Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ambassadors In Training

My daughter's school has a 5th grade Ambassador Program that I've volunteered to chair with 
3 other moms.  It's a great program for young kids.  The goal of the group is to encourage 
leadership by helping out at the school on a daily basis, and at all events at the school and offsite.
 The students must exemplify the school values of safety, responsibility, and kindness.  

I have spent the last couple of weeks buried under red folders filled 
with training agendas and schedules.

My daughter has a large 5th grade class of about 130 students and 66 of them 
have applied to be ambassadors. They'll have to complete training in the 
month of September and re-apply for the fall term. 

It's up to the 5th grade teachers to determine who is eligible. 

School starts September 6th!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer Reads

I have done more reading this summer than I have in a long time.  
Nothing too in-depth, but reading for sheer pleasure.  

I loved The Help by Kathryn Stockett (you've all probably heard of this book by now).  
I really enjoyed it and can't wait to see the movie.

While in Target one day, I was checking out the book aisle and picked up The Beach Trees by
Karen White.  The synopsis on the back of the book shared that this fictional story was based 
on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and in the New Orleans area post Hurricane Katrina.  This 
intrigued me because I grew up on the MS Gulf Coast.  It was a great read for me, and I 
thoroughly enjoyed the familiarity of some of the landmarks mentioned.

At this point, I wanted to try another book by Karen White.  Next on my list was The Color of Light
I could not put this book down, and really enjoyed trying to figure out the plot.  I must admit, this story haunted my thoughts (not in a scary way) for about 24 hours after finishing it.

Now I'm hooked on Karen White and in the middle of reading Falling Home.  I'm really enjoying the story (although I'm finding it a little predictable), and curious to see if the ending will have me searching for another Karen White book or moving on to a new author.

What have you been reading this summer?  
I would love some recommendations.
 Do you find an author you like and stick with them, or mix it up a bit?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Honored to be featured

I was excited and honored to receive an email from Ranna at Unique Finds and Designs letting
me know that she had mentioned me and my blog in a post. The post was titled "A Unique Life Series".  The post highlights a group of items that are effecting her life at this particular time.  
What a 'unique' idea for a post!  It's given me some food for thought.  I often feel like there 
are several things at any given time effecting my life, some are a constant in my life, while others
are phases that come and go.  I think it's a neat idea to actually put them in writing.

I hope you'll stop by and check out Ranna's blog.  She's an interior designer in Dallas who is embarking on some serious volunteer time at her sons school this year by
committing to be a member of the PTA Board.

Thanks, Ranna, for the 'shout out'!

Right now, what's effecting my life would look something like this:

Getting kids ready to go back to school in Sept.
 Chairing the 5th grade Ambassador Program at school with 3 other moms.
 Trying to figure out how to build confidence in my kids.

Reviewing our expenses with my husband, and working with a financial planner 
to assure a comfortable future for us all.
 The ongoing house projects that happen out of either love or necessity.
 Blogging and reading others wonderful blogs for inspiration and motivation.
 Football and soccer practices have kicked in several nights a week.

What's effecting your life at the present time?

P.S.  I am thankful to have such a full life :)

Have a great week!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Calm, Classic Southern Home

I was thumbing through my April 2008 (yes, 2008) Southern Living magazine, when I came across this beautifully decorated Baton Rouge, LA home.  

 This porch has southern hospitality written all over it.
Love the contrast of the dark floors with all the white walls.
Great traditional living room with the contrasting zebra that unexpected touch.
I want my next dining table to be round.  Great chairs!

My daughter wants something like this for her next bedroom update.  The headboard is the 
same fabric as the drapes and the same height as the drapes.
I have never been a pastel person, but I'm beginning to change my mind.
This is a large table placed over the original island, cool idea if you have the space.
 Great set up for outdoor living.  Love the chandelier.
 (All photos courtesy of Southern Living magazine)

Do you see any design features you love in this home?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Receipt Organization

I'm a bit of a receipt junky! I've been known to buy things for the home, live with them
for several weeks, and then decide they're not working.  The search for the receipt begins,
so I can return the item.  This is what my old receipt stash looked like.

Needless to say, I've lost some receipts.  I needed a better system.
I got out the love of my life my label maker and found some old filing cards.

This box was the perfect size.

 I'm keeping the receipt box on the kitchen desk for quick access.

 How do you keep up with your receipts?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mississippi Mud Cake

I inherited my mother-in-law's Mississippi Mud Cake recipe after JB and I got married.  I think JB has asked me to make it every year on his birthday (which is today).  Every year it has just been okay, never quite as good as my mother-in-law's (although my family manages to finish every crumb).

Several months ago, my mother-in-law was here for a visit and offered to make the MS Mud Cake.  As I was pulling all the ingredients from the pantry, she pointed out that we needed SELF RISING FLOUR rather than ALL PURPOSE FLOUR, which is what I'd always used.  A light bulb went off - that must be the difference in the way my cake has turned out all these years. Most of you probably know these kinds of things, but I'm what you call a "novice baker".

I baked the cake yesterday using SELF RISING FLOUR...what a difference! 
My husband let me know that I'd finally gotten it right.  Thanks, honey! 

 Maybe with a little vanilla ice cream?

2 sticks butter
1/2 c. cocoa
2 c. sugar
4 eggs slightly beaten
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 pkg small marshmallows
1 1/2 c. nuts (optional)

Melt cocoa and butter.  Stir in sugar, eggs, flour, salt, nuts and vanilla.  Bake in a 9x13 pan at 325 until done in the center.  Pour 1/2 pkg small marshmallows on cake while hot and let cool.  Ice when cool.

1 box powdered sugar
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. cocoa
1/2 c. soft butter

I'm joining the following parties:
(thanks for hosting, ladies!)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

DIY Antipasto Servers

Whenever we have friends over for dinner/drinks (happy hour) an antipasto platter of some sort is usually out for appetizers.  Napa Style Catalog has some great serving pieces for antipasto
  platters, but they're a little out of my budget, so I decided to try to create my own version.  

Here are some of theirs.

 napa style
 napa style
napa style
napa style

Here's my version after being inspired by these last servers. 

 The taller server was purchased unfinished from Joann Fabrics.  It looked something like this.
I used spray paint on the legs and Minwax stain for the top.
The shorter server was made from these spools and this wood top also purchased at Joann's.
After spray painting the 'legs', I rubbed the dirty stain rag on them to create an aged look.  
Can you tell which one I still have to do? 
I attached the 'legs' with Gorilla Glue.
This was such an easy/quick project and I'm really happy with the results.
I even tried them tiered.

I think these could be used for other non-food vignettes as well, or maybe even for Christmas gifts!
 P.S. This was a great project to complete at the end of the day...I really enjoyed my wine and cheese :)

I'm linking to the following parties:

Thanks for hosting, ladies!