Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Flying along by the seat of my pants

I'm not really one to fly by the seat of her pants.

I'm a planner.

A list maker.

You could say I have an eye for detail? Or perhaps some people might say slightly controlling? Particular? Picky?


Photo from Etsy seller

I just like to see what's coming and I think that half the fun of an actual event is in the organizing. You know, shopping around, debating what works best, picking up things here and there, finding unique and creative things that make the event special and developing the lists and timelines. Figuring it all out slowly and seeing how it all comes together in the end is a wonderful reward.

I'm just not the one who's going to show up completely unprepared, that's just not me.

Photo from Etsy seller

So, when my fiance (Neighbor Boy) and I started finally discussing wedding plans, things started kind of moving at a quick pace. We've been engaged for a year and a half but up till now any plans have been on hold until we knew our budget and future arrangements would be more secure.

In all things, he's the "keep it simple" guy. In regards to the wedding plans, I (while practical) want something a little more than the courthouse and dinner at the local sports bar. I don't want anything terribly fancy, just a nice ceremony and a small luncheon with our closest family & friends (which because we both come from large families, already is totaling near 100!).


We went to see an apartment that we like and the one in the location we want will be available to move into at the end of November. NB's sister is coming into town for a short while from where she is living in Belgium and was able to stay an extra week and a half so she could be here for the wedding. I can't wait to hear her sing something special for us at the ceremony! We are going on Saturday to see the venue, something lovely (and reasonably priced) and very close to all-inclusive, which is important at this late of a date. And the date was still available, so I'm thinking that's a pretty good omen, right?

So, my mind has been spinning this past week since we came up with the decision to get married in November. And all the lists that I've been developing slowly for the last year have been crunched together in a frenzy! My brain is a whirlwind of contacting the pastor, ordering invitations (but I'll have to email family and friends first for them to save the date since it's in less than a month!), needing to create a gift registry, find a cake decorator, purchase a wedding dress and shoes, figure out who will be handling music, photography and flowers (I have certain family members in mind already, hint hint!).

Picture this filled with from Etsy seller

Looking forward to getting October out of the way... finishing up the Halloween costumes for the kids (fairy butterfly princess dress just needs grommets punched into the belt and my son's "tree" costume still needs to be put together). Halloween cookies will be decorated tonight (they were baked last night) so they can be delivered to their three separate locations (work party, school party and school carnival donation for the treat booth). Planning the menu for the Halloween bash we host every year so that I can shop for everything tomorrow and figure out the cooking timeline for Sunday (yes, I really do make a cooking timeline!).

It's drama, all this last minute stuff and totally not my style. But I'm rolling with it. So much to plan that it's a good thing I am a list maker and keep myself on top of things otherwise I'd be going nuttier than I already am!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Jack O'Lantern Faces

This is the face of The Boy, elbow deep in pumpkin guts as he pulled and scraped the insides cleaned.


This is the serious face of carving. He sketched out his idea first and carefully cut the face out. I didn't help him at all, he did this all by himself.


And I love the final result, a lopsided, screaming Jack O'Lantern! He was so incredibly proud to say that he did it all by himself.


This is the face of someone who's not so crazy about the mess that we were creating. He's thinking about all the pumpkin gunk, seeds and chunks that were being dropped on the floor and rubbed into the dining room table.


These are two serious faces, very focused on getting the look "just right". It was determined to be impossible to follow The Girl's design exactly (flower eyes with a happy face in the center?) so she was okay with Daddy taking control and cutting the pieces for her, which he did handily.


And this is the happy face from a job well-done! See, Daddy the mess was all worth it!


Have you carved your Jack O'Lanterns yet?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

FIVE FOR FRIDAY - Itsy Bitsy Spiders

Seems like we've had a lot of spiders around our house this year. Just yesterday The Boy found a little black widow in the bathroom. It went down without a fight (flush!). There have been countless spiders spotted throughout the house and in the yard, including one that was tucked inside the handle of the front gate...So glad that The Boy noticed it just as I was reaching for the handle!

I'm not squeamish about spiders. I know I'm bigger than they are and a napkin or the bottom of my flip-flop is all that's standing between them and me.

Enjoy these fun and funky spider-inspired Etsy findings this week, just in time to get them before Halloween! Now I'm feeling a little guilty about squashing that little guy in the bathroom...think I need to redeem myself and watch "Charlotte's Web".


This silver pendant is as delicate as a spider itself. There are some truly lovely pieces here that would make fantastic gifts (hint!) including the pea-in-a-pod, cupcakes, etched dog portraits, and birds galore.


Lacy hand-engraved spider web designs on these glass votive holders will cast the eeriest of shadows. Look for the cool, square bowl that coordinates (and holds your Halloween candy!)


I love our ladesigns2 Easter baskets and I can't wait to pick up one of her Halloween treat baskets this year (LeeAnne, my order is coming...I'm just having a hard time deciding!)


Add a hint of Halloween to your Little Black Dress with a spirited velvet spider web clutch. The sparkling purple spiders are just the right touch for a bit of whimsy.


Hee-hee, isn't this adorable?! The rick-rack legs, tiny polka-dotted bow and embroidered expression is the perfect little touch to polish off her Halloween outfit.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


At Oma's Pumpkin Patch, Oct 2009

I'm sure that when most people think of San Diego, they imagine the beach, the Coronado Bay Bridge, Hotel Del, our famous zoo and probably Shamu jumping up in his tank. I live about 30 minutes east from all that action. Even though I live in a very suburban city, if you really know San Diego, you'd realize that all the touristy stuff is only a very small part of the area and a considerable amount of our county is actually quite rural.

Choosing his pumpkin

Up until about 15 years ago, there was a horse living in the field behind our house. We would feed him carrots over the back fence. Drive 30 minutes east from my house and you are officially in the mountains. Every day on the way to school, we pass an egg ranch with chickens, ostriches and emu.

At Oma's Pumpkin Patch

The Boy had a field trip with his school yesterday to Oma's is about 10 minutes from our house, down a dusty road. I'd been a few times before and the kids have a blast. There is a cottonseed mountain that they sled down on plastic discs. A petting area with goats and baby cows. A huge sandpile with about fifty Tonka trucks. A hay maze. A "hayride" trailer that takes you for a tour of the farm. They have dairy cows...LOTS of cows.

Tumbling down the cottonseed mountain

I've been on that hayride ONCE. This time, there was limited space so I (lucked out) and didn't get to go this time...shucks! Seriously, one of the moms said this time, "The smell wasn't as bad, I think it wasn't so windy this time...or maybe the wind was going the other way?". I don't even think it's the manure that gets to me, I think it's the sour smell of the raw milk, ugh! And that's all I need to say about that, just thinking about it...

Truck mountain...big sandbox, lots of digging toys!

This was a school field trip so it was a mess of kids...lots of squealing and running around. I was starting to have my doubts in the first 15 minutes when the kids were in the waiting area to get in and they were leaping from the hay bales and I couldn't hear the mom next to me talk! The kids were really excited! But there was a woman running the show and when she spoke, the kids were quiet and respectful and she was able to explain the life cycle of a pumpkin. Did you know that pumpkins have a "belly button"? Flip it upside down!

Thanks Oma's, we had a great time...and my son was still plucking cottonseed out of his pockets and from behind his ears for the rest of the day!

In front of Oma's with his pumpkin

Saturday, October 9, 2010


It was my brother's birthday last week. We went to my cousin's new house for lunch and to watch the Chargers' football game and Padres' final game simultanously. They moved two TVs into their family room, wasn't that great?!

My brother's request for lunch was Round Table Pizza. My cousin's wife made a fruit salad. My guy brought some beer. I was in charge of dessert, which for a birthday party would generally be cake...but my brother doesn't like cake.

My brother with his wife, on my birthday last month

Yeah, I know, what's up with that? But it's true, he's never liked cake. We've had many birthday pies.

But this year I wanted to make something different. No pie this time, I was going to make decorated sugar cookies.

I've been following fellow blogger BAKE AT 350. Her cookies are so whimsical, so creative and so fun! Though I was tempted to recreate her pickle-shaped cookies (our last name is DILL!), I decided to go another route and make cookies inspired by our favorite football team, the Chargers.

I printed out her directions and followed everything to a tee. If you plan on baking cookies and decorating them, this isn't something you can just whip up on a whim. They take preparation, patience and practice.

I bought a set of round cookie cutters in different sizes. The cookie recipe she provides is easy and very tasty. I was going to be decorating the following day, so after the cookies were baked & cooled I stacked them in Tupperware containers with wax paper between the layers.

The next day I prepared the Royal Icing and "flood" icing. Read BAKE AT 350 for all the details on how to do this but let me just get to the point here and tell you it's going to be...

Fortunately I can draw a straight line without too much wiggling so I was good on the last point! First I outlined each cookie with Royal Icing and drew the outline of a lightning bolt freehand. It had been a long while since I'd wielded a piping bag, but it was a success this time (literally, I was probably 14 the last time I'd attemped that!).

After a bit, I flooded inside each section with watered-down icing and pushed it into the corners with a toothpick. I dropped polka-dots onto a few of them. After an hour, I went back and added the details and writing. Then they had to sit overnight and the icing got hard and I was able to stack them into a box.


Pretty cool, huh? Did I do a reasonable job for my first time?

At least you can read that it says CHARGE!

I forgot to take a pic of everything set out but I also included polka dotted cookies that spelled out my brother's name (nothing says football like polka dots, right?)


Next up...PUMPKINS! And I already bought the cookie cutter!

Friday, October 8, 2010

FIVE FOR FRIDAY - Breast Cancer Awareness

It's Breast Cancer Awareness might have seen a commercial or two about that, perhaps saw something mentioned on Facebook?

You kind of have to be living under a rock to NOT have seen or heard something about that! And I think it's great to take the stigma away, make people aware, and raise some money with charity events, bring it on!

Interestingly enough, in Breast Cancer Awareness Month, my mom had her lumpectomy yesterday. Breast cancer doesn't run in our family, so my mom is the first but the doctor's believe they have caught it quite early. She had a golfball-sized amount of lump and surrounding tissue removed from her left breast. Since they didn't have to put her completely under for the procedure (and chose to do a "twilight sleep" instead) she was awake within minutes of them finishing and was able to leave the hospital an hour later. She did have a bit of discomfort last night with some bruising but a painkiller and an ice pack helped. And this morning she told me she felt great and wasn't in any pain at all!

I want to thank every one of our family and friends who have been praying and thinking of my mom during these last few weeks. We'll find out next week (after the biopsy) if she will require radiation treatments, but in the meantime I'm so happy that she's been pain-free in her surgery recovery.

So in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I bring you the FIVE FOR FRIDAY today. Some of these shops are even donating a portion of their proceeds to research, so get shopping!


The style of this apron is cute enough, but check out that fantastic Pink Ribbon print fabric, the bold stripe and the amazing pink bow front and center. Too sweet to get messy...better just hand over the cooking duties to someone else, right?


Simple and elegant and gets right to the heart of the message. Lots of very sophisticated pieces in the shop (I love the soaring bird!)


I am so impressed by those who can fold and manipulate paper into these teensie-tiny little shapes that just look so detailed and whimsical. I've tried origami and it was a mess of folds and refolds, torn paper and it looked nothing like what it was supposed to when I was done! Sprinkle these bitty paper stars all over like confetti to remind you to keep HOPE alive.


I'm generally all for subtle but this tee is oohhh, so sparkly! With all the Swarovski crystals used here, everyone will notice the fantastic message which is especially great if you are participating in a fundraising walk. I love how the Pink Ribbon is used as the letter L, so clever!


Mmm...cookies! Pink ribbon cookies, even better! Celebrate and share with your friends (or eat them all yourself, your choice!). You have to see the rest of the decorated cookies in this shop, they are so incredibly detailed. I made decorated sugar cookies last week for the first time and hope (someday!) to be able to make them this great.