Wedding in the making...

I have been given a new task--one that I am finding so enjoyable. I am assisting my sister with the planning of her wedding and I've spent the last 2 nights on-line browsing cake and invitation sites. Oh my. Remember, I got married back in the dark ages, before the internet and before I really had a sense of style. It's a whole new world out there now, in the wedding web.

Here are two of my favorite sites so far: <--- the most elegant handmade, ribbon-adorned, richly-colored, special wedding invitations I've ever seen. I gasped. Litterally. <--- cakes that are dazzling in their simplicity.

As jp at Of Cats and Cardstock Blog so aptly put it: "I am a sucker for an attractive display." LOL! I like pretty things. Clean, simple, elegant, compelling and sentimental. Yep. I'm there.

Now if I could only get my house there. And my sons.

Wait. Sons. I should just give up that wish right now, shouldn't I.
Someone is beckoning from the closet.
I have to go.



Creative Stuff from the Grocery

For as long as I can remember, my mother has taken great delight in filling decorative tins with cookies. Whenever she bakes, her treats don't get wrapped in crunchy tin foil or stored haphazardly in a zip-lock baggie. Nope. They go in pretty (and now antique) decorative tins. It's a mom-thing. So it should come as no surprise that I equate decorative tins with peanut butter and oatmeal cookies. :)

Apparently tins are way more readily available now than they once were...because I am seeing them everywhere.

JoAnn's has an awesome selection of holiday tins...really pretty stuff there. Not as pretty as my mom's old ones...but pretty nevertheless. In all sorts of shapes and sizes. Tempting. And wouldn't you know it...I found some cool gift-card tins at the grocery. Kroger, of all places.
Made by Seastone. I had to indulge in a few of the snowflake ones. At $2, they just hoped into my buggy. :) I keep thinking of cool uses for them...beyond gift cards.

I'm not going to use the snowflake ones as gift card holders...but as tree ornaments. When they are hanging on the tree, I'll take a photo. (That would be after we get the tree next weekend.)

In other news, the holiday was wonderful. We went to my grandmother's for Thanksgiving and got to spend the day with my grandmother, my parents, my sister and her fiance' and a friend of hers, and my older younger brother. (LOL!)

It occurs to me that I have spoken (oops...written) many times here about my youngest younger brother, Army Andy, because he's (obviously) on my mind alot, given his chosen profession. Mainly, that he's in a dangerous place doing dangerous work.

But, I haven't told you so much about my oldest younger brother, Daniel. Until just recently, I would have sworn that Daniel was 7 years younger than me...but Deb set me strait when she was here...he's actually 9 years younger than me. Who knew? :) He's so cool. He can do anything with a saw and a hammer and some wood. He is a Texas boy (he has overcome the fact that he was born in Mississippi)and he reminds me alot of my Dad. He works hard and plays hard and he's very independent. He's a genuinely good-hearted man, and I am proud of that. :)

So now you know.

PS I've been oogling *kirstie*'s pea gallery for too long tonight...I am so drawn to her succinct style. Good stuff.


I want my X!

Edit to Add: These small alphabet stickers came from Michaels and are made by EK Success. I'm so flustered right now. There's no X in the set. Where is the X? Who made the brilliant choice to leave out the X?

It's crazy.



It's been a photo-rich few days...I have about 300 to edit for the pre-k photo catalog, in addition to my own stuff. I'm a Picture Mom in Grey's class...each Picture Mom uploads to the Snapfish account (subdivided by teachers) and then the teacher picks the ones she wants to print for each child's personalized "yearbook"--each child gets a "yearbook" at the end of the year containing 10-12 photos of him/her and class photos. There are 12 friends in each class.
I'm enjoying doing it, but there is a drawback. As a Picture Mom, I have access to the Snapfish account and can see everyone's contribution to our class file. As you can maybe guess, I am hard-pressed not to print all the great ones of my little boy and scrap them on my own. If I do this, he's going to need a whole album for just pre-k! No way am I going to set that precident! So, while it's very hard, I'm being very selective. I am considering printing them and just doing a straight photo album for him.
We had a special Indian guest at school yesterday and then of course, the not-so-traditional Thanksgiving feast. (The food was made up of only things that probably would have been served at the first Thanksgiving!)
And my submission to the Christmas Card Swap. (Scenic Route) The ribbon is chocolate brown. I'm stuck on chocolate satin ribbon lately.
Tonight is the Steven concert. Can't wait.
I'm drooling over this recipe...Caramel Apple Pear Granola Cream Pie from the Food Network Pie Challenge. I'm thinking about combining it with an Oatmeal Granola crust that my mom and sister "developed" and omitting the pears. I love being smack in the midst of apple season. Braeburns and fujis looked the best at the stand today...I've been existing on turkey, cheese and apples for 2 days now. That's just all that really appealed to me.
Happy Friday!


Yep, You're Old

A bit of blogging fluff for a brain that needs something to rest on for a bit:

You know you are aging when the actors who played super-cool twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings when you were in college begin to take on roles portraying parents of teenagers.

When I was in college, in 1993, Dean Cain landed the role of Superman in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. I loved that show and managed to watch most every episode. I'm even considering buying the DVDs. It was a good show. This was the same show that launched Terri Hatcher's career into the stratosphere. Afterall, who can really argue with Superman's girl, right. It ran from 1993 to 1997.

So last night I recorded CSI: Miami on the DVR and watched it late in the evening after the dudes went to bed. Can you guess who had a guest roll as the parent of a teenager? Yep. Superman, himself. Frightening.

And while I don't really put much stock in People Magazines' definition of "sexy man", I'm agreeing with Tracie. What on earth? Matt Damon? Are you kidding me? How blah can you get? Were the People people asleep at the wheel or what?

No, thank you.


Quick to Say

Just a quick note to say I had about 20 minutes of IM'ing with my brother, Andy today. He's in a rough place on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan but counting the days until his leave. Sometimes just knowing he's OK for today makes all the difference.

More later.


The rest of the story

This is the photo of the scrapbook store in Georgia. Forgot to add it to the other post.

In other news:

Have you seen Verve Visuals? Yummy stamps and an awesome gallery.

Little dude is obsessed with tape. Any kind of tape will do and it's seriously, it's becoming a problem. He's progressed to being a tape thief. Since the beginning of October, I've purchased 4 rolls of packing tape and he's made off with every single one. It's so bad, I've started hiding all tape in the laundry closet. Please don't anyone tell him. I'm going broke. :)

We went to the park for "Leaf Day" yesterday and I got lucky with this photo. He's about to turn 12. Can I really be the mother of a 12 year old?

Last week I cleaned out and re-organized the pantry and was surprised at the oddball things that had collected in there . I love having a nice neat pantry with everything visible and easily-accessible.

Apparently, (ahem..) it's been a while since I cleaned out tho...there was an expired can of blueberries in there along with a few things I was delusional canned artichokes and a seasoning mix for fajitas that looked like it may have survived the 80s. There was also a can of beets that I have no idea how it got in there (I would never buy beets), 2 stray V8 cans, a can of cherry pie filling (what can I do with that?) and of course, a can without a wrapper. Mystery. No idea what it is. Should I open it?

I finally got around to watching the CMA awards at 3am on Sunday morning while I couldn't sleep. Alison Krauss was positively phenomenal, of course. That woman is so amazing. Beautiful, elegant, and soulful. And a consummate musician. I'm in awe every time I see her perform.

I'm not a fan of that particular Sugarland song, but I liked Jennifer Nettles performance because she made you believe it (She sold it) and her giddiness in accepting the award was so sweet. I love it when winners aren't blaise' about an award. I've never watched American Idol so Kelly Pickler has kinda been under my radar...but she was awesome and real. Kelly Williams-Paisley's name from Brad's last tour was hilarious.

And lastly, Tracie asked earlier why we skipped Halloween, as I mentioned in a previous post. No, we aren't nuts. Honestly, our dudes can take it or leave it...some years we do it, some years we don't. We don't eat much candy and having excessive amounts of it in the house is not a good idea for me (I'm diabetic).

Last year, 90% of the trick or treaters at our house were older teenagers who were, in my opinion, way too old to be trick or treating. If you are old enough to wear a sexy French maid costume that shows too much of your bee-hind, you are too old for trick or treating. In my book, anyway. And then there's the safety issue.

Don't worry. The boys are not deprived. We dress up as fire men and tool men and a host of other characters at least once a week. We go out for dinner on Halloween and have a great time as a family.
So now you know.


Adventures in Peachtree City

Sweet thing had a one-day meeting on Saturday in Peach Tree City GA so big dude and little dude and I went along. The drive down was beautiful. The leaves in southeast Tennessee around the mountains decided finally that the time was right to don their fall finery and boy, what a magnificent show. Purple mountains majesty has become burnt umber, sienna, flaming orange, golden sun yellow, rust and deep red...and wow!

Unfortunately, there were some low points on this trip. I am extremely glad it was just an over-nighter. Anymore flubs and I would have been in bad shape.

The afternoon started with a Starbucks false alarm, which is enough to put any of us in a bad mood. Most of you know about my honey's infatuation/addiction to Starbucks. Well, a couple miles before exit 174 off I-24 near the outskirts of Chattanooga, we saw a billboard claiming there was a Starbucks at Exit 174. Sweet thing starts drooling and we decide to stop. :) We take the exit and drive around. No Starbucks in sight. Drive around some more. Find a police officer and ask. He laughs. "Nope, no Starbucks in this part of town." So we decide to stop at a gas station. I go in and collect drinks for everyone...and ask the young woman at the register if she knows if there's a Starbucks nearby. She says "You are the third person to ask me that today. They are building one over in front of the Wal-Mart, but it's not nearly open yet. I don't know why they put that sign up so early."

Indeed. Buncha teases. :)

We love Hampton Inns and stay in them whenever we travel. And that means "many" times a year--so many that Joal should really have a suite named after him...but the one in Peach Tree City was pretty much the worst Hampton Inn we've ever encountered.

I noticed as we walked down the corridor that there was a stale smell lingering. It wasn't exactly pleasant in the room. It wasn't gross but it wasn't up to their usual standards. For sure. The room was nice but the bathroom left me wanting a bottle of Fantastic in a bad way. Apparently, judging by the excessive number of "short n curlies" in the shower, someone in housekeeping was not inspired to do a good job that day. I was seriously considering not even using it until I could find a Wal-greens and buy some bathroom cleaner.

We had arrived late (around 7pm) and it was obvious that the hotel was booked solid, based on two buses in the parking lot. (Never a good sign.) We decided to go out for dinner and chose Chili's, because a) we don't have a Chili's at home and b) we used to eat there pretty often when we lived in Mississippi. It was about 8pm when we were finally seated, and looking back, it's clear we should have gotten something faster and gone back to the hotel. Little dude was too tired for going out, as was his father, who had attended a 6AM meeting and then driven 5.5 hours. My bad. Won't make that mistake again--Chili's or not.

Of course, when it starts to slide down hill, it can only gain momentum. :) We were lucky enough to get seated in an area being served by the worst-trained server on the planet. She only had one flaw really--she didn't listen. Not a good sign. The drink order was mangled, but fixed quickly. Then Big Dude got choked up on a spicy dip that went with the appetizer and was badly in need of some water. Joal ended up having to ask a passing waitress for water "quickly please". Got the water. Finally. The food arrived and Big dude's plate was not what we had ordered. The order was delivered by someone from the kitchen, not our server. When Joal pointed out that the plate wasn't right, this person said "I'll tell your server."

What happened to "Let me fix that for you"? I'm baffled.

So the server comes over and Joal tells her "This is supposed to be a chicken sandwich."

She says "No you pointed to the chicken pattie."

Is she really arguing now?

"No, it's definitely supposed to be a sandwich."

Reluctantly, she says "I'll be right back with that." I guess I just don't get it. No apology--just attitude. If being a waiter is your thing, why not do it good? We aren't super-demanding customers. We don't act badly or let out children run amuck and bother people. We don't change our minds 50 times. We aren't sloppy, loud or noisy. We don't get drunk. We are pretty easy...if you take the time to listen. The most outrageous requests we make are for extra napkins and that you keep the Diet Coke and the tea glasses filled. Apparently, that wasn't in her job description, tho. I have never been so glad to get out of a place.

Went back to the hotel. It was cleaned while we were out (thank goodness). Got the dudes settled and were comfortable until about 11:45. Joal and I were watching tv when he hears something in the bathroom and gets up to investigate. Sure enough, there's water draining thru the circulation vent in the ceiling, down onto our floor. Lots of water. He calls the desk and they come to investigate. So at a few minutes before midnight, we get moved down the hall to another room. This one had a clean, drip-free bathroom but there's a layer of dust on everything. At this point, I just need to go to bed and hope for a better tomorrow--dust or not. We hauled the sleeping dudes to the new place, and got all settled.

I don't think we would not have noticed if someone had pulled the fire alarm. :)Thankfully, no one did.

Saturday, we got up and got packed. The boys and I had made plans to meet up with the wife and children of one of Joal's co-workers. We found them just after breakfast and decided to hit the local scrapbook store I had looked up online. Scrapbooks, Invitations and More is housed in a cute cottage just a few miles from Peachtree City, in Fayetteville and boy, is it jam-packed with awesomeness. :) Even with a total of 5 children in tow, we managed to do some shopping. The store keeper was so very nice to us. The children did as well as could be expected. I finished up my shopping first, so I took 4 of the 5 outside to sit on the patio. The store keeper brought out a cup of sidewalk chalks and invited them to draw on the concrete. I thought that was incredibly thoughtful.

I really liked this store and could have stayed alot longer than we did. Great product...Quickutz, ribbons, Inque Boutique, Maya Road. Lots of neat art on the walls. If we ever end up having a meeting in that area again, I'll definitely go back to the scrapbook store there! But not to the Hampton. Sorry.

One neat thing about Peachtree City is that it's Georgia's first planned community and it's a golf cart community. All over the city there are these secondary roads that look like over sized sidewalks. They are made for the many (many) golf carts that people drive all over this community. They have special parking areas and crossings. It's the oddest thing I've ever seen. The dudes thought it was the coolest thing since Kool-aid!

We came home after the meeting ended on Saturday afternoon. I am so glad to be home.

This has gotten really long. I'm going to hold on to the rest of the news until tomorrow.

Happy Monday!


Cry to Jesus

Sometimes the phone rings and I just know it's not going to be good.

At 7:02 am this morning, G's pre-k teacher called to say that school was being cancelled today. Today in Franklin TN a beautiful woman I have long admired from a distance has to find the courage to tell her 2 young daughters that their father won't be coming home tonight because he's resting in the arms of Jesus. And then she has to go on breathing without her husband. While I don't know her very well, my heart aches so deeply for her right now. Would you mind saying a prayer for her today?

Thank you.


Etsy and football

Have you shopped or browsed at If artisan things speak to you, beware. This place will impact your wallet.

I have an Etsy store now for scrapbook elements and handmade card kits. You can visit it here.

So Sunday afternoon I was relaxing on the sofa with my honey, who had just gotten home from a 3-day trip to Salt Lake (do you know how jealous I am over that?). He was watching the Titans game (thank goodness for DVR). One of the calls was for "Unnecessary Roughness". Now, mind you, I have no idea what constitutes unnecessary roughness in football...and don't really care...but I happen to think that would make a perfect title for a scrapbook page about my sons. Who knew football could be inspiring? :)

I'm officially on creative overload here. A few days ago the new Steven Curtis Chapman CD arrived in my mailbox and today at the grocery I picked up the first copy of the newly-revived Victoria magazine (appropriately Christmas)! Good music and a good read. Oh my.

Joal and I are going to see Steven in concert a week from Friday at Belmont. I don't generally get excited about concerts...but this one will be of the charts. This man is constantly remarkable.

The boys and I took the recycling over to the collection center yesterday and I discovered there are 2 reasons why I don't like going there. (Joal usually does it.)

1. I have to resist the urge to laugh or at least smirk at people who drive gi-normous gas-guzzling vehicles like Excusions and Suburbans to the recycling center. Something just seems a little off about that. Maybe it's just me. Yesterday we say this petite little woman get out of a huge Excursion and discard a small bin of soda cans. Maybe ten cans. Just seemed kinda like a waste of time and effort.

2. I have to forcibly resist the urge to pick thru the recycled paper bins. Magazines...I have a magazine weakness and part of me wants to thumb thru and retreave some good reading material and catalogs from the recycled paper bins. I wouldn't climb in or anything...Heather...just look thru stuff that's easy to retrieve. Is that nuts? I think I need one of the mechanical arm things...LOL!

So from now on I'm leaving the recycling to the men in my family.

Joal's MySpace Music page is driving my up the wall. It won't let me upload the songs. I think I hate MySpace in general--maybe I'm just old.

So now you know.



I'm working on Joal's MySpace page and need to test out the link to the mp3 files. Let me know if it plays for you.

Memphis Time - a song inspired by Castaway - the movie.


Book Redemption

If I were to ever get a notion to start a new blog, I would call it "The Redeemer of Old Books". There's something so romantic and rewarding for me in rescueing old books from being discarded--I seem to have an especially strong weakness for cookbooks from the 60s. Today's garage sale adventure yielded one candidate for cookbook-ish redemtion--a beautiful copy of Better Homes and Garden Casserole Cook Book from the grand year of 1964!

It a big hardback and only has some minor damage--one page that has obviously had one piece of a photo chopped rather haphazardly from it. I can just imagine the child working on a school project, desperately seeking a photo of a head of cabbage...feeling elated to find the needed photo. He (presumption) cuts it carefully from the cookbook and glues it to his project, having no idea the damage he's done to mom's favorite cookbook. :)

It even has a few notations in the margins. I love those. Near the recipe for Beef Goulash and Noodles are written the words "Omit garlic. Add more salt." By the recipe for Spinach-Stuffed Zucchini are the words "Add more bacon and try with Parmesan cheese". Sounds good to me. :)

And did I mention the smell of old books? Ah yes. I adore that smell.

In other news, I'm teaching a new Scenic Route class next Sunday afternoon at Scrap'n Memories. I'm changing the model for my classes. From now on, I'm keeping it short, sweet, easy and affordable. Each installment is going to take only one hour and the very easy-to-accomplish layout that can be purchased as a class or a kit. The price is going to be very affordable--only $12. Kits come with very detailed instructions--each class project can be assembled with the step-by-step instructions and photos.

We skipped Halloween this year so I have no photos for this page. On my own copy of this layout, I'm changing the title to "It's all about the Salsa!". Instead of trick-or-treating we went out as a family for Mexican and Joal and I firmly believe that a Mexican restaurant can rise or fall by it's Salsa. Never underestimate the power of good Salsa!

Ole! The Salem line from Scenic Route would work great for a great many themes...I love that about Scenic Route.

We watched Fantastic 4: The Rise of the Silver Surfer today and I just have to say "what a great movie". I don't make it a practice to recommend movies (been burned by that too many times) but I really liked this one...probably enough to own it. I take what my sons watch on television very seriously and not much gets into this house. I'm a firm believer in the motto "Garbage in. Garbage Out." I found N-o-t-h-i-n-g in this movie to object to...really, nothing. DO you know how unusual that it? No words. No sexual innuendo. It's Good vs. Evil and good wins. Pro-marriage. Pro-team work. Sacrificial giving of ones self. Never say die. Look beyond a person's outter appearance. All things I like for my boys to see. If I looked hard enough I think there could be some shadowing of the redemption of humanity thru Christ. But that's another topic altogether. :)

I hope you are having a superb weekend!