal adoption. We are like cats, you feed us and your stuck with us for life!) Anyway, he wrote me a sweet email encouraging me over my lost ring and he put things in perspective. He said:

"You must look
on the bright side.
You still have the man that gave you that little

You are so very right. I wish I could hug your neck.

I want to end on a positive note, although I complain about the weather (because it's fun), I do want to say that Thanksgiving Dinner in the cold would be nice. But Thanksgiving Dinner in 70 degree weather won't be too shabby either. I may even get a tan.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


I have lost my wedding ring and I am literally sick over it.

We had pizza with The Mister's parents last Saturday evening and by the time we got home my hands were a bit swollen, so I took off my ring and placed it in my nightstand drawer. I have been doing a lot of sewing this week and hadn't put the ring back on. I do remember that on Wednesday evening I opened the drawer right before bed to get some lotion and saw the ring laying there, but I didn't put it on. That was the last time I remember seeing it.

This morning we were one our way out to the kids soccer games and I went to the drawer to get my ring and it was gone. I have no memory of moving it, or seeing it, or anything. The Mister and I have torn this house apart; we have moved furniture and cleaned out drawers; emptied pockets and purses.

Of course The Mister, in his faithful and loving style, has been so kind to me as we have looked together for my ring. Which almost makes it worse! Please pray that I would remember what I did with it, or that God would show the ring to me. And if it is truly lost, that God will give me comfort cuz, y'all, my heart is so very tender right now.

Friday, November 16, 2007


I have had a blogging question for over a week now. I have tried to figure it out on my own but it didn't work out. Maybe you could help me?

Sometimes when I comment on your blog (Blogger peeps only) I will get an email sent directly to me when you have answered one of my comments. These aren't private emails because when i go to check your comments, your reply is there. I thought that this happened because there is a little button that says to email all comments back to me regarding comments to that specific page. I had been pushing that button on bloggers with less traffic, until I happened to do it by accident on the Living Proof site. I will never do that again! I love to read Amanda and Beth's blog, but when I went to my mail box and had 245 email messages in comments for thier blog I wasn't sure whether to be happy that I don't have that many readers comments to keep up with, or sad that all that mail wasn't for me! And the email continued trickling in for over a week because I had no way to undo what I had done!

So, I don't think that is what you all are doing when you email your comment reply back to me (and also to your site). Holy Moses! This sounds confusing!

So if any of you can help a girl out that would be awesome.

Also, can we talk appetizers? This will be the first Thanksgiving that I am not cooking in almost 10 years. If I am really being honest I will tell you that this is a little sad for me, but that sadness is completely overcome by the fact that both my family and The Misters family will all be in the same town at the same time this year. I want you to know that in 12 and half years of marriage (and almost 15 years of knowing each other) this has NEVER happened before. Over here at the La Vida household are so excited about the events that will take place next Thursday. We are thankful that God has orchestrated reunions with both sides of the family this year and we are genuinely looking forward to the entire day.

But back to appetizers. The schedule will go something like this: early afternoon Thanksgiving dinner (Or Dinner #1) with my side of the family, and late afternoon dinner (Dinner #2) with The Misters side.

For Dinner #1: I will be making homemade sweet rolls and cranberry sauce.

For Dinner #2: I will be making a crudite (that's a fancy word for veggies and dip, and I wonder where my daughter gets the whole "call my room an apartment" issue?), homemade rolls and appetizers.

Appetizers are not something I have ever really made. I am thinking I would like to make two different things. I was thinking Feta Stuffed Mushrooms, but I am stumped for the other. Do any of you La Vida Gals have a tried and true appetizer recipe that is 1. not too difficult, 2. something I could assemble the morning of (or better yet the night before), and 3. easily transportable? Of course, it would be nice if looked really impressive too.

That way people would ooh! and ahh! over my beautiful creation and say "How in the world did you have the time to fix these amazing appetizers?" and I could lower my eyes and humbly shake my head and say, "Oh no, it was nothing! I mean, I planted those mushrooms in my garden a few weeks ago, and then carefully watched them grow to perfection in my green house. I only picked the ones that where exactly 1-inch in diameter, you know, so the appetizers would all be the same size. Then I stuffed them with a mixture of herbs, from my organic garden, and goat cheese made from the milk of the goat we keep in our 17th century barn...So it was really fresh, which really makes all the difference."

Oh wait, I didn't mean to write that out loud.

Anyway, just send your appetizer recipes my way if you got 'em.

Happy Friday!


The winner of the ballet skirt is....Mer from Life at 7000 feet

I'll email you for details!

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2007-11-16 20:14:41 UTC

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rent Free

Y'all, I just had the most delicious 25 minute nap you could ever imagine.

I know, you're thinking it's not even Sunday and she is napping? Well, today has been gloriously overcast, and although a bit blustery, the temperature has not gone over 75.

Did you hear that? Did you hear it? Yes, that was the call from my bedroom closet. It's the voice of my tan colored AnnTaylor corduroy pants I bought last year. Since mid-October they have been just crying to be worn; Calling out to me like a lost child. And today's weather has given me hope. Hope that I may wear them before Thanksgiving yet!

That sweet little nap has given me a burst of energy and I have a few things I must tell you sweet La Vida Gals. (I have AZ Gals, TX Gals, and NC Gals...I needed a name for y'all, what do you think?)

First, The Girl is cracking me up more than usual these days. Six months ago, when we moved to this house the movers broke her dresser. Since then she has been living life out of cardboard boxes. I've been a little slow in the giddy-up on ordering her a new dresser, but exactly one week ago the furniture store delivered her new dresser and mirror set. Now her room looks like she actually gets to stay awhile.

The Girl really likes how the new furniture makes her room look, and she has asked that we all refer to her room as her "apartment". In the days after her dresser was delivered she spent most of time after school and on the weekend "organizing" and making things in there "just so". Now if I ask her to take her shoes (that are in the middle of the family room floor) to her bedroom she will correct me. " My apartment, Mom."

I informed her that apartments aren't free and that I was thinking I might have to charge her rent. Unfortunately this thrilled her because she has LOTS of money. As in play money that she cuts out of green paper, in teeny, tiny little rectangles, and then leaves all over the western half of the United States. She uses this money when she and her friends play store, and these crazy scraps of paper have been found in the car, the kitchen, my nest, my shoes, the bathroom, the dishwasher and once I even used one as a book mark.

With the exception of the bookmark, her money drives me crazy. On some days, when the War With Paper Produced By School Aged Children is overwhelming, it's a Very Short Drive.

When, on occasion, she has found these tiny little pieces of green paper in the garbage can, she get completely upset because I am throwing away her money! Honestly, after picking up millions of these green scraps I seriously considered teaching her about the convenience of credit, but then I thought better.

By all means, she can live in her apartment rent free. I certainly don't need her money!

The other thing I wanted to tell you is that the skirt I made last week (If you haven't entered to win you still have a bit of time! I draw the name tomorrow!) , motivated me to get busy on the process of putting together my nieces and nephews Christmas gifts. I have been busily sewing and crafting this week, and as soon as I get a battery in my camera that actually works, I will be posting pictures. How about you? Will you making some gifts this year? If so, whatta-ya makin'.

All-righty, someone is going to have whip up some grub for supper tonight and I'm pretty sure that person is me. I might go change into my corduroy pants just in case today was winter. I'd hate to have missed the opportunity. I'm sure dinner will taste better for it!

La Vida Dulce!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sorry to Wake You But...

This morning it was painfully hard to get out of bed. Although right now it is 82+ degrees outside, the mornings have been chilly. Of course it's all relative, when it's still in the 90's outside during the day, the mid 50's seem down right cold.

I will confess that since I am taking a break from early morning running, I haven't been getting up as early. As a matter of fact, in the last two week I haven't been up before 5:45 at all. And before you roll your eyes, I am an early riser but I also go to bed at the same time as your great-Grandmother.

So the mornings have been cold and I have gotten into this weird habit of turning off my 5 o'clock alarm without even remembering that I have done it. Scary. To add insult to injury my "jump-out-of-bed-and-have-energy-without-the-aide-of-hot-caffeinated
-beverages" husband has been getting out of bed when his alarm chimes (he places his alarm on the other side of the room so he has to get out of bed to turn it off), re-sets his alarm for 15 minutes later, climbs back into bed and immediately falls back to sleep. Which actually drives me insane. How in the world do men do fall asleep so quick like that? Without laying in bed and thinking about 5438 different things, for at least 40 minutes. But I digress...

Well, this morning it was actually a few minutes past 6, and neither one of us has jumped out of bed in hopes that the other one will do it first, and I say, "OK! OK! Time to make the donuts!" (Please somebody tell me you are old enough to understand that phrase.) And then I grumbled something to the fact that it was all his fault that my life is so comfortable, and because it's so comfortable it makes getting out of bed very, very hard. At this point I got outta bed with a flashy grin and a quick step, and headed for the coffee pot.

I have a routine about most of the things in my everyday life. One of which is the "waking of the kids routine". The Girl doesn't wake easily when parental authority comes into the room at "dark" to coerce her from the warm bed. But, if you get Kona, the family dog, to wake that same child, somehow the day begins as if she has just opened her eyes to a field full of daisy's and freshly baked muffins, and as many pairs of shoes she could possibly imagine.

When it's time to wake the kids, I look at Kona and sort of nod my head at her and she knows it's time to earn her keep.. She will quietly trot into The Boy's room first, jump on the bed and wait to be patted. Then she will follow me into The Girl's room and the same routine happens. Then I go to the kitchen and I give the dog a treat for doing her part to make my life easier.

Now, before you think pet ownership is all that and a Double Stuff Oreo, let me tell you this... Last month that same dog ate disgusting stuff out of the toilet, and last week when my Dad came over for a quick lunch, she stole his ham sandwich right off the stinkin' plate. Oh! and she also likes very much to roll in poop. Which is why she gets bathed often, and why you won't see her jumping on my bed for a wake up call. Ever.

When that canine can wake up the kids, cook up some breakfast, and throw a load of laundry in the wash, then by all means, I will blog about how charming pet ownership is in the La Vida household, and you can all think that my life is all fluffy down comforters and sweet, lovely early morning domesticity that smells of vanilla cookies.

Anyway, back to reality. This morning I rushed into the kitchen, poured a cup of coffee, looked over at the dogs bed, gave her the nod, and she didn't move. So I walked over to her and she is curled up in a little ball and is sleeping so soundly she is practically snoring. I reached down to pet her and she opened one eye and gave me look that said, "Why are you waking me up when it is still dark? Especially when it's so cold out side."

So the mornings have been a little bit harder these days as the weather changes and the sun takes its time to get up. And because I am not getting my early morning stuff done, that stuff is taking up more time during the day. But I don't feel too bad, because even the dog doesn't want to get up. It's nice to know I am not alone.

La Vida Dulce!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Banchee the Mouse

Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer has posted about an addition to her family. It reminded me of my own mouse tale.

When I was in Junior High a friend of mine had a mouse named Banchee. Her parent were making her get rid of it (this should have been my first clue) so I took it home (by the way, I also did this with kittens, puppies and a once brought home a Japanese foreign exchange student that had been kicked out of her first hosts joke..but that is for another post).

Against my parents better judgment, they let me talk them into keeping it . Until it got loose one day while I was at school. Although I searched all over for him, I couldn't find him and assumed he had found his way out doors. I don't think I actually told my parents.

The next Friday evening I spent the night at a friends house and was awakened with a 6:00am phone call from my mother. I was told that she was on the way to pick me up. She said that she and my Dad had been awakened by the mouse running across my Dad's face while he was sleeping.

Apparently my Dad tore apart the bedroom trying to catch Banchee, eventually catching him in an empty turned over coffee can. I was to be ready and waiting outside for her arrival. She was going bring me home to help clean up the mess, and find a place for Banchee to live. A.S.A.P. Even if that meant the 10 acre desert behind our house.

That was an interesting morning for me. Mostly because the people in my house were very grumpy for the wake up call they had dance across their face. I wasn't all that attached to that mouse, but I couldn't let him go to the wild. I found some guy at school who decided to take it, cage, wheel, food and all....Chances are he had reptiles who needed a fast footed snack....but I didn't think about that till this very minute!!! AAuuugghhhh!!!

That was the end of rodents of any kind in our home. There wasn't a guinea pig, nor a hamster. And for the record, as a parent now, I think I will hold to that tradition!

PS: Completely of the subject! Don't forget to sign up for the Ballet skirt I am giving away at the end of this week!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Chicken Soup with Rice

Do you remember the old Maurice Sendak book, Chicken Soup With Rice? It was my second favorite book growing up. My very favorite of favorite-ist books by Sendak is Pierre: A Cautionary Tale. You'll remember that he was the boy that said "I don't care" to the people in his life. Why was this my favorite book? I don't know, except that maybe watching an apathetic boy who had to be eaten by a lion to learn to love his life and care about others, appealed to me.  I love a good Redemption story.

Chicken Soup with Rice, is my second Sendak favorite. Its my favorite because it has three of my favorite things in it: poetry, seasons/months, and chicken soup. I especially love the poem for November:

In November's
gusty gale
I will flop
my flippy tail
and spout hot soup.
I'll be a whale!
Spouting once
spouting twice
spouting chicken soup
with rice.

Today, is a holiday at our house. The Mister, being a government employee, and also a veteran, is home today. I know I have said this once or twice before on the blog, but I enjoy having him at home.  Many times this weekend he has had me laughing so hard I thought I might not ever breathe again. He can be so funny. I am going to miss him all day tomorrow when he has to go back to work.

Today we took the kids to the park down the street from our house. We are having a cold front here. It was 72 degrees outside with a cool breeze. I sat on a quilt and read while the kids played soccer with their dad. Dressed in a tank top, running shorts, and tennis shoes, a gust of wind blew a cloud over the spot where I was sitting and, for half-a-second, I tried to decide if I was actually cold.

It's a lovely November day, a great day to watch my family play together and be grateful. I'm glad I don't have to be eaten by a lion to remember that I'm...

Happy once
happy twice
happy chicken soup
with rice.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Comment to win!

I will use a random number generator on the morning of Friday, November 16th to pick the winner.
You don't have to be a blogger to participate! But you do have to have a valid email address.

If you are a blogger please send you blogging buddies over to participate!

I'm sorry, but I can only mail to addresses in the US and Canada.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Ballet Skirt Tutorial

Things you'll need:
4 yards of tulle;
thread to match;
silk flowers;
1/2 - 3/4 inch elastic (measure your ballerina's waist + 1 inch, to know how much);
one large safety pin;
quilter pins;
glue gun.

Notes: First, I am what I call a "Straight Seam Sewer". I am not a professional seamstress or crafter. I don't know all the right terminology so if you have a question let me know, I will do my best to be more clear!

Tulle is very forgiving in this project. If your edges and seams don't match up exactly, don't sweat it! It all will end up OK! I promise! Also, I only had 3.5 yards of tulle, but I prefer to use 4.

1. Take the tulle and open it up completely and lay it on the floor. It should look like a huge rectangle. You are going to fold it into thirds like you would a letter (pictured above). Fold the bottom third up first. Since the tulle was hard to photograph I drew a picture on white paper. Folding it this way is what creates a "pocket" to fill your skirt with leaves and flowers. That top single layer of tulle will eventually be the inner part of the skirt.
2. Take your quilters pins and pin together all three layers across the top of your fold. This will become the seam for the elastic waistband.

3. Sew a 1-inch seam all the way a cross the top of your folded fabric.

4. Sew a 1-inch seam along one short side of your folded fabric.

At this point if you laid your fabric out flat you essentially have a long tube with one end sewn shut. Be sure that when you sew the short sides of the tulle that you stop BEFORE you go over that one inch seam you made for the waistband. If you sew completely through it you won't be able to get your elastic in!

5. Now you get to fill your skirt. Pull all the leaves and flowers off the stems and throw them into the open end of the pocket. Be sure to save a few leaves and a couple flowers for your embellishments on the outside of the skirt.

6. Once you get all the flowers and leaves into the pocket you will need to bring both short ends together. I prefer the finished skirt to be Pocket Out, and the extra layer of tulle being the "liner" of the skirt to give it more fullness. To achieve this you will need to match up the short ends with the pocket touching pocket; or inside out.
7. Sew the shorts side together. This is one of those times when the edges of the tulle may not line up perfectly. When you make your seam be sure that you have all six layers. Again, do not sew through to the edge. When you get to the waist band seam stop! (This is pictured above.)
Once you have sewn the short ends together, cut off the excess. At this point your skirt is inside out. Turn it right side out and then shake the flowers and leaves around a bit to get them evenly distributed in the pocket.
8. Place your safety pen through one end of the elastic.
9. Thread the elastic through the waistband. Be careful to keep the elastic from twisting!

10. Sew elastic together.

11. Evenly distribute tulle on the elastic band.
12. Take reserved flowers and trim the long ends at the "bud" of the flower.

13. Arrange your leaves in the way you would like to display them on your skirt. I usually take some green thread and stitch the leaves together so they stay that way.

14. Hot glue the flowers to the leaves.
15. After the leaves and flowers cool, and I am certain that they aren't going to fall apart, I pin it to the area of the skirt I want it to stay. I then stitch the leaves directly into the elastic with several strong tacking stitches.

The finished product!

If you have questions regarding the tutorial please comment or email me.

Also, if you do end up making a skirt please let me know, I would love to visit your blog to see your finished skirts!

I am going to give away the skirt made for this tutorial. Please go sign up here!
Happy skirt making and go sign up to win!


Ballet Skirt

Today I promised to post a tutorial on how to make the ballet skirt I gave away last weekend. My intention was to have it posted first thing this morning but for some reason gremlins have decided to live in my house. Yesterday afternoon the foot on my brand new sewing machine kept falling off. I figured it out, but then the battery on my camera died. I promise that you don't want the tutorial without pictures, because I am not a professional crafter and there isn't a pattern, and pictures are worth a thousand patterns as far as I'm concerned.

So check back later this evening, or better yet tomorrow morning!

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Sometimes my mind works so mysteriously it scares me.

For instance I was mortified last week when I went to the school and ran into friend of mine from the gym, we'll call her K. K starts talking to me and the conversation reminds me of another conversation I had had the week before. I tell K all about this story and she's looking at me and smiling and we laugh, and I say good bye.

As I am walking away it begins to dawn on me that the conversation I have just told her about was actually the conversation I had had with her!! And instead of looking at me and saying,"Yes, Kellie, I know this funny story because we were the ones laughing about it together just last week.", she just nodded and let me gab on and on, and on. Actually it wasn't that long but it felt that way when I realized what I had done.

I ran back to her and said, "That conversation I just told you about? It was with you wasn't it?" And she just smiled and said, "Yeah, actually it was. But the way you told it was so funny, I just couldn't stop you."

Well, honey, the last laughs on me.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Allergies and the Perils of Being New In Town

I think I am going to have to admit that I have a cold.

I don't usually like to acknowledge sickness. I think this is because when I was growing up, everything from a hangnail to a stomach ache, was called an "allergy". I'm not talking about the kind of allergies people talk about nowadays. Nowadays it seems like people are allergic to everything.

I'm talkin' "get-up,-take-a-shower,-take-an-allergy-pill,-you'll-feel-better,-and get-your-butt-to-school" type of allergies. Unless you had a fever, were throwing up, or had just broken a major bone playing sports, your ailment was always an overcome-able allergy.

As a kid I hated being told that I had alleriges when I felt bad, and yet I find myself doing the same thing to my kids. Moreover, when I start to feel sickness coming on I usually start telling myself it's an allergy because, (don't tell my mom I told you this) sometimes getting up, taking a shower, taking an allergy pill, and moving into the day does actually make you feel better. But not today. Or yesterday. Or the day before. I am ready to concede that it is probably not an allergy.

Mark this on your calendars: my throat is sore enough that I haven't even talked with anyone today, because talking? It hurts.

Actually, I did talk to two people. The Exterminator and a girl friend who called why he was here. The exterminator was giving me a price quote, because guess who has termites? Oh yes! That would be me. So I talked with her for support and comfort. Termites are nasty awful creatures that must be destroyed, no matter the cost.

I think this sore throat, cold-y type, of "allergy" is effecting my taste buds. After my bowl of chicken and rice soup I decided to raid the kids Halloween loot. I took a fun size Baby Ruth (not my favorite), thinking it wouldn't taste very good and I wouldn't want to eat another didn't work. It tasted delicious. Next time I will just go ahead and pull out four Snickers and get it over with. Why do I do this to myself?

And while I am talking about me, can I tell you that yesterday I was feeling very sorry for myself.

Sometimes being the new kid on the block sucks. Yesterday I went to the luncheon thing after bible study and I left feeling weird. Part of it is because I miss my gals from all over the country. I miss being one of those girls that knows everybody at the bible study. I miss being on the "inside". It was hard watching all the girls talk to each other about their lives and things that they all knew about... It was hard to watch them be easy with each other and to talk about each others kids like they were their own. It was hard to see bosom friends interacting with one another. It made me feel sad.

I have those kind of friends too. But most of my friends and their families are far away. Talking with them on the phone is awesome, but I really, really miss the one-on-one face time; the hanging out at luncheons and talking about stuff with them...

Yesterday I felt lonely, but it could've been allergies.

It's amazing how one situation can color your whole look on life. I came home and complained to The Mister that I didn't have any friends. He laughed and gave me a hug and told me, in his sweet and kind way, that I was being ridiculous. That I have a lot of great friends, and not just in Texas and NC, but here as well. Which is, of course, true.

I felt humbled when he went through the list of the amazing Arizona Gals I have here, in addition to the Texas Gals and North Carolina Gals, that have each been a blessing to me. I have no right to feel sorry for myself. But when you feel like you spent a morning back in Junior High, trying so hard to fit in with people who have all been friends for years, it is sometimes hard to see the forest for the trees.

Yesterday was one of those days when my feelings weren't telling me the truth. But trying to remember that a single morning without a buddy didn't deem me friendless was a bit of a struggle. Today I feel better, more like me.

Well, more like me...with allergies.

WFMW - Backwards

Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer is hosting her Works-For- Me-Wednesday carnival. I usually don't participate, but since it's a back wards day and I have actually had this on my mind for awhile, I thought I would play.

Here is my problem: Fingernails.

I keep my fingernails short, but I like them to look shiny. My problem is that I hate the feeling of nail polish on my nails (not to mention that polish flakes off fast with all the time my hands spend in soapy water!). I try to buff them with a 4-way buffer, but that process is so time consuming. Do you know of any product that can assist in shiny, tidy looking, fingernails without having to spend half a day buffing?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Urgent Message!!!


Where in the world has November gone?

I just cannot believe it. Maybe it's because as I type the thermometer outside says 87 degrees. Maybe it's because I have so overbooked myself I can hardly see straight. Maybe it's because time just flies more quickly the older you get. But come on! Thanksgiving is 16 days away? That is scary.

And at the risk of sounding like a whiny blogger who is addicted to comments, where are you people?

I haven't heard from some of you in forever!

Monday, November 05, 2007


I really should empty the dishwasher or fold the pile of laundry that is living on the couch, but as you can read, I needed to update, so here I am.

This weekend was amazingly busy, but very very good. Let's start with Friday. c.d. from Desert Diva and I sang at the retirement community. For the record, if there is ever a question of where I would like to go when I am old, you can take me there. Maybe it was because I was expecting mothballs and hot, musty rooms with hallucinating shouters that were tied to the bed to protect themselves (I have sung at nursing homes before, that sentance is exactly what I have seen before). I was not at all expecting what we walked into.

First of all these were not your typical geriatric people. These were totally-with-it , very rich old people who live in the equivalent of a five star country club/resort. We're takin' the Ritz of senior living.

Y'all, when I had to use the restroom right before we sang I was smackin' myself for not bringing my camera because you would've wanted to see that. Everything was marble and dark wood and real towels rolled up and stacked in ornate boxes in neat pyramids. No paper there, baby. The stalls were separated by separate rooms with real doors. I looked for a pull string connected to the wall, in the event that I might fall and be unable to get up, but it wasn't there! This place was amazing. When the activities director brought us water, she brought it in the most beautiful (and large) martini glasses you could imagine.

Yes, it was THE retirement communities of all retirement communities. Next time I'm bringing the camera for sure. If, for nothing else, to have pictures to look at when I am living out life's last years at Shady Pines On-A-Pension Home.

After the concert I went to return our martini/water glasses and four ladies who attended the concert were having cocktails in the bar while waiting to have their private dinner served on the patio. Apparently it was their Girls Night Out. They chatted with me for several minutes. It was obvious they were enjoying their evening, and living quarters, immensely.

I am so living there in 50 years. If I can remember where it is...

Saturday was jam packed as well, but that seems so long ago and I can't really remember it.

Sunday was church and high tea bridal showers (Yay Terri!) and then the concert. This is where I swallow my pride and tell you that it went very, very well. Even including the bagpiper. She only played two songs and they were pretty short. The musicians and singers all did a really great job and I was glad that I participated. Especially since it was a fund raiser for this little churches Women's ministry.

I was so glad that c.d. had agreed to sing with me. My momma used to say there is safety in numbers and that couldn't be more true than on this weekend. Between Friday and Sunday c.d. and I spent a lot of time together. It was great to not have to do all the stuff this weekend alone and in between the singing there was a lot of great conversation that I loved.

OK, I really should go get my act together in this house but I wanted to post and tell you I lived to tell the story of the weekend!

Until maƱana!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Winer Is!

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Number 7 is Laura!

Thank you so much for playing. This was a (more than a) ton of fun!

Several of you asked for a tutorial on how I make these skirts.

I will post a tutorial next Friday November 9th, and I will give that skirt away too!

A big thanks to Shannon over at Rocks in my Dryer for organizing and hosting this carnival! (When's the next one?)

Congrats to Lisa and her three girls! Your skirt is on it's way!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Weekend Starts Early

It is really hard to post a blog one handed, but I refuse to put down this Fun Size Snickers Bar I snagged from the kids Halloween loot. I don't think the candy given out when I was a kid was this good, do you?

OK, I am finished, so now I can type proper-like.

The Mister has been out of town for the last five days. I have missed him. As my reward for keeping the home stead up and running he while was away, he is going to take me out on a date tomorrow. All morning long. I am seeing a LARGE cup of coffee, a bagel, a newspaper and a trip to the bookstore in my future. Oh! (If I am really lucky) I might be seeing lunch too.

This weekend is chock full of activity so I probably won't have a lot of blogging time. This is the weekend of The Big Debut. But there is so much more!

I hadn't yet told you that my new friend c.d. over at Desert Diva asked me to sing at an actual paying gig. Yes, we will be singing together at a Retirement Community for the Friday Night Soiree.

You may officially add Retirement Singer to my long line of odd jobs that I have done over the years. When I asked c.d. what this place was like she said she didn't know anything except it was a retirement community, which could mean, "Very active older folks, or people drooling in their soup." So it should be interesting. If nothing else c.d. is a fun and talented gal and singing with her will be great.

Actually, I roped c.d. into singing with me for the The Big Debut as well. So it will be me, her and the bag pipe lady. A night to remember if there ever was one.

I also have to tell you that if c.d. hadn't agreed to sing in this thing I wouldn't be doing it. At. All. Because two days ago the piano player called and quit. The thought of having to find a piano player at the last minute gives me hives. Literally.

There is never a moment around here without some drama, let me tell ya.

c.d., the hero of crazy concerts, happened to have one of the 3 songs I was to sing on a track. I dumped the other two I had prepared, and instead will sing a duet with c.d. and call it a night.

So there is to be lots o' singing this weekend. Not to mention geriatrics and bag piping.

And no doubt a lot of laughing, and fun things to write about next week! Until then...*

La Vida Dulce

*Except, of course, I will be posting the winner of the Ballet Skirt on Saturday morning!