Friday, May 28, 2010

What's in Your Wallet?

Three more days… and half days at that!  Which really just means babysitting and coming up with “educational activities” for the children to do between the parties, grade level plays/musicals, and awards celebrations.  What’s a teacher to do?

Well, I actually DID do something for the past week that I hope and pray will be a life lesson for my fourth graders.  (And it did tie in with our Math standards!)  I borrowed from Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.  (If you don’t know about him, you need to!  My husband and I took his class last year.) My students learned how to budget, write checks and use debit cards, and were introduced to the evil “Overdraft Monster” and his partner-in-crime, the “Interest Oppressor”.

Below is a copy of the checkbook and Debit Card we made.  (Sorry the quality isn’t that great… took it with my cell phone!)

It was great teaching them about how debit cards are much safer and have less risk than the evil credit card.  They even started calling it the “C Word” and yelled it out whenever I said the word “credit card”!  We calculated how much the “Interest Oppressor” charged if you only made your minimum credit card payment each month… and were shocked that a $199.00 IPod Touch would actually be $225.00 and would take one year and three moths to pay off!  You might not even want it anymore!  You might want a new version!

These children learned the value of saving their money and the idea of delayed gratification.  It was funny hearing the stories they told about their parents…  Made me think I need a few parent/teacher conferences!  (Or maybe not… Pawley’s Island is calling me name…)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday's Kitchen Inspirations

We are celebrating the countdown to summer with decorated numbers on our refrigerator.  I printed out the numbers in fun fonts and Jackson colored them.

We are on "Days until school's out... 6".  
How can this NOT be inspiring?!?!?!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Jack's Cute Cousin "Daisy"

This week, Hopsy at Monograms and Manicures did a cute post on Jack Roger's Navajo sandals.   Both my cute sister and I are big fans of them... we both own a few pair.  They truly are the perfect "go to" sandal for everything summer.  I'm even wearing a pair right now!

However... as much as I love the whip-stitch design (and I really do!!!) and the amazingly cute color combinations (and I really do!!!), my heart belongs to Daisy.  I bought this pair about three years ago and went crazy with the different flowers...

Yes, they are worn, but they are like a BFF.  That best girlfriend who (in pink) was with you when you went on your first date with your husband.  Who (in white) walked your boys to their classrooms on the first day of their new school.  Who (in turquoise) traipsed across the polo fields that gorgeous spring day.   Who (in black) caused your mother's shoe fetish friend to giggle, "Look at your cuuuuuuuuute shoes!"  Who (in every color) make the little girls in my class giggle and "want to be like Mrs. W" when I show them how I can whip the flower off the sandal and put it back on... Love my little preppy students!

And yes, I do love Jack's cute cousin "Daisy"! 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

(Needle) Point Taken

I confess.  I have been a horrible blog friend this week.  With both boys' baseball play-offs going on this week, I have not had time to breath, let alone cook a decent meal... let along read your wonderful blogs!  And I do love them... really!  And I do love to leave comments.  (I am a comment "junkie" myself... I adore getting them!)  So I promise to catch up this weekend, sweet friends!

J's team is now out of the play-offs... very bitter sweet.  S's team has lost one game, but it's double elimination, so we keep on pitching, throwing, and batting.  I am secretly hoping that we only have one more game.  I know.  Bad Mama!

But I have found something to do while watching the games so I am not tempted to partake of the yummy, greasy fries so akin to baseball parks:  I am needlepointing my husband a belt.  I figure if I did it for my college boyfriend twenty years ago, I can certainly make one for my husband!  It is a steeplechase scene for all of the horsi-ness of our town.  He picked it out so it's not going to be a surprise.  But that's really better as I won't have to hide it!

Isn't it just the best?

You can almost see the first two rows of light green 
I had stitched when I took the picture.

But what am I to do when I am finished?  I am getting addicted!  I'm thinking of a cute keychain for myself and maybe gifts for the women in my family.  Hmmm....

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tuesday's Pawley's Inspiration

This past weekend was one of the best I have had in a long time.  My mother (Mimi to those who are regular readers!), sister and I spent the weekend at my parents' home at Pawley's Island.  Pawley's  is a small but well-established beach community located in coastal South Carolina, about 70 miles north of Charleston and 20 or so miles south of Myrtle Beach. This relaxed resort area is often described - with great pride - as "arrogantly shabby" and is known to be one of the oldest and most popular summer resorts on the East Coast.  The quaint community is surrounded by salt marshes on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other.  Historically, plantation owners flocked to the area seeking a retreat from the balmy air of the Waccamaw River in search of the cool sea breezes. Pawley's Island preserves its commitment to its roots, having only 600 homes on the entire island and no stores or restaurants  Not bad for a small, non-commercial island that is only four miles long and a quarter of a mile wide!

My father's parents built their home in the 1940s.  Not antebellum... but "arrogantly shabby" none-the-less!  We have been summering there all my life.  And this past weekend lived up to all I imagined it would with the two women closest to me.

All Mama wanted for Mother's Day this year was for the three of us to spend a weekend at Pawley's.  When I arrived late Friday afternoon, AS (my sister) and mother greeted me with a glass of white wine and an invite to "cocktail hour" on the dock.  We must have laughed for hours...

The next day was spent buying treasures at the shops on the mainland and a pedicure for our tired feet.  AS and I love our Jack Rogers...

But that night was what we were really looking forward to: supper at the divine Frank's Outback where we solved problems of the world over numerous cosmos and scrumptious food.  Again, we laughed and laughed, flirted (as only happily married women can do and get away with it!) with the waiter, and dined on some of the best food on the east coast.  We had so much fun that a family of three decided that we were perhaps too much fun to sit next to... so they moved tables!  The mother "humphed" a bit at this sixty-five year old lady and her two daughters. What a coup that was!  It made the evening that much better.


Yes, AS and I made it down to the beach the next day.  Sorry, no pictures of the sun goddesses... on purpose.  However, two discoveries were made:  A) When beach bags are concerned, great minds (or sisters) think alike!
and B) Who knew Perrier came in beach friendly bottles (plastic)?  They rock!
It was a Golden weekend... and one we plan on doing year after year!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

"I Can't Live Without My Pearls"... Are You a Member Too?

If someone asked me the one item that epitomizes class and understated elegance on a woman, it would have to be the simple strand of pearls.  I wear mine almost every day.  They make me feel like I'm just a little bit dressed up... even when I'm just going to the grocery store or running another errand.  I see others wearing their strand and I notice, "They're in the I can't live without my pearls club too."  I love the perfect roundness and smoothness of each one.  I love the fact that they start out as an imperfection.  An inconvenience.  An irritation.  And then, by sheer miracle, that piece of sand (or other fragment) goes through a metamorphosis to become a precious and priceless thing of beauty. 

Throughout high school and college, I either wore fake or my mother's strand (but only on special occasions).  I can remember Mama clasping her's around my neck before my debutante balls.  Wearing those, as well as her kid leather elbow-length gloves, made me feel a princess.

Finally, I received my own.  One gift my parents gave me when I graduated from college was a exquisite 18 inch strand of pure elegance.  A few other girls got cars.  A few got trips.  But I got pearls.  Finally.  I had my own to play with or finger whenever I was talking... or flirting!  I didn't have to borrow for special occasions... or plain old everyday.  This June baby (whose birthstone is the pearl!) was in heaven.

Sometimes I think about those cars that were given as graduation gifts twenty years ago.  Do those girls know where they are now?  Probably not.  But I know where my pearls are... circling my neck and will be for the next twenty years.  Because... I can't live without my pearls.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesday's Kitchen Inspirations

Is summertime calling you?  This picture is on the bulletin board in my kitchen, and, oh, am I inspired to go to the lake and take a ride on the open water!  These nine children represent four families who spent time at the lake together last summer.  My sweet sister and her husband came around the bend and into our cove with these smiling faces, and...  Oh. my. word!  I almost doubled over with laughter.  It was just too much!  You'd never guess the boat is 20 ft. - it looks much smaller with all those happy chillens'!

Anyway, I just love this picture.  Reminds me of those clown cars at the circus with a million clowns pouring out... Get ready for summer, I guess!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Mother's Observations...

Just read Our Family's Journey blog on how her children are growing up so fast.  She wasn't lamenting or wistfully wishing that they would just stay little.  She was thankful that she is able to watch and share as they grow into the people God plans for them to be.

That made me think of how big my boys are getting... how they are really growing up.  At 11 and 8 1/2, they are all arms and legs.  Seeing them sprawled on the sofa or on the floor makes me wonder if they will ever stop growing.  At the end of the day, they are always hungry.  Their clothes smell all most of the time due to their being outside all the time riding their skateboards or practicing their baseball pitches.  They call each other "dude".  My youngest even has a little "swagger" when he walks.  (I think that is a little affected... he is my "cool" child!)  They have real conversations with Mike and me about important topics in their lives.  They are definitely not little boys anymore.  

Smocked jon jons are not in their closets. And their tennis shoes are not the little red rubber-toed Keds of past years.

And although I most certainly miss those days, I celebrate the ages they are RIGHT NOW!

Mother's Day 
to all of you...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Pillows for a Punch

Thank you for the sweet comments on my last post.  Overwhelmingly, no one chastised me on my big old mess... most inquired of my paint color.  I love, love, love it!  Sherwin Williams "Quietude" (6212). We painted almost three years ago, and I do know that these companies tend to change names, but they CAN find it!  Anyway, it is divine and certainly lives up to its name.  Thank you for asking!

I must be in a house mode as today, I am celebrating my new throw pillows in our Great Room.  Mike was tired of the sofa and thought that getting slipcovers made would be a nice change.  Silly man, don't you know that custom slipcovers cost a must as getting something recovered?  And with these two testosteron-y boys, that just isn't happening!  So we I opted for new pillows.  Our old ones were very dirty and dated, when palmetto and palm trees were all the rage down here.  Pretty, but I needed a "punch".

Here are the new ones... I don't like the picture, 
but I promise it looks fabulous!

Here they are up close.  They are kind of "tweedy" and I love the cording...I chose cording because fringe and loops are just too tempting for even the most disciplined boys! 

How would you like to add a "punch" to your room?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tuesday's Kitchen Inspiration

Today is supposed to be my Tuesday's Kitchen Inspiration day.  It's supposed to be the day I look around my kitchen and find a photograph, picture or something that inspires me.  Today I saw this...
and this...
 and this...
and this...
 and this...

And guess what?  It was a mess, but... I am inspired.  I am thankful.  I am amazed.  I am all these things because I am so blessed that I have so much.  My family and I have so much that this large kitchen can, in fact, become such an enormous mess.  And then I realized that my kitchen is bigger than the home hut of most people who live the world around us.  My kitchen is bigger than their home!  I'd bet most of yours are too.

And even though it made me crazy this afternoon to have to clean it and nag the boys to get all their stuff out... again, I am blessed.  Even the contents of the mess speak volumes:  Jack Rogers sandals, Wedgewood everyday china, my old Junior League's cookbook, an Edisto (where we have our beach house) baseball hat, Cephlon pans, membership newsletter to our club, Crabtree and Evelyn hand soap.  I'd bet you'd find the same mess (if not better and more expensive).

Wow.  It really hit home, my messy kitchen.  My blessed, messy kitchen.  It was a Tuesday's Kitchen Inspiration.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Command Performance

Every year, the first Sunday in May, I make sure my boys' hair is combed perfectly, their madras or seersucker shirts are pressed, and their manners are fit for the queen.  Today is the "command performance" of the year, for today is the annual picnic at Still Hopes, the Episcopal Retirement Home where GrandMuz resides.   The flowers are blooming in the manicured beds, and it is the day where all the lovely, little old ladies show off their families... especially the grands and great-grands!  (It is a day that is a "reoccurring" event on my calendar.)

I had to giggle as we arrived.  I thought of Tickled Pink and Green's "I Spy a Preppy" posts.  She would have had a field day here.  Little boys in their Vineyard Vines polos and belts.  Bigger boys in madras (mine in Kelly's Kids). Girls in their Lilly Minnie shifts with great big grosgrain bows in their hair.  Babies in smocked bubbles and jon jons.  Women in their Jack Rogers and Lilly skirts (oh, wait... that was me too!).  Men in Lacoste, Southern Tide, Brooks Brothers, and Masters (guess that is a southern thing!) polos.  All here for the "command performance" at Still Hopes.

I used to wonder why it was named Still Hopes.  As a child, I always thought it was an absolutely horrible name.  I could just hear someone say, "It's ok, Mrs. Jones... there's still hope..."  Actually, the land was an old plantation named Still Hopes on the banks of the scenic Congaree River.  The mansion still stands and has lovely dining and drawing rooms where the residents can hold elegant catered dinner and cocktail parties.  With this, the lovely Bistro and formal dining room, and state-of-the-art Wellness Center, Mike and I are ready to put our deposit down as we are ready to move!  LOL

My grandmother also loves it here.  She has a precious apartment on "the floor" as she says.  The way she talks, it reminds me of my college days in my all-girls college.  They leave little treats at each others doors.  They get together to go to the symphony or choral society.  On birthdays, each lady takes turns holding the  birthday brunch.  So reminds me of Converse!

But I digress... GrandMuz loves to show us off.  She loves to introduce my boys to her friends, have them walk her to the dessert table, introduce them to her friends, go on the carriage ride, introduce them to her friends.  You get the idea!  And both boys rose to the occasion, as my mother loves to say.  They were sweaty hot.  They wanted to untuck their shirts.  But they smiled and hugged, and complied with every request.  Even posed pictures for their mama!

The staff put together a wonderful event.  Valet parking with men in bright turquoise polo shirts driving golf carts greeted us at the gates.   Huge white tents were set up all over the front lawn.  Blue table cloths covered the tables.  For lunch they served barbeque with all the fixins' and too many desserts to count, including my personal southern favorite:  peach ice cream.  Perfect for a warm spring day!  Other events to celebrate the first of May were...

A horse-drawn carriage took the residents and their guests 
for trips around the beautiful grounds.

Some children were coaxed to do the traditional Maypole dance.  
Too bad my boys were on the carriage ride when it began.  
But I don't think I could have convinced them to do it... sigh

A putting green for pro-golfers in-training...

Thank you for a wonderful day, GrandMuz.  It was Golden...