Party Prints

I just spent a big chunk of quality time here:

I was looking for invitations for a bridal shower and got pulled in…I could look at card designs forever, and still be very far from a decision. The other fun part about sifting through invitation choices is all the new party types that are presented…I saw sample invites for Clothes Swap Parties and Bake Off Parties and First Flip Flop Wear of the Season Parties…And to think I have spent so much of my life in the birthday/wedding/baby cycle.

I need to throw more parties…for ridiculous reasons.

And then with what money I have left from all of my invitation ordering and hosting, I will make an offer to Tiny Prints for their name and tagline for my blog. Because I love it and am sad they got it first.

What kind of Wonderfully Ridiculous Parties have you hosted – and where do you go for your invite ordering?

Uncompromising Standards

I am committed to my Oreck.

But it seems to have stopped cooperating with me.

My model is inherited, and fully refurbished, twice now. I have had the bag replaced, and the belt changed twice.

 I have a love/hate relationship with getting my vacuum fixed. I love getting it fixed… because I feel the same way as when I go to the Watch Repair Store, and the Shoe Repair Store. I feel green, and non-consumeristic and “Greatest Generation.”

 I feel like the woman in this month’s issue of Real Simple who had a long-suffering relationship with her stove…I am making continual small investments in qualitynot opting for fast, flashy and disposable.

I hate getting it fixed…for obvious reasons.

But tonight it failed my one simple, uncompromising litmus test: It kept regurgitating the boa feathers.

 Molting boas are part of the scene around here and my Dust Buster, though aggressive, can only hold so many.

 (At the beginning of the summer, I thought a new breed of exotic Tropical Birds had arrived in Williamsburg. Turns out we were wearing boas outside again…)

So it’s one more time to the Repair Desk, one final attempt to extend this Faithful One’s life.

Then its on to the New. I admit, I am excited at the thought of Test Drives. I plan to bring a glittery, feathered ensemble to the store, fill its sleeves with goldfish, shake it, and see which vacuum dominates.

There are some things about which one just can’t settle…

In Other Words

Teaching Grades 1-5 at “Pandamania” has been one of the highlights of my summer…

but it leaves me with no further interest in hearing my own voice… so here are some other people’s words that I am enjoying:

Ann Voskamp’s posts on love  and patience have both been read and reread and read again. Love Bears All Things…Patience is the “unwillingness to suffer.” Sometimes I think that if I just moved to a Canadian Farm and had four more children, then I could be like Ann.  Then I remember that’s never the point, pray against that joy thief,  comparison, and learn.

My friend Shannon’s voice in the chaos of “three under three” always brings laughter, encouragement, and solidarity. Especially because I have had to remove doorknobs more than once…

I love curry and I love peanut butter. Here are delectable recipes for both.

Finally, we celebrated Travis’s birthday yesterday. You only turn 31 once, so the girls and I partied hard. (Not as hard as last year though…)

I, of course,  celebrated Travis’s 21st birthday with him as well. The memories are a bit foggy…but I am pretty sure that cake did not read, “Happy Birthday Daddy…”

Feeling worn out and blessed this week…in the best kind of ways.

Lately I’m Loving…

We are off to Vacation Bible School this week…I’m excited to teach – and to learn what I’m teaching. It doesn’t get much deeper than the lessons over these next five days, especially for those of us always in need of  remedial courses…In honor of our spiritual endeavors, here are some material items I have been meaning to shamelessly promote…

Williams Sonoma Countertop Spray

I clean up my kitchen all day long. This is my splurge that makes the task a little bit better. As I stand before another sink full of dishes, I think: “When I’m done, I can do my countertops!” Is this superficial? Yes. Moving on…

Annie’s Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks

I kind of think fruit snacks are poison so it does not make me sad that the girls reject most of them. But they love these. And we can’t help but trust Annie. Downside, they are pricey. Especially if the box of 8 pouches is consumed before you get out of the store. If you shop wholesale, the large box is definitely worth it.

Aerosole Well Wishers

If you have seen me at all this summer, chances are I have been wearing these shoes (not in yellow, in a bone/cream color).  Upside: these are the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. They feel better (much better) than my flip-flops. They are also a perfect height – great for any length skirt or dress or cropped pants. Downside: I bought them at TJ Maxx and have not been able to find my color anywhere since. They are not available anymore on the Aerosole site but I found this pair on QVC…so google “Aerosole Well Wishers” and you should have some luck, somewhere, with some colors. (There is a great red pair out there!)

Aveda Energizing Body Cleanser

My lovely sister-in-law gave this to me for my birthday. She simply said (or shouted) “You’ll love it” as we wrangled our troop of small girls one June evening. If you are at a place in life where your precious 4-7 minutes in the shower is tranquil time in sacred space, or if you just enjoy divine bath products, this cleanser is (peacefully) whispering your name.

Bare Minerals (everything)

I started wearing this make up five years ago when I was pregnant with Sophia. I was an immediate convert. So much so, that when people told me I was “glowing” I would thank them but say it was actually my new mineral make up…I especially love this in the summer with the built in SPF and no wierd reaction to sweat…And Williamsburg has an outlet! Yes, my friends, an outlet with beautiful sales people walking around with tool belts full of make up supplies. I love to just go there and wander and have them try different shades of ‘warmth” on me.

What products have you been enjoying lately? Do share…especially if its a potion that will keep hair straight when its 102 degrees outside…

Happy Week!

Awake

Sophia and I have been watching “Sleeping Beauty” in the afternoons. Previously, she had seen it once, skipping all the scary parts. 60% of this movie is pretty dark, so the version we originally watched was 12 minutes long.

This week she wanted to be brave and see what she had previously missed, prompting interesting discussions about real vs. fantasy, and the triumph of good over evil.

Saturday, as we watched it, I read the news of the shootings in Norway.

And, unlike my four year old, I did not wish to be brave and unafraid of the dark.

And, like any preschooler, I cling to the Story, but each new day struggle to trust if this time Light will overcome darkness.

And, though I choose to be certain of that which we do not see, I kind of wish we could, like King Stefan’s kingdom, go to sleep for one hundred years to miss all of the heartbreak.

But I’m learning it is vital to stay awake. And be brave enough to see the darkness. Worlds away, these people are my neighbors.  Who is not?

And the temptation to sleep instead of keep watch is not a new one.

It’s Hot

Our air condition surrenders every afternoon about two and my hair surrendered days ago. I was, once again, regretting that I am not one of those super talented people who can french braid their own hair, until a friend pointed me to You Tube Tutorials.  This may very well be watched and scrutinized from the Reading Fort today.  It is poorly lit, poorly heard, kind of awkward and an inspiring and (helpful) picture of the free enterprise of the internet.

Looking for hair/beauty tutorials on a slightly more polished forum? At a recent wedding, my sister pointed us toward’s Lauren Conrad’s site. The L.C. walks us novices through our primping and prepping step-by-step  – with much graciousness for the commoner…

All of this kind of makes me miss the days of lining up each morning for my Mom to do my hair…

Happy  Hot Weekend! Hope your braids stay in and your hearts stay open –  even with the blinds closed…

Climbing Tree: R.I.P.?

Recently, while Sophia and Olivia were in the tree, hanging by their toes no doubt, a woman approached us and informed us that tree climbing had just been restricted by a CW committee. It is not safe.

I now face a moral dilemma. The girls heard this climbing condemnation. To allow them to continue is to teach them something (or really nothing) about listening to authority…

But are we really done climbing? Just like that?

When I recently read this article in the New York Times all of my inner conflict flared up again. How safe is too safe? How boring is play becoming?