Monday, December 31, 2012

2013...Bring It!

Though not a fan of country music (at all) I came across a quote from country music singer, Brad Paisley, that has been 2-stepping around in my brain this morning:

"Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one."

Although I begin 2013 facing an assortment of challenges (some big, some small), 
I'm looking forward to the New Year and the first chapter of 2013.

What sort of book will YOU write?

As you prepare for an evening of festive frivolity, I ask you to please be safe.

'Tis better to wake up hungover after passing out at your friend's house in a pool of your own vomit with last night's smoky eyeshadow and mascara smeared all over your face than it is to wake up dead.

Or in jail.
Next to some sweaty, smelly, hairy hungover fat guy in a wife beater shirt.

Seriously though...please don't drink and drive.
I can't afford to lose any readers.

À la vie et à l'amour

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A White Christmas Recap

As the house returns to normal after a fantastic Christmas, 
I thought I would share some of my favorite memories...

So, I still haven't gotten around to painting those lampshades after my DIY fail but you hardly notice them with the tree all sparkly and awesome and present-laden.
At least that's what I'm telling myself.

And there's my early Christmas gift.
I decorated it with some of our gifts.

I let Buster guard the presents.

In between naps, of course.

I used some rosemary from the backyard to 'spruce' up my dining room tablescape
Get it?
'Spruce' up?
(Just a little Christmas tree humor there.)

I don't really rememember much after this photo.
Maybe that eggnog wasn't really organic.

I'm pretty sure Gidget is ready for Christmas to be over.

(But she did enjoy the few little morsels of leftover steak she got on Christmas Eve!)

And what's this?...


I'll be taking a short break from blogging while we visit my grandparents who are two of my most favorite people on earth!

But I'll be back next week.
Stay warm everyone!

À la vie et à l'amour

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

From Our House To Yours

À la vie et à l'amour

Monday, December 24, 2012

Easy Asian Chicken Salad

Merry Christmas Eve!

Hopefully you've finished all of your holiday shopping already but, if not, this could be a very busy day for you!

This recipe for Asian Chicken Salad can be thrown together in about 5 minutes or less so you can eat fast then be back out there picking up those last few stocking stuffers!

Asian Chicken Salad
-1 bag of salad - I use the romaine that is mixed with carrots
-2 cups of coleslaw mix - you can find bags of coleslaw mix located near the bag salad
-1-2 stalks of green onions, cut into really small pieces - I use kitchen scissors to snip mine
-1 can of sliced mandarin oranges, drained of all the juice
  handful of sliced or slivered almonds
-1 rotisserie chicken - I just use the breasts for the salad and pull it apart into bite size 
-1 bottle of  Makoto Ginger dressing (you can find it near the bagged salads):

-1 bottle of Kraft Asian Sesame Dressing if you like your dressing sweeter:

Put all the salad ingredients (except the dressing) into a big bowl and toss together.
You can add the dressing to the big bowl and toss again or each person can add their own.

I like to keep my salad simple but you could add some of these if you wanted:
Snow peas
Chopped up broccoli
Wonton strips
Crispy Chinese noodles


À la vie et à l'amour

Friday, December 21, 2012

5 Best Toys of All Time!

Just in case you needed some awesome gift ideas for kids I give you...

The 5 Best Toys of All Time

Best Toy #1
What's brown and sticky?

A stick!

Works great as a poker, a digger or a back scratcher.
Can also be used as a sword, a magic wand, and, if you have 2 rather large sticks, you've got yourself a pair of crutches!

But if your gift recipient lacks imagination, you might want to include this  

Best Toy #2

The bigger the better when it comes to boxes, in my opinion.
They can instantly become forts, race cars, a treasure chest, and even a jail.

They also make great robot suits as shown here by my son last Christmas:

Stick this Box User Manual inside and the possibilities are limitless:

Best Toy #3

Given alone the recipient can stay busy for hours playing Cat's Cradle and lots of other string games found in this book:

The clever child may prefer to tie their string to a stick and do some fishing or tie up their little brother and throw them in Box Jail.
They could even snag a couple of cans, tie them to each end of the string and make a telephone! 

 Can you hear me now?

Best Toy #4
 Cardboard Tube

Oh, the many sizes and possibilities of the cardboard tube.

I like the toilet paper roll tubes - instant Binoculars!
And what's that?
Another use of string?

Or the paper towel tube for a telescope or to make a unicorn horn for your head.

Or as a trumpet to yell,
"Doo doo da doo da doo, charge!"

But the big gift wrap tube is the coolest!
I used to use mine to make arm casts.

Like sticks, the big tubes also make great swords.
With a lot less potential for damage to your house or other people.

Best Toy #5
Rubber Band

My son loves to play with rubber bands!
You can wrap lots of them together to make a ball, which, when combined with any of the above Best Toys, you could have fun forever!

Bigger rubber bands can be used for Cat's Cradle when string is not readily available.
Medium size rubber bands make great slingshots or handcuffs.

And if you have several rubber bands, a long cardboard tube and a medium size box you could make this:

 Did you notice the little plastic guitar pick?
That's a 'gift with purchase' when you buy a loaf of bread at the store!

Want to know my favorite part about the 5 Best Gifts of All Time?

Batteries and assembly NOT required!

À la vie et à l'amour

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ghosts of Christmases Past

We watched part of Disney's, A Christmas Carol, last night.
It got me thinking about Christmases past and what kind of ghosts/skeletons are in my past Christmases.

There were quite a few to say the least and some of them were real doozies.
(If you need to look away, I'll completely understand.)

Let's see what we have first...

It's Dancerella Christmas!
This is the first Christmas that I can actually recall from memory.

Dancerella was a ballerina doll that danced when you pressed a button on the top of her head.

She was made of super hard plastic.
 And she made weird sounds when you moved her limbs.
She was creepy.

Maybe that's why I'm sheet white and look terrified in the picture.

But she was so awesome in the commercial:

Rest in peace creepy little dancing doll.

 Moving on to...

A Very Brown Christmas

Unfortunately I had to take my cousin down with me on this one since he looks even more 'special-er' than I do!

Don't you love that our pose is so natural yet sophisticated at the same time?
Pretty sure our moms were already egg-nogged up and giggling at us from behind the camera.

"Why, cousin, you're looking so dapper in your combinations of beige and brown polyester this evening."

"Thank you, cousin. And I really admire those black patent shoes that your mother only lets you wear twice a year." 

(Yeah.  I'm still bitter.  I loved those shoes.)

Speaking of my cousin, we were together again at Grandma's house a few Christmases later for what I refer to as


That's because I was completely obsessed with Barbie (and I'm an only child) and I got the fully furnished Dream House, The Camper, and the horse named Dallas that year!

See how excited I was to find the Dream House AND the Camper under the tree from Santa?

So excited that my cousin and I sat there next to Dream House and Camper and looked through the blank pages of an empty scrapbook.


My parents should have kicked me in the head!

But instead my mom did this:

Matchy Christmas

My mom sewed.
We matched.
End of story.

 But wait!

We also have the sequel...
Matchy Christmas #2

She stepped it up a few notches this year with skirts AND vests.
AAAAAND, she suckered Dad into it, too!
Well played, Mom!

Let's jump forward a few more years to  
White Collar Christmas

Um, yeah.
It's self explanatory.
(And I really don't want to talk about this one outside of group therapy.)

And one final Ghost of Christmases Past...
Side Hair Christmas

The key is to pull all that giant hair to one side and tilt your head slightly.
Then no one notices the giant fuzzy caterpillars above your eyes.
That is a rare gift there.

A little decorating sidenote to go with the sidehair...

Do you see that flippin awesome vintage brass floor lamp in the picture?
If my mom still had that I would totally steal it from her.

It would be my reward for her making me wear matchy Christmas outfits.

À la vie et à l'amour

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gift Giving Simplified

Maybe it's just me but for a while now I have been bothered by the extravagance and excess of Christmas.
More decorations, brighter lights, bigger trees, grander, more expensive gifts.

I often wonder what people would think if I gave them this for Christmas:

It's a pound of Frankincense and Myrrh.
  You can buy it on Amazon for $13.95

In all seriousness, though, I have become rather fond of this idea for gift giving that I found on Pinterest a while back:

So, as I begin my holiday shopping today 
(yeah, I know - nothing like waiting 'til the last minute)
I plan to keep this Four Gift Rule in mind.

Because it's hard to recall the gifts we bought the kids last year for Christmas, 
but I clearly remember this special moment:

 I mustache you not to laugh!

By the way -  the stick on mustaches were purchased for a whole dollar at the 
Dollar Tree last year.

Happy Shopping!

 (I really hope that picture doesn't end up in Awkward Family Photos!)

À la vie et à l'amour

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

DIY Painted Lampshades...FAIL!

There is nothing quite like the feeling you get from a completed DIY project that turns out just like you planned it.

It feels a bit like this:

 You walk around feeling all proud and showing off your little project off to everyone who walks through the door.
And it doesn't even matter when they say,

"Great, mom. Glad to see you worked so hard today throwing paint on a pillow while I sat through 7 college level classes in 8 hours.  Way to strive for excellence."

But sometimes your DIY doesn't go exactly as planned...

A few weeks ago I decided something must be done about the outdated lamps in my living room

I am planning to replace them eventually but for now I needed to make them work.

The first step was to tackle the base.
I started by priming it then spray painting it in a nice glossy white.

It was a huge improvement!

But the shade is off white and looked really lame next to the bright white lamp base.  

New shades are quite expensive and since I am not planning to keep the lamps any longer than I have to, I didn't want to invest a lot of money on new ones that may not work with future lamps I will likely purchase.

After seeing this great painted lampshade DIY from Jenny at Little Green Notebook,

I decided painting my shades would give them a great new look without costing me anything except a little bit of time.

So, I raided my daughter's art studio for some paint and a brush and mixed up a color I thought would be a bit 'unexpected' in my very traditional living room.

I wanted an aubergine or eggplant color so I mixed some purple with a bit of black to make it really warm and dark.

Then I set to work painting the shades:

It was actually looking pretty darn good and I was feeling like the bomb-diggity!

I finished painting both shades with my perfectly mixed custom color then I cleaned everything up and put my lampshades back in place on my lamps while they dried and sat there all pleased with myself.

Until the sun went down...

..and I turned on my lamps.

Then stood horror-stricken at the sight before me!
(Enter slashy violin music from the Psycho movie shower scene)


It was then that I understood why Jenny at Little Green Notebook applied 2 coats of paint to her lampshade.

Because if you don't, your painted lampshade DIY project comes out like this:

'Streaky' was not exactly the look I was going for.

"Why not just apply another coat of paint?" you ask.

Well, like I said, I mixed this color myself and, of course, didn't measure out anything so getting an exact color match would be like trying to find a really good Taylor Swift song.

It just ain't gonna happen, people!

So now I think I might just paint these guys black.

Because that's what the Rolling Stones would have wanted.

À la vie et à l'amour