Monday, July 25, 2011

My Favorite Things

While I didn't watch Oprah very often, I did LOVE her favorite things shows. I really love hearing about new and innovative products. Redbook magazine has a section that lists new and inexpensive items (50 things under $50) that I really enjoy reading. The last time I did a segment on "things I love" I loved reading your comments and emails about your favorite things so I've decided to make this a monthly edition...the exciting part is that I have some great items lined up to show you and what is even better is that you are going to get the chance to win some of them!

My Favorite Things: July
I first read about Think Thin bars on GOOP (Gwyneth's Blog that I adore).  Think Thin bars are amazing! You can use them as a meal or a snack. They have NO preservatives, are gluten free, taste great, and are very reasonably priced (1.99 a bar or $1.69 when in a box). The flavors (10!) are so decadent and rich, you really think you are eating a candy bar and I like that they are so dense and filling. They have 15-20 grams of protein, no grams of sugar, and taste great. They have a similar texture to a slim-fast bar without the chemical, artificial taste. The bites are a really nice snack (I had the dark chocolate) and are a great 100 calorie snack that are also sugar free, gluten free, preservative free, and are honestly delicious and filling.
I was given one lone Emi Jay band from a friend who wanted me to try them (she had ordered a multi pack and was kind enough to share). I must have worn that hairband everyday for the first three or four weeks after I got it. Caroline borrowed it (without asking) for a Barbie doll and it was never seen again (by me anyway).  When I went to order some, I read the story about how these bands came to be and about the two teenage girls who came up with the idea, needless to say it is a very sweet company. This great company with an amazing product donates its proceeds to five awesome charities; operation smile, project knapsack, locks of love, toys for tots, partners in health/Haiti. The ponytail holders don't leave a crease in your hair, they strongly hold the ponytail in place, they don't "pull" (which often gives me a headache when I wear a ponytail), and they are cute! I love them...and had to hide the new ones that arrived from Barbie!

My sweet friend Chris knows I LOVE cookbooks and bought me this one a couple weeks ago (she used to eat at the Foster's Market Cafe in Durham). I would rather read a new cookbook than a regular book or magazine. And while I don't want my friends to buy me gifts (although I do love to buy them), I cherish this book. Every page has either a beautiful recipe or photograph or both. I have heard amazing things about Foster's (you know Sara Foster worked for Martha? THE Martha?) scones and look forward to trying them. I made their sugar cookies (the Letter "A" cookies). I've really enjoyed reading this book page by page over and over. Definitely one of my favorite cookbooks and a real keeper...just like Chris.
If you read a lot of blogs, especially those that have great pictures or talk a lot about photography, you've probably seen camera straps...but you've never seen ones this cute, this inexpensive, or this soft! I have one and LOVE LOVE LOVE it! The hardest part of ordering from Virginia of Pickleberry Lane will be choosing which one to get. Usually after a few minutes of wearing my camera around my neck I am usually ready to take it off (it rubs), but the minky dot fabric that she uses makes it soft and cushy. Guess what? You can win one! Yes, you (you are a follower of this blog, aren't you?)! Go to her store and look around. "Like" her on facebook. Leave me a comment telling me which one you want. I'll let you know next week (August 5th) if you are a winner. 

Kristy of Aposhtrophe is an accessory designer who makes the CUTEST headbands and clips made out of leather and flowers. I have her roundabout headband (see below) and when Caroline let's me wear it (it's pink after all) I love that I can wear it all day and it doesn't pinch behind the ears or give me a headache. It also keeps my bangs mostly out of the way and stays in place; it doesn't slide. She has almost every color you could want as well as neutrals and metallics (I am drooling over the gold flowers!). Do you like my headband? Do YOU want one (you can share with your girls, one size fits you both)...any follower of this blog is eligible. "Like" her on Facebook to enter for a chance to win a roundabout headband of your very own (you can choose the colors you want). Just leave me a comment letting me know!
So, just to recap, we have a one big giveaway here (an awesome camera strap and a super cute headband). Become a follower, Go "Like" them, and leave me a comment to enter! Winner posted next week, fingers crossed for you!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Katharine's Mexican Layered Dinner

Our friends Katharine and Chris made this for us one night for dinner when we first met. It was love at first bite; seven years later, it is still my favorite! It is a very versatile dish as you can use it as a filling for wraps, burriotos, etc. or as a dip for dinner. It is filling, not too spicy for kids, and feeds a crowd (the the 4 of us when we get together). Enjoy!

 fill in the blank:
"I like my salsa like I like my___________________: SMOOTH"

Friday, July 15, 2011

this post brought to you by the letter "A"

We began the alphabet again this week. Caroline works on her penmanship, phonics, and writing words that begin with the letter of the day and the twins work on recognition, sounds of, and practice writing. We did some fun things this week: pancakes shaped like the letters (no pictures. my kids are early risers but I am not functioning let alone thinking about my camera at 6:30 a.m. I will tell you equal parts pancake mix to water and a squeeze bottle make shaped pancakes a cinch), peanut butter and goldfish lunch shaped like the letters, and my personal favorite...sugar cookies. 
If those letter "A" sugar cookies look funny to you its because they are letter "V"s. I bought a box of 100 shaped cookie cutters (a great set that has the alphabet, numbers, shapes, animals, and sports) and wouldn't you know that it was missing ONE cutter...the letter "A".

Monday, July 11, 2011


We let the kids ride their bikes in the driveway after dinner last night. Of course, I grabbed my camera and got a few shots. I didn't think much about it until a few minutes ago when I downloaded the pictures onto my computer. When I looked at the pictures on the screen, it was as if I had pushed a fast forward button on my camera...look how old these little turkeys look! 
this little rugrat is leaving me and going to Kindergarten in the fall...
 I haven't forgiven her yet
 does every mother want to lock up their children and keep them small forever or is it just me?
 what a nut!
 and this guy! tough little man...
this picture shows no baby left...he looks so grown up to me!
 the tricycle helps babify him a bit...
those red cheeks tell you how hot it was (he wasn't sunburnt, I promise)
 but before long, he will leave me too!
 then there is this one...
we call her "sweet-and-sour"
 she needs me less and less everyday and before long she will want me less and less everyday...
 and will probably have the nerve to start Kindergarten too....little stinker
and don't even get me started on this guy, the ultimate button pusher...
but one thing I really like about him right now is that he promised to stick around and never leave me (and thank goodness he is done with Kindergarten)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

4th of July Weekend

We were lucky enough to see both sides of our family this 4th of July weekend. We spend the 3rd with my side as it was my Mom's birthday. It was fun to celebrate with my parents and grandparents . We cooked out, played outside, and enjoyed cake. On the 4th, we grilled out and went out on the boat to see the fireworks from the water. It was a great weekend and we are so lucky to live close enough to see our family as often as we do.