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Where we love is home...

Updated: 2018-03-05T13:59:13.051-05:00


I haven't posted because...

2011-03-14T19:08:22.350-04:00 kids are just so dang awesome!


Plus, who has time for blogging when we have dance practice, birthday parties (I had NO IDEA how many my 4 year old would be invited to this year!), baby showers, consignment sale shopping, bike riding, park playing, movie watching, biscuit/cake/cookie baking :-) and boring things like cleaning house, grocery shopping, doing loads and loads of laundry etc. etc. etc. My life is too busy for blogging, honestly. So, I'll get to it when I get to it...

For now... enjoy reading/learning/finding awesome recipes/checking out some serious eye candy on these blogs I like.

Oh... and make these biscuits... for real! Your life depends on it!

Top Ten Tuesday - Vacations!


So, I need a vacation... DESPERATELY. I'm sure the majority of my mommy friends feel this way. I know I'm not the only one. I just crave a little kid free time. I go to work and there's kids. I come home and there's kids. I go to the grocery store and there are more kids... They've got us surrounded. Now, don't get me wrong. I LOVE my kids! I adore them. I LIVE for them. But sometimes... I just want a little grown-up time. Is that so wrong? I think not... So, come along on this dream journey with me, will you? Here are the top ten KID-FREE vacations I'd like to take... 1. Hawaii : Look at this... does it not just oooze paradise. sigh. People actually live here. That's the crazy thing to me. What must it be like to live in paradise? I will probably never know. Or maybe something a little more... foreign... more historical... 2. Greece: I am in love with these colors. I think I need a Greek inspired room in my next house. vibrant blue and fresh white. So pretty. But I'm thinking I'd really like something tropical... 3. Aruba! That's it! I love palm trees and sand and sailboats and blue skies and perfect weather. Let's go there. Shall we? I'm packing my bag right now. As I type. I'm multi-talented that way. Once I tire of the tropics; however, I go back to some place a little... older? A little more night-life kinda feel... 4. Amsterdam anyone? I hear it's the place to be. And it looks quite lovely. But I'm so dang predictable... I can't get away from my tropic dreams... 5. Which is why my number five is definitely the Dominican Republic. Oh perfection! I want to be on that beach right now. Toes in the sand, drinking some kind of fruity drink out of a coconut that my private waiter/bartender/masseuse Juan just brought me. Isn't he sweet? I promise Andrew doesn't mind. hehe So, after I get bored of Juan in the DR, I've decided to go to the other side of the world for a little Asian culture... 6. Tokyo is JUST the place! Look at this! Tell me this does not look like a thrilling place to be?! Then it's back to the States for a little bit of outdoor adventure in this gorgeous state! 7. Alaska... how can people get anything done if they have this to look at all day. SO beautiful! Then I think my Andrew and I need a little romance...8. PARIS! It's just the place! I desperately need to go there. I want to see some art and eat some delicious food! mmm And once we're back in the US... I think we'll go for a little drive!9. How about along the Pacific Coastal Highway? We'll stay in some quaint hotels on the beach. Enjoy a bit of the California way of life. I think I could get used to that. Then after all that travel... I need rest. But not just ANY rest. I need some luxurious rest. 10. So, I'm getting a SUPER expensive room at The Plaza Hotel in NYC. I could stay in that bed for a WEEK! Superb! I just need to make sure I get this bathroom! ahhhh.... A woman can dream... just dreaming about it made me feel more relaxed. Now it's time to put the kids to bed and take a long hot shower! :-) That's how we relax around these parts. [...]

Hi, my name is Erin and I love cake!


So, I made this awesome (if I do say so myself) cake for my hubby today! - Last weekend we were too busy rearranging furniture and cleaning out closets, etc. So, I ran out of time. I could have been a little more perfectionist about this cake, but for how little time it actually took me to make, I shouldn't complain too much about the final result. I kinda love it. I don't care anything about comic book characters, but I think it's neat. The Flash symbol is made out of chocolate (maybe one day I'll show ya how I do that, but I never think about taking pictures of the process) and the frosting is buttercream. The yummy cake inside is actually a doctored up boxed yellow cake. Trust me, it's good. mmm

Yep, I'm cool. Aren't you glad you know me, dear readers? ;-)

Counting down...


Well, we're a few days into February and I'm sure all five of my readers are dying to know how my weight loss resolution is going. Sitting on the edge of your seat, I'm sure. So far I've had three weigh-ins and I've lost 6.5 pounds. Could be better (in my opinion) could be worse. I really do like the new Weight Watchers Pointsplus program. It's much better, in the terms of I don't feel like I want to eat everything in sight all the time. I feel much less deprived and much more satisfied. So, there's that. But it is sloooow going. sigh. I'm trying to just keep myself motivated. Recognize that 6.5 pounds in three weeks is something to be proud of. Right?!?

So, here's my before picture... sigh

The exercise thing... well, that's a different story. How does one exercise in the winter when I have no desire to do a workout video in my living room, I refuse to spend the money (like I even have the financial flexibility to do that!) to join a gym and it's TOO cold and icy/snowing outside even think about going for a walk (what? I'm a wuss). So, I'm just hoping that the exercise I get when I start back to work on Monday will suffice for the time being. At least until March when Spring is in sight!

Speaking of Monday... I go back to work... WAHHHHH!!!! I don't want to talk about it. Let's talk about it next week, okay? Maybe I'll be better by then. I just had to tell you that if I go off the deep end... there's a good cause.


For now... I'll give you one more tid-bit about my life... one that's a bit more positive and lighter... I'm making a FLASH birthday cake for my hubby this weekend! I CAN'T WAIT!

Caroline Virginia


Four years ago I was preparing myself (as much as one can prepare) to be a Mommy! I laid awake in my bed the night of January 9th, 2007, knowing that the next day would change my life forever. And how overjoyed I was when my little angel came into my life!


Caroline Virginia has become my heart and soul over these last four years! I can't imagine my life without her. She is an amazing, quirky, smart, hilarious, vibrant, creative, spectacular little girl and I am so blessed to be her mother!


She fills my heart with joy every single day. She is endearing and so loving toward others and she is already such an amazing big sister! I can't wait to see her grow in this area and I hope and pray that she and Audrey will be the best of friends!


I love you with all my heart, my sweet BIG girl! Happy 4th birthday! xoxo

I'm BaaaaaAAAck! :-)


Just in time for 2011!

I come here in such a different place than I was almost a year ago in my last post. I now have another amazing little girl (born December 8, 2010) and I have a new job. Oh, what a difference those two things can make in a woman's life! :-) I feel good.

So, I've come back just in time for a little resolution action! Perrrrrrfect!

I normally don't make these things, but I just feel like doing it this year...

Here goes!

1. Lose weight! I know we all talk about losing weight, but for real! I just had a baby three weeks ago. We all know losing weight HAS to be on this list. I will resolve to lose at least 20lbs, but I will not resolve how I will lose said weight. Maybe I'll go back on WW or maybe I'll get way into working out (HA!) or maybe I'll become a vegan (HA!HA!) or maybe I'll just eat better and cut out the soda. Or maybe I'll just sit on my butt and eat cookies and cupcakes (if only that would work! ) and just pray the weight would fall off!

2. Be the best mom and wife I can be! This is self explanatory... :-)

3. Watch less TV and READ MORE! I love to read, but I waste so much stinkin' time watching mindless TV when I could be reading. Andrew and I got a Nook for Christmas, so maybe that'll help!

And I'll leave you with this...

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
~Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

So, that's it for now... hopefully I'll be back. We'll see.

Happy New Year!

discouragement and random questions...


Today I have been discouraged.  I try not to regret things in life.  I know there is a reason for everything and I know that God has a plan.  There are just times when I have to stop and wonder if I had tried a little harder or pushed a little further ... how would that have changed things?  When I sit back and look at the big picture, I realize these things I'm striving for are not really worth all of my stress.  Jobs and titles are definitely not everything.  I know that.  Money and status doesn't bring a person happiness.  So true.  I realize that I still have time to do the things I want to do and if I don't accomplish all I set out in my mind, it's not the end of the world.  It's just that the fast approaching big 3-0 is upon me, and it scares the hell out of me!  No kidding! Thirty just seems like this place where I was supposed to have accomplished so much.  I was supposed to have that 2.5 kids and a master's degree and a great house and really feel like I have things together.  But who says?!?  Where on earth did I get this idea that things were supposed to turn out that way?  I really have no idea.  It's just something I've always told myself.  Something I started telling myself at 22, when 30 seemed like it would never arrive and my biggest stresser was if the boy I liked would call me that night.   There are so many things in my life that I am thankful for and I can not regret one single thing I have done, because it has brought me so many blessings, mainly my husband and my daughter.  I just can't help but wonder sometimes, when I see people moving on all around me and I feel like I am just stagnant, what else I am supposed to do?  Am I supposed to just be a mom and a wife?  (Not that I take those titles lightly.)  Am I supposed to be a teacher?  Am I supposed to be a nurse or a social worker or a chef or a cake decorator?  Am I supposed to be a nanny or a maid?  Who the heck am I?  And how many other people are feeling this way?  How many other people approach 30  having no idea which direction their life is headed?  All I know is that I'm ready to move on... I've outgrown my job.  We've outgrown our house.  I have serious baby fever!  It's just time to get the ball rolling in a new direction.  We are trying... but sometimes... on this journey into the great unknown... life can be discouraging.  Today was just one of those days.  On a lighter note... Candace from twiggie makes has posted some questions as a little "get to know each other" session and I thought I'd take a crack at them... :-)  Here we go...  1. What would you call yourself if you could choose your own name?  I really like my own name.  I know that's boring, but I can't think of one I like better.  2. What was your worst date (as in going out on a date, not an actual calendar date...unless you have a really bad one to share)?  I went out with this guy when I lived in NYC.  He was so awkward.  Uncomfortable conversation, kept answering his phone during dinner.  After dinner we went for a walk (we happened to be in Chinatown) and we passed an open air fish market and he said he was feeling nauseous because of the smell...  poor guy ended up throwing up all over the sidewalk.  It was just sad.  That was pretty much the end of the evening.  3.  If you had to teach one subject in high school or college, what would it be?  I think it would be fun to teach home-ec.  Do they still have that in school? 4.  When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?  Probably sometime at work.  My students do ridiculous things sometimes and there are some coworkers that just tell stories in such a way that will make me pee my pants!  :-) 5.  What is the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you?  It's really difficult to think of something that was the absolute kindest thing... but I do have a story... When I was still dating my husband [...]

Things I love...


In honor of Valentine's Day tomorrow... here are some things I love... in no particular order.  :-) 

my fabulous husband

my amazing kid 


belting out songs like I'm trying out for American Idol 

my parents 

red wine 

White Christmas (the movie and when we have one) 

New York City 

My Fair Lady 


movie theater popcorn 

hearing my little girl sing 


reading really good books 


my girlfriends 

North Carolina 

the ocean 

my cousin Erika 

being a mommy 

a clean bathroom 


my kitties 


crock pot meals 


flip flops 

pretty snow that doesn't stick 

Christmas tree farms 

Friday nights 

relaxing on the couch and watching mindless tv 

funny movies 

all of my extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) 

Letters to Erin  

my grandparents

old pictures 


tomato soup with a ton of saltines 

sugary cereal 

warm cookies 

beautiful architecture 


creating art 



alone time 

music from RENT - the original cast recording 

finding new recipes 


Gilmore Girls 

bubble baths 


happy hour 

cherry blossoms 

the smell of fall 


taking pictures 

thunder storms 

the song "Someone to Watch Over Me" 

New York style pizza 

sleep overs 

foot massages 

my childhood teddy bear 

Ugly Betty 

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 

ferris wheels 

holding hands 
I'm sure there's more... something I'm leaving out... but this is just a reminder that Valentine's day isn't just about being "in" love... it's also about what you love.  So, what do you love?  

I'm baaaaaack...


Well, this has been a long hiatus I've taken from blogging, huh?  I have no good excuses.  Just life, I guess.  I'll try to catch you up, in case you don't know.  But who am I kidding, anyway? Everyone who reads this knows me, but I'll still write a synopsis of the past three months for my own enjoyment.  Come with me on this journey down memory lane. Will you?  K... Since I've been gone, we have had a fabulous Thanksgiving and Christmas.  My little girl turned 3!  We had a crazy Chuck E Cheese birthday party and I even made a Buzz Lightyear cake!  My sweet Rachel came home for a visit, but she's now returned to the mission field and will be in Manila for the next year.  My precious Aunt Angala had her life ended too quickly by cancer and she went home to be with Jesus.  I have made a lot of new food and tried some new cake techniques (like my miserable attempt at making marshmallow fondant).  But what has happened that's been hard to believe... what we've gotten the most of... what has surprised us the more than anything...  is the SNOW!  It snowed twice in December.  The first was little, nothing to write home about, really.  Then before Christmas we had over a foot, around 18 inches or so!  That never happens!  Then just last week we had two more snows... one that got us a delay and one that closed schools.  But then... the mega storm came!  SNOWpocalyps! ... SNOWmaggedon!  It's been insane!  It started Friday and snowed all day Friday, through the night and all day Saturday.  We got around 30 inches at our house.  School closed Friday and again today...  Frankly, who knows when we'll get back to school because, believe it or not, it's supposed to SNOW AGAIN tomorrow night!  "significant accumulation" is what The Weather Channel and Washington Post are telling us.  I've grown accustomed to the fact that we may never go back to school this winter and that I will just have to kiss June goodbye and start planning on celebrating Independence Day with my students. So... here are some pictures (just for you Erika!) of  SNOWmageddon!  I'm sure I'll have plenty of time to blog here in February, seeing as it'll probably be March before I make it back to work.  :)   Caroline had fun in the snow! She attempted a snow angel!  Standing up!  We are very lucky to live in a condo association who shovels snow like crazy and makes us awesome paths all the way to our front door!  I may complain about the fee, but it's times like these that I appreciate not "owning" a sidewalk.She played in the path.  hehe  She couldn't even climb in the snow.  It was just too deep!  It only took about 13 minutes and 32 seconds for her to decide that hot chocolate looked a lot better than a snow path. Callie cat marveled at the crazy amount of snow out of our back door! She was thanking ceiling cat  all day that she is an indoor kitty! :) (That was for you Andrew!)[...]

wedding + sickness + halloween = tired.


Well, it has been quite a week!  Too much has happened for me to actually go into detail about, but a photo overview of events is absolutely necessary.  :-)  I traveled to Atlanta Thursday before last to celebrate in the wedding festivities of my two dear friends Karla and James!  It was a spectacular time!  With some of the most amazing food I've ever eaten...  like my Southern Burger from Flip Burger.  - Deep fried beef burger with pimento cheese, bread and butter pickles and green tomato ketchup!  And they had glass bottle, real sugar Cheerwine! My favorite soda ever created!  So delicious!  I also can't forget my favorite meal EVER from Highland Bakery!Shrimp and Grits with a jalapeno cheese bread!  Insane!    Anywho enough about food, we'll talk more about that later... The wedding was amazing and so THEM!  Karla looked stunning!  The details of this wedding were so unique!  They made their center pieces that were branches spray painted orange with tiny owls and votive candles glued to them.  They were awesome!  They also had Mad Libs speeches for everyone to fill out!  Creative and fun!The Krispy Kreme grooms cake was too much for me to handle!  I think I died and went to heaven! They also had red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (YUM!) and they all had teeny cake toppers on them that looked shockingly similar to James and Karla!  The food, following with the trend of the weekend, was incredible!  Breakfast for dinner (MY FAVORITE) from The Flying Biscuit.  YUM!On top of all the details, there was just so much love and friendship in the place that my heart was just overflowing!  My beautiful mom was my date, since Andrew and Caroline stayed back in VA.   Friends were abundant with all of my girls (minus our beautiful Rachel... :-( who will one day join us again in the US... but thank goodness her parents were there to represent!)   I don't know what happened with the lighting in this picture.  Oh well... I still love it because I love all of these girls SO MUCH!  And of course, because I'm a sap, I cried my eyes out hugging my newly married friend! Aww!Overall, it was a spectacular weekend!  Exhausting, but wonderful!  Congratulations to Karla and James!  Love you both!!!I got home Sunday and napped for a good three hours that afternoon.  I was still tired on Monday, but trugged through the day.  I was feeling okay until Wednesday night when I started feeling super dizzy and went to bed early to sleep it off.  I woke up Thursday and couldn't shake the feeling like I was going to faint.  I went to the doctor and they tested for a lot, but couldn't give me an explanation other than my body was most likely just trying to fight off something I had been exposed to, which would be just about everything that's out there right now.  I attempted to go to school after the doctor, but was sent home.  I ended the day still feeling dizzy and with a massive headache to boot.  lovely.  Friday, I woke up still feeling lightheaded and nauseous.  Somehow I decided it would be a good idea to go to school because I didn't want to use any more leave so early on in the year, but that idea was put to rest when I had to run out of our morning meeting to vomit. gross and embarrassing.  Luckily I made it to the bathroom before it all came out.  Obviously, I went home again and stayed in bed all day long.  I was on the mend Friday night and was determined to have a good day for Halloween and Praise Jesus I did!I woke up Saturday feeling much better.  Still not 100%, but at least a good 75%. :-) I was good enough to make rice krispy treats, carve pumpkins and dress up as a witch!  I guess that's about 100% to most people, but to a McElveen to make it 100% I could have added clean the entire house and do four loads of laundry to the list[...]

Baby cakes!


Hello all!  Are you still there?  *crickets*  hmmm  *taps mike* HELLO!  Are you still there?  

Okay... here it is... I know I've really been awful at blogging lately, but I have to show this off!  

I made these adorable "baby cakes" Sunday night.  I got it into my mind that I wanted to make something mini and these tiny cakes were what came to my mind.  


I love the way they turned out.  Only six of the eight I made are pictured.  I made two eight inch round cakes and used a wine glass to cut smaller circles out of each cake.  I got four circles out of each cake and I used the scraps for cake balls!  YUM!  The rounds ended up about 3 inches in diameter.  I then sliced the rounds in half to make the mini cakes two layers.  I iced half in chocolate butter cream frosting and the others in white butter cream!  And as you can see, I decorated them all differently.  I love cake!  And tiny things.  And just putting them together makes me happy.  Though, I will admit that as cute as these cakes turned out, they took FOREVER to make!  I will definitely not do this again unless it is for a special occasion or I am getting paid.  :-)  Can you blame me?  

Also, because I've been a blogging slacker, I thought I'd show off the pumpkin spice cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting and the chocolate covered cheesecake balls I made for my dear Karla's bridal shower the other weekend.  They turned out AH-mazing, if I do say so myself.  Don't you like how I'm always patting myself on the back?  hehe  


Tomorrow I'm leaving on a jet plane for the ATL to spend four glorious days with my best girlfriends in the whole wide world (sans Rachel who is somewhere in Asia right about now... sad!) to celebrate the union of Karla and James!!!  woo hoo!  Can't wait to see all of these beautiful faces again!  LOVE THESE GIRLS!   


Peace out y'all and have a great rest of the week!  



We got a new kitten!  She is quite possibly the sweetest thing ever!  
Just look at that face!  How could you not love her?


Andrew loves her.  


I love her.  


Caroline loves her.  


Scout tolerates her.  :-)  
(Please excuse the quality of this photo.  It was taken with Andrew's blackberry.) 


We are all very happy with our new addition!

This weekend we're off to Roanoke/Lynchburg to see my parents, have a wedding shower for my girl Karla, and to attend my 10 year high school reunion!  I'm an old woman! :-)  We leave tomorrow evening!  It should be fun times!  I hope our kitties survive three days alone! :-)  

Cake. It's the best I can do.


Hello faithful blog readers.  (All 3 of you!)  I'm sorry it's been so long!  

I have been trying to post for like a million years.  Wanting to catch everyone up with the million things that seem to have happened since I last posted.  Well, that blog may come along eventually... maybe even this week... but for now... this will have to do.  

Cake has been an important part of my life as of late.  

As some of you may remember from my last couple of posts, I started taking a cake decorating class two weeks ago!  It has been an amazing experience!  And I don't say that lightly.  I have loved every single minute of it!  From baking the cake, to making the icing, to icing the cake, to learning professional decorating techniques, to putting the techniques into action, to taking it to work and letting my coworkers rave about my creation and then devour it in five minutes!  Ah-mazing!  I think I may have a knack for this.  I've never felt this confident about anything.  I seriously think this is a career move that may happen somewhere down the road (hopefully sooner rather than later)!  I have never loved doing and creating anything as much as this!  

And now... for my very first professionally decorated cake.  The thing I love the most about this cake is that I free-handed my design.  Everyone else in the class used stencils, but she showed us how to draw our own and I decided to try that out.  So, instead of going the easy "traditional" way I drew my own design and then transfered it to my cake.  I must say that I think it turned out great!  It exceeded my expectations!

(image) (image)

Cake decorating Part 2 is definitely going to happen!  I'll keep you all updated and post pictures of my next cakes!  



Well, the cupcakes were a success!  
Though only partially.  I LOVED the banana cupcakes and I LOVED the peanut butter frosting! What I didn't LOVE was the two of them together.  Now, don't get me wrong, it wasn't a situation where I tasted it and hated it so much that I couldn't eat it.  It was good.  Just not... it. The banana cupcakes were perfectly moist, fluffy and delicious!  The peanut butter frosting was thick, rich and also quite delicious!  My problem was that the peanut butter frosting was overpowering the greatness of the banana cupcake.  It was just too much together.  Separately they were perfect, but together, not so much.  However, I do think the peanut butter frosting would be perfect with a chocolate cake! YUM!  And I'll just have to keep trying with the banana cupcake.  Bakerella used a cream cheese frosting, so maybe I'll try that next time.  These recipes were amazing though and they will stay in my recipe book for many years to come! 

My always faithful taste-tester was partial to the peanut butter frosting!  

That was her favorite.  She ate off the whole top of the cupcake and wanted to scrap the rest.  Kids.  They know what they like, right?  

Well, tomorrow is my final full day at home with my girl for the summer.  Sad.  Andrew and I will be off to our end-of-the-summer get away and my mom will stay with Caroline until Sunday.  Then Monday... school begins.  sigh.  Oh how I will miss seeing her adorable face all day long!  How can you not love her?!?!  I think she's incredible!  Though I guess I am a bit partial!  

Look at that style!  She's a movie star in the making!  

Cupcakes: a confession


Well, I have a confession to make.  I want to start my own business. A cupcake business.  I've been thinking about it all summer.  Last year when I made cakepops and cupcakes for my coworkers, I got so many compliments and people told me that I should start my own business.  They said people would buy these things!   I'm sure that is true, but all I could think of was that I'm not a baker.  I made everything out of a mix. All I did was make them look cute.  If I really want to start a business, no matter how much I love the decorating and creative aspect of it, I must learn the baking side as well as the decorating.  So, before I actually consider a business, I have some things to take care of, right?  1.  Learn more professional decorating techniques.  So, to take care of that, I am taking a cake decorating class starting September 15!  There are two parts, but I'm just taking part one to see how I like it.  I expect to I love it and learn a lot!  Updates to come.  2.  I must become a more serious baker.  No more box mixes.  I must make cupcake recipes and then tweek them to become my own creations.  I don't really need a class for this.  I know how to bake, I've just been too lazy to do it from scratch.  haha  So, today starts my first baking without a mix experiment.  However, one thing is going to be lacking in my kitchen.  I have no stand mixer, like every cupcake recipe I look at expects you to have.  I want one, but have you looked at them?  I don't have $300 just lying around.  *donations are welcome* :-)  I've tried to win one about a million times on Pioneer Woman, but so have thousands of other people, so needless to say I have yet to win.  But really... this is the one I want... I love red!  :-)  Maybe I'll save my money and buy one one of these days or maybe some generous soul will give me one or have one laying around that they don't use and donate it to a good cause.  But for now, I'll just stick with my hand mixer and move on with my life.  Today I am making banana cupcakes with a peanut butter frosting.  The banana cupcakes come from Bakerella and the peanut butter frosting comes from Ina Garten.  I'm eager to see how they turn out.  I also considered doing these the opposite, with peanut butter cupcakes and a banana frosting.  But we'll see how these work first...  I hope these will turn out as good as I am thinking they will be!  I love cupcakes and I love using different combinations of flavor!  I'm eager to get started!  In other news, the hubby and I celebrated 3 years on Wednesday!  woo hoo!!!  I have no idea why I didn't blog about it... I guess I just wasn't in a blogging mood that day... but I must tell you that it was a fantastic day!  Not only did I get a surprise flower delivery (my favorite!) but we also went to eat at my favorite restaurant Mike's.  SO GOOD!  Then we came home and cuddled up ... drank a little wine ... watched a movie ... etc.  :-)  It was a perfect day with the best man I know!   Next week Andrew and I are going on our 3rd annual anniversary trip. (Thanks Mom for all the babysitting you've done to allow these trips!)  The first year, we just went on a super date and drove around just the two of us... went to Leesburg and Harper's Ferry and then came back for dinner and a movie.  It was a great day!  C was so little then though and I just wasn't ready for an over night trip without her.  Last year, however, I got a little more brave and we went to Philadelphia for a couple of days.  Still only one night away though.  But this time is even more exciting!  My mom is coming on Wednesday and Andrew and I will be heading out for FOUR nights by our[...]

I had a love affair ...


...with a dog.  (image)

Yes... it happened, I'm not too embarrassed to admit it!  While we were in Texas last week,  I fell in love with a dog named Honey!  She is the sweetest, most adorable dog on the planet!  I know... you can all tell me how wonderful your dogs are... but Honey is the best!  Just look at that face... that nose... those eyes!  What has come over me?  


She was just visiting Stephen and Sharay while we were down in Texas and boy am I glad that she was.  She actually belongs to Sharay's sister.  I'm telling you, when I saw this dog I immediately thought of our old dog Adam and I fell in love!  


For those of you who knew Adam, you know he was just about the best dog ever!  If I didn't know better, I would swear that Honey is Adam's long lost sister.  I wanted to pack her up in my suitcase and take her home with me!  I couldn't get enough of her and neither could Caroline!  


Sadly, as she rode with us to the airport on Saturday morning, we had to go our separate ways.  Us back to Virginia and Honey back to her home with her mommy in Fort Worth.  But I'm glad we at least had the week together.  


Honey made me remember how much I truly miss having a dog.  I can not wait until the day we can go pick out a dog that I will fall in love with and bring home!  That will be a happy day!  But for now, I just have to love on the dogs of other people and enjoy my kitty.  :-)  

In case you missed it on Facebook...


Caroline got her first real haircut!  She's such a big girl!!!  

(Before... So excited!)

She thought she was the coolest thing ever going to a real salon!  It was adorable to watch!  And she loved being able to watch herself transform in the mirror.

  She was so darn good!  My kid is pretty much the most amazing thing ever!  (If I do say so myself.)  


Other than that, nothing major has been happening around these parts... hence the lack of blogging.  Though, last week an exciting event did take place in my life.  Something I've waited for for so long.  Something I've complained about and whined about, much to my husband's dismay.  I have window shopped and browsed the web for many a year... three to be exact... and finally... in the glorious land of Costco... I found it.   The perfect one.  The entertainment center that would not only house all of my husbands many electronics, but also at least a third of his 400 or so dvds.  But not only is it functional, it's pretty too!  Let me just say... I'm having a love affair with this entertainment center.  Okay... Okay... I know I'm being melodramatic here, but you do not know the trouble I've held over searching for the perfect one.  And this one, ladies and gentlemen, is perfect.  It only took 3 years.  

(Truly, I do not think this picture does it justice.  But here it is... and it makes me happy.  Though, I think I may have to do something about looking at all those dvds.  Baskets could be in the works.)

Friday we leave for our great Texas adventure!  Caroline's first plane trip and my first visit to Texas!  I am so excited!  

The Help


I just read this book and it was nothing short of amazing!  The Help is Kathryn Stockett's first novel, which in itself is a great achievement!    It is set in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960's during the heart of the civil rights movement.  Things were changing in the south and people were choosing sides.  The chapters alternate perspectives from Skeeter (a southern white woman in her early 20's, fresh out of college with hopes and dreams of being a writer and changing the world) and two black maids, Aibileen (a sweet and gentle woman who has raised 17 white children, but lost her own) and Minny (an outspoken woman who has worked for so many families in the Jackson area that she can't get a job with anyone but a white trash woman married into a wealthy southern family).  Skeeter gets the opportunity to write a novel and is encouraged to write about something that really disturbs her.  With thoughts of her former maid, Constentine, whom she adored, Skeeter  sets out to recruit the maids of white families to tell their stories of what it's like being "the help".  As this novel progresses, more people realize just how much change needs to happen and Skeeter comes to understand that this novel is more than a book, it's her part in changing the world!  

I found this novel warm, controversial, enlightening, beautiful and raw.  I can not describe all of the emotions that I went through reading this book.  I laughed and cried.  I felt angry with all of the brainwashed men and women who saw nothing wrong with their actions but rejoiced with these strong women determined to see change!

Seriously incredible and a MUST read!  I rarely give a book five stars, but this one deserves ten! 

Nothing in life comes for free!


I was going to wait until Wednesday to post about my diet, because that's my weigh in day.  However, I was just feeling motivated to write about it today.  As of yesterday (at 4 and 1/2 weeks of dieting) I have lost 9 pounds!  I'm SO proud of myself!  Not only that, but Saturday my new workout video came in the mail and I have done it the last two days in a row.  I have started Jillian Michael's (aka - mean girl from The Biggest Loser) 30 day shred!  Let me tell you, it has kicked my butt!!!  No doubt, I've never been in good shape, but I didn't realize I was this much out of shape.  My body is aching all over.  So many muscles have been used in that 20 minute work out... my arms, legs, stomach, chest and abs all hurt.  I love it!  The thing I like the most about it is that Jillian talks to you... she says things like, "If you want a modified version of a jumping jack, you're not going to get it!  I have 400 pound people doing jumping jacks and you can do them too!"  or  "If you want abs like these [pointing to one of the girls working out with her] you have to work at it!  It does not come for free!"  She is so right!  I need someone to tell me how it is.  I KNOW I'm fat.  I know I've always been fat.  And I know that it's my responsibility to do something about it.  I need to stop blaming it on genes and kick my butt into gear to push through and lose this weight!  I'm feeling it.  I'm in the right mind set.  It took me a while to get here, but I truly feel (I may eat my words later) that I am in it for the long haul!  And I am excited!  The food I'm eating is good and I'm allowing myself to indulge every now and then.  Though I resisted the leftover pizza last night and worked out while my husband and daughter stuffed their faces, I did allow myself to eat pizza for lunch the day before.  The difference between eating pizza now and eating pizza before is that I didn't over indulge.  I ate enough to satisfy, but I didn't stuff myself.  It feels good to make these decisions.  And working out... it feels right.  Like I knew all along that this was what I was supposed to do.  
Anyway, all of this to say that if I want to get the body I've always dreamed of, I have to work for it! "Nothing in life comes for free!"  

Family fun!


After such a great two weekends in a row, it has made me reflect on how amazing my family and friends are!  There are some people in our lives who know us so well that no matter what the circumstance, they understand exactly how we feel.  We may not see each other every single day, but they are people who will be around for a lifetime.  They can laugh with us and cry with us, they can tell us when we're being incredibly stupid and tell us when the choices we have made are exactly the ones they would have made for us.  These people are constants in our lives.  You may have one or two or ten... but either way, we all have one... a person who has been with us through everything.  Someone who has seen us grow up and that we know will be there until the day one of us goes to meet Jesus.  I am lucky to have many people like that in my life... family and friends, alike.  Friends I see as family and family I see as friends...  they are amazing people, all different in their own rights.  They are people who will hold my hand and dry my tears, people who listen to my thoughts and journey with me to let those thoughts become reality.  These people are THE MOST FUN to be around and I love them with all of my heart!  This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to have a few of those people visit our neck of the woods... my mom, Aunt Donna, and cousin Erika came to see us!  Friday night we went out to eat at one of my favorite restaurants in the Northern VA area, Mike's ... simply fantastic!  If you ever come to this area you have to go there... or one of the many other Great American Restaurants in the area!  You will not be disappointed! After dinner we ventured into DC to see The Color Purple at the Kennedy Center and it was incredible!  Fantasia and Latoya London from American Idol season 3 were both in it!  They were awesome!  Especially Fantasia!  We all agreed that it exceeded our expectations!  It was definitely a night to remember... not just because of the show... but because of our two cab drivers that Donna tried to befriend and one who was scrambling to give her his card because she assured him that she wanted him to be the first Cash Cab in DC!  haha We were dying laughing!  And because I saw the principal/director of the school I have worked at for 2 YEARS and I swear he did not know who I was ...  but luckily he didn't ask my name or call me the wrong one and he was very nice in introducing himself to my family.  It still made me laugh so hard though!  Saturday we went to Mount Vernon, which was so neat, as always!  It's always one of my favorite places to visit in the DC/Northern VA area.  It's just beautiful and so rich in history!  I think it would have been better with less people, but such is life and tourist season in DC.  Saturday night we played Cranium Turbo Edition!  If you have not played this game, you must go out and get it immediately, gather a group of your closest family and friends and play it tonight!  It is SO MUCH FUN!  We were laughing so hard!  Erika and I were on a team and of course, we won!  :-)This is Donna being the puppeteer, while Andrew was the puppet... Mom was on their team and had to guess what he was doing!  Hilarious!They left on Sunday, and we are so missing them all!  I love these women!  Every moment we get to spend together just makes my heart overflow with joy!  Thanks for coming ladies!  It was a fantastic weekend!!!  Love you all!!!  [...]

Harry Potter


Okay... so, Harry Potter is keeping me from posting... and from editing my 4th of July weekend pictures... and from unpacking... and from cleaning my house or doing anything productive.   I just finished The Half-Blood Prince this morning and thank God my devoted husband went back to the library (I'll explain in a minute why I said "back") for me last night to get The Deathly Hallows!  I am obsessed and I can't stop... okay... I did just stop to write this... but you know what I mean.  Anyway... yesterday was the day from H-E-double hockey sticks!  Caroline and I went out in the morning to run a few errands... we went to Target and all was well... we bought her more "big girl" panties because yesterday was her first day wearing them!  She did awesome, by the way!  I was so thrilled! :-)  After Target we went to our favorite library.  She got some books and I looked for the last HP, but had no luck.  However, I was happy to see that the library closet to our house did seem to have one copy on hand.  So, the plan was that we would stop there quickly and get their last copy of The Deathly Hallows and then we would be on our way home for lunch and Caroline's nap.  Well... that did not happen.  First of all, I could not find the book... I didn't ask, which was my stupid fault, but the place was packed and it seemed that everyone who worked there was busy, so I just told myself that I'd go back later, since I wasn't quite done with The Half-Blood Prince.  Anyway, when we went out to my car, the stupid thing wouldn't start.  I was SO mad!  (To say the least!)  I called Andrew and told him what was happening... I had a few options... call a cab, wait on the bus (which would have been almost an hour wait) or attempt to walk... well, I decided that I would just walk home.  After all, it was only a few miles away.  I could do that, right?  So, still irritated, but determined to get home, I packed all of our stuff into Caroline's stroller and put her in there as well and we set off for home.  After about a half mile or so, I ran out of sidewalk.  I was hot and sweaty and my skirt and flip-flops were just not proper walking attire.  Finally, I begrudgingly decided a cab would be best.  So, Caroline and I plopped down on the side of the road and called a cab.  I realized, after making this decision, that I had no money.  Lovely.  So, when the cab arrived, I had to tell him to take me to the bank to get some cash.  yep.  He didn't seem to mind.  Caroline thought this was a sweet adventure!  She rode in the cab without a car seat (as her seat was in our car that was still at the library - don't judge me!) and she thought she was so cool!  haha  It made me a nervous wreck though!  Well, we made it home in one piece, a little sweaty and $13 poorer!  Later on my father-in-law came over and was able to go out and get my car started.  We drove it to get it fixed and turns out it needed a new battery.  sigh.  lovely.  They also tried to tell us it needed a ton of other things, but I don't have $600 just laying around to fork over to fix my car.  Ah well... it should be fixed today, but at least without a car I have an excuse to stay here and read Harry Potter.  haha  By the way, I can't wait for July 15!  The Half-Blood Prince will be out in theaters!  yay!  Well... that's a Wednesday, and we'll probably not be able to go until Saturday, but still... I can't wait!  So, I will do my best to put up some pictures from last weekend soon, but I can not promise it wi[...]

Top 10 Tuesday: My favorite products.


1.  St. Ives Apricot Scrub  -  I heart this facewash!  I have used it for many many years and it is my absolute favorite thing!  I've tried others, but I always end up coming back to this old faithful.  It's the best exfoliating scrub (in my opinion), it's super cheap and you can find it anywhere!  2.  Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer  - If you thought any other chapstick/lipgloss was it... well, you're wrong.  Sorry to tell it how it is, but this is the clear winner and oh so wonderful!  Not only does it make my lips feel amazing, but the shimmer looks cute too!  It's perfect!  3.  Mr. Clean Magic Eraser  -  Love! Love! Love!  I'll never forget my first experience with this amazing product!  It came out right around when I was moving out of my Lynchburg apartment and moving on to the great city of New York.  I bought it because I had to clean and try to get as much of my deposit back as possible and that magic eraser did things that a sponge and soap never could have done!  And still it never ever disappoints!  If you have never tried to use it to clean the bathtub/shower door or tile in the bathroom or kitchen, you must do it immediately!  Stop what you are doing.  Put down the ice cream and GO CLEAN YOUR BATHTUB!   I'm telling you... nothing else works the way the magic eraser works on that funky scum!  It's incredible!  4.  Oil of Olay Complete  -  I have also used some form of this product for years... it takes me back to watching my MawMaw dabbing it on her face in the bathroom in the morning.  She would call it her "oil of old lady".  It always made me laugh.  It still does, especially since I'm the old lady using it now.   :-)  But I love this moisturizer.  It works just like it's supposed to and it makes me happy.  5.  (One more Olay product too) Olay Quench Body Lotion  -  I'm partial to Olay products, but this one just does it for me.  It makes my skin feel so good and it shimmers just a hint!  I love that! 6.  Olde Cape Cod Parmesan and Peppercorn dressing  -  This is a new one on my list.  My friend Kim came up a while back and we were making a salad for dinner and she picked it out.  It was just dumb luck.  Neither of us had bought this brand or had this dressing, but it is SO stinkin' good!  I've already gone through two bottles of this stuff since her visit just over a month ago.  It makes me crave salads.  wow!  How many dressings make you say that?  It's just THAT good!  7.  Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Squares -  YUM!  This is my treat just about every day!  I'm a chocolate lover and really good chocolate makes my belly happy!  8.  Pamper's Splashers  -  Caroline is just about potty trained completely, but I still am not ready to take the chance in the pool.  We have used these since she was a baby whenever we have gone to the pool and they just work.  My aunt gave us our first pack and we have been fans ever since.  They are wonderful!  I'm sure Huggies brand is good too, but we have just been a Pamper's family from the beginning and they have always worked for us.  We love these swimmy diapers!  9.  L'Oreal Bare Naturals Foundation  -  I had been a Revlon girl for years!  Never even bought a L'Oreal product.  Then my mom introduced me to this just a mere few months ago!  I love it!  It covers better than any kind of mineral foundation I've ever used, even the expensive ones and it stays on for much longer than most foundations.  It is light and natural looking.  Th[...]

A Very Merry Un-Bloggy-versary to Me


I just realized that my last post was my 100th post.  I should have had a party like they do with TV shows!  Called Ace of Cakes or something...  Dang it! ... 101 just doesn't have the same ring to it, so I guess I'm too late.  Maybe on 200?  You know what else I realized?  My one year bloggy-versary was on June 18th and I didn't even know... sad.  Not that anyone cares... who even reads this thing anyway?  And clearly I didn't care enough to celebrate... So... let's move on, shall we?  

I basically just want to show off cute pictures of my girl and her cousins at the pool yesterday!


Can I tell you how much I am loving our pools this summer?  


Yes, I said pools (plural) ... we have two!  (It's okay for you to be jealous.)  ;-)  We mainly go to the one by our house, but one day a week it's closed while the other one is open and we did venture over there one day this week.


We went to the pool every day except one this past week.  It was awesome!  


The greatest thing was that Thursday and Friday and even Saturday (the day these pictures were taken) it was almost empty!  AHHH-MAZING! Caroline and I are so tan!  It's fantastic!  


Next week (Wednesday) we're off to the 'noke to see my parents and friends!  I can't wait!!! The three "F"s will be involved... Fairs, Food, and Fireworks!  It does not get much better than that!  Oh... I thought of another F ... funnel cake!  mmmm or Fried Oreos.... oh my gosh! My diet is down the toilet!  sheesh 

Having too much fun to blog!


I've been thinking about blogging and wanting to do it, but there has just been too much to do and too much fun to be had!  We've been going to the pool, watching movies, going to the library, singing songs, having school time, making yummy food, having cookouts, and so much more... It's been great!   I'm loving summer so far!  I'm trying my best not to stress about things (i.e. - wanting to move to NC).  I'm just taking it all in stride and enjoy every moment!  


I do have a secret though, I'm on a diet AGAIN.  yep.  My weight had gotten out of control!  I'm trying something new this time.  I'm doing the Weight Watchers Core plan and so far I'm loving it!  I have not been hungry and I have not felt cheated!  It's basically just a list of foods that I can eat, plus I have 30 flex points for the week.  I'm doing really well and in only a week (almost - I started last Wednesday) I've lost 4.3 pounds.  AMAZING!  Next week we go to my parent's house for the 4th! That will be the true test of if I'm really all in on this diet!  I can't wait, but I really want to keep it up!  I can do it!  

For now, it's time to hang out more with my kid... we're watching Mary Poppins and drinking strawberry and banana smoothies!  This is the life!  :-)    

Summer! - And look what I made!


Holy cow!  I'm done!  The day has finally arrived!  Praise THE LORD!!!  Today was my last day and I couldn't be happier!  (If you can't tell!)  I have plenty on my agenda for the summer and I can't wait to get started!  

We enjoyed having my amazing Mom here with us since Saturday! We went to the pool and she helped me make these beautiful creations... 


Cupcake Hamburgers and Sugar Cookie Fries... 


I made them for our end-of-the-year potluck at school and they were  so much fun!  I LOVE the way they turned out!  Much better than I expected!  


For now, I'm relaxing and waiting on my celebratory pizza to be delivered, before I start my diet tomorrow.  Sad.  Good thing I have all the good things that go with summer to make me happy about dieting... 

My Top Ten Favorite Things About Summer

1.  Vacation! 
2.  Going to the pool!   
3.  Watermelon!  
4.  Cooking out on the grill! 
5.  Laying out and reading a good book! 
6.  Wedding Season!  
7.  Going to the beach!  (Though I don't know if we'll make it this year.) 
8.  Celebrating Independence Day with the family!  
9.  Fresh fruit and veggies! 
10.  And last, but definitely not least, hanging out with my awesome kid!!!