Monday, August 31, 2009

The Other Mama's Birthday Bash- Day 2- Lisa Leonard Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed. said the Winner is commenter #34 Lori from Building Our Nest. Congrats, Lori!!

The thing I love most about jewelry is that I don't have a fat day necklace. I don't have to suck in when I wear certain bracelets and I don't ever have a bad earring day {unless I lose one which does happen occasionally}. Spanx are not needed for any piece of jewelry that I own- and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Classic jewelry looks great on everyone! For example, I am pretty sure we passed around the same set of pearls for those sorority composite pictures in college. You know the one where your face is a miniscule oval, but you obsess over YOUR teensy, tiny oval? No matter what color shirt the committee decided you would all wear, you all looked good in classic pearls year after year.

The same holds true for Lisa Leonard's jewelry. It is hands-down, my most commonly worn item that I own. I have 2 of her necklaces and I get compliments on them almost every day. Because I wear one of them almost every day.
I try really hard to not wear them at the same time because that would be ghetto and I wouldn't treat Lisa like that. But my main decision in the morning is which one to wear.

This is the tiny squares necklace that has my kid's names on it.

tiny squares necklace

And this is the oval monogram necklace that has my monogram on it, of course.
It's H D H. And I love that it's symmetrical.
Hi. I'm Hillary. And I'm quirky.

oval monogram necklace

This jewelry is absolutely perfect for a gift! If you are of the male species, please take note. This is the perfect Mother's Day, Anniversary, Let Me Out of the Doghouse Day or It's Just Wednesday gift.

Since it's my birthday and we are talking about gifts, please allow me to give a few gift pointers:

1) Do not regift unless you use the go-to phrase, "Someone gave this to me, but I knew you would enjoy it more". Much like, "Bless her heart" following "She just can't back away from that dessert table" exonerates the sayer of such harsh words, that phrase allows you to re-gift.

2) Do not regift and leave the original card in the present.
This happened to me at a baby shower. It was all I could do to not read the card out loud, but I just let it slide and laughed really hard on the inside. And then passed the gift along to someone else later.

3) Don't make a big deal out of asking for gifts if it's your birthday.
This drawing of attention to oneself is generally frowned upon and tacky.

Hillary's 10th birthday party

1988- my 10th birthday party at my grandmother's pool
I was wearing my pink OP swimsuit that I thought was the coolest thing since Max Headrom.

4) Don't ever send a singing telegram. Period.

5) You can never go wrong with flowers {and not carnations, people}. I have a flower delivery story for another time that would go perfectly here, but I am already rambling. Quick version: me nursing with blinds semi-open+ really persistant flower delivery guy looking for signature= no tip.

6) Know the political affiliation of recipient.
Here is my fourth birthday party. {Not quite the small, quiet affair we threw for Ollie's 4th birthday last week.}

Hillary's 4th birthday

I'm pretty sure those lovely faux flowers were not part of my gifts, but that Donkey Party box was. What in the world? Did my family used to have members of the Donkey Party in it? This was 1982, so I'm positive it did not. I was a little Alex P. Keaton in training, so I'm thinking that was a pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey game.
And that bowl cut? Yes. Still there. It had a long run.

7) Do not give sisters joint presents just because they share the same birthday. This goes for twins, too. But for us, my sister and I have one day between our birthdays and would get puzzles to "share". Just what every 9 and 5 year old want.

8) Do not, under any circumstanes, give someone a perm for their birthday.
Specifically someone who had a bowl cut in the first place.

Hillary's birthday party -qu.

I'm pretty sure this is my 11th birthday party. Skating at Bob-A-Lou.
Can any LA peeps tell me if that fine establishment is still open?

9) Always, always ALWAYS go with some good jewelry!
And that brings us back to my friend, Lisa. She's become super famous now and I'm so proud to know her. You will love her, too!

Today's Giveaway is a $50 Gift Certificate to Lisa's Jewelry Store: Lisa Leonard Designs.

To enter to win:
* Go to Lisa's site and shop around.
* Leave a comment in the comments section and tell me what you would purchase if you won. To do this, click the word "COMMENTS" directly below this post. Then type in the big blank section and click post. Easy peasy.
* You have to leave your e-mail address with your comment. If you know your e-mail is attached to your Blogger account, then that's fine, too. Want to do this and don't know how? Read my quick tutorial on it here.
* One entry per comment.
* But you can gain another entry by becoming a blog follower and then leaving a comment to tell me so. If you already follow this blog, then you can click for another comment to let me know that. Please read my view of becoming a blog follower and what it is if you have any questions.
* Or you can Tweet about this giveaway and reference the post and leave a comment to tell me you did.
* Or you can write about it on your blog and link to this post and leave a comment to tell me you did. {WOW that's FOUR ways to enter!!} {And a max of 4- not 4 per day.}
* One winner will be chosen at random on Friday at noon and will be notified via e-mail.
* Please let me know if you have any questions at all about entering.
* Each giveaway is separate, so if you entered yesterday's great Homemade Gourmet giveaway, you need to also enter this one separately. That HG Giveaway is open until Thursday at noon, so mosey on over there and sign up, if you haven't already!

This post is linked to Amanda's Top Ten Tuesday {fine, I went with 9} at Oh Amanda and Jo-Lynne's Things I Learned This Week at Musings of a Housewife.

Happy shopping! Lisa also has an amazing personal blog, too. She is an awesome photographer. So hop by there, too, and tell her hey from us!

Happy Birthday Bash! I'm having so much fun! Thanks for playing along!

I only follow one Guy and you ain't it, sweetheart

Let me be clear here.
I hate the term, "follower".

As a good WASP-y church girl, there are certain church words you have to know how to use in conversation: "believer", "let me pray about that and get back to you", "convicted", and "worship".
By the way, "worship" is a noun and place- as in, "After I get my coffee at the Cappucino and Christ service, I'll see you in worship". {Since my newly- minted 4 year old is in this service- I didn't make that up; that's the name of our contemporary service- with us, now, there is not much verb-worshiping that goes on in our row. We are just present AT worship shushing and bribing him and clasping hands over his loud mouth. Since we are good teachers and all.}

But I digress with loads of parentheses.

There are also certain words that you are NOT supposed to use among the church crowd: "idol" {as in American or any other}, "temple tables" and "follower". Follower would be in the context of anything other than Christ.
It's not that these words are wrong, per se; it's just that pastors preach sermons around these terms, they take on additional meanings and then slowly you flag them in your vocabulary as bad. Much like the word "gay" used to mean happy when the Flintstones "had a gay old time". Now, as you might have heard, it means something all together different.

The thing about Blogger {the name of the platform that I use for this blog} is that you can't change the title of the section for "followers". {If there are any code junkies out there and there is some way to do this; please let me know!} I didn't post it for about a year because it gave me the hibby jibbies {technical, I know} and then with my blog redesign, we took away that option from the top bar. So, I finally put it up to give people the option to "follow".

This follow section {over there on the right} gives you the ability to receive all my posts as soon as they come out on your blogger home page and in your Google Reader. The Google Reader is like a newspaper that sends only the links you have signed up for to your page. You just log in and catch up on all your "stories". At least that's what my grandmother called them {not blogs, of course; soap operas}. If you read more than 10 blogs, I would highly recommend you use a reader {there are several versions of this, but I use Google}.

The little tiny heads over there give me an idea of whom I'm writing to and for. Sometimes I'm just sitting away down here by myself in my basement snorting at my own jokes and hoping that somebody else gets my twisted since of humor. So thank you for clicking that to show me that you are out there. You inspire me to keep writing. I can't tell you how much I appreciate you being a part of my life and this blog.

Please do not ever think that I am under the impression you are following me. Hopefully, in some small tiny way, I can point you to God, who is The One you and I should be following. If you "follow" along with this blog, I think of it like being a Facebook friend who wants to keep up with status updates. Just please don't comment with your Mafia Wars or Farmtown score, okay?

Alright. I'm off my soapbox, now.
As you were.
I'm back to giveaways. Stay tuned for some Lisa Leonard!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Other Mama's Birthday Bash- Day 1- Homemade Gourmet Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed. The lucky winner per is commenter #79- Rachel from The Jordan Journal. Hope over to tell her congrats... or that you're mad at her. Whatever helps you sleep at night.
I love food. Most of the time I like to cook it. All of the time I like to eat it. Hence my neverending hip issue.
But enough about me.

Wait! This week is ALL about me! It's my birthday {on Thursday, but we- meaning "I"- celebrate all week} so this week is going to be jam packed with fun. One of my favorite things to do is host a blog giveaway. So, there will be FIVE- that's right- FIVE different themed giveaways here this week highlighting my favorite things.

I can't give away sarcasm or 80s music, so I'm going with some of my other favorites: food, jewelry, blogging, God and home accents. I should have probably put God first, but He's not 'till later in the week and He gets it.

: : : : : : : : : : : : :

I am turning 31 this week which means I was born in 1978. When pictures were grainy and bottle feeding was cool {See? I've always loved food}:

baby hill and mom

Apparently I would only fall asleep on my dad's chest.
Here is the first picture of me and my dad. Isn't he a cute young thing? He was 26!

baby hill and dad

Here I am with Other Mama {after whom this here bloggity blog is named}. Please notice the stylish hospital curtains in the background. Pictures weren't just orange-y brown in this time period; the whole world was orange-y brown.

baby hill and other mama

And here we are getting home. I am going to take a guess that I wasn't in a car seat.
I also think my mom possibly wore that night gown home.

I know for a fact, though, that I was in a baby gang and already knew my gang signs. It's in my orange-y brown baby book.

baby hill at home

Back to eating: I have always been a big fan. My mom and dad say that I went through a period where I didn't eat anything yellow, though. No bananas, eggs, cheese, etc. They said I would throw anything yellow across the room.

I can assure you it has been a good 30 years since I have thrown or even backed my chair away from any sort of cheese, so you'll be happy to know I'm over that.

These days I'm into yummy foods that will work for my whole family. Because I HATE to make different meals for my kids. Anybody else?
I have found something that is one of my FAVORITE things that I want to share with you. It's Homemade Gourmet- have you heard of it? It's a company that was created by a mom who wanted to have home cooked meals for her family, but needed more time to make them. So, she started with mixes that make dinner prep easy.

My good friend Melanie is a consultant with their company and I have been hooked ever since I had my first taste! The food is delicious {it REALLY doesn't taste like pre-packed space food- trust me- I know about space food}, it is very reasonably priced and it is EEEE-ZEEEE.

They have TONS of products! I love and have used the pie mixes, bread mixes, skillet dinners and cookie mixes. The thing I have made the MOST, though is the 4 Meals in 4 Minutes. These allow you to prep meals in zip top bags and freeze them. Then you bring them out of the freezer and plop in a crock pot for dinner!

I ♥ a crock pot. Throwing something in a crock pot and turning into a wonderful meal is the best feeling! You really didn't have to cook!!

I mentioned my affection for Homemade Gourmet in this post and- whodathunkit- Tami VanHoy, the founder of Homemade Gourmet stopped by. She writes an amazing food blog called Around the Table With Tami and a fantastic and uplifting spiritual blog called Food for the Soul.

Tami and I have kept in touch and it's safe to say that I love her more than I should love an internet friend. She is SO very kind that she sent me a little birthday gift to share with you.

Today's giveaway is the Let's Make Dinner Collection from Homemeade Gourmet. It's a package chocked full of 17 mixes that will make 20 meals {you can freeze or eat right away} for your family. Are you excited? That's a month's worth of weeknight meals that you don't have to cook!!! And I assure you you will have leftovers for lunch or the weekends.

It arrives in this tiny unassuming box:
Let's Make Dinner box
Then you open it to find your recipe list and these cute little mixes:
Let's Make Dinner box 1

Then you start opening and realize that it's a TON of stuff!!
Let's Make Dinner mixes 2
And that the recipes are SUPER easy to make! You put meat, the mix and a few other {sometimes just one other} ingredients together. Then you smoosh in a ziploc bag! That's it!!!
Homemade Gourmet Let's Make Dinner Recipes
It has recipes with everything from BBQ to Mexican and from Chipotle Raspberry Chicken to Slow Cooker Meatloaf.

If you work or are tired at night, you will love this. Or if you just want to have more time with your family, spouse or cats, you will love this. If you like food, do I have to say it? you will LOVE this!

And would you like to know why I'm so excited? Because Tami sent me one for my birthday, too!! I am overwhelmed at her generosity and so thankful to be able to extend it to you!

So, here's how you enter to win:
* Leave a comment in the comments section. To do this, click the word "COMMENTS" directly below this post. Then type in the big blank section and click post. Easy peasy.

* You have to leave your e-mail address with your comment. If you know your e-mail is attached to your Blogger account, then that's fine, too. Want to do this and don't know how? Read my quick tutorial on it here.

* One entry per comment.

* But you can gain another entry by becoming a blog follower and then leaving a comment to tell me so. If you already are a follower, then you can click for another comment to let me know that.

* Or you can Tweet about this giveaway and reference the post and leave a comment to tell me you did.

* Or you can write about it on your blog and link to this post and leave a comment to tell me you did. {WOW that's a lot of ways to enter!!}

* One winner will be chosen on Thursday at noon and will be notified via e-mail.

*If you are not the lucky winner and still want to know more about HG or their wonderful products, Melanie is offering a 15% discount to anyone who e-mails her with orders. Please click her name back there to go visit her and find out more. There is a button to e-mail her questions and I'll be happy to answer any questions you have, as well.

OK! Comment away! Someone is going to win and it might as well be you!

Happy Birthday Bash! I'm excited!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Angel is a Centerfold

Last week my MIL, SIL {that's mother-in-law and sister-in-law if you are behind the times} and I went to My Sprited Art for Mother's Day.

What? Your calendar says it's August. Oh, yes. Well those are just details.
Carrie {SIL} and I gave Jason's mom {and Carrrie's- have you got the family tree, yet?} a girls trip to paint for Mother's Day and just now got around to following through on our end of the deal. Did you notice that we got a nice trip in with it, as well? Those are the best kind of presents: the ones where you get to share in the fun!

I've done these painting classes before and love them! Have you done one? They are everywhere and are called all different things {sips and strokes, etc}. What is the name of yours?

Our teacher, who was great, assured us that what originally looked like a termite would eventually turn into angel. Here is my MIL, Connie, with her termite/ angel in the beginning.

Angel 1

And that the only rule is to not dip your paint brush in your wine glass.

Angel 3

And sure enough- termite no more! Here is my finished angel:

Angel 4

And our group shot. I love how everyone's painting ends up looking differently. I've always wondered though if enough people do these classes then all the home interiors around town are going to have the same painting in them. Doncha think?

Angel 2

After this class- all week- I have had "My Angel is a Centerfold" stuck in my head. And that's okay because I love that song! There are certain songs that always made me get up and dance and that was one of them.

In college, we hung out at a few fine establishments where one might partake of an adult beverage {okay- fine- BAR} and the best bands were the ones who would play these amazing 80s songs that we all grew up with. I would throw my beverage down, grab a friend and run to the dance floor. Anyone else?

Here is a list of my favorites {click on these videos at your own risk}:
1. My Angel is a Centerfold- you have to love the "na na" part. And the whistling at the end is bound to be stuck in your head.
2. 867-5309/Jenny- Niiii eeee iiiiii eeeee eyen
3. Jessie's Girl- teen angst at it's best. And the only use of "moot" in a song that I can recall.
4. Dixieland Delight- I know- Country- Not me at all MOST of the time. But I am from Alabama, people. And the fast (latter) part of this song is wonderful. And they mention the Mason Dixon line which I love. {Only later in life did I realize that this North and South dividing point is in Pennsylvania.} And I honestly love almost every Alabama song. It might be a pre-requisite when you live here.
5. Come on Eileen- I don't know why I love this song so. Other than the duuurrr aahhhh duuuurr aahhhh part, it's kind of bland, but it's a great one to dance to.
6. Karma Chameleon- As a child of the 80s, this has to be on your list of favorites. No one knows what it means, stands for or even the actual words. And that's okay. Because no one understands Boy George, either, so it all fits together well.

Let me know your favorites! What did I miss?

OK- I'm off to update my iPod. I need a little more keytar in my playlists.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

OR the Bible Tells Me So

It's really hard to ask a child to stop singing Jesus Loves Me. I'm afraid it will be a direct, first class ticket to Hell, so I've just been humming it along with Ollie all day.

And I have heard this catchy tune about 346 times today.

I'm sure it has something to do with the fact Ollie is learning it at pre-school. {Not that he didn't know it before, but I think they must've been drilling it into them for some sort of recital/ performance/ water torture for parents .}

Ollie has changed to a new pre-school this fall for several reasons. The main one is that we want both our kiddos to be encouraged to grow in a Christian environment. I understand this isn't what everyone decides, but this was right for our family right now. And so far, with minor transitional adjustments {and only one note home and a separate fence climbing incident} it's going pretty well.

Don't get me wrong, it warms my heart to hear a sweet, {mostly} innocent child sing about Jesus loving them. But his version is hilarious.
He's very certain of all the words- especially the "OR" clause. And he adds his own special flare at the end.
It's too hard to explain... so just listen to a bit of it.

OR the Bible tells me so from Hillary Dunham on Vimeo.

There you have it. Either Jesus loves him, or else the Bible tells him so. So, he's covered either way. And that's just fine by me.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

That's What Friends Are For

Did everyone else sing that song at the end of summer camp? Or was it Friends are Friends Forever? I'm getting my cheesy friendship songs confused; pardon emoi.

So, let's play out a scenario here. You get a friend request from a long lost {or semi- close for one sememster in college} friend on Facebook. You accept the request and are excited to see how this person is doing { if they have gained weight, gotten past that weird mole thing on their face and possibly started showering }. Only, you can't e-mail them or write on their wall. You want to tell them that your mutual friend is having a baby next week or that you just saw their mom getting her eyebrows waxed {praise the Lord!}, but you can't because of this lack of communication. You know they want to talk to you, but you have no way to get in touch with them.

This is where I stand with comments section on this blog. I'm about 2 cheesy 80s song references away from making it mandatory to enter your e-mail with your comment. I don't want people NOT to comment, but I want to reply back to you! I want to know you and tell you that your joke was funny and figure out how our mamas met at a garage sale or bunko, etc.

So, here is a quick tutorial on how to do such.

This is of such importance that I will now ask you to stop your blog cruising for 5 whole seconds and attend to this matter. All the blogs you frequent and {*gasp*} comment on will be thankful forever and ever, amen.

Step 1:
Go to your blogger Dashboard {it appears after you sign in} and click Edit Profile. It's right beside your picture. What? No picture?? Oh, my friend. We want to see you, too!
Tutorial 1

Step 2:
Click the little box that is the 3rd option down that asks if you want to show your e-mail address. Yes. You should. If you are commenting on a blog, then you should want to show your e-mail address for the love of Pete. Come out of the bloggy closet!

I didn't notice this whilst going wild with the pink paint brush, but you also should fill in the blank for the 2nd option under identity with your e-mail contact info. This will show your e-mail address when a comment shows up in the blog owners inbox. This is the easiest and most preferred way of getting back to you.

Tutorial 2
Even if you don't have a blog, you should do this.
Even if I already know your e-mail address, YOU should do this.
Even if you are still humming Friends are Friends Forever, YOU SHOULD DO THIS- especially you. You need a little pick me up after that song.
You're welcome.

Head on over to We Are That Family for other Works for Me Wednesday tips!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Pirate Birthday Party- It Takes a Bloggy Village

Just like our mothers and their mothers before them, I slaved over a goofy birthday party trying to make it as accommodating, child AND parent friendly and as much fun as possible. All for a 4 year old who would have had fun chasing a balloon around the playground with a stick. But the pictures for that? Oh, they would have been depressing. And certainly not blog worthy.

So we went for a pirate party. Aarrgghh.

In brief, the weather was amazing. I really owe God one for that. I can't tell you how many people {I think everyone there} commented on how wonderful the weather was. It was about 80 degrees with just enough cloud coverage in the sky and I think I saw some Care Bears sitting on those clouds sending down gentle breezes. And for the end of August in Alabama, that's about like Hades freezing right on over, so we'll take it. And I'll ask Al Gore about global warming later, but that's another post.

This party really fell into place because of you. That's right... YOU! I can't tell you how thankful I am to blog readers and friends all over. If there is anything I have learned, it's that you can't try to plan these large orchestrated affairs birthday parties all on your own. So that's where you stepped in.

I meantioned in this pirate post about possibly having a pirate party. My real life friend {who I originally met in Wal-Mart}, Erin, commented with several links to pirate birthday parties.

First was Amanda's Blog. {Here is her pirate party post.} We started chatting both felt like we knew each other, and it turns out that we grew up together. And played softball together. And so it was quite nice to reconnect. Not only did Amanda share her ideas, she sent me 2 inflatable pirate treasure chests and an inflatable pirate ship cooler! Isn't she awesome?!

My next new friend was Brandi at My Three Bubs. {Here is her pirate party post.} I loved her awesome costume and decoration ideas. And promptly stole them and had a pirate and princess dress up party.

My 2 little pirates

* you can click on one of these pictures and see the whole birthday party set at Flickr.

Then there was Jamie from The Newman News. {Jamie's pirate post, of course.} I completely copied her invitations word for word {I did change the birthday boy's name}, but cheated and sent them via Evite. I also LOVED {READ: Copied} her idea of a treasure dig. It was a huge hit, if I do say so myself.

Taking pride in stolen ideas? I'm not above it.

I would have also stolen Jamie's huge life size pirate ship, but, alas, I ran out of time. So she wins the prize for greatest-birthday-party-throwing-mom. The prize is a nap!

Finally, I owe a HUGE thank you to my friend Lisa from Alexanders in Atlanta. She went out of her way to send me directions for a 3D Pirate Hat Cake.
Because I accidentally deleted the first one.

Mine ended up not so 3D,

The Birthday cake that was 3D

but I am going to do a tutorial {ironic, you think?} later this week on how to do it the right way. Not any fault in Lisa's directions, of course. Only in my "following" of the directions at 11 pm on Friday night before the party on Saturday.

And you might notice the candle broke when the cake fell over. My hubs "glued" it back together with icing. He's nothing if not handy in a pinch.

So, I learned a lot this week from YOU and am happy to share at Musings of a Housewife's What I Learned This Week. Jo Lynne has a wonderful blog and is now a fun real life friend, as well. I just love you people. Really, I do.

Thanks for making my job much easier than it was for our mothers and our mothers before them. I guess I will have to take back my global warming crack now and thank Al Gore for inventing the internet. It has served me well, Al.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ollie!

Four years ago today, I was about 10 {out of 12} hours into labor. It was at hour number 12 when I was wheeled into an emergency C-section. And it was in that surgical room where I learned the first inkling about the personality of our first-born son; he likes to make a grand entrance.

I heard the staff shouting numbers after he was born:
"11- 2!"
"10- 5!"

I couldn't understand what they were guessing until they someone told us his weight: 10 pounds 8 ounces. Honestly, one of my first thoughts was, "Well I haven't gained 40 pounds for nothing!" And I was {selfishly} pretty glad he wasn't one of those scrawny babies. I knew he wouldn't be, but I had no idea he would be mistaken for a 3 month old in the newborn nursery.
The nursing staff sent me home 3 days after the C-section with specific orders not to lift anything over 10 pounds- except my child.

Just as he entered this world with a bang, he is still gregarious, outgoing and free. He's quick to swipe a toy, but also quick to apologize. He loves trains, robots, pirates, cars and super heroes and very rarely sits still. I am starting to see the baby-ish traits slip away as he prefers to play with his friends and actually cared who attended his birthday party. But that's okay. I'll take what I can because he still likes to sit in my lap, asks for hugs and requests pretty often that I be on his team for catch, Play-Doh or soccer. {What? You don't have competitive Play-Doh at your house?}

So, here's to a wonderful 5th year, O-man.
May you thrive at pre-school and soccer, make new friends and continue to love your brother. May you use your strengths for good {great negotiator} instead of evil {talking your brother into stealing candy for you both}. And most importantly, may you know that God loves you- more than Spiderman, the Backyardigans and even more than us.

I know you're starting to understand that discipline is no fun, that Mommy and Daddy don't always see eye to eye with you and that you can't always get your way. But at the end of the day, I will always be on your Play-Doh team.
Happy Birthday, my man.

O- 4 yrs

Photo courtesy of my good friend, Melissa Tash.
You should use her for your photography; really, you should.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cupcakes and Celebrations

You probably don't know this, but Ollie and I have birthdays that are very close together. His is about a week before mine, which henceforth and forevermore means that we will be broke around my birthday! Because a small little pirate party has turned into the price of a 7 day cruise without the all night buffets and people serving you constantly. I'm sure you know the phenomenon.

Anyway, to save money, I am making my own cake {more info on that later} and also serving cupcakes at the party. And at pre-school tomorrow. And for snack because 2 little boys can't resist the urge of 72 fresh cupcakes staring at them {I believe this is the same feeling as driving past Krispy Kreme when you see the flashing light; you just have to stop}. It feels like I have opened my own bakery. I'm only specializing in Betty Crocker's finest that can be baked with 2 added ingredients and in 20 minutes.

cupcake collage

In other news, I am planning a fun little bloggy celebration for my birthday.

jumping for joy

Ollie's excited for me. Recognize that mask? It's still hanging around... his neck.
Last year was #30 for me, so this year is a boring 31. To make it not so mundane, I'm going to do a week-long extravaganza of giveaways! I got this fantabulous idea from Melissa at A Familiar Path. I'm a copy cat, but it's my birthday {almost}, so you have to forgive me.

If you know of anyone who wants to give something away right here, then let me know! I have a few things up my sleeve and am working on more, so get your comment clicking finger ready! It's going to be fun.

Gotta go. It's time to make the doughnuts cupcakes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

An Apple a Day? Notsomuch.

As the child of a teacher, I noticed that our house started to fill up with lovely Dollar Tree paraphernalia {READ: Crap-ola} around Christmas every year. There were, of course, the mandatory apple ornaments, "vanilla" scented candles and enough ceramic teddy bear teachers to stuff your stocking.

But, the double whammy of this situation is that my maiden name is Hart. So, around Valentine's Day, just when you thought that pseudo-vanilla scent was gone for good, the onslaught began for Mrs. Hart. You could almost taste the smell of faux rose, apple cobbler or raspberry sorbet scents that filled the air. If it were up to me it would have filled the gar-baaage, but my mom is a much nicer person than I am. So we all had to suffer.

Now that things have come full circle and I am the parent, I want to make sure that our teachers are thrilled with the gifts we give them {let me add a disclaimer here before I get into trouble that my mom loved her gifts}. We want to show them how much we love them and care for them. And let's just be honest here: I would like my child to be their favorite and get special treatment. That's all I'm asking.

So, with that in mind, I'm sharing a little secret with you. I've started handing out this questionnaire to my kids' pre-school teachers. {I just started using Scribd tonight for this purpose, so let me know if it works okay for you. It changed my cute font, so e-mail me if you want the original, but know you can download and change the fonts to whatever you'd like.} This idea and 3rd degree line of questioning came from a good teacher/ friend of mine, so I got it from an inside source.

It asks the tough questions- like Bar-bwa WaWa:
What is your name including middle initial? {for monogram purposes, of course}
What is your favorite restaurant? {for gift cards or lunches}
What is your favorite drink? {to see if she writes Bud Light Lime or something of the sort. That's really a trick question...}

It's not too late if you have already started school. Just add a casual, "I forgot to get this to you on the first day, but we would really like to know more about you".

This is a wonderful tool if you got suckered into being are the room mom.
And it helps to have an edge on the room mom if you aren't her. I'm just saying...

The chance of possibly adding a gold star at the end of the week? Decent.
The suck up factor? Huge.
Finding out the way to a teacher's heart? Priceless.


For more Works for Me Wednesday Tips, head on over to We Are THAT Family.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Facebook: Friend or Foe?

Somewhere between the “nap” I received from a former pastor and friend using “Send your friends a condom” application {I really could not make that up} and the “I’m so glad we’re friends” request I received from my own MOTHER, I started to get curious about the plethora of things I was getting “gifted” with on facebook {by the way, I ignore them all- even the ones from my mother}.

Don’t get me wrong, I love facebook. And if you and I aren’t friends, yet, we should be. Go ahead; click right here to find me. I would hate for you to miss out on my life-altering status updates such as:
“Hillary just chased down the garbage truck and made him take my trash” and
“Hillary just rescued Henry from the TOP rung of the employee ladder at Hobby Lobby. And I thought it was going to be a boring day”.

Yes, I only cover important national news and such.

Where was I? Oh yes. With the popularity of Facebook, there are many applications/ requests/ games general office time killers that are starting to disturb me, though.

In no specific order, My Top 5 Goofiest Things on Facebook.

1. Mafia Wars
What in the world is this about? You get people on your team and go kill people? On Facebook? From I can gather, you win awards for certain “kills”, get guns, bombs and such from other players and beg people for weaponry. Isn’t this what video games are for? The ones where people get sucked in and spend their lives playing them and begin to exist in an online world? Oh- that’s facebook, now? Well, then that makes it perfectly clear. Pass me an MK47 {edited to add: My dad called and told me it was "A"K47. Thanks for being a faithful reader and gun guru, dad.} .

And I think this game is also called Sorority Life. Just use pink stilettos for your weapons.

2. Flair
The movie Office Space sufficiently covered this. I do not need to expound more. Nor do I need 17 pieces of flair for my Facebook suspenders. Thank you.

3. Farkle/ Lexulous (nee Scrabulous)
I am really happy that you beat your 12 year old nephew at either of these games, but you can also play them in real life. You know- without a mouse in your hand. And you can still eat Cheetos while doing it like you’re doing online. Yes, we see you.
Don’t think those orange fingers don’t show up on your screen.

4. Quizzes
I really thought all these quizzes were kind of silly in Seventeen magazine, but when you get an update that your high school History teacher is “Blanche” in the “What Golden Girls Character Are You?” quiz, it just seems a little over the top. I already know what Steel Magnolia I am {Truvy, of course- don’t we all want to be Truvy?} and I think I did the Myers-Briggs personality quiz in high school, so I don’t want to hash it all out again for the world to see. I don’t care what percentage of “True Huntsvillian” I am or what transformer, Ninja Turtle or Spice Girl I would be.

I just made the spice girl part up. I don’t think anyone can tell them apart.

5. Pillow fights/ pokes/ drinks, etc.
Please do not throw anything at me, pinch me, poke me, etc. If you wouldn’t do it in real life, then don’t do it on Facebook. Now, if you ACTUALLY want to buy me a margarita in real life, then we should talk.

With all that said, there are still things I love about Facebook. It can’t be all bad, can it?
So, in no specific order, here are My Top 5 Most Fun Things About Facebook.

1. Stalking Finding old boyfriends
Come on. Admit it. You know you love it, too! This is the best form of stalking imaginable. You can check out their spouse, their kids, their weight gain their job, their hairline ,etc. It’s the next best thing to a class reunion- and you don’t even have to diet or get a spray tan.

2. Hearing from old friends
How much fun is it to hear from your best friend from 4th grade? Mine lives in Boston now, graduated from Ivy League schools {*ahem* yes, that’s plural} and couldn’t believe that I had 2 children. She’s all hip and modern. And I’m all Grandma Moses. And just happy to be here.

Would you hold my dentures, while I get out my fixodent? Thanks, hunny.

3. Getting the neighborhood gang back together
Recently my childhood next door neighbor and best-est friend growing up posted these pictures.
How much fun is this?I had completely forgotten about my Strawberry Shortcake Bike.
Hillary and Josh Bikes
And my Punky Brewster outfits that I saved for Burger King birthday parties {where I was the only girl}.
Hillary and Josh birthday party
And, apparently, our love in preschool.
Hillary and Josh preschool
Don’t think I let those red pants get by without a comment.
And if you are wondering if I kept that bowl throughout childhood, the answer is yes.

4. Following the news
Sadly, FB is kind of my news outlet, these days. I can find out about hurricanes from my friends living on the coast, what’s going on with politics with people posting articles and the REALLY important things- like when Michael Jackson died. Yes, I heard it on Facebook first.

5. Middle school.
Does anything else need to be said? There is nothing better than a middle school dance picture popping up on Facebook. Like, oh, say, this one.
Twirp dance 7th grade
This is Facebook gold, my friends. Do you have any idea how much fun we all had making fun of ourselves? The fact that the Express Store had just opened in my small hometown is obvious. And my favorite comment by Beth H. was “Holy Bangs, Batman!”
Holy Spandex needs to be added, as well. Wow. That's all I can muster.

So there you have it. Thanks to Amanda at Oh Amanda for letting me play along with her Top 10 Tuesday. Stop by her lovely blog to check out some more Top Tens.

And I hope you paid attention. There will be a quiz on facebook after this.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Breakfast is always an adventure around here.

In attendance this morning we have:

super running man 1

Named and created by Ollie since this is the headband I wear running. Pretty ingenius, I think.

And hopefully Handy Manny will be here soon. Henry is calling him...

Phoning in Manny

On a calculator.

Gotta run. I hear something crashing. Be back soon.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dear Mr. Robinson, I owe you an apology

Blog stats can be addicting- like brownies that you made too early for your child's new teacher on the first day of school. They keep staring at you and telling you if you eat just one she'll never know.

And then a day later, there are only 3 small crumbly brownies left because you ate the vast majority in little tiny bites.

Not that I know or anything. {ahem} Where was I?

If you write a blog you know this phenomenon all too well. What's it going to hurt if you just peek at your stats? I use Google Analytics and the best part about the service is that they show you what people Googled to get to your site.

Now, here are my Top 5 favorite searches {just to clarify- not the most popular, but my favorite} that lead you, dear reader, to this site this month:

5. Cute Teen Boys
Really? Have I ever mentioned this? I have cute boys, but heaven forbid if they are ever teens. I know it won't happen, so stop all your talk of "time flies" and "enjoy it now". I can't hear you over the screaming from the train arguments and the cartoons. And that's how it will always be. I'm sure of it.

4. Magic 8 Ball Marriage
If I had a Magic 8 Ball for Marriages, I would have sold it at my sorority house and saved people about $48 million on big 'ole weddings. And I would have saved myself about $5,000 in pink silk bridesmaid dresses "that I'm sure you'll wear again" .

3. Old Stacked
What does this mean? What does it all mean? I hope these people eventually found what they were looking for... And I sure hope it wasn't here.

2. Large-Tinkey
This sounds like one of the Jay Leno horrible wedding announcements. To the Large and Tinkey families, I am so sorry for your unfortunate union. I will let you know how things turn out with my 8 ball. And if this is not a marriage, I do not want to know what a "tinkey" is. Thank you.

1. Smokey Robinson Has Fake Eyes
OK. So I may have mentioned once that I think Smokey had an eyeball transplant.

I don't even know if those are real, but if they are Smokey has the corner on the market. He most likely has the best colored contact salesman who keeps telling him, "it looks natural".

Yes, Smokey. As natural as, say, a deer in headlights. Ironically, this is also the look I return to you when I can't turn my eyes from yours.

With all this said, I'm sorry to make fun of your eyes, Smokey. I hope it's not YOU out there Googling to check if anyone says you have fake eyes. If you will just sing a little Tracks of My Tears or Second that Emotion, I will forgive you.

But if a tear falls out of that fake eye ball while you are singing I'm going to check to make sure it is real.

If it's not I'm going to sic my large tinkey on you. Whatever that means.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

If Necessity is the Mother of Invention...

Then Boredom is the Mother of Destruction.

Yesterday after nap, Ollie and Henry came up with this prize invention.
Invention 002.1
I am sure this is how the Wright Brothers started.
Invention 005.1
Or maybe the Marx Brothers.
Invention 006.1
Let's hope not the Marx brothers that included Karl Marx.
Invention 007.1
Maybe for clarity we should tell them to shoot for the 2 Stooges.
Yes, that's a dream that all mothers share.
Invention 008.1
At least they'd get paid to cut up and hit each other. And I could be their genius mom who inspired them at such a young age.
Yes. I'm sure that's it.

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