A Few of Our Favorite Things – Week of March 25th

Our lives are often times very hectic and chaotic. We don’t always stop and appreciate the small things happening all around us. In this day and age, it is important to make a conscious effort to recognize the small things or moments that fill us with joy and wonder or make us insanely happy.  Below are a few of our favorite things or special moments we’ve experienced from this past week.  We’d love to hear about yours as well!

Chrissy’s Favorites:

1.  Fun Moments with my Husband and Movies.  My husband and I watched the remake of Footloose this past week.   While the movie was pretty cute it is not something I will probably ever watch again. So, why is this one of my favorite moments of this week? Well, this is largely because my husband and I had a blast trying to spot all the many, many similarities it had to the original movie.  Trust me, there are tons of references to the original from the opening credits to the very end.   As the final credits started rolling, I couldn’t help but feel extremely nostalgic for the original, Kevin Bacon version which I plan on watching this coming weekend to get my fix. Am I the only one who can’t listen to Kenny Loggin’s song Footloose without tapping my toes along with it? Watch the video, and try not to move your feet.  I dare to you!   “Everybody Cut Loose!”

2.  Shopping and Great New Finds.  Shopping at Target at least once a week is a pretty normal occurrence in my household.  It is my absolute, hands down favorite store.  If I could only pick one store to shop at for the rest of my life, it would be Target.  This week, I was thrilled to happen upon a totally cute and super sweet little necklace in the accessory section.  For many of my fellow Pinterest addicts, it will look familiar as I’ve seen a very similar necklace pop up quite often.  The necklace from Target is only $4.99 and comes with a cute pair of flower earrings as well.

3.  Spring time and New Life Blooming all around me.  Spring is definitely in the air here in Nebraska.  It seems like everyday I notice a different tree has decided to bloom in my neighborhood, but my favorite blossoming tree this year is in my very own backyard.  I have no idea what kind of tree it is, but it is truly lovely! 

Alicia’s Favorites:

1.  Home – After being away from home for vacation, there’s nothing like walking back into your own abode, dropping the suitcases to the floor and falling onto your bed.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to travel!  However, home is the one place you can completely be yourself.  You don’t have to get fully dressed before having breakfast like you do at the hotels.  Nothing says “home” better than cooking bacon and eggs in the kitchen while in your pj’s with your hair messed up!  Ha ha!

2.  Magic & Humor – This week, at my son’s Cub Scout Pack Meeting, they had a special guest.  They had a Magician who was also going to teach the boys (and girls) all about Safety with Electricity.  I will be honest and say that I was a little worried this was going to be really boring.  I mean, who can make electricity safety fun?  Boy was I proved wrong!  This magician was not only great at what he does with magic, but he was HILARIOUS!  He did a fabulous job of engaging not only all the children (and we are talking about A LOT of children at a Pack Meeting), but he kept the adults laughing their pants off with all of his puns and adult innuendos.  It was such an entertaining event.   To top the night off, he needed an assistant and he picked my daughter!  When he came walking out to her in the audience and said he wanted her to help him, I thought for sure she was going to refuse.  While she is quite the card around our family and friends, she is rather reserved in public settings and doesn’t like to be on display.  Quite to my surprise, she jumped right up and went with him!  Apparently this is something she has always wanted to do!  I was so thankful I had brought my video recorder so I could capture that moment forever.  She was the CUTEST Magician’s Assistant ever!  He had her tear up a bunch of tissue paper, put it in a bag, wave the wand and the torn paper turned into a cute yellow & black bonnet with a bow on it!  He put it on her head and sent her away.  She loves this bonnet and it was such a great experience for her!

3.  Parental Pride – This week was report card week along with Parent Teacher Conferences.  My husband and I are extremely proud of the children as they are doing so well in school!  My son got straight A’s and my Peanut has met and exceeded all of her Kindergarten goals!  They received several awards at the Honors Assembly for their achievements in reading and citizenship as well.  It’s a great moment to see them be recognized for all of their hard work and perseverance!

We hope you enjoyed our weekly reflections on our favorite things!  What were your favorite things this week?

~ Chrissy & Alicia

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A Few of Our Favorite Things This Week

Our lives are often times very hectic and chaotic.  We don’t always stop and appreciate the small things happening all around us.  In this day and age, it is important to make a conscious effort to recognize the small things or moments that fill us with joy and wonder or make us insanely happy.  Our plan is to start sharing our fun finds or special moments with you once a week from here on out.  We’d love to hear about yours as well!

Chrissy’s Favorite Things:

1. My Friends.  I received an email from one of our best girlfriends wanting to plan a Girl’s Night In soon. I love getting together with girlfriends. It is the absolute best, most relaxing and therapeutic feeling ever! (The only bummer is Alicia and our other out of town friends don’t live close enough to come as well.)

2. My Mail Delivery.  Yesterday, when I opened my mailbox I was delighted to find the Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer had arrived. My friend, Shannon, calls this newsletter Food Porn and I couldn’t agree more. 😉  I can’t read it without getting totally hungry!

3.  A New Dessert.  I decided to try a recipe for Black Bean Brownies which I found on Pinterest. (If you are interested in the recipe you can check it out here.)  I was initially thrown off because they didn’t have a lick of flour in them and, of course, beans in brownies doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Be that as it may I was intrigued enough to give it a try. Boy, was I delighted and shockingly surprised when they turned out to be really quite good.

4.  A New Movie.  I happend to see a new 5 minute trailer for the movie Snow White and the Huntsman.  I can’t tell you how excited I am to see this movie.  I’ve always enjoyed the Snow White story and love that this movie tells it in such a dark, dramatic way.  Charlize Theron plays the Evil Queen and although I never would have pictured Kristen Stewart as Snow White, she seems to pull it off well. 

Alicia’s Favorite Things:

Well I am on vacation this week!  We have visited New Orleans, Louisiana & Destin, Florida!  It has been a much needed family vacation and we are having a blast! The only bummer is that it has to end.  Be that as it may, I still have several favorite things that I used this week while on my vacation!

1.  My family.  I have to put them first this week since I am on vacation with them!  We don’t get long, quiet breaks (just the 4 of us) all that often.  So having this family time is just unbelievable!  I love my husband and children so much and I’m enjoying this time to reconnect and relax with them.  🙂

2.  My Kindle.  My brother gave me my Kindle a few years ago as a Christmas present and it is probably one of the best presents he has ever given me!  My Kindle is totally rock awesome.  I love that when I finish a book, I can “shop” on my Kindle while driving through the back highways of Louisiana and get a new book, instantly!  Scott and I also love playing the New York Times Crossword Puzzle on it.  It was interesting to figure out how to play this game while he drove the van, but we managed.   It helps pass those long hours of driving to your vacation spot!

3.  My Kindle Book for the trip:  “Nearly Departed in Deadwood” by Ann Charles.  This book has me hooked, line & sinker!  It reminds me of the Stephanie Plum series that I read a while back and I just love the mystery, comedy & a little bit of romance all mixed together!  I also have to admit that Chrissy has turned me into a “series” junky and I love that this is the 1st book in the series, so I know I’ll have more to read.  I hate saying goodbye to those characters that you grow to love in books, so a series is great!  I highly recommend it!

4.  My go-to jewelery piece for this vacation has been my Metal Works necklace that I bought last summer from Premier Designs.  I love, love, love this piece as it can be casual with a T-Shirt or go with a nice blouse and work for a great dinner out.  It is 38″ long, but I tend to double it up quite a bit and wear it layered, which looks fabulous.  Or go longer and it is super fancy! 🙂  (The catalog insert here shows the necklace as item F)

5.  Another favorite item of mine this week is my beach bag filled with all of the necessities for lounging on the white sands in Florida.  I have all of the beach towels for the family, sunblock, my Kindle, our camera, a bag for sea shell collecting and of course some water!  A good, big beach bag is a must have when on a vacation like this!

So there you have it!  A few of our favorite things!  We hope you liked them and maybe even discovered something new in the process!  Have a fabulous day!

~Chrissy & Alicia

Pressing my Luck

Lately, I am finding myself with a strange facination with filling out on-line sweepstakes forms. I’m not really sure why because I’ve never been one of those people who by some weird twist of fate win almost everything they ever try for.  You know the kind.  We all know them, and while I am happy the luck gods blessed them with such an insane amount of good fortune, I can’t help but wonder, where in the world is my luck?

I can’t say I’ve never in my life won something I’ve entered, so I must have some luck inside me somewhere.  Maybe its a bit sluggish or prone to hibernating long periods of time.  The first time I ever won something was in 1983.  I was at a Block Party.  There was a table with glass containers filled with various fun things, like money and M&M’s.  Our task was to guess the number of things in each jar and whoever guessed closest to the correct number won that jar.  I won the jar filled with pennies!  I was beyond thrilled.  In fact, I treasured this jar filled with about $3 in pennies so much I never spent it.  At some point between childhood and striking it out on my own, the jar disappeared.  I figured I must have at some point, probably when I was a teenager, finally spent my winnings on something very important, like a McDonald’s value meal. 🙂   Then, a couple weeks ago my parent’s asked me to take a look at some old junk of mine they found while trying to organize and de-clutter their basement.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  My jar of pennies was right there! I am really easily excited about such seemingly silly things and this was one of those moments I felt pure joy from the bottom of my toes to the tips of my fingers.  My jar of pennies, the very first prize I ever won, had found it’s way back to me.  Maybe it’s a sign of good luck to come my way in the here and now?

Even though my winnings have been few and far between since 1983, I have a couple memorable prizes. For instance, in 1987 I was the 10th caller at a local radio station. My big prize?  Tickets to see the advanced screening of “Who’s that Girl?” starring none other then Madonna!  My excitement runneth over and, yes, I loved every minute of the movie.  I haven’t seen it since then.  It’s just a thought, but I have an inkling it wouldn’t be a good as I remember thinking it was!

Between 1987 and now, my luck took some time off. It must have felt overworked and wanted a nice long rest. Eventually though, it must have got hungry and thought it was time to help me out to a bit because I won a $25 gift card to Cheeseburger’s in Paradise at a work conference about five years ago.  I now refer to my luck as Whimpy (You know, from Popeye who is most known for this line,”I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”) I think it seems fitting!

whimpy

whimpy (Photo credit: dank1012)

Whimpy may not like his new name, or has since then developed a twisted sense of humor and wanted to try it out on me for some giggles. I’ll let you decide for yourself with my latest big win which happened about a month ago.  I received an email from fullfillment@eprize…. the email was titled “Big News from The Moisture Surge Intense Sweepstakes”.  OMG, I had actually won one of the on-line sweepstakes I’ve been entering!  I opened the email and started reading. Holy Moley, I was super excited to find out exactly what my big prize was. “We’re happy to let you know that you’re a winner in the sweepstakes.  You’ve won a Clinique Moisture Surge 7ml sample, which has an approximate retail value of $0.90.  Congratulations!”  Wow, really? Ninety whole cents? Talk about my visions of grandeur (i.e. exotic trip, money, even a full size bottle of Clinique moisturizer) being completely deflated.  I can still hear Whimpy’s chuckles. He definitely got a kick out of that one. (Before you get too worried about my mental state I just want to note, I know Whimpy is not real and I do not carry on conversations with him in my day to day life. He is but a figment of my imagination and only really called upon when I am in need of a bit of luck.  If however I ever start to talk to Whimpy as if a real person, Alicia or my husband are tasked with admitting me to the local Psych Ward for observation.  Ok, I am glad to get that off my chest!)

In all seriousness, you can’t win anything without trying, so I’ll continue filling out entry forms and more then likely continue not winning much of anything.  I do want to impart on you a little bit of advice I have for entering sweepstakes.  I mean, I wouldn’t want reading this post to be a total waste of your time! 🙂
* Only enter contests through trusted sites/brands.  Facebook is a great way to find sweepstakes from your favorite brands.                                                                                                                                                           * Only enter in contests you are interested in winning.  Seems silly but it leads me to my next point:                *  Don’t try for prizes that you couldn’t afford paying taxes on if by some weird chance you actually won, cause that would suck. 

**Update:  This just in….The day after this post was published I won a $5 Gift Card to Target when I found an Easter Egg hidden on the website www.WomanFreebies.com.  I am taking this as a sign that Whimpy really enjoyed my post!  Woo Hoo!!!! 

~Chrissy

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

Well, tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day! Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Chrissy and I both love this holiday! We each have different things we love about this fun filled day.

Alicia: I love this holiday because I’m Irish (complete with the red hair and Irish temper). My Dad is half Irish and we can trace our roots on his side back to the 1800’s in the Irish County where my Great Great Grandparents were born! On my Mom’s side, I have two Great, Great, Great Grandfathers from Ireland! It is pretty amazing to be able to trace things back that far!

Chrissy: I actually have a bit of Irish blood flowing in my veins as well. My Great Grandparent’s made the long journey over here from Ireland. I find that family tree stuff so fascinating. I love learning about my heritage. People I never knew and yet they are still very much a part of me and who I am. I think that connection I feel with my ancestors has always endeared me to this holiday.

Alicia: Every year I watch “Darby O’Gill & the Little People!” Now some of you may not have ever even heard of this movie. It is a great film about an old man who tries to catch the King of the Leprechauns. It is filled with many great Irish superstitions of the holiday, and based in Ireland. I have to admit that I don’t watch this solely for the historical references. One of my favorite actors stars in this movie. He was in the prime of his younger years and he became the subject of my 13 year old self’s crush. Sean Connery, with his dark black hair, an Irish accent and he sings a darling song. “Oh she is my dear my darling one. Her eyes so filled with sparkling fun. No other, no other, can match the likes of her!” Sigh. I melt every time I see this scene. You should really watch this movie with your kids. There is a slightly “scary” scene that may scare a really little one, but it is a Disney movie so it isn’t all that bad.

Chrissy: Right around this time of year Sean Connery begins to sing in my ear, as well. Thanks to the Disney Channel running Darby O’Gill and the Little People around this time every year, from the time the Disney Channel first aired until I was too old to watch the Disney Channel, the song became permanently seared onto my brain. (Yes, I can remember a time before there was a Disney Channel and even before cable tv existed. Gosh that makes me feel really old.) I also, have to agree with you Alicia, Sean Connery was such a doll in this movie!!!

Alicia: I also make corned beef, cabbage and boiled potatoes for my family. I started this tradition a few years ago. It took everything in me not to laugh when I put this food down because the looks they gave me were priceless! Their faces, marked with utter confusion and slight disgust. I told them it is a traditional meal that their ancestors ate. They made me promise to NOT make it again until the next St. Patty’s Day. Ha ha! In all seriousness, it was delicious for everyone except our son, H, who is a rather “selective” eater.

Chrissy: The other reason I love St Patrick’s Day so much is because my husband and I had our first date on this day 10 years ago. I am ever so grateful we picked a Holiday for the day of our first date, I wouldn’t have remembered the exact date for the life of me otherwise. (I am kind of horrible with dates.) Now lucky for us, we can celebrate the anniversary of our first date every year along with millions of other St Patty Day revelers! Yeah us!

We hope you have a fabulous St. Patrick’s Day and don’t forget to wear some green!

~Alicia & Chrissy

Children’s Books: Charlie the Ranch Dog

I’m always on the lookout for a great new children’s book for my kids.  I was so excited when I found out that one of my favorite Chef/Bloggers was coming out with her own children’s book!  If you are a fan of the Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond) like I am, than you will know all about the book.  Her dog Charlie has become quite the character on her Blog and her new television cooking show.  So popular in fact that she’s written a book about him called “Charlie the Ranch Dog.”  I just love Charlie.  He’s a sweet Bassett Hound who will work his way into your heart in an instant!

When this book showed up at the Scholastic Book Fair at school, I had to buy it!  It is so endearing and the kids love it!  Not only has it captured the attention of my now 6 year old, but my son loves it as well.  I love the fact that she wrote it from Charlie’s perspective and it focuses on all of the things he “takes care of” on the ranch.  In reality though, he’s getting on in years and everyone on the farm humors him and lets him think he’s still running the show.  If you are in the market for a great book for your kids, or a gift for a little munchkin, I highly recommend the book!  And if you haven’t discovered Pioneer Woman yet, take some time to see her blog above, as I love it SO much!  She is real, down to earth, has fabulous recipes and is just wonderful!  Enjoy! 🙂   ~ Alicia

Prom Dresses and the Movies

“Andie: May I admire you?
Duckie: If you wish…”
Pretty In Pink

dresses Pictures, Images and PhotosI think it is safe to say we as women, love to have an excuse to dress up in a gorgeous dress and be admired by that special person in our life. If you’ve been to the mall lately you’ve probably walked by this year’s selection of Prom dresses?  They are so bright and colorful and, frankly, really stinking adorable.  They are also a tad bit different then the choices Alicia and I had back in the early 90’s although I still adore our dresses.  We each stayed very true to our own personal style when we picked them out, not trying to look older or more mature then we were.  We picked dresses that made us feel beautiful!  I would imagine every woman who went to her prom remembers picking out her prom dress.  It’s a pretty big deal for a teenage girl.  I even remember where I bought my dress (at a store called 5-7-9 in the mall) and what it cost me (a whopping $100).  Prom dresses are constantly evolving, changing year after year along with the culture and tastes of society, but no matter which decade you found yourself attending the prom one thing will always hold true for us girl’s, the prom was largely about finding that perfect dress!   

The best, and most fun, way I can think of to look back at prom dresses through the years is through the movies.  I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite movies, going back over the last handfull of decades, which I feel showcase prom fashion in some way, shape, or form.  If you think about it as research you won’t feel bad that you’re not doing something more productive with your time, like cleaning your bathroom or tackling the garden, right?  I am sure there are a ton of other really good movies that could be put on this list that I’ve forgotten about or haven’t seen, so please feel free to add them in the comments below!

The 1950’s: For this decade, my picks are Grease and Back to the Future.  Who cares that they didn’t actually go to the prom in either movie.  There was a dance and I’d say the fashion is definitely prom-worthy.  

The 1960’s: I had a really hard time finding a movie about any kind of High School dance from this decade, let alone the Prom.  The majority of teen movies I came across in my extensive Google research seem to involve the beach and bikini’s, which although are really fun aren’t exactly what I am looking for.  I do know dance party tv shows were really popular during this time.  They were the perfect opportunity for teenagers in the 60’s to learn all the hot new dances and, of course, the latest fashions.  With this in mind, I’ve got two picks for movies depicting the 1960’s dance party scene: Hairspray and The In Crowd

The 1970’s:  There is no question about it, I have to go with the movie Carrie here.  What could be better then a movie about Prom based on a novel by the one and only Stephen King?   Boy, did those kids find out they had messed with the wrong girl the hard way!  

The 1980’s:  This pick should come as no surprise since I started my blog off with a quote from this movie.  Pretty in Pink is one of my all time favorite movies but is it just me or does anyone else still secretly hope Andie will choose Duckie, instead of Blaine, when they watch this movie?  Don’t get me wrong I think Blaine is adorable, but just once I’d like to see what would happen if she picked Duckie. <SIGH>  Ok, moving right along, two other great movies I recommend checking out are Just One of the Guys and Lucas.  (Oh, and the Muppet Movie but only because my choice of words has now stuck this song in my head, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMR5JVo21wQ It’s my post, I can take this wherever I want to go, right?)  🙂

The 1990’s:  Now, I am rather disappointed in the fact that all the movies I found from this decade were from the end of it rather then the begining, when I was in High School.  This being said, my top pick has to be Never Been Kissed, simply for the great prom dress Drew Barrymore had on during a very brief flashback scene of her High School Prom circa the early 1990’s.    A few other great movies to check out from the late 90’s are 10 Things I Hate About YouAmerican Pie and She’s All That.

The 2000’s to present:  This movie might be another stretch of the imagination but it is another favorite, so I’ve gotta go with Napoleon Dynamite.   In the movie, the school dance wasn’t Prom but the fashion is just too much fun not to include it on my list.  It was set in 2003 but there is something about the clothing which makes it seems more like it is taking place in the 1990’s to me.  I think this has to do with the fact that they live in a small town and small towns are notorious for being a few years behind the times.  Whatever the case, it’s one of my pick’s and I am sticking to it!  Another recommendation for this decade is Twilight.  Yes, I am a Twilight fan. Please don’t hold it against me.  I am adding it because there is a great Prom scene with all sorts of wonderful and current Prom dresses in it.  The last movie I’ll include is the movie Prom.  I caught it on cable not to long ago.  It is a cute teen movie from the folks at Disney, and not exactly one of my all time favorite movies, but it is worth watching for research purposes! 

I think it is only fitting to end this post with a photo of Alicia and I before our Senior Prom.  Please note, we did have dates but I’m not sure they would want to be featured on our blog so I choose one of just the two of us.  I want to emphasize the fact that we had dates because we were shocked as hell that we even had the nerve to ask them, let alone that they said yes! 

~Chrissy

Two Whole Hands..My Baby is Turning 6!

Today is a very special day in my household!  Our youngest daughter is turning 6 years old!  Happy 6th Birthday to our Baby Cakes!! Our little Peanut is such a joy to our life and we are looking forward to celebrating this special day with her. I can’t help but remember her first birthday when she would walk up to me and say “Won”, while holding up one finger for how old she is.  The next year her speech was even better and we got a resounding “I’m TWO!” with two little pudgy fingers.  Somehow, the years have flown by and now our baby will no longer just be one hand of fingers, but two whole hands….six!  I honestly don’t think I’m ready for that!

Since it my youngest child’s special day, I’ll have to brag on her for just a few lines. Little M is such a Mommy’s Helper and loves to help me in the kitchen.  She practically cooks all of our meals now (and I am very serious about this) as she helps me chop the food, pour in the spices and ingredients, and she’ll monitor the food on the stove for me!  She is a Domestic Diva already, as she also loves to dust, clean house, do laundry and just about anything that I do. She is my little side kick and I love it!  Like most little girls, she loves to play house and play with her dolls, but she can be a Tom-Boy as well.  She can rough it up with the boys in the neighborhood pretty well, and she is quite the accomplished fisher-girl!  We can always count on her to catch dinner for us when we go fishing.  😉

Little M is quite hilarious as she has one of those infectious laughs that makes you start laughing, only because she is.  You know what I mean.  We’ve all met people that affect us that way.  She is one of them.  She is also painfully funny.  I have lost count of how many times she has us in stitches at the dinner table with some side comment that cracks us up.

Little M started Kindergarten this year and it has been quite the adventure for her.  She has always been home with me and never went to any day care or preschool, something I’m proud to have been able to give her as a Stay-at-Home Mom.  She is a social butterfly and was very ready for school to start, but was also very sad to leave her Momma.  I know she loves it, and she loves her teacher but I also know that she puts on a brave face at times to get through the day.  I’m proud of her and all she has accomplished this year.  She has mastered reading, writing and the monkey bars!  She’s growing up into a smart, funny, kind, beautiful and loving little girl and my husband and I are very proud of her!

I asked her the other day if she’ll still let me call her my Baby Girl even when she is grown up and maybe a Mommy like me someday.  She said, “You mean just like Nana calls you?”  I smiled and said, “Yes, just like Nana calls me.”  She said, “Okay then, it’s fine.”  I kissed my Baby Girl on the head, hugged her and willed that moment to last forever.  I know she’s growing up, but she’ll forever be my baby girl in my heart.  Happy Birthday Baby Cakes!

~Alicia