Monday, February 28, 2011

Spring Surprises

Ok, so it's still February.  And if living in Georgia for 8 years now (omg, 8 years!) has taught me anything, it's that the weather is a jerk.  It's not unusual for it to be 80 one day, and 40 the next.  It's not unusual for it to rain the entire month of April.  It's not unusual to see hoards of suburbanites flooding Home Depot on a sunny Saturday in late February, scooping up annuals like they are going out of style - and then seeing those same new flowers wilted and dying after a late frost passes through.

But when the sun is shining and the temperature is balmy, it's hard not to get excited about spring.  It's hard to resist the urge to put away our coats and gloves in exchange for tank tops and flip flops, open windows, and sunbathing in the backyard.  We will all have cold toes in the next few weeks when the faux spring disappears again!  But for this week, flowers are in bloom and my spirits are high.  I spent a good long time just sitting in the sun, soaking up its rays, my face tingling with the feeling of some quality vitamin D.  Even our dogs are eager to lie in a nice patch of sun on our patio, napping in the warmth.

How can your heart not long for spring, when practically every yard is brimming with freshly-sprouted daffodils?  These perky yellow flowers are the true ambassadors of spring, encouraging us to hang on for just a few more weeks, telling us that dreary winter is on its way out.  They offer a swash of color in an otherwise gray world.  I'm so glad our city has embraced these bulbs - making so many yards just a little bit happier.  

Even my other bulbs are starting to sprout, causing me to run around my front yard like a crazy person, snapping pictures of these little miracles.  What can I say, I’m a sucker for the changing seasons!  I planted these last year in the shallowest of graves holes, mostly because I'm lazy and the ground was freaking hard.  But they made it! (or, 1 did at least!).  The stupid deer already got to one -

Spring has sprung, but will it last?

ps - that first picture is of our peach tree in the front yard!  1) I didn't know peach trees bloomed with pink flowers  2) I was sure it was dead - like, totally dead  3) Who's coming over for fresh peaches in summer? [optimism abounds]

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Well, it's been nearly 2 months since 2011 began, and I put my list out there into the world of the 50 things I wanted to do (or start doing) this year.  As you can see, only 2 things have been officially crossed off.  Kinda pathetic, and not a good indication of overall completion % by December...

However, it's importatnt to note that many of the things were "do it and keep on doing it forever and ever" kinda things - like #12 (eat more veggies), and #25 (be a better friend), and importantly, #5 (kiss Tony hello each evening when I get home).  I am doing okish on the ones like this.  I've really tried to be happy when I walk in the door each night, even on the nights when my commute was 2 hours - and it's 9 pm... 

I can't say I've eaten more than 2 pieces of fish this year (#27), and I haven't learned about a new country at all, needless to say each month (#30) - so those are semi-fails...

But there are many others that are in progress, that I'm not quite ready to check off yet - #46, #20, #3!.  

So, it's not a total loss, but I need to step it up!!  

Simple Pleasures


Does anyone still call them "daffy down dillies" like they do in The Secret Garden?

Spring has sprung, my dears.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Free Free Free!

Happy Monday!  I hope you have today off too!

I wanted to pop in to quickly share something I'm really proud of:
As of today, with the exception of our mortgage, we are 100% debt free!! 

We paid my car off yesterday (the $5k left on it).  You may recall my endless blabbering about how we are saving money.  It's still going strong - and we have specific plans for all of the dollars we are stocking up.  Most is for savings - either long-term or emergency, some is for specific projects (fixing our irrigation issue, building a deck), and some was an effort to reduce our bills.  We can now check the car off the list (now, pray I don't get into a wreck any time soon!).  We don't owe anyone anything (well, except those mortgage people) - and it feels great.  I am also proud to say - we are now completely saving one of our incomes and living only off of the other.  

I've said this before - I don't post this to brag or gloat, but instead, to be a possible inspiration to anyone else who is trying to do the same.  We aren't rich but we're doing well, and we aren't living on rice and beans and having a miserable time to be able to save as much as we are.  We are just average 20 somethings (um... late 20 somethings now, I suppose!) with normal lives.  The only exception is that we aren't carrying the debt load that has become so unfortunately normal for those our age.

It's (surprisingly!) not really all that hard to save - we use the cash system, we budget and plan and bargain shop, and (this is the biggest/hardest one!) we don't buy what we don't need.  I don't have a closet full of new clothes - but I haven't had a credit card balance since college.  We don't have a DVR but we have time to talk.

True, there have been some fortuitous circumstances that are allowing us to save what we do (for instance, Tony drives a company car and we luckily never had to have student loans from undergrad).  We (thankfully!) haven't encountered any problems in life that required us to lean on our credit cards or borrow what we didn't have.  We are blessed every day by those around us, friends and family alike.  There have been rough patches and moments of jealousy and tiny little tantrums by yours truly.  But I can assure you - it feels incredible to only have about a handful of bills coming in each month. We're on a mission to live simply and with as little complication and drama as possible.  

One step closer.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Simple Pleasures

This dog.  This face.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Baby Cake Pops!

I told you about Kacy's baby shower yesterday, and here's one more thing I whipped up for it - cake pops! 

Bakerella is the indisputable queen of cake pops, so I followed her instructions to make some of my own.

Seriously, go check out her beautiful creations (with basic instructions here) if you haven't already.  Amazing!  Mine were much more simple - pink pops with blue ribbon - since Kacy is having one boy and one girl.  It was messyish, but they were delicious.  A great party favor for any occasion! 

Hint:  if you are making some of your own, I found the sticks and bags at Walmart - but look in the cake decorating section in the party aisles near the cards - they aren't where you would expect them to be!

Yum!  There might have also been some "mess ups" that Tony and I had to eat.  Shucks.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kacy's Baby Shower - and Diaper Cake!

How cute is this girl???

This is my friend Kacy, who is pregnant with twins.  I was honored to help her aunt Libby host her shower, along with her brother's girlfriend Lucy (above).  Kacy is absolutely beautiful (anyway!), especially with her big belly.  The shower was tons of fun (of course) and the gifts had us oooohing and ahhhing.

Kacy's Mom, Kacy's Aunt, Lucy, Myself

I was excited to try my hand at the now-classic baby shower accessory - diaper cake!  I have to say, it turned out super-cute and was pretty easy!  I had fun making it and I think it looked really good, if I do say so myself!

I bought a box of diapers, tuckable accessories (toys, powder, shampoo, wash cloths, pacifiers, baby hair brush, and spoons), a spool of fabric ribbon and cheap curling ribbon, and a scalloped cake base. I grabbed a paper towel roll and the gorgeous glass cake plate I received for Christmas.

I followed various parts of directions from lots of tutorials that existed online - so I won't rehash that here - just Google it!  But some advice if you are making your own:
   - The paper towel roll really helps stabilize the whole thing - don't skip it!
   - Tie each of the concentric circles together with the curling ribbon, especially at the base - again, for stability!  Keep tying as you get wider.
   - Cut the height of the paper towel roll so it just barely comes above the final tier - and stick one diaper down inside the roll as the topper to hide it.
   - I hot glued the fabric ribbon at the ends, but otherwise it's just tight enough to stay up, so that she could actually use the diapers.
   - The tying up of the tiers around the paper towel roll made it so I didn't have to affix the tiers together - and again, this helps the diapers remain usable.


Try it yourself!  It's easy!  

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Notes

Happy Valentine's Day!  

Tony and I aren't the type of couple who lavishes over, or even celebrates, Valentine's Day - and for the record, I'm totally ok with that!  But I like the sentiment of sending sweet notes to those you love, so luckily we have two beautiful little nieces I can shower love on.

Sure, they can't read, or even chew food, but that's irrelevant.  So, in the interest of taking a little extra time and effort to send them valentines, I made them cards.  That, and it crossed something off The List.

Armed with a craft box full of stuff, including lots of old stickers and the amazingly giant box of scrapbook paper that my mom gifted me for Christmas....

I made these little cards - I have to say, they turned out quite lovely:

Each got a little ribbon before sending

Hope you all feel the love on this day, and always.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Head Start

You guys.  I did something crazy today.  Something completely unpredictable.  

I went bathing suit shopping.  In February.  For no good reason.

The miracle?  I found a top I love.  Seriously, it's a miracle.  You see, I hate bathing suits - I hate trying them on, I hate wearing them, I hate having to pick through them to find one that's only mildly repulsive.  I usually wait until the day before I'm headed to the beach or the lake to go find one - and am surprised (yes, each time) that there are only size XS gold-lame triangle tops and the flowery skirted numbers that my Grammy wears.  

So this year, when I spotted Target's bathing suits out in JANUARY (the horror!) I decided to be proactive.  I was going to go shopping early.

I actually had a selection, and was able to find one that wasn't sewn for babies.  Not to be a free ad for Target or anything, but it's perfect - black (duh), potentially strapless, with an elastic waistband around the bottom to keep it from riding up during those cringe-worthy pool exit moments... and the best part - it has a little gathered drapey part in the middle - so no cling!!   Thank you, Target, for finally making a bathing suit I like.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Simple Pleasures

Hungry babies.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Life is still a blur right now*, but since it's blizzarding in most of the country right now (but not here! thank goodness!), I thought I would share some make you happy pics.  I had to go to Miami for work, and while it was an in/out kinda trip, it was an absolutely glorious taste of sun and sand and warmth.  I took about 1,000 pictures from my hotel balcony because I'm cool like that.  I gazed at the rich and questionably-dressed Europeans and the upper crust families with nannies in tow, and imagined I was wealthy enough to vacation at a place like this... all from the hotel lobby in my work clothes... :(

Anyway, pretend there isn't snow up to your rooftop and imagine you are sitting out here in a lounge chair and we are having cocktails - perhaps in a cabana?

Yes, I'll take another.  How about you?

I wish I could have taken more photos of the inside - but I was afraid that would be terribly tacky.  I did grab this pic of one of the hundreds of chandeliers - I loved the bubble-like glass.

Fanny pack? 

I managed to grab a quick morning walk on the beach, and shamelessly took self-portraits.

I look like a lunatic vampire.  Sorry.

 Aren't you glad we are on holiday together??

*I should clarify that no, I'm not pregnant, as that seems to be the common cause of dropoff in blogland - just busy working!

** I have a large amount of traffic coming to my blog this week from a not-to-be-named-here adult "dating" website.  What do I do???  I can't see directly where my blog is linked, but I'm afraid one of the people on there is linking here from their about me profile... ick!  So if you are a creeper, please go away.

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