Friday, September 19, 2008

Clockin' Out

I'm taking a little bloggy break to spend some time with my family. It's going to involve a lot of sand, surf and, hopefully, a trip to the Banana Republic Factory Outlet (oh, happy day!). I'll be back in about a week or so with plenty of fun things to share. Catch ya then!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Makeover of a Different Sort

I don't know about y'all, but organization has never been my strong suit.

I believe the reason is two-fold. First, I love to shop. So, I tend to acquire new things somewhat regularly. The other half of it is, I have a hard time parting with things. I am queen of the "I-should-really-keep-this-because-I'm-sure-I'll-need-it-at-some-point-and-it-would-really-save-me-a-ton-of-money" mentality.

I make mention of all this because my organizational dysfunction has had a disastrous effect on my makeup drawer. And, because a picture is worth a thousand words, here you go... (read more)

For the Pint-Sized Superhero

My 3 1/2-year-old son is obsessed with superheroes. He proudly dons his cape and boots while I run errands. He runs around the playground hunting out "bad guys." He's constantly showing me how strong he is.

Here's the problem, though. It's hard to find superhero items -- books in particular -- that a) are not scary and b) have a shred of educational value. The superhero books that I have found usually involve a tad more violence than I'd like for a 3-year-old. So when it comes to superhero books, I usually skip them. Thus, my poor son is forced to stick with the likes of Dr. Seuss at bedtime.


I recently found the best book for the pint-sized superhero lover. It's called SuperHero ABC.

Written by Bob McLeod, SuperHero ABC features one superhero for each letter of the alphabet. I love Goo Girl, who "shoots great gobs of goo at gangsters." My son loves "The Volcano" because he "vomits on villians."

The illustrations are colorful and engaging, while not being scary in the slightest. My son loves reading the book, and I like the fact that the book helps work on his letter recognition (without him even realizing it!). Amazon says the book is appropriate for Preschool age through Grade 2. I would have to agree. It's written in such a way as to be entertaining for a variety of age levels -- adults included.

So if you're looking for a great birthday or upcoming Christmas gift for the superhero at your house, definitely check this one out.

For more great children's book suggestions, head on over to 5 Minutes for Books and check out the monthly Kid's Picks Carnival.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Why I've Been a Little Busy Lately...

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. This whole "parenting three kids" thing? It hasn't been that bad. At times, it's been pretty easy.

Why's that, you ask?

Well, my youngest is not in much of a rush to go anywhere. As we ticked off all the baby milestones -- first smile, first tooth, rolling over -- our "ticking" eventually came to a screeching halt. We hit nine and 10 months, and there was no sign of Grace wanting to crawl. We hit 11 and 12 months (ages at which my other two children were already walking), and there was still no sign of crawling. Grace was happy to just sit where you placed her -- and if there were no toys within reach, she'd happily play with the carpet lint, thankyouverymuch.

If this was my first child -- or even my second -- I would have panicked. I would have sought out referrals for physical therapists. But my doctor assured me nothing was wrong. So, I chose to view Grace's non-movement for what it really was: a gift. The hardest part of babyhood starts the moment your baby learns to crawl. For the next year, your full-time job is to watch them like a hawk. Hazzards abound and you cannot let your guard down for one second.

So, really, I wasn't too broken up that Grace wasn't going anywhere. I could set her in the middle of a room with her siblings, and I was assured she'd be in the same spot 30 minutes later. I could make dinner. I could throw on a load of wash. My job as "Mother of Three" was relatively manageable.

Well, that has changed, my friends.

Finally, at 14 months Grace has started to crawl. And, to make life even more complicated, she's apparently on the "accelerated movement plan." Where my other two kids happily crawled for a few months before tackling how to walk, Grace is already walking with assistance. She loves to take on the stairs, and she's also my first cabinet opener.

All that to say, my parenting job just got exponentially harder. I've been a little tied up lately trying to scoop up the Polly Pockets before she gets to them, or making a flying leap for the stairs before she attempts them head first. Again.

It's going to take a little juggling, a little more multi-tasking. But, slowly, I'm starting to get the hang of it.

And, truth be told, it's fun to see her so proud of her new-found independence.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sheer Cover: A Missed Opportunity

Everyone's over at Chic Critique today for "I Tried it Tuesday." That's where everyday readers get to write about beauty products they've tried and tested. Here's my contribution...

All of us have made the occassional beauty faux pas.

I may have mentioned my horrid perms (a few thousand times -- those scars run deep). Add to that a slew of makeup and fashion blunders and really, I'm left wondering why the gals over at Chic Critique allow me to regularly write reviews on beauty products.

But, I suppose that's neither here nor there.

At the risk of sounding like a public service announcement, the biggest beauty mistake I've ever made has been sun exposure. See, I grew up in a time when this was the norm.

What's more, I've had the good fortune of inheriting olive skin from my mother. That means that no matter how much time I spend in the sun, I never burn. I just get darker and darker. Throughout my teens and 20s, I happily sported that "healthy glow" each summer.

Then I turned 30. That's when all the sun damage began marching across my face in the form of brown spots. That look, I can assure you, is not so healthy.

So, for the last four years, it has become my mission in life to hide or -- better yet -- eliminate the sun damage. It's something much easier said than done.

But, when I read Leigh Ann's post on Sheer Cover, I figured I'd give it a shot. I ordered the "medium" shade kit through the website. I agonized over whether to order the medium or the tan shade. I asked everyone what they thought. My mom and my sister (c'mon that's "everyone," right?) said that tan was too dark. They assured me I was a medium.

So, I got my kit. I followed the directions and all looked good for about an hour. After that, I wasn't so crazy with the results. It wasn't providing the amount of coverage I had hoped for. And, it didn't feel like it was "staying on" throughout the day.

After a few more tries, I ended up calling Sheer Cover to ask how I could return it and cancel my "membership."

The Sheer Cover customer service is really good. She asked if I was sure I had the right color, as many customers have found that when the coverage wasn't good they were using the wrong shade. She'd be happy to send me the right shade free of charge. I was pretty sure I had chosen the right shade, but in hindsight, I obviously didn't. I should have had her send me the other one. Additionally, she offered to send me the Sheer Cover primer to try at no charge -- which is another thing I should have taken her up on. I felt like without a primer, the makeup settled into my, ahem, fine lines and pores.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, I was in a funk that day. I didn't want to try more product, I just wanted to cross "Return Sheer Cover" off my to-do list. I've been kicking myself ever since.

So, long story short, I do think Sheer Cover is a good product (the mascara rocked, btw!). If I had given it more of a fair chance, I probably would have been quite pleased. (If you're going to try it, I would highly recommend getting them to send you the primer.)

Really, I consider it a missed opportunity. Would Sheer Cover have been able to hide the sun spots? I'll never know for sure.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Some New Family Favorites

Darcie mentioned a few weeks ago that it's been a while since I've particpated in Menu Plan Monday. She's right. Part of that has been due to the allergy treatments that my daughter has been doing (when you've got to avoid say, sugar, for 30 hours, your menus lack a certain "excitement.") But the other half of it is that I've been in a recipe rut. I was getting to a point where it just felt like I was making the same ol' thing, over and over and over again. Anyone else ever feel that way?

Well, in the last few weeks, I've been on a new recipe search. I've found some great recipes and some not-so-great ones. This week, I thought I'd share some of our new family favorites:

Bruschetta Chicken: I tried this one at the suggestion of Laura and it was tasty. I used a few garden ripe tomatoes, which really made the whole recipe. The ingredients seem very simple, but the taste is great.

Thai Mango Chicken: I love Thai food, but I have never had much luck making it at home. It just never tastes quite like the real deal. Well, that all changed once I made this recipe. Oh my gosh -- this one is a home run! Make it now! It's so easy, and I could eat it every day. Really.

Mini Farfalle Chipotle Chicken Pasta in Fire Roasted Tomato Cream Sauce: Okay, this is so good, it will make your toes curl. To borrow a phrase from my blogging pal Heather, it's fan-flipping-tastic. It will look like it makes gallons -- trust me, you'll eat every last bite.

Southwest Black Bean Salad and Peach Torte: These are delicious -- hurry up and make the Peach Torte before peaches go out of season.

Open-Faced Chicken and Muenster Sandwiches with Apricot-Dijon Spread: This recipe is from the latest issue of Cooking Light. It's easy, tasty and great for a summer evening.
For more great menu ideas, head on over to Menu Plan Monday!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Did you try it? We want to know!

Do you read Chic Critique? Have you tried any of the products spotlighted? Here's your chance to tell us what you thought!

This Tuesday, September 9th, Chic Critique will be hosting "I Tried it Tuesday." All you do is write a short post on your blog about a product you've tried as a result of reading about it on Chic Critique. Be sure to include the name of the product, a link back to the Chic Critique post about the product, and your thoughts on the product based on your own recent experience. Pictures are optional (but welcome!)

After you've done that, simply place the permalink to your "I Tried it Tuesday" post into the Mr. Linky over at Chic Critique. (Please only leave a link if you have written an "I Tried It Tuesday" post.) Also, if you could please mention "I Tried It Tuesday" in your post, that would be supa fab.

Can't wait to hear about the great (or not so great) products you found!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

On Losses and Gains

Dear Jilly,

This past Saturday you lost your first tooth. It was an event that was received with great excitement.

A few weeks ago when the dentist noticed your bottom tooth was loose, she told you. "It won't be long until the Tooth Fairy pays you a visit."

Your big brown eyes lit up like Christmas. In the weeks that followed, you would proudly wiggle your tooth for anyone willing to watch. By Saturday the tooth had become so loose, it only took Daddy a second to pull it out.

Standing in the kitchen with tooth in hand, you declared Saturday, "the best day of your life."

As you danced around proudly showing off your new jack o' lantern grin, I stood there trying to comprehend the moment.

Has it really been nearly six years?

It seems like just yesterday I noticed that very tooth -- its white pearly tip just peeking through your little pink gum (and causing you a whole lot of pain, in the process). I remember leaving the pediatrician's office and calling your daddy to tell him, "She's getting a tooth!"

Your first tooth.

And now, like so many other parts of your babyhood, you've lost it. It's gone the way of diaper changes and baby baths, chubby nursing cheeks and wobbly first steps. It's one more thing that we tick off the calendar -- another milestone achieved. Another sign that you're a baby no more.

And while part of me mourns the loss of these sweet things, a bigger part of me celebrates the gains you've made.

You've traded in a baby's uncertainty for a young girl's growing confidence.

You've swapped out an infant's clumsiness for a young girl's growing grace.

You're developing your own thoughts and opinions. Your own likes and dislikes. You're starting to create your own hopes and dreams. You're learning new things every single day.

In your 5-year-old world, Saturday was "the best day of your life." And that's how it should be. You should relish each milestone, each accomplishment, each step you take toward adulthood.

But from my perspective, as I watch all that you gain with each passing day, as I imagine your future and all it will hold, I know this is just the beginning.

The best, my child, is yet to come.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Over at Chic Critique...

Summer in Georgia is hot.

So are fall and spring, for that matter.

Step outside, and you're often overcome with the feeling of being wrapped up in a warm, wet towel.

And that's at 8 a.m.

Now, I do not consider myself someone who sweats profusely. But honestly, a walk to the mailbox can leave me feeling pretty sticky...(read more at

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Pains, or Lack Therof

It's a holiday, so I'm taking it easy. Shannon posted a Labor Day Meme, and I thought I'd join in.

How long were your labors?
Kid #1: 0 hours
Kid #2: 0 hours
Kid #3: 0 hours

Each child was delivered within one hour via scheduled c-section.

How did you know you were in labor?
I never went into labor. I wouldn't know a contraction if it smacked me upside the head. (Although, I'm sure those of you who have had the pleasure of experiencing contractions would beg to differ.)

Really, I just checked my calendar and showed up for delivery day.

Where did you deliver?
In the hospital. Before I knew I was having a c-section, I toyed with the idea of a home birth. But, we live in a very rural area. If something went wrong, I was afraid we wouldn't be close enough to get to a hospital in time.

Uh, yeah. Wouldn't recommend a c-section without them. I had a spinal block all three times. I was nervous about getting it all three times due to horror stories about the block "taking" in the wrong direction (i.e. paralyzing me from the waist up, instead of the waist down). But, thankfully, that never happened.

Doctors discovered my first daughter was breech at 38 weeks. Despite days of me laying upside down on an inclined ironing board (not fun when you're 38 weeks pregnant), shining a flashlight and having my husband try to talk the baby into turning, and even investigating moxibustion, she remained breech.

My other two were head down, but I felt there were too many risks with trying a vbac. And, I really wasn't on board with the pain involved in a regular birth. I'm a wimp when it comes to stuff like that. I'll just take my spinal block and meet y'all in recovery, thankyouverymuch. Oh, and please have my morophine ready. ;-)

Who delivered?
One doctor, usually with another doctor assisting. I don't remember much about my first daughter's birth, as I was scared out of my mind. The doctor who delivered child #2 and child #3 was a sketch. He insisted on listening to Jimmy Buffet during my son's delivery and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack for my daughter's.

So, not exactly exciting birth stories that would keep you on the edge of your seat, but that's how it all went down. For many more riveting labor stories, head on over to Rocks in My Dryer.

Happy Labor Day, y'all.