Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lollipops and Polka Dots Giveaway!!

Lollipops and Polka Dots!

This website has the CUTEST stuff!!! Plus their name just screams for "little girl adorable-ness!"
Check it out HERE.

Then checkout the giveaway HERE

Both sites rock and the stuff is adorable. Seriously, don't you just NEED this stuff???

*photo from the Lollipops and Polkadots website!!*
Their link is also on my "Need to know List" on my sidebar!

Super Cute Easter Craft!

I saw this and just LOVED it!!
Check out the how-to

Monday, March 30, 2009

My Weekly Book Pick

Lily is haunted by memories–of who she once was, and of a person, long gone, who defined her existence. She has nothing but time now, as she recounts the tale of Snow Flower, and asks the gods for forgiveness.

In nineteenth-century China, when wives and daughters were foot-bound and lived in almost total seclusion, the women in one remote Hunan county developed their own secret code for communication: nu shu (“women’s writing”). Some girls were paired with laotongs, “old sames,” in emotional matches that lasted throughout their lives. They painted letters on fans, embroidered messages on handkerchiefs, and composed stories, thereby reaching out of their isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments.

With the arrival of a silk fan on which Snow Flower has composed for Lily a poem of introduction in nu shu, their friendship is sealed and they become “old sames” at the tender age of seven. As the years pass, through famine and rebellion, they reflect upon their arranged marriages, loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their lifelong friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a brilliantly realistic journey back to an era of Chinese history that is as deeply moving as it is sorrowful. With the period detail and deep resonance of Memoirs of a Geisha, this lyrical and emotionally charged novel delves into one of the most mysterious of human relationships: female friendship.

My Review:

I was intrigued by this as soon as I picked it up, I loved "Memoirs of a Geisha," by Arthur Golden, so I was hoping this would read similarly. Well, it did and it didn't. It was again focused on the story of one girl, but bringing out cultural nuances at the same time. I found this one struck home with me more than "Memoirs" did, and read slightly more story-like. The girls show what true friendship really is and form such a powerful and awe-inspiring bond despite their families financial differences and their distance from each other. It brought back powerful memories of my pen-pals from elementary school, and pleasant memories of girlhood friends. I thought it was a great book and well-written. Enjoy!

*Synopsis courtesy of BN.com

Friday, March 27, 2009

Family Day Friday

This weekend, we're having a family movie night. We try and do this about once a week as its fun for just about all of us! :)
This week's pick is:

Harry and I saw this in the theatre and loved it. He talked about it at least once a week until it came out, so it was an easy choice to purchase it this week when it was released! It has humour both for the kids and adults, but without being raunchy (like Shrek!)
We dim our lights, put our jammies on, curl up on the floor with blankets, pillows, and of course, popcorn! 

Monday, March 23, 2009

Weekly Book Pick

This week's book pick is "Remember the Sweet Things," by Ellen Greene. 


For twenty years, Ellen Greene kept a running list of the thoughtful, funny, touching things that her husband, Marsh, said and did. She wrote them down secretly, then shared those thoughts with him every Valentine's Day when he would find pages from her "Sweet Things List" tucked inside a card.

Married and divorced at a young age, Greene raised two small children alone. After another failed relationship in her late thirties, she swore she'd never again subject herself or her kids to men who treated them poorly. Then she met Marsh Greene.

In this beautiful tribute to a man and a marriage, Greene intersperses selections from her "Sweet Things List" with recollections from their years together. Written with grace and candor, Remember the Sweet Things captures the kindness, sharing, humor, and affection that defined the Greenes' marriage, and encourages us to acknowledge the goodness in our own lives and relationships.

My Review:

Although this book is non-fiction, it reads like a fictitious love story. Its easy and enthralling. Each page has countless real-life experiences that make me relate to the author and her subject. The love they share for each other and their family is inspiring and awe-worthy. It makes me want to run out and start a "Sweet Things" list for my hsuband!!

Giveaway Winners!

I'm so excited to announce the winners of my very first giveaway. They'll each be receiving a coupon for a free full-size Nature's Source cleaning product! 

If you didn't win this time, stay tuned as I'll be doing a drawing for a basket full of all FOUR Nature's Source products in a week or so!

*Winners were drawn by Random.org

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Last Day for the Giveaway!

Don't forget, today is the last day for the giveaway! I'll do my drawing late late late tonight and announce the winners tomorrow morning. Remember, these are FULL-SIZE products, not just itsy-bitsy little samples!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Must-See Movie Saturday

I met up with a girlfriend this weekend to see this. I'd read a little about it and knew that Kate Winslet had won the Oscar for her performance, and was intrigued. So, we decided to go.
I have to say that it was one of the best movies I've seen in years: it was moving, poignant, and beautifully done. The actors did a wonderful job, I haven't been that captivated in a long time. The cinematography was incredible as well, there was some footage of Auschwitz that was used that brought back memories of my trip to Germany in high school when I had the opportunity to visit Dachau. 
I'd like to tell you more about the plotline, but it's hard without giving away the story: it's a must-see movie and I highly recommend that you all head out immediately and go see it!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Family Day Friday

At least once every weekend, we make time to have a "Family Night." The kids love it, Jay and I get to spend quality time with them and each other, and we're all having fun. :)

This weekend, we're baking cookies. 

Sweetheart Face Cookies

Start with some roll-out sugar cookie dough. Either bake your own or use the pre-made stuff. I like the Pillsbury stuff the best when I don't have time to do my own. Their website has lots of great recipes and projects to do with the kids, plus they have coupons!! (You do have to register on their site to print the coupons, but they send you recipes and whatnot by email, so why wouldn't you??!) Cut out your cookies with cutters or punches if you like; we'll be doing plane old round ones as they get eaten before anybody realizes that they once had a shape!

You'll also need a can of frosting, or again, you can make your own. I like to separate mine out and use food coloring to make several colors. 

Knowing my kids, they're going to be quite creative (another word for messy!), and the cookies probably won't all look like faces, but its a good starter idea for my 3 year old. I have a ton of candy left over from Valentine's Day plus some that I've bought early for Easter (okay, that was more of an excuse for me to have it around the house!), so we'll use that to decorate. I like chocolate chips, skittles, m&m's, sprees, and licorice twines. They're easy to use and nice and bright colored. Another fun way would be to use frosting tubes to decorate with, mine are a too little to do this well, so we'll stick with the candy. 

Enjoy your family and remember, this is supposed to be fun!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Very First Giveaway!!

So, I want to do a giveaway. This is my VERY FIRST ONE. Feel excited people. :) Its even going to have TWO parts to it! WHOOP!
I belong to a fabulous WOM (Word of Mouth) group called BzzAgent. They send me product samples and I Bzz about them to my friends IF I like them. The key word is IF. However, this time, I'm SO excited to share with you! I received the 4 products in the Nature's Source Natural Cleaners line by the makers of Scrubbing Bubbles and Windex. I've used the toilet bowl cleanser before (as a home with 2 males, I'm up for trying anything!) and loved it and now am thrilled to be able to use all of their products! 

A few key points:
1. Made with 99+% natural and naturally derived ingredients
2. Free of ammonia, bleach, and phosphorous
3. Not tested on animals
4. Packaged in recyclable bottles
5. Safe for plumbing and septic systems
6. Totally affordable (under $4!) and can be found at your local everyday stores (Target, Walmart, etc)

So, now to the giveaway part. I have coupons for a FREE product and a gorgeous gift basket containing all of the 4 Nature's Source items. We'll do the coupons this week through Sunday (3/22/09) and all you have to do to enter is:

1. leave me a comment telling me which of the products is your favorite (check out their website!) and

2. Follow me. (Let me know you do this in the comment line as well!) Since I'm new, my number of followers is directly wrapped up in how cool I make my giveaways... See the thought train everybody?? Love me and I shall love you back! 

So, you have the chance for TWO entries to my contest for one of the 4 coupons I have to give away. Next week will come the bigger part of this giveaway, so stay tuned!!

Recipe of the Day

Is it just me or is this spring weather starting to get pretty stinkin' dreary? Today on PBS, the Good Morning Show featured several kids who had SUNNY weather. And I'm thinking, "okay, here I am in Washington. Where EXACTLY is that sun??" I know, I know, we just got back from Hawaii, but that was a whole month ago. ARGH.
Anyways, I'm in the mood to bake today, and I'm thinking my mood is leaning towards the decadent. Hence, the Better Than Sex Cake. Yup, that's actually what its called, and its FABULOUS. (I've also heard it referred to as the "Better than Brad Pitt Cake" but that's a whole 'nother story now....) It's also extremely easy to make, so bear with me and I promise you shall be rewarded. 

Better Than Sex Cake 


  • 1 German chocolate or other chocolate cake, baked, 13x9x2-inch
  • 3/4 cup fudge topping
  • 3/4 cup caramel or butterscotch topping
  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 chocolate covered toffee bars
  • 1 tub of whipped topping or 1 envelope Dream Whip, prepared with milk


Do not remove cake from pan. After the cake has cooled, make holes in the entire top of the cake using a large fork or the handle of a wooden spoon. Pour (one at a time) fudge, butterscotch, and condensed milk over the top of the cake and let each flavor soak in before adding the next. Crush 3 of the candy bars and sprinkle on the top. Frost the cake with the whipped topping and crush the 3 remaining toffee bars to decorate the top. Try to keep your hands off of this great cake before serving!
Serves 12

I sometimes skip the fudge and use a little extra caramel, but that's my partiality to caramel speaking of course. Also, its great refrigerated, gives that Cool-Whip a little extra zing. :) Sometimes I like to pretend its a healthy version by using low-fat Cool-Whip, but again, that's just me and is complete BS. I also sometimes pretend its a kids baking project and let Harry do the toffee on the top and maybe add a few chocolate chips. Whatever your excuse needs to be, just MAKE THIS. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tutu Giveaway! AND more!!

Okay, I know I already did one of these today, but you HAVE to check these out- I'm SO ordering one for DoodleBug! :) I can just see her prancing around the house in one...

This is the one being given away at Some of This and Some of That.

I think I'm ordering the Roses are Red at Ballerina Bells cuz its just too darn adorable! They're also doing some other amazing giveaways, so check 'em out!!

Life of Wifey!

This nice lady posted a comment on my personal blog, which spurred me to check out HER blog. (I LOVE the nice ladies of the blogging community, don't you??!!) Anyways, turns out she does some work for the Travel Channel (one of my all-time favorite channels, plus a dream job!) and just finished a "girlfriend's cruise." How amazing does that sound? I'm soooo utterly jealous...
Anyways, I wanted to pass on her link plus say that she's doing a giveaway, which is super enticing. Also, make sure that this Saturday, March 21 at 8pm (check your local listings to confirm) you're watching her show on the Travel Channel!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My Weekly Book Pick

I'd like to do this every week or so. I try and read at least a book a week, if not more. Some weeks its more, and some weeks, I get about 4 pages read. :) We all know how that goes!
Anyways, this was recommended to me by a friend and its FABULOUS. 


In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the “coolest girl in the world” moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all---beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn. Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer’s end they’ve become TullyandKate. Inseparable.

So begins Kristin Hannah’s magnificent new novel. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the ever-changing face of the Pacific Northwest,Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the bulkhead of their lives.

From the beginning, Tully is desperate to prove her worth to the world. Abandoned by her mother at an early age, she longs to be loved unconditionally. In the glittering, big-hair era of the eighties, she looks to men to fill the void in her soul. But in the buttoned-down nineties, it is television news that captivates her. She will follow her own blind ambition to New York and around the globe, finding fame and success . . . and loneliness. 

Kate knows early on that her life will be nothing special. Throughout college, she pretends to be driven by a need for success, butall she really wants is to fall in love and have children and live an ordinary life. In her own quiet way, Kate is as driven as Tully. What she doesn’t know is how being a wife and mother will change her . . . how she’ll lose sight of who she once was, and what she once wanted. And how much she’ll envy her famous best friend. . . .

For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship---jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment. They think they’ve survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart . . . and puts their courage and friendship to the ultimate test.

Firefly Lane is for anyone who ever drank Boone’s Farm apple wine while listening to Abba or Fleetwood Mac. More than a coming-of-age novel, it’s the story of a generation of women who were both blessed and cursed by choices. It’s about promises and secrets and betrayals. And ultimately, about the one person who really, truly knows you---and knows what has the power to hurt you . . . and heal you. Firefly Lane is a story you’ll never forget . . . one you’ll want to pass on to your best friend.

My Review:
I loved it. Loved it, loved it, loved it. I was enthralled by the way that she describes the characters and how they were feeling, both towards each other and their environments. I kept trying to identify myself and decide whether I was a "Kate" or a "Tully" throughout the book, and it just kept changing! I did find parts to be a little "Lifetime Movie"-ish, but it was compelling and very hard to put down. 
On a personal note, the prom dress shopping scene was extremely emotional for me, having done the exact same thing with my mom while she was undergoing treatment for leukemia. Having gone through several of the characters' experiences, I can say that Hannah did an outstanding job capturing the emotions of her cast.

Welcome To Juanita Bonita!

This blog is going to be about my favorite recipes, books, and various other things that I like to blog about, but never find a place for. Enjoy!