Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Year End Book Review

Those of you who know me know that I am a reader.  I really don't function well without a book or two scattered around my house that I am in the process of reading.  So, as part of finishing up 2011, I thought I'd do a little post about what I read this year and what I am planning on reading in 2012.  Looks like 2012 will be the year of mysteries!  Enjoy!

Books I Read Cover to Cover in 2011

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen - Although I really liked the movie, I thought the book was outstanding!

Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson - One word - fantastic!  I am seeing the movie version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo tomorrow!

The Sookie Stackhouse / Southern Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris - These are the books that the HBO series "True Blood" is based on.  Entertaining and fun, but nothing life changing.  :)

The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus Book 1) by Rick Riordan - I am absolutely a sucker for teen fiction and this series (which is a spinoff series to the fantastic Percy Jackson novels) began very well!

The Mysterious Affair at Styles, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd & Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie - Her books are so good for everyone - mysteries without all the sex and overt violence in today's books.

The Good & Beautiful Life:  Putting on the Character of Christ by James Bryan Smith - An inspiring second book in the Apprectice Series.  Our church made this a sermon series as well.

The House of Night Series by PC & Kristen Cast - This teen vampire series was original, but without much substance.  They would make great beach reads.

Books I Want to Read in 2012

Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado - We were all made to make a difference and I want to make more of one in 2012.

The Kinsey Milhone Series by Sue Grafton - I just started these books that correspond with the alphabet (A is for Alibi, B is for Burgler, etc).  I am on "D is for Deadbeat" and they are very entertaining so far!

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins - I've heard good things about these books that are set in a grim future where contestants are chosen to compete in competition to the death.

The Son of Neptune (Heroes of Olympus Book 2) - I can't wait to read this follow up to the awesome Book 1!

77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz - looks creepy - just like the Mr. Koontz I love.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs - I love the premise of a story featuring a deserted orphanage, tales of the supernatural and a mystery handed down from grandpa!

11/22/63 by Stephen King - If you could go back in time and stop the JFK assassination, would you?  I'm excited about this one and all of its 1000 pages.

Books I Just Want to Own in 2012

Mississippians II - A gorgeous coffee table book of famous Mississippians.  This one is a bit of a cheat, since I got it for Christmas - yay!

The Complete Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson - Love these, need this!

The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond - That Ree, she is a superwoman!

Thanks to The Nester for hosting a link up of books.  I already see several to add to my list!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Elf on the Shelf Fun

Our Elf on the Shelf, Sparkle Belle, has been up to way too much fun this Christmas season already.  I thought I'd share some of her best mischief with you - enjoy!

 Sparkle Belle loves to play Candyland, but she swears that the Lalaloopsy girls cheat!

What's a Southern Elf to do when she misses the snow? 
Why, make grit angels of course!

 Making Cookies, but we were out of chocolate chips  :(

Reading AnnaLauren's books

Rolling the Christmas Tree in toilet paper
Trying on Barbie dresses (she's partial to the Holiday ones)

Eating leftover birthday cake, yes please!

And one of my favorites, playing veterinarian to all the Littlest Pet Shop animals!

Merry Christmas!   Hope you are having fun with your elves too!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bananas in Wonderland

This year for Halloween, AnnaLauren was a precious Alice in Wonderland. My wonderful grandmother made her costume again and it was fantastic!

And Noah, well Noah marched to his own drummer again. His picture says it all!

Happy Late Halloween!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Homecoming Week

Noah really got into Homecoming Week this year.  Each day had a different theme - Tacky Day, Dress Up Day, Blue & Gold Day, Sports Mania Day and the oh so popular Movie Character Day.  He looked great every single day, but I HAD to share his costume from Movie Character Day.

Presenting Noah as
Alan (and Carlos) from The Hangover
Bwahahaha!  Cracks me up every time!
Oh, the girl with him was a Care Bear. 

Ok, and in case I seemed to be ignoring it, yes I know I have a pitiful neglected blog.  And yes, I will try to do better.  Pinterest is now blocked at my office anyway!  :(

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Who cares about Angry Birds when I have Pinterest?

I, like everyone else, have become OBSESSED with Pinterest.  If you aren't doing it, well, you should.  It's that great.  It is basically an online inspiration board site.  You make your own boards - things like style, parties, food, etc and then link up pictures from the net as inspiration.  You can view my boards here: and if you want an invite, send your email address to and I will hook you up!

I found a "pin" that sums it up perfectly.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Summer Vacation - iPhone Style

Since I am the worst blogger ever and haven't done the second half of our vacation, I thought I'd take a minute and share the pictures from my phone.  Hey, it's something!  Enjoy!

What we did on our Summer Vacation:

Watched tv (Chloe & AnnaLauren in pool floats)
Rode Mechanical Sharks

Drove the dolphin cruise boat
Hung out with a couple of really pretty girls
Posed for some cute pictures

We had a great time!  Can't you tell?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Florida Vacation 2011 - Part One

A couple of weeks ago, we made our annual trip to Okaloosa Island, Florida.  As always, it was a blast for us and the kiddos.  Since these tend to be long, picture heavy posts, I am breaking it into two parts.  This is a recap of Saturday through Tuesday. 

Saturday - Driving, driving and more driving.  Luckily we are blessed with two kids who are excellent travelers!  They hung out, napped a little, watched a movie or three and we were there.  We rented a ground floor condo to make pool and beach access easy.  We have done this for a couple of years and losing a bit of view to gain so much convenience is totally worth it. 

Our view from the patio was this...Love!

So, Sunday through Tuesday we...

 did a little swimming in the pools,
came up with a little vacation theme music,
wrote our names in the sand (and held hands, I die!),
and got a big girl hair wrap!

Where we stayed:
Summer Place on Okaloosa Island, Fort Walton Beach, FL rented through VRBO

Places we ate:
Saturday Dinner - Hungry Howie's Pizza - <3 the flavored crust! (and we don't have one at home)
Sunday Dinner - Grilled Burgers & Dogs courtesy of Tommy
Monday Dinner - Staff's in Fort Walton Beach
Tuesday Dinner - Hungry Howie's again (yep, it's good!)

Our good friends the Warren's came in on Tuesday and stayed the rest of the week.  All the fun from Wednesday  through Saturday will be in Part Two!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Daddy's Little Princess

Each year, a local women's group in our town hosts a Father/Daughter Ball to raise money for Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, TN.  It is a major event!  :)

This year we decided that AnnaLauren was old enough to completely drive her dad insane go.  So, we began looking for just the right dress and accessories.  AnnaLauren specifically requested "glass slippers".  So after much looking and even more unhappiness with what we were finding, we went with a tried and true approach - our Mamaw Betty.  My grandmother, A's great-grandmother, made her a dress based completely off a picture from the internet that was my inspiration and my sad little instructions.  It is GORGEOUS! 

Tommy and AnnaLauren had a fantastic time and made some really special memories!  I am a lucky girl to have these two plus the teenager!

Tommy and AnnaLauren ready to go!

Love this little face!

Modeling on the stage with her feather boa and "parasol".

Friday, June 24, 2011

Hot Weather and an Update

OK, so it's been over a month since I've posted about anything.  But, that isn't exactly atypical for me.  My excuses are:
1.  We went on vacation - and yes, at some point there will be a post or two about that
2.  I'm lazy
3.  It is so hot outside

So in honor of all this hot weather, I leave you with a picture of AnnaLauren in the snow. 
Happy Friday!

AnnaLauren - February 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Featured at Night Owl Crafting!

My printed anniversary mosaic was featured at Night Owl Crafting today! 
It was the most viewed link last week.  Hooray!

You can see the post at Night Owl Crafting here.  Plus, she has an awesome linky party every Wednesday called "Hoo's Got Talent?"  You should definitely go visit for some crafty inspiration!  The link is on my sidebar. :)

Or you can see my original post here.

I get to post this lovely button on my sidebar and I am super tickled about it!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Octopus Hotdogs, yep that's right

Last week, AnnaLauren and I were trying to decide on what she wanted for dinner.  Tommy and Noah had requested a dinner of veggies only.  AnnaLauren will not do veggies only so I was going through the list of meat options for her - chicken nuggets - no, fish sticks - no, ABC's & 123's - no, chicken & rice - no.

We were both exasperated. 

Then, AnnaLauren looked up at me and said, "Mother Mudder, I want real fun dinner!"

Ok then.

So I did what any super fun mom would do - I made Octopus Hotdogs.  Served with mashed potatoes, mixed veggies, a crescent roll and the required princess vitamin - all was right with the world!

A Quick "How To"
1.  Choose your favorite hotdog and lay it flat on your cutting board (or a paper towel)
2.  Make a cut all the way through starting about 3/4 of the way up the hotdog
3.  Roll the hotdog 1/2 turn and cut again
4.  Stand him up and splay out the legs.  I also cut an "X" into the top.
5.  Nuke in the microwave for about a minute or drop into boiling water.
6.  Serve with ketchup for dipping!
7.  Explain to your children that octopi do indeed have 8 legs and not four but that these were obviously either injured in a fierce battle with a great white shark or victims of a tragic boat propeller accident. :)

Have a fantastic week!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Anniversary Printed Mosaic

Seven years ago, I stood on the beach in Paradise and said, "I Do!" to my best friend.

We look so very young!

We don't spend a lot of money on anniversary gifts.  We usually just have a nice dinner and movie date.  But, I have been on a craft kick, so for our anniversary this year, I wanted to make something. 

I looked all over blogland for inspiration.  My criteria was pretty general.  I wanted something cheap and fast that was within my limited skill level.  One of the things I saw were mosaics made out of photos of letters and numbers.  I honestly can't remember where all my inspiration came from, but there are lots of you out there.

So on to the project...

The key to this project are the absolutely amazing photo collections on Flickr by Leo Reynolds.  He has letters, numbers, punctuation and all sorts of things.

So, I opened up a powerpoint document (because that's what I had at work) and copied and pasted the letters of my choice into the document.  I played around with the wording and layout until I came up with this.  I sized it to fit in an 8X10 photo mat.

I could have sent it out to be printed in a photo lab, but I am all about instant gratification.  I printed it off on my printer with plain paper.  It looked great!  Then, I stopped by my local thrift store and grabbed an 11X17 awful gold frame with a white mat and a terrible lovely cherub print.  The price was right at $3.50.  The print went into the trash and the frame got a quick coat of Bahama Sea spray paint by Krylon that was hanging out in our garage.

The finished product - I love it!  And Tommy loves it too! 
My only cost was $3.50 for the frame.  What a deal!
*Warning* Terrible cell phone picture ahead!

Happy Anniversary Tommy!  Love you forever!
I'm linking up with everyone listed on the right!  They have great parties and you should visit them all! :)