Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Be back soon...

DSC00363Been out of town, twice. Thrown a couple of parties. Now fighting a nasty infection which is not fun. I'll be back before you know it with stories and pics. See ya then.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

More bargain shopping

We recently got some new furniture. We needed it BADLY. For furniture we shop at Ashley. We've been to a gazillion other furniture stores but Ashley seems to be "the" place for us. It's where we got our bedroom furniture, our dining room furniture and now our family room and living room too!

We originally went to get a new couch for the family room cause our current one was literally falling apart. Structurally it was still good but despite the fact that we got durable soft denim ~ it was coming apart at the seams. We actually do love looking around at Ashley (despite what I previously said about shopping). We were able to narrow our decision down to just a few and again ~ they were having a great sale. They had sofa/loveseat/coffee table and end tables on sale for a great price, plus double your tax off the total price, free delivery and no interest for a year... so we took two! We ended up getting a set for the family room and one for the living room.
Here's the family room sofa.  As you can see, it passes the sleeping test! I tried to take another pic this morning but I guess the couches are too comfortable cause this is what I found when I went out there...  Both of them asleep on the couches ~ And yes, I need to recover some of those pillows.   I'm working on it....

Next up is the living room. In the show room, this furniture looked a bit more blue but it's actually a sea foam green.DSC00003 We also got a great deal on the rug 'cause it had been discontinued.  And speaking of great deals.... because they screwed up on one of the deliveries, we got $$ to get accessories... so we got a tree! Look what a difference it makes in the room

I also recovered the rocking chair to match the rest of the new furniture.  Now I just need to get some art up on that big ol' plain wall ~ but I've got some great ideas ~  so stay tuned!!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

I Love A Great Bargain

I'm not what I would consider a great shopper. I grudgingly go to the grocery store cause I have to feed the family. I really don't like malls. They can be too crowded and most of the stores are very overpriced. For most of my non grocery needs I tend to shop at Target (I HATE WALMART with a passion). For clothes though, I really prefer going to Kohl's. They usually have really cute clothes and their prices are not bad at all.

I recently went to get the kids a few things. We've got a cruise coming up and I had to get Nate some "dress" slacks and shirts. I only do this when he actually needs them cause I can guarantee he'll wear them once and before we have an occasion for him to wear them again, he'll outgrow them. Anyhow... I got some great buys for both him and Julianne (and a little something for Charlie as well!)

So a couple of days later I went back to Kohl's. I wanted to get a blouse for myself to wear with my favorite black skirt. I got the perfect blouse, a necklace, matching earrings AND a lightweight black sweater. Guess I how much I spent? $11.70! Yep, I said $11.70.  Here's the proof.  A picture of my sales receipt!  Between the sales  ~ the sweater was 90% off so my $40 sweater cost me $4.00 and the fact that I had $20.00 in Kohls cash  ~ For every $50 you spend you get $10 in Kohls cash and thanks to my previous shopping trip I got $20. ~  AND I got a $10 coupon in the mail.   Now that's what I call a great bargain. I saved $102.96!!!

Next we were on to Payless for dress shoes for the boy ~ cause again, he'll wear them once or twice before he outgrows them.   $30 for very acceptable dress shoes and since they had their BOGO sale going on he also got a pair of tennis shoes for $15.00.  Of course I needed to be rewarded for all this hard sale shopping so when I spotted the cutest pair of slip ons with the smallest of heals marked down from $28. to $7. and remember BOGO so I got TWO pairs.  One in black and one in off white for a total of $10.50  S-C-O-R-E!!!

Here's the outfit DSC00094  The matching purse and wallet are my designs.    Shall we take a closer look? DSC00095
I think they compliment the outfit nicely without being too matchy. I'm really loving clutch bags these days. When I'm dressed up and only want to carry my keys, phone, camera and a few other essentials, they are perfect.

So, while I'm not a super shopper, I think I got some pretty super bargains!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Yummy Chicken Salad

I don't know about where you live but here in Florida it has been brutally hot this summer. Much hotter than I remember last summer being. When it's this hot, I really hate to cook anything hot. We do lots of "salad" type meals when it's this hot. I recently came up with this chicken salad that turned out really good.

I got some chicken from the deli and had them slice it nice and thick then I cut it up into bite sized pieces DSC00081
Next I chopped up some onion, celery, walnuts and added in some craisins.
Threw it all in together DSC00084 I just love the mix of colors and textures ~ added some mayo, salt & pepper.
DSC00085 Served it on top of some lettuce and a few cool sides. It was very delicious. To make it even better ~ we took a cracker, added a piece of pepper jack cheese and then the chicken salad on top. It was hot, sweet & crunchy all at the same time. Talk about a party in your mouth!!! I even made a nice pitcher of iced tea. I like my iced tea with lime rather than lemon. If you haven't tried it that way ~ it's really good!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Inspired by the Pioneer Woman

A couple of nights ago we had a little soiree here at the house. Some of my fellow census workers and I were getting together to celebrate the end of phase 1 of our jobs with a margarita party. We had decided to do this out on the pool deck since I have plenty of room there. I do have to tell you though, despite having the overhead fans on high, it was really really hot. The night before it cooled down so nicely and we had a beautiful breeze. Not so this night.

My friend and coworker TT brought her blender and the margarita fixins.Man, she makes a mean margarita!  I made a double batch of the Pioneer Woman's Pico De Gallo that I talked about here This batch turned out much hotter that the last which is really a good thing ~ I think I've been getting some jalapeno duds the last few times.

It went over really well but I did have some left over. Now you know I can't just let this go to waste so I thought "WWRD ~ what would Ree do?" And here's what I came up with. The PERFECT eggs!
I threw a little in the pan and heated it until most of the liquid was gone DSC00089 Scrambled up a couple of eggs and threw that in DSC00090 and Voila ~ A great, tasty breakfast. DSC00091 Served it with some toast and fresh orange slices on the side. Perfection. Thanks again Ree!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Charlie's Christening

Last Sunday we drove up to Jacksonville for Charlie's Christening. It was kind of fun getting the whole family dressed up.
DSC00026 See the dress Charlie is wearing? It's the same dress Jennifer wore for her christening 30 yrs ago. And do you see how tall Nate is getting?
Charlie was very well behaved during the whole service DSC00040 and with the exception of some very loud hiccups (which made everyone chuckle) she barely made a peep. My favorite part of the service was when the pastor walked Charlie through the church with the congregation singing "Jesus Loves Me." I couldn't sing cause I was really choked up. It was a really nice ceremony and I can see why J&J really like this church. Doesn't hurt that the pastor looks a little like George Clooney either.

Afterwards we all (Me, Rich, the kids, J/J&C, Jen's dad and his family, Jeremy's family and a couple of their friends all went to Buffalo's to a luncheon to celebrate. Charlie got some nice gifts. Grampy and I got her an infant's bible with her name engraved on it and the kids got her a very pretty bracelet with a cross on it. I didn't remember to take a picture of either!

I personally, just can't get enough of this child. DSC00062

Afterwards we went back to J&J's for mimosas and to just hang out for a bit before heading home. All in all, a very nice day!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What's Blood Got To Do With It?

Inevitably in getting to know someone new I get asked a question I always dread. "How many brothers and sisters do you have?" Now for those of you that know me, I'm pretty much an open book and will answer just about any question you ask me. This one, however, is complicated. I have multiple parental units who, themselves have been married multiple times so there are steps and halves and some that they have not come up with a word for. To me, they are my brothers and sisters period. We don't really use those other defining words. What's blood got to do with it anyway?

The Parental Units:

First and foremost (for me anyway) is my Mom, Dottie. She was married 3 times. First to a wonderful man named Joe Cavanaugh. They were both young though and the marriage didn't last long. They had no children but remained friends for many years after. Her second marriage was to my biological father (aka the sperm donor)Bob Brown. And lastly to Audie ~ he is the father that raised me and the only one I call Dad. They were still married at the time of her death in 1982..

Bob Brown was married (and divorced) three times as well. First to a woman named Frances. I'm guessing that he must have been fairly young as well since I think he and my mom were the same age. His second marriage was to my mom and thirdly to a woman named Mary Jane. My memories of her are not pleasant.

My Dad (Audie) is on marriage number five. First he was married to Bernadine. Again they were both very young. Next he was married to a woman named Joan. Details are sketchy but I think the marriage was short lived and they had no children. Wife number three was my mom.Number four is Patty ~ I got to keep her in the divorce. Current wife is Claire.

So now for the brothers and sisters part (And you thought the ABC series had drama!)
I'll go chronologically by age...

First is Billy. He is the son of Frances but not Bob Brown's. I didn't even learn of his existence until I was 20 or so. I've only actually met him a handful of times but he is a really nice guy. Retired Navy. Married to Anne who I also remember being really wonderful. They have three children, Willie, Cathy and Miranda. While I haven't seen him in 30 yrs, I just found out that he lives about an hour from me and we are now Facebook friends and hopefully we'll be able to visit sometime soon. This is the only picture I have of him. It's one of the last times I saw him. He was playing Santa for a family Christmas Party and that's a very pregnant me sitting on his lap.

Next up is Cathy. She is the daughter of Frances and Bob Brown although she was raised by my mom from the time she was 2 or 3. Like I said, we don't use half and step in our family. I guess I was about 14 and walking through a room of the adults chatting and overheard my mom say something about "Cathy's mother." This is how I found out she even had another mother. Shows you just how little blood really matters. Anyway.. Cathy has been married to Bill since she was 14. Yes, I said 14. She ran away from home just after her 14th birthday with Bill (who was 19) and his family. Long story short... they just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They have three children. Dawn, who has a daughter Tori and a granddaughter, Cortney. Candace who has 3 beautiful girls, Allyson, Shelby and Cheyenne. Colleen who has a little boy (rare in our family) named Jessie.

Maddie is the next in line. She has the same biological parents as Cathy but was raised by her mother. I guess she was a baby at the time her parents split and she stayed with her mother. Again, I didn't find out about her until I was about 20. She did end up moving to South Florida and I got to know her for about a year before there was a rift in the family and I've only seen her once since. I do hope she is doing well and I wish I knew her better. She has two girls. Elyse and Kim and last I heard one of them had a child of their own.

Next is Jo-Ann although in my book she is my first sister. Joey has the same biological parents as I do (Dottie and Bob Brown) and we were actually raised together. We are still close although she now lives in Alabama near my sister Cathy. Joey and I fought a bit when we were younger but as young adults we were the best of friends and had great adventures. She is married and has an amazing daughter, Danielle and a very adorable granddaughter named Abbi. Danielle and I talk almost daily and she's still convinced that she's really mine.

Next in line would be Sonny (Audie the 4th, I believe). He is the son of Audie and Bernadine. Both Sonny and his sister Terry (she's up next) lived with us off and on in our growing years. When he wasn't in Fla with us he lived in Texas. Sonny and I have always gotten along well. I loved having an older brother around and he was a real cutie. All my friends had crushes on him. He was married twice. His first wife was Sherrie (Sonny & Sher!) and they had a little boy who died in a car accident when he was a newborn. They were both young and their marriage didn't survive the tragedy. His second (and third) marriage was to my friend Mary. I loved Mary like a sister and still miss her. They have my niece Trish who I adore and she has two children. Maddie and Brayden. Real cuties!

Terry is next in line. Terry is also the child of Audie and Bernadine and was raised with Sonny. To say Terry and I didn't get along when we were younger would be an understatement. We are only a year apart and always shared a room in the years they would live with us. It was a team Terry or team Barbara kind of thing and we got along about as well as Edward and Jacob! We are older now and have more of an understanding for what each of us was going through at the time. While we don't speak as often as we'd like, we really truly love each other and are sisters to the core. Terry has been married twice and has two very handsome boys, Cody and Chad. Those boys are true Texans!

I'm next in line here. Biological daughter of Dottie and Bob Brown. My mom married my dad (Audie) when I was in 5th grade and I couldn't have been happier. He legally adopted us several years later. He is my dad in every sense of the word. As most of you know I was married twice. Once to Jen's dad (again too young to get married) and now to the absolute love of my life Richard. We have adopted (at birth) two wonderful children that drive me absolutely insane! Just kidding guys. Again, back to the blood/water thing... I have three children. I gave birth to one... I love them all just as much. I love them each in different ways but they are all mine. I was actually offended by the Census questionnaire because it actually has three boxes to check for how your children are related to you ~ Biological, Step and Adopted. What the hell difference does it make? Anyway, back to me. I have three wonderful amazing children and a beautiful granddaughter who I plan on spoiling beyond all reason!

Okay, next up is Bobby Brown. Not THAT Bobby Brown. Bobby is the biological son of Bob Brown and Mary Jane. I have only met him a handful of times and he seemed like a decent kid when he was younger. I tried to call him when I heard that Bob Brown had passed away but he wouldn't take my calls. Rumor has it he thought we were calling to get money from Bob Brown's life insurance or something. SERIOUSLY? Not to speak ill of the dead but he didn't give me anything while he was alive and I didn't want anything when he died. I really only called to give him my condolences and to thank him for taking care of Bob Brown in the last years of his life. Go figure.

Last, but certainly not least is Matthew. Matt is the son of Audie and Patty. There is not a word for how Matthew is related to me but he is absolutely my baby brother, who is not such a baby anymore! I was there when he was born and I am his godmother. He is a wonderful young man. He is still in college and dating a very lovely and sweet girl named Karina. He plans on being a teacher and I think he'll be a great one. He is also Nate's godfather.

Okay, that makes nine of us unless of course, you count Claire's kids. Karen and Paul. I really like both of them but since I've only met them a time or two and really have no contact at all with them, let's just let that one go.

So there you have it. Oh no wait... there is one more... Judy! I almost forgot about Judy. Judy was my sister Joey's best friend in high school. Home was apparently not a good place for her and she moved in with us. Judy lived with us for many years and I've always considered her part of our family. Judy has two children (well, adults now really) John and Gina. Richard and I took Jen and Gina on a trip to Kennedy Space Center when they were younger and Gina and I are friends on facebook.

Here are a couple more photos for you...

Dad & Bernadine

Sonny & Trish


Joey & Cathy

Sonny, Terry, Me & Matt

Joey, Judy, Me, Mom & Dad

Sonny, Joey, Dad, Mom, Terry & Me

So there you have it... Mi Familia

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Few New Projects

Even thought it's summer ~ and I am LOVING that it is summer ~ I really haven't gotten much pool/sun time. We've had lots of rain here which we really need so I guess it's alright for now. I'm hoping for better weather soon though. In the mean time I've been hanging out in my sewing room.

I got this purple whale done for my great niece Maddie.  I heard today that she has received it and loves it. It makes me really happy when kids (who can be brutally honest) like the stuff I make for them. I just wish I had time to do more. I have one more whale in the works for another special little girl's birthday although it'll probably be a bit late (sorry Abbi!).

DSCN1425I also had a custom request from my Etsy shop for a Fresno State Screen bag. Fortunately I was able to order the fabric and get it done. Again, I apologize for the pic. I have found and ordered a new camera on Amazon and hopefully it'll be here soon.

I have some great photo ops coming up soon so stay tuned.   I have also been working on some more wallets and stuff for the Etsy shop but the pictures just are not good so I think I'll try to take them again tomorrow outside and see if the color is better then.  There are some cute flip-flop wallets just perfect for summer.     I'm tempted to keep one for myself!