Monday, March 30, 2009

What is it like to be you?

Last night as I was tucking little c into bed she surprised me by asking, "What is it like to be you?" It was late, and to be honest it was on the tip of my tongue to say, "Exhausting! ... And, no matter how I try to be a good mother, wife, sister, friend, housekeeper, cook, chauffeur, artist, church member, neighbor etc... ... I go to bed every night thinking of all the things that I didn't get to and how I have fallen short."
Thankfully, for once, I thought before I spoke and told her what is really the truth. "It's pretty great to be me," I said, "after all, I get to be your mom. I love you."
It's amazing what you learn from children. I went to bed counting my blessings.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mother's Day Box...

Good mothers know each new day can be full of wonder, beauty and joy... Alexandra Stoddard
This one of a kind Mother's Day box can be found in

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fairy Giveaway...

This Giveaway is for a fairy box and all the little things here and a few surprises all wrapped up cute. Comment on this post just once and I will draw a name by Midnight EST Monday...
Good luck!!!
To see all the love boxes.. please visit the:LoVE BoXEs SHoP
you win!

Redemption at Table...

When I was growing up, my mother set a beautiful table for the evening meal. My grandmother and all her daughters love china and pretty dishes of every kind and my mother has always collected them. My family ate from the pretty blue and white Spode plates that were also used in the Nixon White House. Those were the everyday dishes.
We always had flowers, often garden roses from my mother's garden. We had white napkins and we ate like kings because my mother is a gourmet.
I am not a gourmet. I want to paint in every free moment. I make great treats, but the cheap, healthy, quick, nutritious & lovely meals I dream of making every night allude me. Tragically, that means that 5:30 rolls around and mental panic ensues. I once heard this lady on TV say that if you don't know what to make for dinner and the natives are growing restless just put a pot on the stove and boil some water. They'll think you're making something when they see the steam and it will buy you some time. Been there.. done that... (it works too).
Time is what it's all about for me. My c is growing up too fast and I'm afraid that her memories will be of munching pizza in silence in front of the TV... she doesn't even like pizza.
In order to have these family meals around the table, I have to do it my own way, which my mom is cool with. She told me just yesterday that she is glad that all her children turned out to be their own person.
So, while I'm not yet setting the table every night or even 6 out of 7, (which is always a resolution every January)... there are still the runs through the Taco Time drive through after ballet and boxes of Chinese take-out... I'm achieving my goal a few nights a week and even enjoying it.
Here are some of the things that helped me.
1. Drinking straws are fabulous and for $1 for 250 of them.. they are the affordable luxury.
2. A pink polka dot water picture was worth the $20 investment and makes pouring out ice water much more fun.
3. I have taken to buying those huge bags of pre-cut veggies at Costco. For under $4 a week.. there is always something ready to bake, steam or stir fry and fill my criteria of quick, cheap, healthy, lovely and Nutritious.
4. I set the table in the morning after I do the dishes from the night before. It's a mental trick that makes me think dinner is half ready. And, even if I have to prepare Kraft Mac-N-Cheese with cans of corn and green beans from the food storage (add a little paprika to the Mac-N-Cheese if you have to do this.. it adds another color and makes the orange death almost palatable... BTW little c requests this meal weekly!) it makes even that humble meal a bit more of a family celebration.
5. Cheap dishes. These Martha Stewart dishes are melamine and a blue light special from K-Mart. They don't break if you're throwing them around in a hurry (a word that I hate, but use more than any other). The napkins are cute green paper flower ones from Target 250 for $2.
I don't drink alcohol, but I love the idea that a bottle of grape juice is an excuse to raise a glass and say something nice to your friend or family member so with a glass of ice and tap water raised I say.. Here's to you my cute little daughters! May our family have many happy memories around the table and if I get paint in your green beans.. I'm sure sorry.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring is Coming... Spring is Coming...

Spring is HERE!
I love this quote from Groundhog Day... a favorite film around here...
Winter, slumbering in the open air, wears on his smiling face a dream of spring!
The forcythia bloomed on Sunday. Yesterday, a storm came through and the air smells sugar sweet. The sky is blue, the markets are up, the tulips are poking their green stalks through the rich earth. Blessings from heaven are pouring forth upon us today... may many, many of them come to you and those you love.

Carolyn Roehm...

Carolyn Roehm is having a trunk show in NYC with Best & Co. ... I wish I could go. If you're out in New York go see it for me!
Ooops... never mind we all missed it :(

And the Winner is...

MysteryHistoryMom! Congratulations! Lori, please send your info to Thanks for entering everyone! And, come back Wednesday... there will be another giveaway then.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Defending Your Life...

Oh how I adore Albert Brooks.. his dry humor kills me every time. This film about a man who gets hit by a bus and goes to Judgment City where in a court like setting he is supposed to prove that he has learned what he came to learn and is reading to move on.
He becomes really anxious to move on when he meets the love of his life (afterlife) and she's so fabulous that she is definitely moving on.
Albert Brooks always does my kind of neurosis which is just a little less edgy than Woody Allen (I'm not as bad off as him... poor guy), but he definitely has a theme through his performances and I always wonder if he's like me or just making fun of folks like me.. so if anyone knows him personally??? His characters seem to take courage in the end of most of his films. I like the message behind the humor.
I think it's PG.. however some of the jokes are a bit sexual in nature and it's not veiled... so not for the kiddos in my opinion.

The Black Stallion

When I was in elementary school, I was captivated by horses. I loved all the horse books and then this movie came out.. one of the best ever films in my opinion. It expanded my imagination and made me dream that like Alec, I would have my very own Black Stallion to keep in the back yard. I rented this the other day to show to little c. She liked it, but it was not her thing like it was mine sadly... it's a slow moving film, not like the ones kids see nowadays. The beauty of the filming... those breathtaking silent scenes where the boy and the horse become friends on the island and learn to survive together... and then when Alec learns to ride his magic horse... down the beach with arms raised he is flying. It's so beautiful to watch it puts a lump in my throat.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


This Giveaway is for a bear box and all the little things here and a few surprises all wrapped up cute.
Comment on this post just once and I will draw a name by Midnight EST Monday...
Good luck!!!
To see all the love boxes.. please visit the:

New Spinning Tops in the SHop...

These will be in the
sometime later today...

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Winslow Boy...

David Mamet's direction of this film is brilliant and there is so much going on in this film behind and between the dialogue that while it is almost an Austenesque parlor drama, it has an edge of your seat quality to it.. at least I thought so. I loved the characters... all of them!
Catharine Winslow, played by Rebecca Pidgeon, is a brilliant scholar and women's suffragette and the trusted confidante of her father who adores her. She is also the older sister to two brothers... Dickie, the older of the boys, is a gambler who falls far below his potential and a is disappointment to his father and Ronnie, the younger, who is the apple of his father's eye and hope for the future.
Ronnie is accused of stealing a postal order. After a ten day internal investigation by his school, he is sent home disgraced.
Catharine and her father believe in the boys' innocence and give up everything including Catharine's dowry to engage the best attorney in the country to fight and win Ronnie's good name.
The brilliant and famous attorney, Sir Robert Morton, played by the very handsome Jeremy Northam agrees to take the case... and that's all I'm going to tell you... You have to see it to find out the rest!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spring has arrived!!!

You know that spring has arrived when the drab finally leaves the stores... well almost always. Every once in awhile there is a sad year where spring is beige and taupe... not my favorite. This year has been looking good. I love these cute twirly tulle skirts from Gap Kids.. one of my favorite things I've seen so far.. and all the eyelet. Eyelet is actually a classic and never goes out in my opinion, but it makes a big comeback every couple years or so and this is one. The recession is looking up.. afterall who's going to spend money on the same old stuff, but something pretty and colorful is worth pulling out the wallet for. :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Loch Ness Monster...

In these troubled times.. it's wonderful to come accross someone with a sense of whimsy.. this put a smile on my face!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Having it all... or who's gonna want my junk?

What does it mean to have it all?? I don't need a big house or a Mozzerati to be happy. To me having it all would mean having Martha Stewart closets.... AHHH! I would love to hire a housekeeper or an organizer to do this, but you know it's really the kind of thing that no one else can do for you.

Wouldn't it feel good to have a place for everything and everything in it's place? Wouldn't it be lovely if I hadn't had to look six places for a stapler this morning while I was trying to work on the taxes?? Not having to look for the stapler would mean that my idea of "having it all" would require the complicit cooperation of little c who absconds with my stuff... sorry mom!

I am a piler. I have piles of really important crap that no one but me is going to care about. I told C last night. I have all this stuff.. letters, books, photos, papers that make up my existence on the planet, but there is already so much of it that when I die the girls are going to hire the biggest dumpster and chuck it all as fast as they can.

I remember when we moved my grandparents into a retirement home. I was too young and dumb to think about it and just assumed that I was being so helpful to show up and help. My grandpa was in a grumpy mood that day... now that I think of it, how could he not have been? He sat there in an armchair while his grandchildren went through his stuff and threw away all the things, the gathered accouterments of the life he had lived as a strong and vital independent man. And, even though he retired to a better ordered situation.. it was a change and I wonder what must have been going through his mind that day. Someday I may know.

I had an old, very old, tape player in my hand and I recall asking my grandfather if he would like me to throw it out or if he would like me to donate it to good will. He snapped at me, the only time he ever snapped at me, and said that he wanted me to give it to one of the neighbors. I looked at that old dusty player and thought that he was losing it a little, but now I don't. Now I think that he wanted to give his things away to someone who would appreciate them and remember him.

But, when all is said and done.. no one wants our stuff, our treasures maybe... but not our stuff, so I might as well chuck my junk now rather than have poor c and l looking through it for years and years. If I don't do something soon, I will have to buy a big house and then I'll have to move all this crap.

I want my daughters to remember me for all the fun we had together. I had some fun times at my grandpas house... like all the times grandpa made us homemade ice cream and root beer. I loved the times that I helped bring in the harvest of his beautiful garden and helped grandma cut the corn off the cob and freeze it for storage. I loved seeing him in his cowboy hat.. I think my dad gave it to him.. it was just like the one Pres. Hinckley wore in the Pioneer Day parade. I remember a feeling of complete freedom in his big back yard guarded in front with a big hedge of greenery with orange berries. Now, I think of him and grandma too... every time I pass a pyracantha, but I don't wish that I still had his old dusty tape player.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Dream Keepers...

I am well into reading the book Bunkhouse Logic by Ben Stein. A couple of days ago I read this passage, which had me really thinking. "If your're a salesman, they'll tell you that you can't be sales manager. When you become sales manager, they'll tell you that you can't be vice president of sales. Whey you're vice president, they'll swear that no sales veep has ever made it to president. And then when you become president, they'll stop speaking to you pure and simple." Ben Stein thinks that this is a symptom of jealousy, I'm not so sure because parents do it to their children all the time and I think it's weird to be jealous of your kids. I want mine to reach for the stars and make it. So does my dad.
My dad has never been one of those CAN'T people. If I came to him as a kid and said I want to run the marathon in the olympics, I know he would have explained to me what it takes.. the hours of training and the pain it would require to get to that place and then he would have said something like, "if thats what you really want, you can do it!"
I have tried to do that with c. She used to want to be an inventor/designer when she grew up and so I told her that she really needed to understand the funamentals of math and science, that she would have to study art in many forms and learn to think differently and learn to be really creative... in other words we better start with times tables and make sure we know those really well! These days she has a hero complex and wants to be an FBI Agent... should I take her to the shooting range? Anyway, I try to follow my dads example and I don't say "can't".
I don't think that children need to be protected from the work it will entail to achieve their dreams and I don't think it's wise to tell them they are the next American Idol if they sing like a screeching cat, but I do believe like Ben Stein does that we don't have all the information when we judge another persons dreams because we don't know how much they want it... and that is the most important thing. If someone really wants something, they will be willing to do the work it takes to get there.
My dad has always encouraged the work part. I remember telling him many times that I've tried this or that and of course I'm not there yet. His attitude is.. keep thinking.. keep trying.. try something new until...
My dad believes that dreams are achievable and so my dreams have been safe with him and my siblings dreams have been safe with him and they have all done some amazing things.
Dreams are important to people. Mine are very close to my heart. I love to be around people with big dreams, some of them will change the world.
Whether or not all of my dreams come true, they are where my mind is when I'm doing the dishes or folding the laundry and they make mundane things sparkle and shine. So, they are worth having and worth tending. And, it is a benediction to be trusted to safely tend the dreams of others.

Bill Bennett's American Patriot's Almanac...

My mom recommended this book to me and I love it! This is such a fun book for kids. It's an on this day in history sort of book. They can look up their birthday and see what happened in American History that day and hopefully then learn more about it. I love this kind of thing.. hooray for Mr. Bennett!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

As you can see, I'm experimenting with bears lately...
This one is in ThE SHoP
this morning...

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Bar Keepers Friend...

I'm not keeping bar around here, but it gets messy enough that you'd think I was. I have been using this on my porcelain kitchen sink for awhile and been pleased with the results. Today I used it to clean the hard water off the chrome in the bathroom.. amazing. I wish that I had read the label and tried it sooner.

Monday, March 02, 2009

American Flag Box...

This is one of my favorite boxes and after some absence, there are 2 mediums (and I think there are also 2 large ones) back in
ThE SHoP today...
P.S. In the interest of full disclosure... Bernard DeVoto who wrote the quote in the box (When America was created, the stars must have danced in the sky...) was a conservationist from Ogden Utah and a friend of Wallace Stegner, a favorite author of mine. This quote was also used in a speech given by Vice President Dick Cheney... so that's about as politically neutral as you can get around here.. right!?!

Swim Season...

Last year we found that we waited too long to get our Land's End suit and didn't get the one we wanted... so this year we were determined to pick out little c's suit early, but Land's End did have our favorite this year.. We were delighted to see these pretty bright colors over at L.L. Bean. I think suit separates are one of the greatest things for kids and this little swim top will completely avoid the terrible shoulder burns poor c gets almost every time we swim outside. I don't care what the label says.. sunscreen must wash off.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Two Stages...

It probably not weird to you... but to me it's very new to be in two stages at once. I have one daughter who loves Your Personal Penguin and Hippos Go Berserk and another who's into Charles Dickens, Nancy Drew and Twilight (now I'll have to read it too and I don't like vampires..)

I think one of the best things my parents did for me was to introduce me to great books. My mom still loves children's books and she was always really good at finding wonderful picture books that captured the imagination. Some of the best art in the world is found in children's picture books. My dad used to read us poetry all the time... Kipling and Dickinson especially and we loved horse books so he read us all of those. He had the best voice for it. My parents are both really well read and they read really fast and get through more than twice the number of books I can, but I do love books and I still love to be read to. C is reading us The Hobbit.

It amazes me how early babies become interested in books.. before toys and TV if someone will read to them and how if they are not read to in early childhood how difficult it is to have a book capture their interest. I will never forget the most beautiful little foster daughter who came to stay with our neighbors. We all fell in love with her, but one of the many things that made me sad about her life was that she had not been read to before foster care and a book could not hold her attention.

I suppose people feel strongly about many things that I have never experienced. I always think that climbing mountains would be life changing and exhilarating. I'm sure a person could become addicted to it. A friend once suggested that I try snow-shoeing and I think I just might do that next winter. Something about walking on snow just sounds great. But to me, books are the greatest adventure. It's good to have a couple going at the same time. It's a great adventure to watch a new person embrace reading and to watch a good reader discover great books and so I am loving the opportunity to be in two stages at once.