Saturday, May 29, 2010

I Do Have Friends

thank you.jpg

“Wow!” is all I can say right now.  The past few days have been pretty intense. I never dreamed my last post would stir up some of the same feelings in other ladies. I’ve received tons of supportive emails, facebook messages, tweets, not to mention all the post responses.  I haven’t had the chance to answer all of you, but I have to say with a very sincere and full heart—“Thank you.”  

I didn’t want to sound ungrateful and whiney or come off as hating the people here. There are so many wonderful people here—I just haven’t found the one I can call a “2 am friend” as Clemson Jenn called it in her similar post. You know…..the friend you can call no matter what time it is.

You see, something in me changed yesterday. It was the first time I’ve put my feelings out there—“really” out there.  I feel heard, validated, and understood.  It took time for you all to read through the post, process it, and share your thoughts.  I appreciate you sharing your ideas and similar experiences. More than anything, thank you for reaching out to me.

I do have friends….

My final thoughts:

  • I will have a positive attitude.
  • I won’t give up.
  • I refuse to be bitter.
  • I will show people kindness by being kind.
  • I will continue to reach out to people.
  • I won’t let my husband and children take the brunt of this temporary unhappiness.
  • This is temporary.
  • I will work hard not to dwell on my situation.
  • I know God has something so perfect for my life, and I won’t hang my head so low that I can’t see it.

“For myself I am an optimist - it does not seem to be much use being anything else.” ~~Winston Churchill

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cheap White Jeans

Starting every spring, I start on a quest to find the right white jeans or slacks. I like cropped, bootleg, and skinny white jeans, but I also like a flat front white pant with no buttons, pockets, etc.

So this year was no different when I started my search for “the perfect” white pants. I tried J Crew-nope, then I tried J Brand-nope, then I tried every online website. Still no luck.

I’d pretty much given up, then I decided to check out Gap’s website. I found these jeans in, um….the kids’ department. Do any of you vertically challenged ladies ever shop in the girls’ department? If not….run on over.

I ordered these GapKids’ destructed white jeans in a girl’s size 16—which equals around a size 4 in women’s. They are the perfect fit and length. It’s hard to see in the picture, but there are areas of distressing. These are definitely more casual, but I think they’re so fun for summer. The best part? They were on sale for $14.99!

GapKids’ Destructed White Skinny Jeans

The next pair of pants I found came from Wal-Mart. Yeah, you heard right. I was in there the other day to pick up some cleaning supplies, and I saw these pants close to the aisle. It’s the same as the style below and they’re the “White Stag” brand. I didn’t see the white ones online, only khaki and black. They also come in petite. Price: $9!

These pants are more like twill leggings. I like these type of pants when I wear more fitted tops or tunics. You don’t see bulky buttons or pockets. They also come up higher so you don’t have a muffin top;-)

“White Stag” brand stretch twill leggings (obviously not in white, but this is the style)

The last pair of cheap white jeans I found are from another atypical store…..Sears. (They also sell them at Kohl’s and JCPenney). They’re Gloria Vanderbilt “Amanda” stretch jeans. They have just enough stretch in them to be comfortable. They come in lots of other fun colors too such as lilac, light yellow and putty color. For reference, I have the size 4 short or petite size. I may go back and get the regular length to wear with heels.

****WARNING: Many of you young chickies may consider these “Mom jeans” because they have a higher waist. They come just under my belly button. If you have a little belly fat like me….you should try these. They don’t leave you with that weird “Dunlap Syndrome”. It’s when your belly done lapped over your jeans. Ba-boom-boom-cha. It’s actually nice to have a pair of pants that the waist doesn’t hit my iliac crests & show my crackola. I know--- TMI:-)

The pics on the website are horrible. So here’s how they look on me.

image Excuse the poor quality iPhone pic.


I like how the back pockets sit lower.

Have you found any white jeans that you like? As you can tell, I kinda like them. I’ve heard great things about Lands’ End Canvas jeans.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

How to Get Outta Dodge

Summer seems to be the time when everyone moves.  With school ending for the young kiddos, high school and college graduations and weddings, June and July seem to be the most popular months to move. With so many exciting things going on, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the whole moving process.
First off, I’m a moving machine. I moved 38 times before I finished high school. I’ve been married 13 years and have moved 7 times (most were out of state). You can say, I’m an experienced mover. I have learned lots of tips through the many moves that I’d like to share:
  • Don’t forget to pick up a change of address form from the post office. You can also fill out the form online now.
  • If moving from an apartment, make sure you give your landlord your forwarding address.
  • Schedule the disconnecting of your utilities and when your utilities will need to be turned on at your new location.
  • Create a "packing central" bin(s). It can include a small plastic bin with the following: tape (good quality-the cheap stuff will make you cuss), several tape guns, lots of black Sharpies, Ziploc bags, colored tape (if you plan on using it), plain newsprint paper, bubble wrap, styrofoam peanuts, clipboard with paper & pen, etc. If it's all together, you can just grab the bin and take it to the desired room.
Carton Sealing Tape
  • If you choose to use different color tape, make sure you put it on more than one side, so that the mover won't have to keep turning the box around to see the color. This is a good job for the kids. Hand them some tape & a pair of child's scissors & let them put their designated tape color on the boxes from their room.
  • I'd also suggest typing and printing a list of rooms with colors. Put on the main door where the movers are coming through. Also tape a piece of paper with room name & tape color on the outside of each room. The movers will have no idea which room is the guest room, etc., but they'll know the colors.
  • Another tip, you may want to post a sign in each room saying which wall you'd like boxes stacked against. This prevents boxes from being scattered all around the room & blocking the way for furniture to be placed.
  • When packing, make sure you stuff the corners of the boxes, and it is COMPLETELY full. There's nothing worse than the movers stacking boxes and the bottom ones collapsing because they weren't completely full. I pack my boxes so that you can sit on them. This is when sheets, towels, blankets come in handy. I use the plain newsprint for corners too.
  • However, don’t forget the laws of physics and OVERSTUFF boxes. If you have stuff hanging out or the boxes is bulging….it’ll burst.
  • Some people like to number boxes & put the contents & corresponding number on a master list. That way you can look at—example: box number 15, and know that it contains your china.
  • That system didn't work for me because I had multiple people packing in different rooms. If it's just you packing--then it might work.
  • You'll need more supplies, boxes than you think.  Put aside a few medium sized boxes for the last minute crap that you totally forget about until you're on the last leg of packing.
  • Don't be afraid to use big lawn bags for things like pillows, stuffed animals, etc. Just make sure you have tape or colored ribbon to tie around the top to identify that it's not garbage.
  • Make a small "parts & pieces" box. In it, include any screws, cords, cables, plugs, bolts, nails, etc. that hold furniture together. It took me a while to put together a bed after one move because someone just threw the bolts in a random clothes box. Make sure each set of pieces are put together in a ziploc & labeled with a Sharpie.    
  • Start using up your freezer and pantry food. You don't want to have to pack up all that stuff. The same goes for cleaning supplies. Start using and consolidating.
  • Pack what you don't need. Pack out of season clothes, sports gear, kitchen stuff, and seasonal stuff. The more you can do ahead, the better.
  • Keep a special file or banker's box with all your needed papers for the sale of your old home, title info for the new house, etc.
  • Make a list of phone numbers all the utility companies, cable, and water. Trust me, I needed the number of my gas company, and was glad I had it when we moved to Missouri. Especially since they didn't turn on the gas heat, and it was 34 degrees.
  • Make sure you leave out things like broom, dust pan, garbage bags, Windex wipes for when you're doing the last bit of cleaning.
3462 - Broom & mop holder
  • Pictures with glass--Always wrap separate and pack so they are standing as they hang. DO NOT LAY FLAT!
  • I recommend paper plates between the dishes! They cushion them wonderfully! And you can still use them afterwards!
  • Pull out a calendar and make a plan when each room will be completed. You'll greatly underestimate how much time it'll take to pack. Put this calendar with your "packing central" kit or on your clipboard.
  • A picture is worth 1000 words- Use a digital or cell phone camera to take pictures of how complicated wiring (computer cords, speaker wires) is hooked up. Be sure to use plenty of light and careful focus so the pictures will be clear. Print each picture and put it in the top of the box holding the item. This will make hooking up the items in your new place much easier.
  • Pack a suitcase- For each member of the family moving, pack a suitcase as if you’re all going on a 3-day vacation, including changes of clothes, medications, eyeglasses, toiletries, etc. Keep the suitcases separated from all the other items to be moved, such as in your car, at your new workplace, etc. so you’ll have everything you need for the first few days without searching through boxes.

  • Create “Open Me First” boxes- Pick one or two boxes per room as "Open Me First" boxes. Put in them the things you'll need first at your new location. Then mark the sides of the boxes so you'll know which ones are which.
  • One at a time- Wherever possible, work on packing just one room at a time (instead of several all at once) to keep things focused and organized.
  • Less is more- Use packing as a way to clean out belongings for donations, a yard sale, and/or the recycling center. Aim to eliminate 1/3 of your belongings. You'll save time and expense.
  • I kept 2 big boxes for the kids to make their own 'house' - they were having fun and gave me time to unpack, uninterrupted.
    • Off the floor- Instead of the floor, use a completely cleared-off table top or counter in each room for packing boxes. You'll find you get much more accomplished.
    • Tracking small parts- When taking apart items to be moved, such as tables, securely tape screws and other small parts securely to the underside of the item. You'll always know where to look and save time putting things back together.
    Do you have any moving tips you’d like to share?

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    Paint Colors


    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a call or email from someone needing help with paint colors for their house. It usually happens after the initial meeting at a party or event. Here’s how it goes down….they ask me what I did “before I was a mom”, I tell them I am/was a decorator, then they get a “twinkle” in their eye. I can often see the wheels turning.  They’re making a mental checklist of all the house projects they could use help with. 

    Fast forward a month, and I get a call, “Um, I’m trying to paint my bedroom, and I tried a light sage color. It looked good in the paint store, but now it looks like baby food. Do you think you could help me pick out the right color?”

    Paint colors give so many people anxiety and frustration. It seems trivial and silly to some, but I totally get it. I am the same way with taxes.  I break out into hives, get extremely frustrated, and feel dumb.

    I’ll let you in on a little secret…..I get paint swatches, buy quarts of paint, paint the colors on poster board, paint streaks on walls, and gasp……I’ve even had to paint a room over IMMEDIATELY. Luckily, it was my own house, but yes, mistakes happen.

    Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about paint colors and how they change in different lighting situations. I’ve also figured out which colors I can live with daily. I used to have a red dining room, and brighter walls. I just can’t live with bright, stimulating colors anymore.

    If you read “House Beautiful” magazine, you can see a paint color feature every month near the front of the magazine. I have gotten some great color inspirations from there. So you can imagine how excited I was to see this at the bookstore the other day.

    It’s a compilation of all the feature articles into one handy book. It’s a very useful guide from well-known designers and they describe their favorite paint colors and how they used them.  

    ***Disclaimer: Make note that the printing process can greatly change how the paint swatches look on paper vs. real life.

    Monday, May 17, 2010

    Say Please

    Boy, my family has been busy this month. I honestly think May is busier for us than December. We’ve had the start of softball for Bookworm and Sassypants celebrated her 6th birthday this weekend.  Then there’s all the end of school activities like ice cream socials, field trips, and science projects. I’m one tired mama.

    I’m hoping I can get back to blogging soon. I have sooo many ideas, but as you can see, I’ve been a tad bit busy. 

    The other day when I was picking up a few party items at Michael’s, I found the cutest thing where the $1.00 items are. You know that spot that lures you in like fresh baked bread? Yeah, that spot where just $1.00 turns to $16.00.

    Here’s “Lunchbox Love” cards. There’s only 4 cards per “sample” package at Michael’s, but you can order more online here.  The cards are the size of a credit card, and are quite sturdy. I send a note most days in my girls’ lunchboxes. It’s usually a quick “I love you.”, “I’m proud of how well you’re doing on your spelling tests.”, etc. I didn’t think they really thought much about them, until the days I forget. Then last week at open house, I saw that Bookworm has saved ALL her notes in her cubby. I almost started crying. She doesn’t throw them away….she saves and reads them. ***Warm, fuzzy Mommy feelings***

    What I love about the “Lunchbox Love” cards is that there is a bit of trivia on the back. My favorite one….”A turtle can breathe through its butt.” ~~Right up my girls’ alley.


    Images from:

    Aren’t these adorable? They also have ones that aren’t necessarily for kids. Check them out here.

    Thursday, May 6, 2010

    The Bean Jar

    Let me introduce you to our “Bean Jar.” I’ve done this reward system for our girls quite a while now. It’s super easy and motivating to children. It also works great for little ones (just make sure they aren’t in the “let’s but everything in our mouth stage”). Your children should be old enough to be able to tell you the things they want to “buy” with their beans. This worked at age 3.5 - 4 years old for us, but I’m sure you can easily adapt this to any age.

    The Bean Jar


    • You can use anything as “currency”. It can be rocks, erasers…whatever. You don’t want anything that is fun or edible like candy. It should be boring, so that they don’t want to play with it.
    • For every time your child(ren) does something the FIRST time you ask, they get (1) “bean”.
    • The child saves up their beans to earn special privileges.
    • This is only a reward system. Beans cannot be taken away for bad behavior.


    • Encourages children to respond to you the first time around vs. repeating, threatening, or punishing.
    • Teaches children the value of rewards that aren’t always linked to money or allowances.
    • Lets the parents see which rewards are valuable to the children.
    • Teaches children how to “save up” and earn greater rewards.
    • Teaches counting and adding.

    How To:

    • Decide what type of “currency” you want to use. For our children, we used dried black beans and lima beans.
    • Have a different bean for each child to avoid confusion.
    • Get a container for each child with their name on it. I think I got these at The Dollar Tree. image
    • Sit down with your child and make a list of fun things they’d like to do & the amount of beans needed to do each activity.
    • Focus on activities rather than things you buy.
    • Make sure you include activities that include 5 beans all the way to 150 beans. If the child has to work for months to get a reward, it’s hard for them to be motivated. The first time Sassypants earned a reward, her greatest goal in life was to keep earning more beans.


    This is just a sample of what our chart has on it. Depending on your child’s age, you can change the rewards to whatever is of value to your child. You’ll probably want to be specific in times, and even set a timer for the timed activities.

    • 5 beans=Extra 15 minutes at night to stay up to read, cuddle or play.
    • 5 beans= One-on-one play time with Mom or Dad for 15 minutes. Kid’s choice of activity.
    • 10 beans=Play 1 board game of child’s choice (you may want to put a time limit or number of plays on this one)
    • 10 beans=Any craft for 30 minutes
    • 15 beans=Ice cream after school
    • 15 beans=Watch a movie together at home
    • 25 beans= Go to mall or bookstore and play for one hour (no buying treats or toys)
    • 25 beans=Buy Play-Doh or Model Magic
    • 50 beans=Friend at our house for 2 hours for a playdate
    • 50 beans=1.5 hours at the park
    • 75 beans= “Queen of the Day”- on a non-school night, she gets to choose meals and 2 activities
    • 100 beans= Sleepover at our house (only 1 or 2 friends)
    • 150 beans=Trip to Chuck-E-Cheese with 25 tokens
    • 150 beans=1/2 day trip to the waterpark

    As you can see, I try to focus on “activities” rather than always buying something. We have lots of other things on our list too, but you get the idea.

    The great thing about the bean jar is the fact that you can do it ANYWHERE. I keep a snack size ziploc in my purse with both their beans in it. If they earn beans while we’re out, I’ll transfer the earned beans into my zipper pocket, then put them in their container when we get home.

    Do you all have a reward system that works for you? I’d love to hear your ideas.

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010

    Gasp! I Got a Facelift!!

    I'm so excited to share with you my new and improved blog design. I loved my first one, but I was ready for a facelift. Penny Lane Designs did my fabulous redo, and I highly recommend her.

    I apologize for the lack of posting lately. It's the end of the school year for the girls, so we're busy, busy. I have lots of posts that I've started, but just can't get my act together. Hopefully, I'll finish one or two by the weekend.