Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Gwyneth Paltrow has long been one of my favorite actresses. Not only is she good at her craft, she has this classic presence that is so graceful and refreshing. It doesn't hurt that she is married to the frontman of one of my favorite bands, Coldplay. Lately, she has been working on some really cool projects that make me jealous. Her PBS series with Mario Batali is fantastic! They drive through Spain exploring different regions and its representative dishes. If you like food and travel, check it out here.

I discovered GOOP, a website she created a while back. It's really new so there isn't a ton of content, but enough to browse and keep you interested for a while. There are recipes, tips on gifts, travel, life topics and more. I can't believe she has the time to create such a website, but I'm glad she does.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Elf on the Shelf and on Stage

The Elf on the Shelf has joined our holiday traditions this year and up to this point I think I have read the kids the book one hundred and forty two times. Not really, but I do read it at least once daily. Our elf is named Twinkle and it has been a race in the mornings to see who finds him. If you are unfamiliar with the way the elf works, check it out here. It really is fun for the kids, though their behavior is far from stellar. With all the things that Twinkle has witnessed, it is questionable if Santa will even come at all. (I'm sure they're redeem themselves before the big night)

The oldest lil' darlin was fabulous in her portrayal as an elf in her school's Christmas program. She really made us proud with her fearless shaking of the booty on stage.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Our newest member of the family. He has been with us since Saturday and today he finally got a name. It seemed like every name we came up with either did not fit him or the hubby nixed right off the bat. It took me back to the prego days trying to name a child. So, here is Augustus, aka "Gus". I can't help but think about the movie 'Lonesome Dove' when I hear that name. Now I just hope that Truman (our dog) becomes Gus' lifetime friend, Woodrow. Let me preface the photos by noting that Gus hates the flash on my camera. So, naturally he has his eyes closed in every shot. Unfortunately you're not able to see his beautiful blue eyes, but these will have to suffice.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Holidays

Once again, I am getting behind in my blogging. It is such a busy month! Like you didn't know that already. This is what has been going on around here...
Putting up the Christmas Tree

Making cookies
Putting more icing in her mouth than on the cookies

Oldest darlin' waiting on her sisters and YaYa playing short order cook

Finished product. Can I add that a 3 year old did the wreath in the middle all by herself. Gosh, she takes after her mom.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Easiest Pasta In The World

When Tony and I were in Rome two years ago, we discovered a new appreciation of simple food. Everything we ate was so delicious and usually made with only a few ingredients. Even the grocery stores there are tiny because they do not have aisles and aisles of processed, packaged foods. When I came back, there were a few dishes that I started making the basic way and discovered how easy it really is. So, here is my recipe for Pasta Alfredo...not good for the waistline, but good for the soul.

8 fl. oz. cream

1 oz. butter

A pinch of nutmeg

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 oz. freshly-grated parmesan (I usually use more)

1. Simmer cream and butter in a small pan, stirring regularly until mixture has thickened and reduced by a third (be careful not to burn or boil the cream, stir it regularly on medium to low heat)

2. Add a pinch of nutmeg (brings out the taste of the cheese and offsets the cream) and season with a little salt and pepper

3. Stir in grated parmesan and remove pan from heat

4. Toss cooked, drained pasta with sauce and serve at once with freshly-grated parmesan

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hot Mama-Not

Yesterday I was trying to take a nap when I heard my oldest ask the hubby, "Why is mommy's name Hot Mama on the Wii". In case you have never played a Wii, you create characters for yourself with a name, etc. I'm not going to defend my choice of name, but it was just one of those things that happened on a whim. Well, her question didn't stop there, she finished it by stating, "Why is mommy's name Hot Mama on the Wii, because she's not hot!". With a dagger painfully placed in my heart I rolled over and wished for sleep to come more quickly. But no, their conversation persisted, kind of like this...
Hubby: Yes, she is
Daughter: No, she isn't
Hubby: She is (knowing I could overhear this conversation)
Daughter: I mean, she's not all that

O.K., I am secure enough in myself to not be bothered if people think I am attractive or not, BUT, I thought that your first-born would be your biggest, most loving, unwavering fan. Don't all 7 year olds think their mommy is beautiful? Don't answer that question. So, tonight she will be eating chicken livers and brussel sprouts...that'll show her.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Case of the Mistaken House

We are spending Thanksgiving this year in the mountains and it is beautiful. No snow yet, but nice just the same. My mom, the girls and I came up to Boone yesterday and checked in to our townhouse. My suburban was loaded down, so it took awhile to get everything unpacked and organized. We were expecting a certain bed arrangement...King sized beds, two queens in one room, etc. That was the first sign that something was not quite right. The kitchen looked as if someone had just left, the refrigerator was fully stocked which is kind of rare in a rental property. After we had been settled in for a few hours, the oldest lil' darlin went outside and compared our keys to the house number. She came in freaking out, saying: "We're in the wrong house, we're in the wrong house". Sure enough, we were relaxing in the wrong abode. Unfortunately we didn't have a hidden camera capturing our shift in gears. We were throwing things in bags, thinking this family could arrive home at any minute. We felt like the three bears eating someone else's porridge. We made it without getting caught. Not that we were purposely doing anything wrong, it was an honest mistake. And who knows why our key opened their house. Oh well, just making more crazy memories! Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Country Music

My taste in music is ALL OVER the place. If you took a peek at my music collection there would be something of everything except techno, I don't really dig that. When I'm in the car, I'm an XM or NPR girl, so I am not exposed to mainstream radio that much. But, the hubby has been listening to a lot of country radio in his car lately. He says it's better for the kids. Better than the station he was listening to, I will agree with that. Anything is an improvement over a song that talks about "licking like a lollipop", excuse the vulgarity, but that's what it says. Anyway, a few weeks ago I heard a country song that talked about fried chicken. I kind of did the internal eye roll and changed the station. Then I heard it again a few days later and listened and really liked it. Yes, it does talk about "drinking beer on a Friday night", but I can handle that. The kids love it and you really can not help but tap your foot and sing along.

I can't write a post about country music without plugging my dear friend Laura's brother, Pat Green. He has a new single out and it seems to be doing really well. He is a really nice guy that is so down-to-earth. I think it makes it so much easier to support artists when you know they are really good people. And good at what they do!

O' Christmas Tree

Well, if blogging was my job, I would definitely be fired by now. My posts have been on the scarce side lately, so I apologize. This past week I put up the girls' Christmas Tree upstairs. Of course it has to be pink and this year we added a butterfly to the top. The twins were really excited to help this year.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

San Miguel

San Miguel nocturno..., originally uploaded by DieQro.

I have this unquenchable thirst for travel. It is hard to nail down the exact time in my life when it started, but I know a day does not go by that I do not think of someplace I want to see. I suppose a lot of these feelings can be attributed to moving to Australia when I was in middle school. I became aware of the world in such a different way... its beauty, its differences, its similarities, its gift of experiences. In college I was determined to see Europe. With three other friends I backpacked for a month and came home with more incredible experiences that remain a highlight of my life. I continue to travel as much as I can and I always delight in having a trip to look forward to. Now, if I could find a way to make money and travel, that would be my absolute dream job. I suppose that is a long prelude to the post I had in mind. A girl can get carried away when she really loves something.

I really want to share my love of travel with my kids and give them the gift of seeing new places and having eye-opening experiences like I did. I feel like this is important. I have done so much research on spending an extended amount of time in San Miguel in Mexico. It's kind of silly because it definitely is not in the budget at this time, but it is good to have a dream to work towards. San Miguel is located in central Mexico and has a large population of expatriates. Perhaps it would defeat the purpose to be in a foreign country where a lot of Americans live. But the culture there is preserved enough that I feel it would still be worthwhile. It is a very artistic community with beautiful architecture and simple charm. I've looked into the language school there for the kids, summer camps, cooking classes, rental homes. So, if you are looking for a good place to take the kids this summer I would give it a thumbs up. I feel like the guy on the street corner at the end of Pretty Woman, "Everybody's got a dream, now, what's your dream?"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside is cold in Charlotte. Considering that the holidays are right around the corner, the weather is appropriate for getting in the spirit. The chill makes me want to curl up by a fire with some hot chocolate and listen to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong's version of "Baby It's Cold Outside". I can not believe next week is Thanksgiving (I will be saying this about every major and minor event in my life from here on out because time just flies by way too fast). This year we will be spending the holiday in the mountains, where it will be really cold. I'm praying for some snowflakes while we're there. We do not ever see snow on Christmas, so Thanksgiving will do in a flash. Thanksgiving is one of my most favorite meals of the year....turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce, bread. Personally, that's all I need to feel complete, but there will be so much more. Sweet Potato Pie, Collards, Corn, the list goes on. Do you have a food that defines Thanksgiving for you, without it the day just would not feel the same?

Friday, November 14, 2008


Seal has just released a new album of 60's Soul Classics....darn, does it get any better? Here is the video for "A Change Is Going To Come". I bet it will make you head over to iTunes and buy the album.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Wednesdays are crazy in our household, well, everyday is crazy...but Wednesdays seem to be a little busier. Maybe I will start posting recipes on Wednesday, because sometimes the hustle and bustle of hump day makes my creative juices freeze. Monday night I made these chicken enchiladas and they were so yummy. I followed the recipe except I did not roast the chicken, I just used chicken breasts. Topped with salsa and avocado, it was a definite keeper.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Some Things I Wish My Kids Could Understand

  • Mommy can not do a zillion things while still trying to drive the car, if you want to keep your life
  • Eating boogers is not good for you
  • Candy does not quench hunger, nor do boogers for that matter
  • Christmas Trees are not scary and should not result in ear-numbing screams
  • The air vent in their room is not a cage housing green monsters
  • Butterflies do not bite and leave bruises (Lil' Darlin' A, pointing to a bruise on her leg: "A butterfly flied in my room and bite me")
  • Calling the computer, "your peter" is bound to get you in trouble, but is still hysterical

Monday, November 10, 2008

Another Reason I Love My Husband

He loves to dance with his girls, even while one is trying to pull his pants down.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Happy Birthday

The oldest lil' darlin' is 7 today. WOW, it really is hard to believe how fast seven years can go by. I am so lucky to spend everyday with my little ray of sunshine. Don't get me wrong, we can drive each other plum crazy, but I miss her to pieces when she is not around. I feel really proud to have such a sweet and thoughtful little girl that loves to laugh, dance, sing, snuggle and play. It looks like her seventh year will finally bring her some new front teeth, she basically spent six with a snaggle-tooth grin. So, today I am sending big Happy Birthday wishes to my little one, I hope all her birthday wishes come true.

P.S. Mamma Mia is one of my favorite movies and everytime I hear the song, "Slipping Through My Fingers" I get teary. It really is such a reminder to enjoy all the fleeting moments. So, tonight when Isabella is blowing out her candles and making a big wish, I will be wishing for everyday reminders to savor the small stuff.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I Heart NYC-Part 2

I know, it's about time I finish this. In case you missed Part 1, you can always go back and look at the older posts. I pick up on Sunday morning, my BFF's birthday! Let me give you a little bit of background: when we were planning this trip I mentioned that I would like to take a trapeze class (which resulted in a few eye-rolling looks from the hubby and a "I already know she's crazy" kind-of-look from the BFF). But I convinced them to look at the video on the website and they came on over to my side. The hubby still wants to take a trip to NYC and do the trapeze class. Sally decided to share the experience with me and make it a birthday she would not soon forget. It was a beautiful morning and we arrived at the Piers for our outdoor class. We harnassed up and received instruction and then we were off. I was so dang nervous and wondering why I ever came up with this great idea! Everyone that went before me made it look so easy, so I ventured up the ladder to take my turn. First of all, the bar is so heavy and I must have major trust issues because I felt like the instructor was going to let go of me before it was time to fly. They give you a cue to fly and I was the only participant that could not go when they told me to. But I finally did and all was good. I was able to hang by my legs and do a catch at the end. BUT, I was a crazy mess. I was shaking so bad between turns that poor Sally never got a good picture because I couldn't hold the camera still. It was a good experience and I am glad that I did it, but I did learn that I could never bungee jump or skydive.
Afterwards, we had lunch at a corner deli and did some more shopping. Then, it was time for dinner at Rosa Mexicano at Union Square. The food was scrumptious! They have wonderful guacamole and Pomegranite Margaritas. Yet another wonderful meal!
When we left there was a Fire Station across the street, so we stopped and had our picture taken and chatted a little while.
Sally and I had a later flight on Monday, so we scheduled a Circle Line Boat Tour to see Olafur Eliasson's Waterfall installation. It was pretty amazing. He took elements that you commonly see in New York city construction, like scaffolding, etc. to create massive waterfalls. It was a unique sight to see.

Then, it was back home. I absolutely can not wait to go back!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Decision Day

I don't think I have ever been so excited about an Election Day! Even when I voted for my first Presidential Election (and waited in line for 4 hours), I didn't feel like this. I am sporting my red, white and blue today and am feeling really upbeat. It is quite infectious to see so many people exercising their right to vote and being proactive about our country's direction. Lucky for me, North Carolina had early voting with massive turnouts; so many people had already voted that I did not have to wait one minute. When I got back home the oldest darlin' tried to rip my 'I Voted' sticker off my shirt to give it to a whiny younger sister and I almost came out of my chair. "I am proud to wear this sticker and you are not taking it off," I yelled. Then she shrugged and said: "What's the big deal?" I thought to myself, she has a lot to learn!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Trick or Treat

I hope everyone had a great Halloween. The girls had a wonderful time trick or treating in the neighborhood with their cousins! We have more candy than Willy Wonka around here. I've been hiding it around the house, so I will probably be finding my stashes for months to come. The policy of asking before you eat candy has gone out the window. I suppose they feel that if they went door to door to get the candy it's rightfully theirs to eat at their discretion.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

the haunted house, originally uploaded by novon.

Hope you're not trick or treating at this house! Have fun!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Carla Bruni

Back in September, I was intrigued by the Vanity Fair cover story on Carla Bruni. I used to have a strange fascination with the supermodels of the 90's, so I remember seeing her then. Now she is the first lady of France. By American standards, the most recent French Presidents have been highly scandalous in their affairs of the heart, but in France it is almost expected that politicians will have affairs (crazy, huh?). Reading about Carla Bruni and Nicolas Sarkozy is almost like getting swept up in a historical fiction novel, with her being this larger-than-life villain/heroine. If you're interested, read the article. (On a sidenote, the interview was done by Maureen Orth, the wife of the late Tim Russert.)

What I really wanted to share is her album, have you heard it? I love her voice, which sounds a lot different in English than French. There is something real and soulful that I really like about it. Have a listen, what do you think?

Buzzing Around

I feel like I've been a busy little bee this week with a sick little one (who is now better, thank goodness), hosting book club last night, school parties, preparing for Halloween, etc. We still have not even carved our pumpkin. I can't believe it! Halloween is tomorrow!! I am very excited and looking forward to a wonderful night of tricks and treats with my family.

I have some posts up my sleeve, I just need to find the time to sit down and write. Don't give up on me, I'll have some new stuff up soon!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rock the Vote

DSC_0298, originally uploaded by Rock the Vote 2008.

Monday night I went to a Rock the Vote concert featuring Santogold, Sheryl Crow and the Beastie Boys!! It was awesome to see the Beastie Boys at an intimate venue, although I wish I had been about a foot taller so I could see a little better. I got a closer look at Sheryl Crow and she was good, but the Beastie Boys really rocked! Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures because I was a nice, rule-abiding concert-goer (and partially because my camera is too bulky to sneak in my bra). I saw so many people taking pictures with iphones that it really made me want one!

This photo is the Beastie Boys at a stop at CPCC in Charlotte to get out the vote!

So go vote, early!

A Sick Child

There's nothing worse than a sick child. To see their boundless energy disappear and the innocent helplessness emerge. As a homemaker, it is impossible to take a day off, there are always chores to be done, meals to cook, etc. But today, the dishes will pile up and me and my lil' darlin will snuggle back to health. After all, isn't your mothers touch what you want the most when you feel so bad?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Required Reading

I have posted about Stephanie Nielson before of NieNie fame. Daily, I check her sister's blog to get updates, etc. and today there was a link to an article from an Arizona newspaper. Read this for a testament to the power of prayer, the sacrifices of family and the love between sisters. I had chills the entire time.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I've been tagged by DearAlison to reveal seven random and weird facts about myself. I did something similar at the start of my blog, but I'll try to come up with seven more juicy ones.

1. I have been hit by a car before while riding my bicycle (don't laugh)

2. I have a strong desire to move my family abroad somewhere

3. My husband and I became engaged about two months after we started dating

4. I am an only child that still longs for siblings (thank goodness I have a sister-in-law)

5. I do not like going barefooted nor do I like touching the bottom of the ocean or lake with my feet

6. I do not own an umbrella

7. Although always a hippie at heart, I used to totally look like one, with unshaven legs, arms, etc. and I saw my fair share of Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia Band, Phish and Widespread shows (doesn't make much sense that I don't like being barefooted, I know)

Since I'm new to the whole blogging thing, I don't really know seven people with blogs to tag, so I'll just tag the following:

Sally Jo Stamper


You must tell 7 facts about yourself, juicy & strange facts, then tag 7 people at the end of your post with links- Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment for them on their blog

Friday, October 24, 2008

Lunch with my Dad

If I could have lunch today with my dad, I would catch him up on so many things..I would tell him all about his sweet pea (the oldest darlin') and how she is so smart and is doing so well in school. He would be so proud to know that when she made her top ten list of people she loves, she put God first. I would tell him how wonderful it is to have a house full of giggling girls and that even the lil' darlins know Johnny Cash. I would boost his ego by telling him that many people say that one of the darlins looks just like him. But more importantly, they each have a piece of his sweet spirit. He would be glad to know that they continue to get spoiled, usually by YaYa, she seems to have picked up where you left off. Jane and Barry planted an apple tree in your honor and the oldest darlin can always tell if there have been any changes to "Papa's tree". You would be excited to hear about me flying the trapeze and all the delicious food we ate in Italy. We would also have a good ole' talk about politics. That is something I miss the most, our talks. Your understanding and willingness to listen so whole-heartedly. Three years is a long time to go without seeing your smile or hearing your sincere voice. I so miss being your thirty-something little girl, but I feel your spirit everyday and see it in my beautiful family. I love you daddy.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I just tried out this new website where you can put collages together, thanks to
How About Orange. It's so neat, especially if you just love to put things together like I do. It's not just clothes, plenty of home stuff too!

Find me on Polyvore »

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Heart NYC-Part 1

At the end of August, I took a girls trip to the Big Apple for a long weekend. It was so much fun. New York is one of my favorite cities. Although I have been to many more beautiful places in the world, there is something about the character of New York that I love. If you have been there you probably know what I mean. We all did our fair share of shopping, but there were plenty of other highlights.

Friday night we went to dinner at Stanton Social. It is on the Lower East Side and it's the type of place to see and be seen. Everything is served tapas style and although the music was a little loud, the food and service were impeccable! Just to make you a little hungry, we feasted on French Onion Dumplings, Maine Crab Cake Corndogs, Grilled Cheese Sliders, Zucchini Tempura, Old School Meatballs, Sauteed Spinach, Goat Cheese Ravioli and the Chocolate Tasting for dessert. Yum-O (can I say that without having to credit Rachael Ray). They bring you about three items at one time and by the time you are done with it, they are there to bring you more- very orchestrated. I did lots of research before this trip and I think this restaurant was a keeper. Here's my mom and her best friend Earlene at dinner.

On Saturday we headed out on the subway to Greenwich Village, where we picked up a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery (the place on Sex and the City). Sorry, Magnolia, but the cupcakes were not good. You know how I am about cupcakes and although the place is cute, it wasn't worth the time or money.

On to Soho and more shopping...then to Chinatown for some real Chinese food and not so real Ed Hardy t-shirts, Tiffany jewelry, Ray-Bans, the list goes on. Sally in Chinatown:For dinner Saturday night we had reservations at Trattoria Trecolori. Another glorious meal with perfect service. I had Veal with Eggplant, Prosciutto, Tomato and Cheese (can't remember what type of cheese, but it was good). I was thinking about the hubby during this entire meal because I knew he would of loved it!

That evening we went and saw 'In The Heights' on Broadway. As if I haven't raved enough..this show was really, really good. To top it off, we met the entire cast afterwards and got all of their autographs.

Stay tuned for Part 2...

Meet the Fam

I probably do not have any readers that do not know me personally; therefore, you are familiar with my family. But, just in case, introducing...

Tony-the husband. The love of my life. Although I knew him for a while before we started dating, it was almost as if one day I was shot with cupid's arrow. It happened to be the same day that he took me for my first ride on his new red Harley. The rest is history. He loves the outdoors, hunting and working out. He is such a good daddy and has even given in to wearing pink, a pretty dominant color around our house.

The oldest lil' darlin'. She is almost 7, going on 16. The quintessential girly girl- she loves all things cool! Her clothes have to perfectly match and she loves to sing and perform. Thanks to her YaYa, she now asks to go get mani/pedis. (We are in trouble) She takes ballet and recently started playing tennis and thank goodness, she loves school! She is a worry wart, like me.

Lil' Darlin' A or 1 (not because she is a favorite, but because she was born first) is 3. She loves to dance, climb, get into anything and everything and is a good little cuddle bug. When she was in my tummy, she moved constantly and that still hasn't changed. She has such a sweet personality, but has her moments of mayhem.

Lil' Darlin B or 2 is a charmer and 3 as well. She smiles an awful lot. But in definite Gemini fashion, she has a side that is a little devilish. She likes to keep her sisters in line by being the little mommy. She loves "polka-nots" (polka dots) and anything that has a tag.

Truman, aka TruTru is Tony's balance in our house full of girls. He is truly the sweetest, most mild-mannered dog.

Yet Another Cupcake Post

I know I have just about met my quota for cupcake posts, but I had to share these that I made for our friend's 40th birthday party this past weekend. I thought they turned out cute. I made the numbers with chocolate.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Treasure

Luckily, I have a lot of pictures of my parents from their younger days. But these are a few that I treasure the most. I adore photo booth pictures! But they have to be the old school black and white ones, not the digital ones that you find today. You can look here to see if there are any vintage photo booths in your area if you're itching for a booth pic. I would love to have one in my house. How cool would it be to document the life of your family in photo booth pictures? Birthdays, anniversaries, first dances, graduation...just throw 'em in the photo booth before they head out the door. Sounds like a good coffee table book, but I digress. The small photos of my parents were taken in White Lake, NC in 1968 and the larger ones were at the Pitt County Fair in 1967. What a cute couple.


Someone is happy that it's Friday!