44 years ago

I came into the world somewhere in between the cocktail and the dinner hour. My mother, all loopy from her concoction of meds to ensure a pain-free birth, picked up the phone to tell her mother of my arrival. Quite a surprise it was that she had given birth to a girl as she was absolutely certain that she was going to have a boy and that I would be called Sammy. Even more of a surprise was when my mother realized that she had not called La Jolie Grandmere, as she had intended, but the first number that came to her mind was that of a certain department store called Bloomingdale's who first learned about my arrival!

via Brown Eyed Belle Julie

via Tracy's Culinary Adventures

imsge via Flickr

image Via Kayce Hughes

image via Birthday Girl Blog

Happy Birthday to Me!!!!

An unexpected gift - Time with my boys and a gorgeous day

I've been working weekends and crazy hours which has severely limited my time with my kids. While I love work I truly hate that I haven't seen much of my children. Like most working parents I rush them off to school and then don't see them again until dinnertime. I have a couple of hours with them in the evening but I'm usually fried, as are they. It's hardly quality time. Working weekends is challenging as well. And perhaps that's the hardest of all. We do what we have to to make things work and provide for our families but sometimes it seems that no one is really coming out ahead. The children are missing their mother. The mother is missing her children and all for a few dollars... I've other things in the pipeline and I am keeping my fingers crossed... I'll keep you posted... Meantime, I was able to spend a few days with my kids. We all had a long weekend, took advantage of an unexpected warm day by going to the beach, went to Newport and are now home to celebrate my older boy's 10th Birthday. Happy Birthday Sweet Christopher! I suppose, had I not been working so many days and late hours I would have taken this time, this gift, with my children for granted. I am sure that I would have. But because this gift is so rare for me these days, we filled our days and enjoyed every minute of it!

Before we know it we'll be here in bathing suits, eating ice cream cones! 

Looking for shells is always fun!

A piece of driftwood and Alexander has become Captain of a giant sailing vessel!

Why does everything have to be a weapon with him?

Rebecca used to think these were Angel's Wings!

A piece of driftwood -- love the pattern of the disintegrating bark


Long Island Sound

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Perhaps this gives new definition to the term sun worshiper! 

Off with his shoes!

Christopher's shadow
Me and my shadow!
A little tailgate party!

Off to clean the car!

At the car wash!

I think this might be the only time my boys like to get clean!

The boys never tire of this!
Almost done!

What a fun ride that was!

Newport was fun but cold! We were supposed to go on a Harbor Seal Cruise but it was cancelled due to the high winds. We found others things to keep us busy and warm. Along the way Rebecca wanted me to take her to St. George's School as she has it in her mind that she may want to go here for high school. It's a fabulous and beautiful school. Keep up the good grades and she just might have a chance!

View from the front of the campus down to Newport's Second Beach

 When we got back to Moo and Popsy's we had an early Birthday celebration for nearly 10 year old!

And now I must be off as I have a Birthday breakfast to create and some presents to wrap!


My Firstborn, my daughter...

My Princess..
You make me proud... you make me proud to be your mother...
You make me realize that my parenting skills aren't so bad after all... and I must have done something right.
Otherwise I wouldn't have such a wonderful, considerate, kind, caring, thoughtful, polite, charming little girl...
Excuse me, Big girl...
Go chase your dreams
Go reach for the stars
You can do anything you want to do
You can be anything you want to be
I'll be right behind you
or right next to you,
if you prefer,
holding your hand every step of the way...

Happy Birthday my sweetheart
You've made me so proud!

Brother Christopher tugged at our heart strings today... he made his sister a Birthday card without being asked... He made it just because...

It was this last page that got me... When the two were very young they were the best of friends. As they grew older and went to school their friendship started to dissolve. I became nostalgic for their youth. And then suddenly over the past few months they have started to rediscover each other again...

for my Birthday...

My Birthday's coming up in two weeks. Two weeks from today, actually. I've been thinking a lot about what I want. I'll get some money from my parents and I'll do a little shopping. I'll hit Splash of Pink (A Lilly store) in Westport, and I would love to get a pair of TB sandals... or another pair of Jacks or another pair of Revas... I'd like to get all but I won't! But materialistic stuff aside what I want more than anything is a really nice day. I kinda do still like my Birthday even though I keep getting older and older. I still kinda feel like that little girl with the great big crown on her head... the one who was Princess for a Day and let everyone know it. In my youth I would have shouted from the rooftops that my Birthday was coming up in 10 days, 9 days, 8 days, 7 days... I would dance around all giddy with excitement excited to open prettily wrapped presents and eat cake. I always felt special on my Birthday.

Well, I still do. But I'm more reserved in my old age and no longer apt to wear that special button that lights up and blinks that says "It's MY Day!" on it. Some friends will remember and others won't. That's OK. We're busy with lots on our minds. I forget my friends' Birthdays these days too. I hope they won't take offense. I don't when people forget mine. I am always happy to make it up to everyone.

I wondered how I could have a lovely day without making a public broadcast. My Birthday is on a Tuesday. Husband works and kids are in school. I have physical therapy in the morning. After that I'm free. So I thought about what I could do to fill my time after that. Something that does not include laundry, cleaning... stuff of that nature. My last few Birthdays have been a bit of a bummer. Including the Big One when my tooth cracked. (I still haven't fixed it... don't get on me about that. I'll take care of it... one day... I have this massive fear of Dentists!)

School lets out a week (to the day) after my Birthday. (YIKES!) My kids don't have finals yet and the last week of school is usually more fun than work. I decided that I will spend My Day with Rebecca. We'll go out to lunch, get our nails done and have a lovely day. Just the two of us. Just the girls. Some much needed and over-due mother-daughter time. We usually spend a day together in the Spring. Now Spring is almost over and school is almost out and we're running out of time.

I'm really looking forward to My Day and spending it with my Special Girl!

i guess that's why they call them the blues...

Rebecca's Pink & Green party was cancelled. Well, postponed until Friday. I got a call from a friend telling me that her daughter had strep as did another one of their friends who was also invited to the party. That, coupled with the fact that my husband's back was so bad he was unable to move, and suddenly his throat felt like he had swallowed "shards of glass" I thought the only thing to do was cancel. As devastatingly disappointed as she was, I knew that a) the party would not be the same without these two little girls and b) with daddy as sick as he was calling it off was most likely a good thing. I was actually wondering how I was going to manage the girls and keep the boys out of their hair at the same time!

I made all the necessary calls and asked if we could reschedule to Friday. (Christopher's party is on Saturday and his Birthday is on Sunday.) Happily, everyone will be able to join us. Most of the work has been done and all that will be left to do will be to cook and re-bake all the cupcakes... a few have disappeared these past 24 hours!

Rebecca is not one to sit home. The boys are happy to hang out and play together, watch television and play on the computer. Rebecca is my social butterfly, happier out of the house and with her friends. She was hard to keep happy yesterday... whining every few minutes ... everything is so unfair... why me ... woe is me... I would be so much better off without brothers... (Sounding a lot like her mother!)

I had to take daddy back to the doctor's yesterday to look at his throat. Sure enough it was strep. We returned home (I left Becca in charge of the troops) to find Alexander complaining of a stomach ache. Shortly later he got sick. Could the day get any more stressful? I had to run out to pick up the antibiotics that had been filled. But my son was sick and needed me. But my husband was in no shape to get behind the wheel. So off I went. I had to. And I picked up some ginger-ale while I was out.

Needless to say there is no rest for the weary. One must tend to sick and injured spouse, 2 healthy children and one sick child... one must keep on top of the laundry and feed well children while holding sick child's head... Purell, Purell, Purell... my hands are rougher than sandpaper. Valentines are still in the car. Can't possibly bring out the chocolates. Webkinz are indeed stomach-flu safe, but I don't want sick child on well-children's computer... Perhaps we should just celebrate happy heart's day tomorrow. But this seems cruel to do to a child who had to temporarily forgo her party too.

So far, 2010, I'm not much liking you.

In between endless trips to the laundry room, kitchen and bathroom I get a moment to sit. And contemplate. And complain that this sucks. That after many sleepless nights on the couch. I am beyond tired. I saved the bed for the husband who seems to need it more than I do. When I am beyond tired I am cranky and irritable. And a whiny and a baby. And miserable.

Last night was no exception. The Big Girl Panties were off and nowhere to be found. I yelled at everyone. I yelled at sick husband for being cranky and obnoxious as he complained I was driving over ever bump and pothole on purpose -- as I made countless trips to the store for him. And took him to the doctors. I yelled at my daughter, who was sad enough as it was, for her whining because I was equally as frustrated and 100 times more tired. I yelled at my middle child. For no reason, I am sure, other than the fact that he was there. And I yelled at my sick baby last night. As he was getting sick. I kept telling him not to drink too much water. Every time he did so he got sick. I had used an entire roll of paper towels and just as much Windex to clean the floors because he couldn't make it to the bathroom. We had gone through all his pajamas. My hands were red and raw from chemical and soap and Purell. Every time I closed my eyes to doze off Alexander got sick. At one point, at around Midnight, I actually yelled at him. "Stop drinking water!" I shouted. I cleaned him up and told him he had to go find some clothes in his room. Terrible. Mean. I know. I'm not a good person on too little sleep.

I felt horribly when it happened and still do. I have made it up to him many times over, even digging out my old floral Ralph Lauren pillow cases because he loves them and he loves flowers. If only flowered pillowcases could make all of our troubles melt away.

Pink and Green Party Prep

I worked on prep for Rebecca's party for a good 12 hours yesterday. I missed most of the opening ceremonies and my tootsies were too tired to tip toe through the house at midnight when I finally turned it. It was a long and semi stressful day yesterday. My husband hurt his back. Badly. It had been sore for a while and so I am thinking that letting the kids jump on him and roll on him out in the storm on Wednesday was not the smoothest of moves! In addition to taking care of the kids I had to take care of him and you know how men are! Ok, I'm exaggerating... I did have to pick up an Rx that CVS forgot to fill but that was it. He left me alone to tend to the children and work on Pinking and Greening my house. I am a bit worried about tonight. He had planned on taking the boys out of the house. I'm pretty sure that won't happen since he can barely get out of the bed... already picturing Alexander who won't leave the kids alone... panicking about this just slightly! Though Rebecca did tell him that she would allow him to stay upstairs as they paint their nails. We shall see.....

I am super thrilled with my work and Rebecca is too! Nothing better than that. She kept showering me with hugs yesterday as I added yet another pink and green touch. I was going to bake the cupcakes today but ended up baking them last night. I messed the frosting up on one of them so I brought it to my husband who declared it The BEST cupcake he had ever eaten! I guess I'll be posting that recipe!

Anyhow, without further ado, here is what I spent my day on yesterday.


Above: place setting -- decided to place the Lilly-wrapped Mentos on the table.
I also filled small pink boxes with the pink and green white chocolate dipped pretzels.


I found this fantastic (and I do mean fantastic!) self adhesive wrapping paper from Hallmark. I cut out each girls' first initial and applied it to their cup. 



Not only does this improve the look of a solid colored cup but it will eliminate wasting cups all night long as girls start a drink, put it down and become unsure as to which cup is theirs.
Now, they'll know! Fancy, frugal and environmentally sound!


And our matching water bottles! Rebecca peeled off the original labels and I cut the adhesive wrapping paper to fit. There are, admittedly, slight imperfections. I am sure the girls will not notice.
I would have been more precise for the adults.


Pinkalicious, white and green m&ms... a must have at any young girl's Pink & Green Party!


I just adore what I did to this chandelier!
It reminds me of a floating garden. It was created on a limited budget
and everything has been recycled or can be.


All the bows were purchased at the Hallmark store. I tied them on using green ribbon, leaving the sticky part intact so that these can be used for gift wrapping at a later date.


Green snowflake... a Target ornament from a few years ago. I had these in pink and green!


Star ornament, also from Target from a few years ago.
I had plenty of pink and green stars around!


My Happy Chandelier... I think I am leaving this up for a while!


I am thinking the table needs something... perhaps the white linen place mats.
I'll play around some more later on!




Lilly notebooks. Aren't these the cutest? We have 4 extra binders and Rebecca wants more for herself!
I cut out wrapping paper to fit inside the clear pocket on the front of these plain plastic binders!
Couldn't be easier!


I filled the binders with plain white paper, 3 hole punch lined paper, fashion plates (for the girls to design their own clothes) and some fun quizzes in the back. The only thing missing were the pastel colored pencils!


All packaged up with gift tags for each child!


Front table in the foyer... Don't these look wonderful?!


Oh, Bite Me!! ;)


 And, the best part of all, Dessert!
Daddy's Declared Best Cupcake Ever!
(Recipe on food blog)

So there we are!

Today I work on cleaning up the play room (nothing I am looking forward to!)
and decorating it with brightly colored streamers and a banner that I made.

I will prepare dinner prior to the girls arriving.
Rebecca's request:

Finger Sandwiches

Black Olives

Baby carrots, celery sticks with Ranch Dressing
(I also picked up Russian Dressing because it is pink!)

Deviled Eggs
(Rebecca hates them but they are festive!)

Pink Lemonade garnished with a Lime Wedge
(I may toss some Vodka into mine ;) !!)


Pink & Green Cupcakes
Fresh Strawberries
Green grapes

Boy I wish I had some Lilly cookie cutters... perhaps I will run out and see if there are any left...
I just can't stop! I need help!

Planning a Party in Pink and Green!

The snow storm was lovely but it set me off schedule. Then, the children ended up having a delayed start yesterday. Two more hours lost. But we'll get there... before the party is over!

Rebecca requested pink and green cupcakes for her party after she saw my Red Velvet ones. Then everything became about being pink and green! (Except for the play room which in it's red and beige hues won't look so great in the bright, classic preppy colors!)

So I went party shopping with pink and green in mind...


My friend Kim told me that she had wrapped some Mentos as snowmen for a party favor for one of her children. Snowmen would not work, but how cute they look all decked out in their Lilly!


Some pink and green bows and ornaments will dress up the chandelier...


Pink and green plates, napkins and tablecloths...


I've found the green m&ms... but the pink seem to be sold out... everywhere! Help!


Mentos all dressed up!


Some party games!
I am also going to create a game of Pictionary for the girls!


Next time I will use the short, wide sticks (not the rods)
These pink and green white chocolate covered pretzels may not look professionally done but their taste
is outta this world!


Wait til you see what I'm going to do with these wonderful Lilly papers!


Mama Henley wanted a tutorial on how to make these preppy pencils. I tried wrapping them in Lilly paper first. While they looked lovely, as soon as you tried to sharpen them... well, let's say I jammed the electric sharpener! (I did fix my mess.) So then I decided paint. Perhaps an oil-based paint is the way to go. The acrylic peeled off as soon as it dried. Hours wasted. This was a big DON'T!

So we have some pink and green food planned and I have some more pink and errands planned and I am clearly wasting valuable time here... so I am logging off until I have more to report!

Au revoir mes amis!

Isn't She Lovely?

Isn't she lovely
Isn't she wonderful
Isn't she precious
Less than one minute old
I never thought through love we'd be
Making one as lovely as she
But isn't she lovely made from love

Isn't she pretty
Truly the angel's best
Boy, I'm so happy
We have been heaven blessed
I can't believe what God has done
Through us he's given life to one
But isn't she lovely made from love




Eleven years ago my life as I knew it would change forever. Life would no longer be about Me Me Me. My first child was born on January 21st, 1999. She has changed my life for the better. She has challenged me and taken me to new heights. She has infuriated me and she has inspired me. She is at once a little girl but well on her way to becoming a young woman. She is my pride and joy. Treasure these moments. Don't sweat the small stuff. It all passes by much too quickly. Gone are the days of make believe and tutus and fairy tales. Gone are the days of teddy bear picnics and doll tea parties. Gone are the days of Madeline and Pepito, Strawberry Shortcake and The Care Bears. Gone are the days of cuddling at bedtime (she now stays up later than I do) and singing lullabies. But, as I say goodbye I welcome the new. Our mother daughter time is rare these days, but when we have it I welcome our more mature and intellectual conversations. I look forward to watching my daughter grow and come into her own. I look forward to watching her mature into the wonderful young girl she is already becoming. (When she is not sassing me!)

My Baby Turns the Big Oh Four!

The above picture is my most favoritest picture ever! It was taken 4 years ago. We were having a huge lemonade sale to make money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The kids made over $300 which they brought over to the Red Cross. Two days later Alexander joined us. Look at Rebecca's belly. Isn't it just the cutest ever?!

It doesn't seem possible that 4 years have passed... Alexander, you have rocked our world and shaken it upside down and all over the place! You drain me... you exhaust me... you are the one that threw me over the edge! But I would have it no other way! You infuriate me. You delight me! You madden me. You delight me! You're testy, you're feisty, you're crazy and zany and wild and sweet and loving and lovely and precious! You're my baby and you're growing up... right before my eyes.

Right now Daddy is in bed with you wiping your feverish head with a cool damp cloth. It seems so unfair that you should be sick on your Birthday. Your 4th Birthday! I'm so glad that we let you open your best gift yesterday knowing how much you really wanted it... knowing you would have the weekend to enjoy it. And enjoy it you did! Hopefully you will wake up all well and happy tomorrow, Saturday September 7th...

The hard drive crashed on my old laptop. Luckily we had taken out an extended warranty and while everything was lost on the hard drive, a new motherboard and hard drive was installed. In essence we have a brand new laptop that the kids can share. I should have been more diligent about backing my files on to our external hard drive. I was terrible. I am so grateful I have a Photobucket account. Many of my pictures are there and well and safe. Because of Photobucket, an image hosting and editing service, I have been able to take a very happy stroll down memory lane and relive the last 4 years of laughter and joy that Alexander has brought our family.

How was my Birthday? Well, some of you asked...

My Champagne Mojito was absolutely out of this world good... I want to write a cocktail book... that's beautiful to look and and filled with fun and easy recipes and some cute stories to boot... but where would I find the time? And how much more can I possibly drink? ;)

My Birthday was OK. I should have made the Mojitos early and distributed them throughout the day. I have no problem with hosting my own party you know... I never told anyone it was My Special Day and so no one knew and I felt fairly invisible. But I went out and bought the cute Tory Burch sandals I had been coveting... and then the day was well... rather ordinary. I still had to entertain a 3 year old and pick kids up from school and take one to soccer and pick him up from soccer... and that was the ordinary part. So I made my Champagne Mojito because I needed to celebrate. And it was even better than I had imagined. But then I didn't put the Tommy Bahama rum away properly and it slipped and fell off the shelf and shattered into pieces on the floor. I still smell like alcohol and I haven't had a lick to drink (yet), I swear! And then just as we are getting ready for dinner the door bell rings. The mail man had a certified letter for us. From Lexus. Wondered what that was about. Letter stated that we were behind on car payments. On the sedan and the van. But we no longer have the sedan. Nor the van. The LX was in danger of being repo'd. Not over my dead body! Not over my dead body in my new TB sandals!

So Daddy calls Lexus and is ready to pay off two cars... ??? WTF??? You are not paying off two cars on a credit card when I spied with my two eyes the paper work that was signed by both of us at Lexus of Westport just two short weeks ago. But we didn't want the car repo'd either...

And so on the evening on my Birthday Daddy was on the phone back and forth back and forth back and forth with Lexus trying to sort out this monstrosity of a mess... on my Birthday no less... I think I am seeking damages punitive and mental! I hope they figured out where the paperwork and payments went. And why the finance guy is no longer there. My car has to go into the shop tomorrow. The power window is not working on the front passenger's side. Lexus is meeting me at school in the morning with a loaner. They will take my car and fix my window. I'm having second thoughts.... what if they never give it back to me?

I need another Mojito!

So my Birthday came and went and it was not terribly spectacular. And today's another day. It was spent painting buckets for the PreK-3 class party. And listening to 3 year old conversation in the back of the car. (Alexander had a play date and I was bringing the boys home from school.)

And this is what I heard:
Me: Blake, how’s your new Nanny?

Blake: She’s nice… did you know that girls don’t have winkies?

(Me: Cracking up…)

Alexander: No, Blake, they have Chinas!

Blake: Your Mommy doesn’t have a Winkie. My Dad does.

Alexander: My daddy has a penis. And it is very big!
Oh, I am still howling over this one!

In honor of My Birthday I have a FABULOUS GIVEAWAY!!!

It was quite chilly in my room when I woke up this morning. I love it that way! The cool, crisp air blew through the curtains and swirled around the room as I lay sandwiched in between my duvets and Alexander (who snuck in at some point while I was sleeping). I could have stayed in bed all morning, but alas it's a school day and a Monday to boot. I went downstairs to make myself a nice, hot cappuccino and crept back up beneath the covers for a little while longer.

Unfortunately morning rush doesn't recognize anyone's Birthdays, nor do the dishes in the sink or the dishwasher. But, sadly, I am no longer 10, so I put on my Big Girl Panties and got on with the day. I emptied the dishwasher which was filled with crystal and stemware and china... my Tiffany candle sticks and vases and Martini pitchers and ice buckets ... all wonderful wedding gifts from many years ago... all had been sitting in moving boxes and awaiting to be unpacked. As I spent my yesterday unpacking these boxes, locating all these long lost treasures it felt almost as though I was unwrapping presents. Truthfully, I had forgotten about some of my wonderful items... do I really need all these things? Am I a shallow person for loving them all? I had survived a year without them... But I do love all these wonderful things and I will continue to put them to good use... and I will think of my friends with love when I use them. Most of these items were wedding gifts, almost 12 years ago to the day... I will think of Scotty when I use my Tiffany flutes, and Line when I use my Bistro dessert plates, and Susan when I fill my Frank Lloyd Wright vase with flowers... and my grandparents, who have since passed, every time I use my silver... I will think of all of my friends... so these items are tokens to me that are filled with memories... and this morning I can revel in my memories as I find new homes for these items!

And then I can empty out the sink into the dishwasher. Other than that and making my bed I plan on doing nothing else today. Except enjoying a lovely cocktail in the evening hours!

And because it is My Birthday (I look grand for 29, do I not?!) I am giving away a copy of Social Climbers by Beth Dunn that she has graciously agreed to autograph! I have heard it is a fabulous read! I'm anxiously awaiting my own copy in the mail. It should arrive momentarily. Hopefully today!

So this is how you will be eligible to win:

1. Leave me a message!

2. "Follow" Me!

3. Post about my giveaway on your blog


4. if you can come up with a really clever reason as to why you just have to have this season's "It" Book you'll get an extra entry!

Hurry, my giveaway ends next Monday! But, if you don't win this time I will be hosting another giveaway in 2 weeks in honor of my Dirty Dozen Anniversary...

So stay tuned and Cheers!
PS. I just learned that Preppy Paper Girl's Birthday is on Saturday and she's got a great giveaway too! So go check her out!

My Birthday Wishlist...

(4 days and counting!!!)

I'm not asking for much this year as we are still up to our necks with home renovations, and who am I to even ask for anything after getting my lovely new car. I wasn't going to ask for anything at all but Daddy wants me to make a Wish List... and well, a sucker for clothes, I can never have too many clothes, shoes or bags!

And I do need a new tea kettle. I haven't replaced the old one yet and I have been coveting this one by Le Creuset that I keep seeing over and over again in the Williams-Sonoma catalogue. I'm waiting though because I need to be certain as to how we'll paint the kitchen. I hate not having a tea kettle. If you are not familiar with the story, click here for a good laugh!

I'd love another pair of Tory Burch's Reva flats. I have them in metallic silver and I adore them. I can wear them in the wintertime and in the summertime. I can wear them with skirts, pants and jeans and they always look fabulous. I really like the nautical looking ones and I do need a pair of navy shoes... great with white and denim...

but as I was perusing her sight I saw these to die for sandals! (Sorry I was not able to copy the picture in the full size. But click here if you want to see how yummy they really are.) I love the sandal and can wear them with skirts and white pants, black pants or jeans... but would I be better off with the Reva flat as I would get more year 'round use out of them... Sandals in November in Connecticut is not necessarily a good thing!

I love, love, love the below skirt from JCrew... would look adorable with those sandals! I could dress it up with a crisp white blouse and chunky pearls or go casual with a white T-shirt... White T-shirts, skirts and flip flops/sandals are a staple of my summer wardrobe.

I must own at least 10 white T-shirts and my favorites are from Banana Republic. I wear white T-shirts all the time, alone, under cardigans, and under jackets. I love jackets. JCrew jackets are my favorite. And I so need the following two! If you look really closely the white one has my name written all over it!

I don't need any more jewelry -- earrings, rings, watches... This year I'm keeping it simple. And really more than anything I might like to have some friends over and have a nice BBQ and a few cocktails... a low key, relaxed thing... nothing fancy, nothing fussy and I might make this Champagne Mojito that sounded absolutely to die for... we'll see what Daddy has planned, if anything... or if I need to plan something myself ;)

Perfectly Preppy Lawns and Other Fun Summer Stuff!

We spotted this argyle lawn last night as we were leaving a Memorial Day BBQ... Daddy and I loved it! Wonder if his John Deere can manicure our lawn like this!

Talbot's has great Staycation ideas...

Love this movie night idea... I think we'll be having an outdoor Movie Night this summer!
For more information check out Talbot's website.

and what's a summer without a perfectly (or two or three or four) yummy Peach Bellini

2 large peaches , cut into chunks
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 bottle Champagne or sparkling wine Garnish
1 large peach , cut into 6 slices
6 sprigs mint

Combine peach chunks, sugar and lemon juice in a bowl. Allow to rest 30 minutes. Place mixture in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Pour through a strainer, pressing solids to extract flavor and juices. Chill. Discard any solids.Place about 1 tablespoon peach syrup in each flute and fill with Champagne. Garnish with a peach slice and mint sprig.

(Drink and photo from O Magazine website)

And of course you'll need some new beach towels... I love these... wonder how long before I find them in the outlets? For other great beach towels check out Real Simple's The Best Beach Towels.

And when you're lying on your chic new beach towel you'll need a good summer book to sink your teeth into... Beth Dunn's Social Climbers is this year's "It" book! Check out her website and then check out her book!

And for the chance to win a Free Connecticut Vacation enter Here! (And be sure to bring your new beach towels and your new book!)

And stay tuned as over the next day or so as I will be giving one of these items away to celebrate MY Birthday!

Happy Birthday Buggie!

It all started with this, a roll of self-adhesive Hallmark wrapping paper.

I just love using this paper as it is just ever so lightly tacky and the paper stays in the right spot and presents generally look professionally wrapped. It's also great for kids to use. Alexander wrapped this present with me and decided he wanted to do something with the scraps left over. He got some scissors and started sticking the wrapping paper to a blank sheet of paper.

And what resulted was another Birthday present!

Aren't they nice? He was so proud of his work!

Alexander loves to play with stickers and loves to make collages. (For another great collage idea, "Matisse Meets Lilly Pulitzer" click here!)

Happy Birthday Buggie! We hope you'll like this and all your other presents!!!

Have a Happy UnBirthday to You!

Everyone likes an excuse to celebrate something. Sometimes you're in the mood for a celebration even though there's nothing to celebrate... that's when you need to have a Happy UnBirthday Party!

One day not too long ago before our too perfect weather arrived we were feeling a little bored and blue with not much to do. I decided it would be a perfect day for a Birthday! We'd have a Birthday party, just Alexander and I... except it wouldn't be just any Birthday, it would our UnBirthday!

So we started out decorating our paper cake, which was really a cupcake because that's what Alexander wanted. I cut out the shapes for him (brown paper for the bottom and pink for the icing at his request) and I let him glue and decorate his paper cake. When it was all done we let it sit and dry and then we went to go make some Play Doh cakes!

I took some of his Play Doh toys and some items we have in our kitchen such as a muffin tin, muffin liners, plastic knives and even real Birthday candles and little sandwich flags. Those were both a great hit, We used a combination of store bought Play Doh and our home made stuff.

(We love to make our own Play Doh and it could not be easier. After testing out many recipes I found one I like the best as it does not crumble or feel funny in your hands. Click here for the recipe.)

What's an UnBirthday without any cake?

Of course we had to have a real cake. The request was peanut butter!
We made a cake from a mix, Betty or Duncan and then made the frosting from scratch. I made it first a year ago and it has become a favorite of ours!
1 1/4 Cups of peanut butter, smooth or chunky, but NOT freshly made or all natural
1 stick of butter, room temperature
1 cup of confectioners sugar
Using a handheld mixer, mix until ingredients are well combined and the texture is creamy and smooth
Spread over cake and enjoy!
Also great on Banana Muffins!
We didn't go any further than that as our Happy UnBirthday Party had to stop in order to get Rebecca and Christopher from school. But we could h ave gone on and on and on with our fun. We could have made decorations like paper chains that we could have strewn across the room, and made party hats. I could have wrapped little nothing gifts like bubbles and jump ropes and boxes of chalk. There's still time to do all that one day... because we had such a great Happy UnBirthday Party that I guarantee we will do it again, but next time we'll do it when Rebecca and Christopher can celebrate too!

Happy Birthday My Gr8 One!

My oldest boy, my second-born turns eight today, February 21st, 2009. You don't hear so much about Christopher as he often flies beneath the radar. He was exactly like his brother when he was his brother's age. He was curious and in to everything. We used to call him "Bad Boy Griffie" because that really was his middle name. Christopher's nickname is Griffie. No his middle name is not Griffin, it's just that when he was born and his sister was just 2 years old she couldn't pronounce his name and every time she did it came out sounding like Griffister. Soon Griffister was shortened to Griff and Griffie and 8 years later those names have stuck.

Christopher has mellowed tremendously with age. Not to say he can't go crazy and wild at the drop of a hat as he is a little boy still, after all. And when my two boys get together, fuggheddaboudit, it's crazy-mayhem and we have to banish them to the play room on the far end of the house! But Christopher is a gem. An amazing child. He is the peacemaker (except when he is trying to beat up his older sister who sent his Hess Truck flying across his room). He is a really easy going child who loves math and loves to build and construct things and more than anything loves to watch TV and play on his wii and Nintendo DS. And his Pokemon cards. He's smarter than I am... and I beg to put that birth order/intelligence statistic to the test... You know, the one that states that the oldest children are the smartest? Because this kid is brilliant. He is a great student and loves a challenge and is always pushing himself. He loves soccer and he loves to play with his friends. This kid, quiet and unassuming, has a heart the size of Texas. He's sensitive and caring and giving. In many ways is like every other 8 year old boy. And in many ways he is very different. In a recent meeting I had with his teacher I was told that he was "a privilege to teach and have in his class." She also told me that the other kids "should feel privileged to have him in their class." He is "caring, courteous and always eager to help." Amazing things for a mother to hear.

In September he was diagnosed with ADD. I'm putting this out there for you all to see. It's not something I hide. It's not something I am embarrassed by. Nor is it something I hide from. And if you ask him, he's pretty open about it as well. We've had our eyes on this for many years already. His preschool teacher first saw some differences. He often was off in a cloud, or fidgeting seeming not to know what was going on in the classroom. At other times he was intensely focused on the task at hand. ADD kids often do this. They hyperfocus. We monitored him through preschool, Kindergarten and 1st grade where his teacher and aide helped to bring him "back into the moment" when needed. I saw a difference last summer. I saw my distracted kid getting a little more distracted. I saw it affect the things he loved. I saw his soccer game slip. A good bit. I started to worry for his safety. With his head in the clouds I worried about him crossing the street and getting mowed down by a car. Now, at 7, I was not about to let him wander anywhere by himself... He was getting harder to deal with. We would have to tell him things over and over and over again. He was getting more distracted and forgetful. My red flags were up.

And then in September I had a meeting with his teachers, from last year as well as current. And it was unanimously agreed-upon that we should seek help. So I went to his pediatrician who had really been expecting us. We filled out the Connors report the preceding year. We all knew he had all the signs off ADD. Now was time to act. When Christopher was in 1st grade he was reading and doing math at a 3rd grade level but everyone worried that he would soon fall far behind. ADD students are neither lazy nor dumb. They simply have a hard time focusing and this often leads to them missing an important feature, which leads to them not understanding the task at hand which leads to frustration and eventually these children give up the will to try. I was not going to let this happen to my child. I had just finished reading a wonderful book written by a young man suffering ADD/ADHD. The book, ADHD and Me, is what motivated me to be proactive about my son's health. I got praised all around by teachers and doctors. I wondered why, since I was doing what any mother would do who wanted the best for her child.

Christopher started a medication called Focalin in September. Medicating children is not always the answer, but with ADD it has made all the difference. I am not at all a drug-pusher, and believe all other therapies should be tried, but when they fail, there is nothing wrong with medicine. Christopher is a different child. He is focused and happy. His soccer game is back on and he rarely has to be told to pay attention in the class room. Ask him and he will tell you. If you suspect something is not right with your child, please seek help. Everyone will be happier in the end. If you have any questions about ADD/ADHD and want to contact me, please do. I am happy to answer any questions you may have. ADD/ADHD is genetic.

Happy Birthday Griffie, I love you and I hope you have the best Birthday ever!!!



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