Friday, January 30, 2009

Do I Dare Say it Outloud?

I am not sure if I should jinx things by saying it outloud but it appears that Miss Lila Phillips is on somewhat of a schedule. The last three nights she has gone all night without being fed. Each night she woke up several times but got herself back to sleep. This morning it was 5:40 a.m. when I got up with her and she had gone to bed at 7:00 p.m.! Since I am a morning person I don't mind getting up at 5:40. The problem was only when I was waking up at 5:40, and 3:00, and 1:00 with a baby who should have been beyond that. In addition, she is taking pretty regular naps and has responded well to being put in her bed while still slightly awake. It was just in time; I was about to go insane from continued interupted sleep combined with a serious lack of sleep in general. Now if we can just get Carson so stay in his bed at night too; he wakes up scared and comes running down the hall to our room. He is like a big puppy; he doesn't realize how big he is so he lumbers into our bed and splays his body all over the place. I don't mind too much because I like a good snuggle but Kevin gets Carson's feet and Carson's feet like to kick. I think it's kind of a sleeping Oedipal kind of thing; Carson would just as soon Kevin get out of the bed and go sleep in the bottom bunk. It is nice to be so loved that everyone wants to sleep in my bed and that Lila loves me so much she wakes up to spend extra time with me ;)

Monday, January 26, 2009


I am so proud that my boys are both readers. I am lucky so far that both of them love reading and are good at it. It is slow-going but Cullen is over 70% done with the fourth book of the Harry Potter series. Carson jumps around a lot but is reading the first Harry Potter book and the Magic School Bus series. Honestly, as long as they are reading I'm happy! Even if Lila ends up being a book burner or something awful like that at least 2/3 of my children read. I will shoot for 3/3 since I really don't condone book burning or playing with fire in any shape or form.

Lila's Little Playdate

Unless you count going to the nursery at the gym or being oohed and ahhed over while shopping, Lila hasn't really spent much time around non-relatives. Today we popped by my friend Cathy's house to say hello to Cathy and her three little girls. Lily is 5, Eme is 3, and Cate is 3.5 months old. Cathy's girls have always been very sweet and adorable and were true to form today! Cate was bright-eyed and curious just like her sisters. Here are some of our pictures from today.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Making King Cakes

Ta da! Carson's cake is done.
I really don't know what he's looking at but he loved the sprinkles!

Cullen was careful about doing his sprinkles.

Mission accomplished!

Today we made two King Cakes; one for each of the boys to bring to school since they both got the babies in their class King Cakes last week. I thought it would be a fun family activity but for most of this "family activity" I was in the kitchen trying to make King Cakes and tend to a fussy teething baby while the boys jumped on the trampoline. However, when it came time for the icing and the sprinkles the boys were ready to help! They had to help in stages since I only made enough dough for one cake the first time. When Carson iced his cake and got to lick the spoon when done he declared the icing "Just right; I wouldn't change a thing" (it was confectioners sugar and a small bit of milk; how can you go wrong with basically straight sugar?). We just put a standard little plastic baby in Carson's cake. Cullen loved doing his cake too. I actually put a gold coin (from a pirate birthday party) in Cullen's class cake. Originally beans or gold coins were put into King Cakes; the plastic baby tradition didn't start until the 1900's. I thought a gold coin was more fun than a bean. Cullen's cake was the second one and looked a lot more like a normal King Cake. I knew the first one was the worst one so I made that for Carson's class. First graders are much less judgemental about things than third graders. As they get older they are a much tougher crowd! Next time I will spend $5 and buy a King Cake from Wal-Mart when I just need one for their classes.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Throw Me a New Catalog, Mister!*

I am excited to announce that I have decided to have a new catalog party after all! I wasn't going to until I saw the catalog and knew people would be as excited about it as I am! I am having a Mardi Gras themed open house to introduce the awesome new Stampin' Up! catalog and also to show off our new Decor Elements line of products. Whether you are an experienced stamper or someone who just wants to find out more about Stampin' Up! this is the perfect chance! Here are the specifics:
  • Thursday, February 5, 2009
  • 3:00-8:00 p.m. (come and go as you please!)
  • Cost: nothing!
  • Project: make a Valentine's Day card for free
  • There will be multiple door prizes. The grand prize will be 20% off your entire order placed within two days of the open house. The grand prize winner will be determined by who gets the baby in the King Cake! Catalogs will be available for all hostess club members and those who pre-ordered them. I will also have a limited number of extra catalogs on hand for purchase for those who did not pre-order them.
  • Please r.s.v.p. as soon as you can so that I know how much food to prepare and how many projects I will need to get ready!
  • A note about children: teens and pre-teens are always welcome but I have a one project per family rule at my free events. If you have issues attending without your smaller children please let me know and we will see what we can work out!

*No new catalogs will actually be thrown; they will be handed gently to the recipient

Friday, January 23, 2009


I joined the social networking group Facebook in June. I did it simply so that I could see my cousin Sally's pictures that she posted on her own Facebook page. Little did I know that so many people I know or have known would also be on Facebook six months later. For the most part, I really enjoy it. People post little snippets in the form of status updates and I like to see what other people are doing. For the most part it's reassuring to see that most other people's lives are as ordinary as mine. I also really like looking at everybody's kids. Even though some of my Facebook friends are people I haven't hung out with since Girl Scouts in the fifth grade it's still neat checking out their offspring. The only difficult issue I have had is when people ask to be my Facebook friend and I either have no clue who they are or no interest in being their friend. As of now when as Facebook friend request is sent to a person they have two choices... you can either "confirm" or "ignore" that request. If you ignore it the person you are ignoring doesn't know it and may send another request. And another. And another. There is no "deny" option; I guess the people at Facebook are too nice to do that. I propose the following additions to the choices when presented with a friend request.

  • confirm
  • confirm although I never really was friends with you in the first place I am interested to see how you're doing and maybe look at some pictures of your kids and pets and maybe of you scuba diving or something
  • confirm although I only remembered you when I looked you up in the high school yearbook
  • deny; I have no flipping clue who you are even when I look carefully at your picture. Either you got really fat or I never knew you.
  • deny; I hated you in college so why would I be friends with you now?

I doubt these changes will be made but it would be nice to be able to be more specific when posed with a difficult friendship request. On a side note, the photo above is my Facebook picture. Notice that it looks like me and I follow my own photo tips by holding a baby to distact from my negative features.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Difficult Conversation

I actually had one of my toughest conversations with Cullen today. It started yesterday when we drove by our church. In front there were over one hundred small white crosses and a sign that said "Abortion Kills". Cullen asked "What's abortion?" and then "Can we catch it?" (if it kills, it must be a disease). I knew Carson, in his infinite sensitivity, was not ready for this discussion so I told Cullen we would talk about it later. Later was today, when he asked again. I closed the door to Lila's room, where we were playing with her on the floor. I told Cullen that sometimes God gives people babies and they aren't ready for them and don't want them. I said that these people go to a special clinic and a medical person (I didn't want to say doctor) does something to kill the baby while it's still in the mom's belly. He was solemn but not upset. I asked him why the Catholic church and other churches would be against abortion. It took him just a second to say "Because there won't be as many Catholics?" I snickered but said no, not because of that. As we watched Lila play on the floor I reminded him that being alive and healthy is a great gift and to hurt that life goes against God's wishes. I reminded a former student of mine who is about to have her first baby that babies are the single greatest gift humans get. However, just like all gifts you don't always get to choose what you get and when you get it. I did not tell him that often people don't expect babies and still get them (Lila) or take many extra steps to try to get babies (Cullen and Carson). I tried to remember to only give as much information as they ask for. I guess talking about sex will be harder but I will do like my mom did and take him to a busy restaurant where the tables are close together and tell him all about it while he cringes with embarrassment.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I will soon be having my first Stamp-n-Scrap in a long time. Here are the details:

  • Friday, January 30 from 5:00-11:00 (OK to come later, of course!)
  • At my house
  • Cost: $14 (includes dinner and assorted refreshments).
  • There will be no planned projects; just bring your own things to work on even if no stamps or Stampin' Up! products are involved.
  • You will have full access to all of my non-consumable supplies, including all of my stamp sets and my Big Shot machine.

The theme will be Winter Fiesta... the meal will be taco soup and our snacks will be according to theme as well. However, speaking Spanish is not required since my conversation would be limited to the words "hello, goodbye, chicken, and salad". No alcohol will be provided but if you choose to bring something for yourself of course that is fine!

Please let me know if you'd like to join us! Friends are welcome too; just be sure to r.s.v.p. quickly as I have limited space. You can e-mail me at to register or to ask a question.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Looking and Feeling Your Best (in photos and in real life)

I hope that everyone is ready for some Oprah-worthy advice. Sit down and take notes or, better yet, print this post. I had someone I knew from high school tell me I looked "the same" and how did I do it? It's all multiple layers of trickery...
Taking Good Pictures
1. Don't take pictures with skinny people. Find an excuse to get out of doing it... you have to pee, your child needs you, whatever. Don't do it.
2. To make number one easier you can do several things:

  • Be the photographer
  • Go out to eat with your friends often and ply them with beer and fried foods. Then eat lettuce yourself.
  • You can't avoid taking pictures with family so learn from my mistakes. My sister-in-laws and sister are all pretty. If I could turn back time I would find wives for my brothers that were not as attractive and would have checked to make sure there weren't pretty women in Kevin's family before it was too late. I would also have slipped weight-gaining materials into my little sister's drinks. It is all too late for this.
  • Be a recluse. If you don't have friends then you won't have friends who are skinnier than you.

3. Children and pets are great props and distractions in pictures and in real life.

  • You can hold babies over your weak spots (notice how I usually hold Lila in front of my belly) or, when they are older, have them stand in front of you. This also works with big dogs. It doesn't work if your face is your weak spot because then the pictures will just look stupid.
  • Dress your children cute. Then people will notice your cute children first and just do a cursory glance over you. The same applies to cute little dogs. They may think you are goofy if you dog is wearing clothes BUT that is still a good distraction. This is why I had Lila; the boys wouldn't let me dress them cute anymore (gym shorts and tee shirts!) so I had to have another baby to take the attention away from me.

4. Do NOT look your best in high school. I know it may be too late for you but think about it this way; just as you don't want your favorite team to be ranked pre-season number one you don't want to be the most attractive in high school. Teams that are ranked number one usually just fall hard. On the same token, if you look your best as a teenager you can only go downhill. That is why I wore frumpy clothes in high school. It was part of my master plan to get better with age.

Those are my pearls of wisdom for the day. Maybe for the month; my wisdom is in short supply so it may not come your way again anytime soon.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Businesses That I Like

As somewhat of a businesswoman myself (somewhat because I don't have the hassle of a storefront or inventory!!) I like to let people know when I find businesses I like. Here are some of my favorites right now. Many are in Prairieville because a big plus for me now is convenience!

1. You R Invited: They have locations in Geismar on highway 73 and on Airline near an Elegant Affair. A great place to get gifts and run by very nice people.

2. Salon Eden: my friend Mary and her husband own this Salon in Baton Rouge. The stylists are very good, professional, and carefully selected and although it is a nice salon it doesn't have the snooty feel of many places. It is located by The Backpacker near Bocage.

3. Personal Impressions: I got the necklace pictured online at Tracy Perrine is located in Arizona and is the one who makes the necklaces. She was very easy to work with. I am very particular and specific and she did my necklace just as I requested, down to the last detail. She has a lot of great samples on her blog and her prices were very good compared to similar necklaces. Some sites' prices were double what I paid with Tracy.

4. Prairieville Produce: I like Prairieville Produce on Airline Highway. The owner is very nice and they have a good selection of produce and other great products. It's a lot like Southside produce just in Ascension Parish. I also haven't had problems with rotted fruit or produce that spoils too quickly as I have at other produce stands.

5. Made-by-Mary: If you like custom children's clothes and accessories you will like Made-by-Mary. Mary is also someone who was able to meet my specific needs and went out of her way to obtain some fabric for a dress for Lila.

6. St. Michel Day Spa in Prairieville: This business is owned by a local girl who is very nice but also quite professional. In addition to having great services at a comparable price Michelle Babin Tranchina (the owner) gives to the community. She even came and talked to my Free Enterprise class last year when I had local business owners come and speak to my students about owning your own business.

7. Dutchtown Care Care Center: Now going there is NEVER fun for me. I hate spending money on car repairs; it seems like such a waste to spend so much money and have no clothing or jewelry to show for it. However, they are very helpful and I like to get my oil changes and inspections done there. They also helped me with my batteries and inspected my tires once. They could have easily taken advantage of me and said "you need four new tires NOW" but instead they told me I had another eight months or more left on them and sent me on my merry way.

8. Harvest Supermarket in Geismar: Sure, their prices are a little higher than Wal-Mart's and I don't get all of my groceries there. We do get 90% of our meat at Harvest and a lot of smaller items throughout the week. They have a fantastic liquor selection so we usually go there before a party. They have good meals that you can grab if you need a quick dinner or lunch and I have never had a problem with freshness. You can also always find someone to help you and the friendliness of a smaller store is refreshing. The best part is that my kids like to go there and it only costs me $.50 to bring them. No, they don't charge a fee to bring your children in; they have those cheap little gumball machines in the front of the store. I bring $.50 for each child and use it as their bribe to be good. Then once I am checking out I give them their $.50 and they get something out of the machine. I find it amazing that this still works with my kids at their ages. I would have thought they would have grown out of it by now but Cullen and Carson are refreshingly naive at times and I kind of like it.

On a side note, other business owners who came to speak with my Free Enterprise classes were Tammy Murphy from Memory Mania and Miles Holley from Treads and Care. I am still so appreciative of their help; teaching Free Enterprise was a stretch for me since my only prior experience in economics was being a good shopper and having my Stampin' Up! business.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Hostess Club: January

Close-up of the eye.
Shaker Card

Glittery card... I will use this one for a little birthday girl at the end of January

These are the two cards we did for my hostess club here this month. One is a glittery card that is SO simple; we used adhesive letters and numbers and simply pressed down into a pile of glitter until the letter or number was thoroughly covered. The other card is a "shaker" card. It's cuter in person. The heart shaped eyes of the skull and crossbones are cut out and the card is designed so that you can see glitter and beads behind the eyes (which are covered with a thin clear paper) when you shake it. It looks and sounds cool. It makes for a fun, special, birthday card. Instructions for basic shaker card design and another sample can be found here: The stamp set I used for my shaker card also comes with a bow you can stick on the head of the skull. I have heard that skulls and crossbones are popular on girls' clothing and accessories. This isn't something I have seen but I am not yet in the Secret Club regarding girls clothes. Kevin is actually trying to block my membership into this club. ;)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Table Manners

Lila loves to eat. It doesn't matter what we are presenting her; like her poor mother she is not very picky. Lately when I have been feeding her she has repeatedly lunged unexpectedly for the bowl and started to lick the bowl and chew on it. I don't know if she thinks it's a more efficient way to eat or if she thinks she's an animal but either way it's really messy and I don't think Emily Post would approve. We're trying to do things right with this baby and start her off with better manners than the boys but Lila is largely uncooperative thus far.
Speaking of the boys... at dinnertime I have been reading manners hints from a children's cookbook my aunt sent them. Most of it we have discussed before but they needed a refresher. I find that since they have so little time to eat lunch at school (somewhere under 10 minutes) they really shovel their food into their mouths like little cavemen. I have tried to convince them that no wild beasts are coming to take their food from them. I have also had to remind Cullen that saying "I can't believe you eat this" is not how you speak of something your mother has lovingly prepared for you. They haven't learned my trick from my youth of feeding the dog my unwanted food. I won't tell them and if they do it I will act shocked and horrified. I'd better start practicing.

Photo Frame Clipboard

I actually did this project a few months ago. I used one of Stampin' Up!'s 9x9 clipboards and decorated it using the "Rock-a-Bye Girl" Simply Scrappin' kit (there is a boy version too!). It was really easy to do and I have also done several for gifts. The kit comes with so many components that it seems like I have barely used any of it. I also used it to decorate a 14x14 plain white memento box that I got at Wal-Mart. Whenever I have a keepsake item for Lila (like a card or her hospital bracelets) I tuck it in the box. One day when I start to scrapbook again I will put some of those items in the scrapbook but for now I know it's in a safe place!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Just "The One"

This has always been something that grated my last nerve but today it happened again. I was trying out a new gym and talking to another mom in the nursery. In explanation of something that she did that she thought might be a little over-protective she said "Well, I just have the one..." as in the one child that she was possibly overprotecting. I have no problem with parents doting on their children. I do it myself. I am also a little overprotective. However, don't act like my child's specialness is diminished each time I have another one. I may have three but we don't live in the olden days when Ma and Pa had spare kids in case one died. All of my children were wonderful gifts; none of them is the human equivalent of a spare tire. I will admit that when I was pregnant with Carson and Cullen was just a little guy I wondered how we could ever love another human being as much as we loved our first baby. I soon learned that there was enough love in this old heart for many children. Cullen was about four when a friend squirmed about me putting her child in the third seat of my vehicle. "It's more dangerous in the back; can you put Cullen back there?" As if that wasn't bad enough on it's own she then proceeded to say "I only have (insert child's name here)". So my child is expendable because I have backup? Now they do aggravate me on occasion (OK, multiple occasions daily) but even at their worst I will never run screaming from danger and throw back one of the kids screaming "Here, take this one! Me and Pa had some extra younguns!"

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Why are our children so amazing?

Lila got two teeth yesterday. You would have thought she climbed Mount Everest or won the Nobel Prize I was so darn proud. Teeth! She grew TWO teeth! After a few hours I thought about it in perspective... doesn't everybody's baby grow teeth? How many babies around the world probably popped out a couple of canines yesterday? Yet why is it so amazing when our own children do the most mundane things that children pretty much all do? I haven't grown out of it with Cullen and Carson. I am still amazed by the things they do and say (although sometimes they need to go into time-out for the amazing things they do or say). Lila being my third hasn't lessened my amazement with her "accomplishments" at all. In fact, I think the spacing has made me even more impressed with her. I have decided that this is something that God has instilled in parents to serve as a protective shield around their children. Isn't it nice knowing that your Mom will always be proud of you or that your Dad will always think of ways to keep you safe? I think God makes us impressed with and enamoured with our children to help them feel good in a world that sometimes can be a little rough. I even think it's cool that "parents" of pets have this same feeling. It must be inborn. Did I mention that Lila grew two teeth? Two. My baby is so efficient. I am sure I will post a picture of them as soon as they are visible in a photograph.