Earlier this year I was treated to a day at P. Allen Smith's farm. This experience was truly inspiring and refreshing and I wished so badly to share it with everyone I love. Well now one of you might just get to go to the farm and meet the man himself. All of you can enter a wonderful sweepstakes brought to you by Mountain Valley Spring Water (a local Arkansas company) and let me tell you, this is a fun prize package!
You could win a trip for two to Hot Springs and Little Rock, AR for a one in a lifetime weekend giveaway featuring:
~ Dinner with P. Allen Smith at his Garden Home Retreat
~ Private tour of the Garden Home Property
~ VIP tour of the Mountain Valley Facilities and the DeSoto Building
~ A two night stay in the luxurious Capital Hotel
~ Lunch with the CEO of Mountain Valley, Breck Speed.
~ Spa package for two at the famous BuckStaff BathHouse
~ One night in historic downtown Hot Springs at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Spa
~ $100 voucher for use in the Mountain Valley Visitor Center
Entries will be accepted from 12:01am, July 24, 2012 through August 31st, 2012 at midnight.
I love chicken salad. I love pasta. I love summer salads. So last week I figured, why not love them together?
I have recently discovered that making more than enough pasta for one dish, enables me to have enough pasta for a second dish later in the week. How I have never thought of this I am not sure, but hurrah! I finally figured it out.
In addition to being a mixture of all my favorite things, this meal was a super easy and yummy way to use a variety of leftovers. I mixed together leftover spring salad mix, leftover rotisserie chicken (shredded,) some boiled eggs, rotini pasta, cherry tomatoes, diced red onion, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, a tad of lemon juice and tarragon.
I mixed it all up while the pasta was still warm and it wilted the lettuce just enough. I think I could eat this everyday. I say that every time I make a new salad, but I really mean it this time.
On the horizon this week is planning Wylie's birthday celebration, staying cool in doors (111 degrees today!) and watching the Olympics. Oh how I love the Olympics. Watching them I am suddenly 10 years old and determined to be the next Mary Lou Retton.
Here lies the tremendous mystery - that God should be all-powerful, yet refuse to coerce. He summons us to cooperation. We are honored in being given the opportunity to participate in his good deeds. Remember how He asked for help in performing his miracles: Fill the waterpots, stretch out your hand, distribute the loaves.
This was the second week of school. It was a little bit harder to get up in the morning, I was a little more tired at the end of the day. It is that week when all the adrenaline of the first week has worn off and the reality has set in. But it is also the week when things start to click, when routines start to take hold, where the busyness starts to settle down, and we all settle into a happy groove. These are little sneaky peeks into corners of my office, my favorite little bits and pieces.
After all, if possible, offices should hold to the old William Morris motto "have nothing that you do not know to be useful, or believe beautiful." Or both.
My credenza-like area. Right now it is showing the busyness of the past two weeks and is a little more than cluttered but I still love all the happy colors and having everything where I can see it.
My office is also a small lending library and the walls are almost all bookshelves, which I love. But for the picture book area I like to have a books in baskets that the smaller kids can easily look through or pull onto the floor and riffle through.
Tigger keeps watch over the books and Big Ben (made by students out of Popsicle sticks) is perhaps my favorite thing (besides all the books of course!) in the whole room.
The trophy is one of my husbands old camp trophys, the milk bottle says "think" and holds either a flag or flowers most days and my name plate was a super easy ten minute craft project.
My blue cup. I am trying to drink more water this year. I thought a cute cup would help. Wish me luck!
A new notebook ( a la Target) to hold all the schedules and calendars I have to keep track of daily.
And a new journal with a quote that I love. I keep it handy mostly for those moments when an idea strikes and I need somewhere to write it down quick, because heaven knows I will forget if I don't.
I took all these images on my phone with the TtV Basic camera app in my office at work.
To see some ideas of some craft projects I have up my sleeve for this little space, pop on over to the At Home blog and check them out - especially the rolling basket! I HAVE to make one...maybe this weekend? I feel a spray paint session coming on....
I have about a dozen good blog post I want to write. I have several started, but alas none of them are happening quite yet. I blame the heat. I am done with 100 degree plus weather. I am ready for fall. Or a really good rainy season. All this heat makes me want to do is float in my blow-up pool and be lazy. I have neglected my bike and my tennis and taken up soft-serve. This is not good news people.
Also I miss Nora Ephron. And I have started ironing my clothes more. I am not sure how these two things are related, but somehow I think Nora is to blame/thank for this change. What will the world be like without Nora? I am not sure I am ready for that answer.
Tomorrow we are having some plumbing work done. Not a fun way to spend a good chunk of change. Tell me it will be worth it in the end. Also, feel free to tell me the most interesting ways you can cook rice and beans since that is all I will be able to afford after I pay off the plummer.
Ok that is all for now. I am heading for the pool. Maybe the cleaning fairy will come while I am gone.
8 years ago me and one of my very besties gave birth to boys. Two days apart, same hospital. I walked to her room from mine to meet her sweet baby boy and vice versa. It was one of those kismet things that you can only hope for but never plan.
Now those babies are big ole boys and the very best of pals themselves, and this year they requested that they have a joint birthday party. Who were we to say no? Twice the fun, twice the help, half the work - it was this momma's idea of party heaven (especially since his birthday was the same week we went back to school!!)
Pirates of the Pool was the theme. They battled the Crackin and turned rafts into ships and floats into boats.
For party favors everyone got an inflatable body-board (aka shield), a water shooter and a lei all from the Dollar Tree. We are so fancy around here.
Eventually we conquered the Crackin and the hungry pirate crew feasted on Hot Dogs and Capri-Suns in an orderly fashion thanks to a well organized fleet of adults who delivered ketchup and mustard assembly-line style.
And then it was time for cake.
The boys each wanted their own cake which was fine by us. More cake is NEVER a bad thing!
Also separate cakes made picture taking that much easier. And there was no fighting over who blew out which candles- wishes for everyone all around.
Miles designed his own cake. I just followed directions, making the cake four layers tall (all different sizes) in strawberry flavor with blue tinted cream cheese icing.
Miles did the rest. He picked out the candy and added it all just how he wanted it. Then I gave him some gel icing tubes I had leftover from another project and he went to town with those.
This kid is crazy creative and I feel bad because I have to say "no" to so many of his ideas and request. "No, you can't paint on your walls with watercolors (not while we are trying to sell the house at least.)" "No, we can't build you a store in the front yard tomorrow." "No, you can't use the miter saw by yourself to build your robot."
It felt so good to say "Yes! Do whatever you want to your cake. Design and decorate your little heart out. Use up ALL the gel icing! No rules!"
And isn't it the best cake ever? I could not have made a more fun cake if I had used all the Pinterest inspiration I could find. No amount of party-theme-perfection could ever have topped the fun that he and I both had creating this crazy cake together.
Now that I have almost recovered from Miles birthdaypooloza it is time to start planning Wylie's party. What was I thinking having kids with birthdays two weeks apart? In 100 degree weather? Oy.
Whoa, what a weekend! Birthday parties, family dinners, sleepovers, book photo editing and this!
We have scraped it raw and now we are painting the outside of our house. Well I should say that so far, we have scraped and Sweet Man and my brother are painting. I have yet to pick up a brush or a roller, but my time is quickly approaching.
Our house is a typical older home in that it is cobbled together in places. This means we have a variety of surfaces inside and out. Most of our house is brick but part of it is siding.
For the siding portion and the front steps we have decided to go with a very light sagey green.
For the brick and the trim we are sticking with a bright white. I think the contrast will be lovely and very east coast cottag-y.
We started with the green and I love it so much.. Instant gratification. The color is so fresh and clean and new looking. This was just the cool breeze of progress that I needed to keep keepin on.
Course there is still so much to do. But there is no rush, not really. The house is for sale, but we are living and loving in it all the same. So baby steps is how we will proceed from here. We will just take it one bit at a time -one window, one portion of trim, one wall at a time - and eventually it will all be done. We will add and update as we can afford, and as we want. And it will all be lovely. In fact, it already is.
We go to a school that is almost year-round. We have a five week break in the summer and then lots of other breaks throughout the year, which really works out great for us. Our summers are so hot that none of us really mind going back to school in mid-July.
These are all our back-to-school pictures from the beginning-when Wylie started kindergarten. Where has the time gone?
Tomorrow we celebrate, but today I remember. Birth, tears, laughter, first words, first steps, first time he colored on the walls, him sleeping in his swing, months of upside down schedules, the sound of a pacifier being worked over, the way he curled up on my shoulder. Just the tip of the iceberg of a mothers memories.
Lucky for me life with this boy is never, ever boring.
Wonderful, challenging, thought provoking, maddening, delightful, snuggly, creative, joyful, frustrating, magical, funny, yes. But never, ever boring.
Who needs boring, when you can have Miles instead?
So grateful today for this wonderful surprise child. He is the best thing I never planned.
It is probably no secret that I am highly visual person. Or that I am drawn towards the domestic over the profane, the absurd, the dark. I am drawn to the lovely like my dog is drawn to feather pillows. Passionately. In the category of Lovely Things I like are movies where the homes are characters in and of themselves, another part of the story; supporting, influencing, watching, giving.
The first time I remember consciously noticing that the homes in movies are as dressed, primped and styled just as much as the actors, was while watching the movie Home Alone. I was 16 years old, and I remember thinking "This is a Christmas movie and the houses interior is all reds and greens. That is really cool... I like this look. I want a red and green house some day..."
The second movie I remember taking stock of in this way was Moonstruck. Specifically the kitchen. Really specifically the subway tile, which for years I thought was just regular brick painted in high-gloss white.
After that came Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa house, followed by Annie's Sleepless in Seattle brownstone. From there I was off to the races and I have actually been known to miss whole scenes trying to figure out exactly what kind of wallpaper that is, or if I have the same vintage dishes.
Over the years, it seems that my obsession with movie home interiors is not just mine. Lots of us are influenced by these Hollywood's versions of what Home looks like. And it seems that perhaps we are most intrigued by the kitchens. And why shouldn't we be? The kitchen is the heart of the home, the nucleus, after all. It only stands to reason that we would find these fantasy versions that much more enticing.. So to that end, I have gathered my favorite movie kitchens to share. And of course I am dying to know - did I miss one? Or two? What are you favorite movie kitchens? I know you have them...
Sleepless in Seattle
You've Got Mail
Julie and Julia
Under the Tuscan Sun
Please Don't Eat the Daisies
Bewitched the Movie
Ok, so those are my favorites. Or at least the ones I can remember. But I am dying to know - did I miss one? Or two? What are you favorite movie kitchens?