7.31.2011

Recycle and Wear: SOC Sunday

There’s been a lot of babble recently about how the savvy Duchess of Cambridge recycles her clothes, and wears them again at different events. So what if she does? This weekend, at the wedding of Prince William’s cousin, Zara Phillips, Kate attended wedding functions in clothes that she has worn before in public. Some garments have been in her closet awhile, dating back to 2006. Gasp! That is six years. Are fashionistas having panic attacks? The media praised her for not overshadowing the bride, and resorting to “recycled” understated elegance.

Courtesy of my favorite site, What Kate Wore
Courtesy of What Kate Wore
I have to admit that I like to see what she wears because her style is so classic, and if I had to dress for work then I would choose similar looks. That’s also why she can pull items out of her closet from five years ago because they are timeless pieces. It is fun to see new outfits, but truthfully, I expect this young woman to wear clothes that she has purchased more than once, even if she happens to be royalty.

Before marrying Prince William, she was known as a commoner, but she came from a family that was far from common. She could afford to buy $500 dollar dresses to wear around town, $600 dollar shoes, and $1200 dollar purses. If you are going to pay that much for a pair of shoes, then I think they should be seen again and again, and again.

I mean everyone in Raleigh has seen my $15.99 Old Navy shorts. They made their debut last spring when I was still losing baby weight. They were seen this summer, but this time, they were two sizes two big, but I wore them anyway.
Hello Magazine

So my thought is this, if I can recycle my outfits, I think this Duchess can, too. If she didn’t, then she would be called a clotheshorse, and would be compared to the likes of Paris Hilton or some starlet who is never seen twice in same outfit. We all know that most celebrities don’t pay a dime for their clothes anyway. They are just walking billboard for designers that many of us can’t even afford anyway. You can also bet your bottom dollar that I would be seen again in a $500 dress. Not to mention, I would mark through the price tag, and tell Mr. Piggybank that it was on sale for $50. It’s okay! He’ll never see this.

That was my five minute brain dump with All Things Fadra.






#SOCsunday
It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…
  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.


***
The "Meal-Planning Made Easy" link will go up tonight at 8 pm.  I look forward to reading your recipes, and tips on how you meal plan for your family.  I hope we get a lot of great, dinner ideas to make our meal-planning easy for August.  Link up.  The link will be open until August 15.  Spread the news!






Hines-Sight Blog




7.28.2011

Surprise! Surprise! Test Run Reveals We Need Improvement


Thanks to my booking four weeks of morning summer camp for my 5-year old, we’re now experiencing an early “test run” on how our lives will be once school starts in August.  We're passing the test, but probably with the grade C minus.  We did okay on week one, but I was exhausted and really, really lazy on Saturday morning.  This week is even more like the “real thing” because all of us need to be fed, dressed, and out of the house no later than 8:30 a.m.  This week has been tougher.  I'm not going to lie. 


On the Go!

Wonder what I will be like this Saturday?  Today, I feel as if I have been hit by a truck due to going to bed too late all week, and rising earlier to get all that I want to do in the morning accomplished.  We have not met our goal of 8:30 a.m. on three out of the five days week.   Today, will not be any better because I'm writing this when I should be showering or exercising. Yeah, the stats aren't good.   We pulled out of the driveway at 8:45 a.m. yesterday, and successfully made it by 9:00 a.m. to our destination, but it was frantic and stressful drive.  At one point, my son told me he had motion sickness because I kept making abrupt stops at the lights. I looked through the rear view mirror and told my son, "We need to improve tomorrow. This can't happen again."

Uh, I saw you roll  your eyes.  You’re thinking: “But your son has been in preschool. This should be old hat to you.”
True, but I always went to preschool with my wet hair in a clip and my daughter in her PJs.  I was usually late, frazzled, and that was all within a quick, five-minute ride from my home.  This fall will be the real deal.  We can’t be late, and I don’t want to look like the mom who doesn’t have her act together. Our school will be about 15 minutes away, but we’re happily making that commute since it was our choice to enter the county’s magnet program
The biggest change, however, is actually for me — not my kids. Sure, my son has had to rise earlier, but he’s usually up anyway.  I’m the one who needs to figure out how much time I need in the morning in order to get us out the door on time. It’s been hard because I’ve had to really cut down on my time-sucking Internet addiction.  It's like there is a little devil on my mouse, "Oh, just one more tweet! You have time."  That is pure hogwash.  One tweet turns into two plus an e-mail, and it slips even more time off the clock. 



I’ve had to reduce time on the computer in order to fit a morning exercise routine into my schedule, as well as a shower, and still be able to walk out the door — fully dressed — with my hair dry. 
So far, I have told myself every morning that I need more time. Much to my husband’s dismay, he may start hearing an alarm before 6 a.m.  I just need that personal time in the morning.  I need that time to process the day.  I wish I was a “get up and run out the door” person, but I like my cup of tea, email checks, and a chance to see the day’s news, even though it may be via twitter or Facebook. I also really like two cups of tea, but after my test run this week, I am learning to sip the second one while drying my hair and applying makeup.  In the fall, I may have to resort to sipping the second cup of tea in the car on the way to school.
That’s why they make those cute little Lilly Pulitzer thermal cups, though, right? It’s for all of us moms on the go. 
Image Credit


Excited to join the club, and to get my thermal mug.   Kindergarten, here we come.  Hopefully, on time!


***
On Monday, August 1, I am hosting my first blog link-up party called, "Meal Planning Made Easy!".  My goal is for you to find great recipes, meal planning tips, and kitchen organization tools and tips, in one big post.  If you are a blogger, I hope you join me and link up your posts.  Let's make meal planning easy not only for us, but for our readers.



Hines-Sight Blog





Part of today's post was originally written for my weekly column with the Raleigh News and Observer's Triangle Mom2Mom website.

7.26.2011

I Think I May Know Where Batman Parks the Batmobile

Image Credit
I grew up in the mountains of  North Carolina.  As a child, I always remember giggling over the Bat Cave sign on Interstate 26.  Believe it or not, there is a Bat Cave, N.C.  

There's not a lot there, except for a small community named after Bat Cave Mountain, which you guessed it, is inhabited by bats.  Imagine, my delight the other day, when my son was playing with his own Bat Cave, Batman, Robin, and The Joker.

I said, "Did you know Batman has a Bat Cave here in North Carolina?"

We immediately got on the Internet, and I showed him a photo of the road sign.

He said, "Maybe, we can go there some day?"

I never turn down a trip so I said, "Sure, and I bet Batman parks his Batmobile a few miles down the road at this luxury inn.  It is certainly fitting enough for Bruce Wayne.

"Ah, who's Bruce Wayne?", he asked.

"That's another story for another day.  You go play, and let mommy look at the Esmeralda Inn in Chimney Rock/Lake Lure area of the mountains."

I don't know about your area, but Raleigh is "hot as hell" this week, which we've been known to say in the South.  The crisp air of the mountains would be a wonderful relief.

How would you like to sit here and feel the summer, mountain breeze?

All photos from Esmeralda Website
courtesy of Bart Boeckler Photography and Jeff Miller Mountain Lens


Or take a little walk over this bridge?


Or perhaps take a little dip in the jacuzzi.


The Esmeralda Inn, located in the Lake Lure and Chimney Rock, area of North Carolina's mountains, is the perfect destination for some rest, relaxation, and even adventure.   Fans of the movie, "Dirty Dancing" may recognize Lake Lure as the backdrop where Baby spent the summer learning all of those dance moves.   The lobby floor of the Inn came from the gymnasium of the Dirty Dancing set where Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey danced into all of our hearts.


This rustic and elegant inn, originally established 1891and rebuilt in 1997-98 after flooding from the French Broach River caused extensive damage to the area, is rich with history.  Legendary actor, Clark Gable, has even stayed here.

It's no secret that the North Carolina mountains are the perfect place to explore. The inn is currently offering the Mountain Adventure Package, which includes horseback riding, tickets to Chimney Rock Park, and a kayak or canoe trip.   The package also includes a wine and cheese reception, breakfast at the inn, and a picnic lunch.

After a long adventure, this room would be perfect for Batman, and me, too.


You would never go hungry here because the inn has a "farm to table" approach for all of its meals, using local, fresh produce when it's in season. It serves three meals of day during the "in-season."

We all know that Batman is fairly discreet so you probably won't find the Batmobile parked in front of the inn, but with Bat Cave, NC being so close, the bat mobile has to be somewhere. Right?  That is what I'm going to tell my son, anyway.

For those of you who want to plan a trip to my home state,  the Lake Lure/Chimney Rock area is in Rutherford County, which is about a 30-minute drive from Asheville, NC.

August Promotion:
Book a three-night weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, between August 5th and 23rd, and the inn will give you the Thursday or Monday FREE to make it a 4 night stay! Some restrictions do apply. Promotion rooms are limited. 

***
On Monday, August 1, I am hosting my first blog link-up party called, "Meal Planning Made Easy!".  My goal is for you to find great recipes, meal planning tips, and kitchen organization tools and tips, in one big post.  If you are a blogger, I hope you join me and link up your posts.  Let's make meal planning easy not only for us, but for our readers.












Hines-Sight Blog






Linking up to Decor to Adore's Wayfaring Wednesday Post.





Ourfamilyworld

7.24.2011

Trading Places with the Sitter: SOC Sunday

My husband and I went out on the town last night, for a short while anyway.  We did something we usually never do.  We waited for a table.  We typically always get reservations, march right into a restaurant, and have dinner immediately.  Last night, we stepped out of our box, and hit an eclectic, small, downtown Raleigh restaurant that has a “no reservations policy.”

A lot of other younger, yuppies had the same idea as us to go to Dos Taquitos at 7 p.m.  We were told our wait could be as long as an hour.  We squeezed into the small bar, and talked, looked at people, and had the best time that the two of us has had “on the town” in a while.   I actually felt like I was on a date again, and possibly ten years younger where I had a little less responsibility; namely Mr. Cool and Baby Diva.  I had not one margarita, but two.


Downtown Raleigh was happening, and fun.  When my husband and I were dating, this area was not hip, nor happening.  In fact, you wouldn’t want to go there after dark.  Like that Martina McBride song where she says, “this is for all you ladies, about 42, trying to find the fountain of youth," I felt myself wishing for that fountain.  I kind of wanted to go back in time, and live a little.

I asked my husband, “Do you sometimes wish we could be 25 or 30 again because downtown Raleigh is so much fun now?”

He asked, “You mean, single.  I didn’t know you back then.” That’s not what I meant.  When you are in your early 40s, and have small children, life is planned, and not very carefree.  You just can’t go out downtown on a whim, and stay out until midnight or later.  I feel the years slipping by me.  When it may actually be easier for us to go out in seven years, I’ll be (Gasp) 50.  The gap between us, and the young professionals will be even greater.

We looked at our watch.  It was 9 p.m.  We walked down the street, sat outside, and had another drink.  We watched people about ten years younger than us, just starting their night of fun.


We came home by 10 p.m., traded places with our sitter so she could begin her night of fun.  This middle-aged couple went to bed because the little ones don’t sleep in just because their parents got all wild and crazy for a night out on the town.
  ***
Today's post is part of a series hosted by Fadra at "All Things Fadra."








#SOCsunday
This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…
  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.

***I added photos to give my blog some color.

Also, don't forget about my meal-planning made easy link-up on August 1.

I'm also guest posting over at TanyaTreasureTrove.

Linked up today with

7.23.2011

Let's Meal-Plan! (Announcing New Link-Up Blogging Post in August)

Which applies to you?

(a). Do you find yourself asking, "What can I make for dinner?" as you look at random items in your pantry?

(b). Do you just glance at your menu plan for the week, try to keep the kids out of the kitchen, and start cooking that night's meal?

(c). My gourmet kitchen is for looks only.   I eat out most nights.

(d). I pull out a bag of "Voila" and that's dinner in a bag.

Image Credit


I'm answer B. I actually know what I'm cooking in a week, but I have a very haphazardly way of going about my planning.  I could use some improvement, but at least, I have an idea of what I'm going to make for dinner each night in a week, even if it is written on some scrap piece of paper that may just get lost in the clutter in my kitchen.  If I didn't, then I would be answer (a), and frazzled, crazy.

In the '90s, I didn't know how to turn on my "jenn air" stove, and the grill-part of the stove certainly was never dirty.  I may be exaggerating a little because the stove did turn on, at least once a week.  I worked late in TV, ate out most nights or cooked one stir-fry meal that I miraculously learned to make.

As a newlywed, my husband and I took turns cooking processed-food in a bag or box with chicken or beef.  We called that "concoction" a meal once we got home at 7 p.m. from the office.  I was six pounds heavier then, and my blood pressure was not controlled.   One night of the week, we ate the one stir-fry meal that I knew how to make from the '90s.  We ate out a lot, too.  Hence, the extra pounds.

Once I had a baby, I found the joy of cooking.  At first, it was an excuse to be alone in the kitchen with a glass of wine, as my reward for being home all day with a cranky  infant.  My husband would tend to my son, and my recipe books were used for the first time in years.   We would put my son to bed,then eat our "little, gourmet meal" in front of the TV.
I now cook while my kids play, therefore, I don't have a lot
of time to cook complicated meals.

As my child got older, our dinner time became earlier, and we had family meals.  Don't get wrong!  I don't cook a gourmet meal nightly.  In fact, I'm not a gourmet cook at all.   I like to cook things that are simple, and healthy.  The easier, the better!  Some nights, I do pull out a jar of pasta sauce and tortellini from Trader Joe's, and that is my meal along with a side of frozen broccoli.  Broccoli is the only vegetable that Baby Diva will eat, and we eat it often.

My point here is that I do plan out what I'm going to eat, even it is a "healthier" version of processed.  If I don't plan enough meals in a week, which I'm known to do, then I call a sitter, and tell my husband that we need a "date-night." The kids get macaroni and cheese, which is always in my pantry.

I'm always on the look-put for new recipes, tips on making meal-planning easier, and ways to get more organized.  I also look for tools,and tips that will make my time in the kitchen more simple.

On August 1, I'm going to host a special link-up post called, "Meal-Planning Made Easy!"

If you are a reader of my blog, then I hope you will find new recipes, best-practices on meal-planning, or tips on how to make your life easier in the kitchen all in one post as bloggers link up with me.

If you are a blogger, I hope you grab my button, and help our readers learn about great recipes, your best-practices, and ideas from you.

The link will be open for several days in August.  Please join me!




Hines-Sight Blog






7.21.2011

I May Never Be Crowned Coupon Queen, but that Doesn’t Mean I Can’t be a Savvy Shopper

The other day, a social media post with a photo attached came across my computer screen. It said, “Look at all the stuff my husband got for only $3.80!”  I looked.  It was a lot of loot.  They were proud.  In fact, if you really want to know, it was $26.80 worth of items ranging from razors to Kraft macaroni and cheese.  That is what I call extreme couponing!  The best of the best, and I’m sure there are even better coupon kings and queens out there to knock this particular king off his pedestal.  Are you one of them?

Image Credit
I am not one of them, but I’m certainly trying to become savvier in my spending.  I’ve come a long way even if it is in baby steps.  Last year, while at the beach, I watched my sister-in-law organize her coupon book.  We talked grocery bills for an hour. Her bill averaged $350 a month, and mine was closer to $600 monthly.  Hmmm!  I took notes.

Image Credit

Even though I didn’t take the Sunday paper, I always got store coupons from the cashier after each grocery visit.  I would throw away the coupons with the items we didn’t buy, and keep the ones that could be useful. However, the coupons were always left at home when I went grocery shopping.  Sometimes, I would remember to get them together then accidentally leave them on the counter as I put two kids, a diaper bag, and a purse in the car.  Coupons don’t do you much good at home, do they?  Better yet, I would actually remember to grab the coupons sometimes before heading out the door only to realize they actually expired the day before. 

Organization had to be key, so I bought a red notebook and put some coupons in it for items that I knew I bought like yogurt and macaroni and cheese.  I even put those coupons with a closer expiration date in the front and decided to keep the book in my car.  I was ready to tackle the world of savings!  On my first trip to the grocery store, the new notebook sat in the car floorboard while the kids and I went down aisle after aisle putting items in our cart.  Yes, I forgot I had coupons and was too frazzled to realize it while in the store.

My Red Notebook....in the car!
Savings that trip: $0. 

The next shopping trip, the red notebook actually made it out of the car.  Don’t cheer yet!  I only had four coupons to use, but at least I was working my way toward some savings.  I picked up the last item on my grocery list and strolled toward the checkout aisle with a baby in the cart seat, and my son inappropriately hanging off the cart’s side.  I opened my notebook, and the coupons I wanted to use were gone.  Yes, %$@*, they were gone!  The coupons had somehow slipped out of the notebook between aisles four and eleven.  I did a quick check down the aisles, but no coupons.  Savings that trip: $2.10.  Somehow, I saved some money by using my grocery store perk card.  It was a total fluke.

As you can tell, I wasn’t head of the class in money savings, but after I started reading more blogs like the Raleigh-based “Spend Less and Save More” and the new book, “Living the Savvy Life: The Savvy Woman’s Guide to SMART Spending and RICH Living,” I started applying my newfound knowledge and actually saw a difference in my grocery bill.  I only bought items and brands that I knew we used on sale, then I would stock up.  Why not buy two jars of the peanut butter if on sale?  I make my son a peanut butter-and-banana sandwich daily, so the item will get used.  I also started buying the store brand on some items.  Savings that trip: $33.80.  Now, we’re getting somewhere!  I click on "Spend Less and Save More" daily to learn about deals.

Spend Less and Save More

Here’s the best news of all!  I now want to save even more on my food bills because of a tip that I learned from  Melissa Tosetti, author of “Living the Savvy Life.” It was like she jumped out of the book and spoke to me.  Well, she did talk to me on Twitter, but I’m not kidding when I felt this savvy tip was meant for me.  I love to travel, and you know I have a luxury hotel obsession.  It says it right in my profile. She suggests finding travel money through savvy grocery shopping and spending. When you get your receipt, and it says you saved $33.80, then transfer that savings into a travel account.  If you just save $33.80 a week, then that is $1,757.60 in savings for a year that can be applied to a trip or whatever you desire. The more you save on items, then the more you have in your spending account.  You could apply this rich tip to anything of priority in your life.  That’s what living the savvy life is all about.

That’s enough incentive for me to say, “Bring it On!” Give me SMART Spending and RICH Living.  Who knows?  I might even get to earn the title of the Queen of Savvy Living.  I hope so.

I've always wanted a crown!  I'll be telling you more about "Living the Savvy Life" in a future post. It's a great read.

Until next time, I'm off to work on hosting my first-linky party.  It's going to be August 1, 2011 and the post will be called, "Meal-Planning Made Easy."  It's my goal to streamline life, and have some great recipes for us to use to help plan our meals in August.  If you are a blogger, I would love for you to join me. The link will be open for several days next month.







Hines-Sight Blog




If you are visiting my blog today from Design it Chic,  and A Mommy's Sweet Design Spot, welcome!

7.18.2011

Back On a Schedule and Streamlining Life

Summer is far from over, but the lazy, haphazard, fly -by- the-seat of your pants  mornings are over for the Hines family. We've spent a good six weeks of the summer in daily, unorganized, unstructured, chaos. The theme song to Phineas and Ferb typically acted as background noise as my son ran around engaging in imaginative play that would sometimes erupt in tears for my toddler during  her brother's104 days of summer vacation adventure.  In between tweets and blogging, I would separate the two and yell, "Stop! Don't do that!" I would perhaps even mumble, "You are driving me crazy.  I can't wait until school starts!"

The crazy morning would slip by so quickly that I would have to choose a shower over exercise. My days from exercising five days a week slipped to one or two days, if I was lucky.

It was certainly nice not to be on a routine in the beginning, but after awhile, the lack of structure would cause me to lose my patience too quickly, and even the kids were prone to more crankiness.  By the end of the day, I would be mentally exhausted and frazzled.   It also allowed Baby Diva to explore a little too much.



Yes, while I was probably commenting on your Facebook status or blog, she dragged the stool to the counter, climbed on it, and proceeded to get her sunglasses.  Luckily, she has a mom who can arrive on the scene with a camera fairly quickly (we'll credit that to my TV news background), snap a picture, and whisk her back to safety.


But on Monday, things changed abruptly.  My mornings are now starting with an alarm, and there is no time to dawdle.

Hello Kitty Image Credit

Today, I exercised. I showered, then had my first cup of tea.  No Twitter! No Facebook!  No social media delays! After a quick check of e-mail, I was off to wake my son.  We are participating in "Get out the door by 9:00 A.M." boot camp.  My son has four weeks of morning summer camps, then school will be starting on August 25.  After that date, we'll need to get out of the house even earlier.  Heaven help us!  Things went well for us as we left at 8:55 a.m today., but 25 minutes earlier may rock our world.  There's no doubt that this summer practice will be good for all of us.

While my son was in camp, my daughter and I were gone for three hours around town.  We accomplished so much before her afternoon nap.  Surprisingly, I almost felt as if someone kidnapped me, and turned me into a Disney "Guest Relations" person.  I had energy all day.  I smiled a lot, and  I did not raise my voice once.  I don't even think I was irritated once.  We were all able to greet Mr. Piggybank at 5:45 p.m. with happiness.



I know life is going to get busier.  My goal is now to streamline it as much possible.  I hope to use my time more wisely.  I believe it's never too late to start.  Days of spending several hours learning how to make a blog button and attaching HTML code to it, are probably over.  Good thing I mastered that skill on Sunday!  I'm also going to be looking for tips to make this household run more efficiently and organized.   The first area I'm going to tackle is meal planning, and finding healthy, easy, meals to prepare for my family nightly.  Quick would be a plus, too.

Since I took valuable time to create my first blog button, I now want to put it to use, and even  learn to use a "link" for the blog.  I  plan to host "MEAL PLANNING MADE EASY" on Monday, August 1, 2011.  I want the post to be a one-stop place for  us all to go to find meal ideas through recipes, great meal-planning tips, or posts showcasing gadgets, memo-boards, and calendars that make the task easier.  The link will be open for several weeks in August so bloggers can link up their posts anytime through the month.  It will be our chance to learn from each other, and our readers will also have invaluable information at the click of a mouse.

Grab my new button and Join Me on Monday, August 1, 2011





Hines-Sight Blog








Yes, that is Baby Diva in a toy kitchen sink.  The child can get into some strange places.   Start writing up your best recipes and/or meal-planning tips.  I look forward to reading them. 

Until next time, I'm going to have a second cup of tea and catch up with some blogs on Our Family' World's Fun Tuesday Hop,  and on Wednesday, I'll  check out the adventures on Decor to Adore's Wayfaring Wednesdays.   I will be linking my post, "Cozy,Good Times at Surf Chalet."







Ourfamilyworld




Congratulations to Emillie, from Indiana. She is the winner of the frame giveaway through the Dahl House.  Enjoy choosing your frame, Emillie.



7.17.2011

My Covers Were So Right! Stream of Consciousness Sunday

#SOCsunday
In May, I met Raleigh blogger, Fadra (pronounced Fey-druh). She's been blogging for awhile.   I love to learn from her, and read her funny posts.  She chose to have children a little later in life, too.  We hit if off.  Every Sunday, she has what she calls a "brain dump" or writing in the raw where you just write what is on your mind for five minutes.  No spell check! , No editing, just raw writing.  I've been wanting to join her on this writing project for awhile so here it goes.  The timer starts now!

My Covers Were So Right

As a parent of young children, this may be hard to believe, but I actually stayed in the bed until 8:45 am.  I guess pigs are flying somewhere!  It was like being at a luxury hotel with a "Do Not Disturb" sign on my door.  My son actually came in our room at 8:10 am to tell us what the time said on the clock, but he actually climbed in the middle of our new king-sized bed and lounged quietly with us.  My daughter was still snoozing away in her room, and I dozed on and off in the comfort of perfectly positioned covers.  It was like being on a cloud.  Well, I've never been on a cloud, but advertisers make you think being on a "cloud" is a good thing.

We recently upgraded from a queen to a king-sized bed, but we have been slow to get bedding for our bed.  We borrowed king sheets from my mom for awhile.  During that transition, I could never get my covers or pillows right.  Apparently, having the right weight on my body and having my pillows positioned just right, are important components to my nightly sleep ritual.   If they are not positioned a certain way then I don't sleep well.  This not-sleeping well went on for several weeks.  It was quite frustrating!  Here, we had a new comfy bed, new king pillows, and I felt as if I was awake half the night.   That's not quite the feeling you want to have when you just paid close to $2,000 for a new mattress.

Image Credit

I went to my mom's place at the beach and slept on her king bed there.  Her mattress is not as comfy as our new one, but yet I slept well.   Why?  I realized it was because of the blanket.  Problem solved.  We now have a new blanket on our bed, and I'm tossing the new king pillow to the side, and am using my two old pillows.  Apparently, I like things a certain way.

It's great that this "Princess and the Pea" finally got a good night's sleep and lounged lazily close to 9 am because I will be on child duty all day as my husband goes into the office and works on the yard.  Don't you just envy me?  Beginning tomorrow morning, my son has morning camps for four weeks straight so today was the only day to lounge.

I'm so glad I finally got those covers right!

Time's up.

Don't forget that today is the last day to enter the Dahl House Frame giveaway.

7.15.2011

Cozy, Good Times at Surf Chalet

If you have never been to the Myrtle Beach area then it is a must-see.  There is a little bit of something for everyone on South Carolina's Grand Strand.  Sun! Sand! Surf!  Shopping! Shows! Sophisticated Dining! Sensational Golfing!  It's mile-after- mile of activity, but there is also a tranquil side to this beach that is always bustling with vacationers.  We find our peace and quiet in a cozy, cottage named "Surf Chalet."


Nestled between the Cherry Grove Pier and the famous, Ocean Drive area, where dancers still dance the shag in their loafers, sits my mom's beach cottage in Tilghman Beach.  Residential homes line the shore and high rises are sparse in this section of North Myrtle Beach. 


The surf and sand are steps away from this cottage. 


Surf Chalet has ocean views, and lots of outdoor spaces.


The house has plenty of room for our family.  It is a three-level home with two living spaces, four bedrooms, and three, full-baths.  There is also a small, sitting room with a sleeper sofa.




Every time, we return from a mini-vacation from Surf Chalet, we always say, "We didn't stay long enough and we really should go down more often."  My mom joined us on this trip.  While we spent time on the beach, she "piddled around" as I call it.   Her feet rarely walk to the ocean.  This trip was no exception! Instead, she moved pictures, changed out lamps, and replaced rugs.   This visit, she purchased a new sofa and a dining set for the cottage.  She wants guests at Surf Chalet to be comfortable, cozy, and feel at home.

In my opinion, the best times on the Grand Strand are in the off-season.  It's cooler, traffic is back to normal, and people aren't lined outside of restaurants at 5:00 P.M.   Surf Chalet can be rented year-around.  My mom would love to have you as a guest.

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7.13.2011

Summertime Memories: Rockin the Baby!

As I sat on the beach this week, watching my two children loving life, I couldn't help, but think about their first trips to the beach.  There wasn't much fun in the sun, but they sure looked cute in their swimsuits!  It took more time getting on their swimsuits, and putting on sunscreen than time actually spent on the shore.

This was my son in 2006.  He was six-months old for his first beach trip.



This was my daughter's first trip last year. She was seven-months old.  Now that I'm looking at both of these photos side-by-side, it almost looks like the same baby in different clothes and the same sunglasses. What do you think?


Here they are side-by-side on their second beach trip of this year.  Lucky kids!



We just spent a few days in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina at my mom's beach house and are glad to be home.  I'll tell you more about the trip later that ended with a trip to the Emergency Room.  This little one fell down the beach house stairs yesterday and gave us quite a scare.  Thankfully, she is fine.


My thanks to Shell, with Things I Can't Say, for allowing me to go down memory lane.  My Summertime Memories post is part of her special series, Rockin' The Baby!  We're all catching Baby Fever!

Don't forget that I'm giving away the perfect frame for you to showcase your wonderful baby pictures.
Check out my giveaway with the Dahl House.  The last day to enter is July 17 at 11:59 P.M. 

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