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friday...gotta get goin'!!!

Friday, May 29

today. well today is going to be gray.8! (great). i've got a birthday cheesecake to make for clara - (i persuaded her to have us try the cookies and cream version instead of the same swirl cheesecake she asked for last year)! unfortunatley, i will be unable to have a sample...remember, i'm on DAY 7 of my road trip people!  DAY SEVEN!!  (i guess i could attempt to eat around every delish oreo cookie morsel and avoid the chocolate cookie crumble crust?? naw! too much work.) so....with almost 7 days under my belt, i've now got 14 more days to go. i can do this. 
remember yesterday's topic of well, here is something that popped up in my inbox yesterday from it's regarding "perfect bangs" & it was just what i needed to find while on my search to solve my "dilemma" previously mentioned. thinkin' i'm likin....
don't freak out at the length...focus on the bangs.
and i'm posting this because i was amazed at the before and!
Heh.lo. - is that the same person? gotta be ps in there somewhere...
dont' know how these bangs will actually work on my noggin...i've got curly hair - remember?
but i thought the coincidence of my search and the article was pretty spot on and it made me happy. 
finished my morning appointment with gilad & now i must hurry off to get ready for a little grocery store excursion and then it's back to the kitchen for cheesecake making! 
did i tell you we've opted to change up  our friday night "soup night".  since it's summer, salads are the better option.  so....our salad this evening? grilled chicken salad with mango salsa. (i'll let you know how it turns out).  i can tell you one thing...dinner from lastnight? well, the recipe went straight into the garbage. it was a recipe for chicken scallopini and it was the most disgusting meal i believe i have ever prepared. waaaaayyy too many nasties! (the 3/4 lb of butter, heavy cream and bacon just pushed the limits far beyond anything i could ever attempt to recover from). and although it had all of the ingredients for what could prove to be a "flying colors" meal for the kids and j...they weren't all that excited about it either. thankfully. i've been on the search for a chicken scallopini recipe i made a LONG time ago and i cannot find it. it was so much more light and authentic. if you have one you want to share i would LOVE it.
still have teacher gifts to figure out - girls get out june 5th - next friday. i've got to get creative! there are some great ideas from hof3 - i just can't seem to get motivated to "start" on something. i know it will entail getting out my "goodies" which is fun for me. however, i know all too well what happens when i get the goodies out...all of a sudden, i'm lost in a hole i don't want to emerge from - buried beneath pens, paper, glue, adhesives, computer printouts, scissors, ribbons, tulle, glitter, punches, etc.  the rest of the world is going on and i'm sitting there in my own little world - oblivious to everything else around me. i LOVE that. no one else seems to love it so much. *big sigh*  i've got to push through all that and do something. (well, i did make a list of ideas:
inspirational book
stationery/notepads (homemade)
huge chocolate bars (like these from hof3)
handmade cards /envelopes bundled together w/a pretty pen
target gift card
pampering pack (candle, cooling mask, bath beads, relaxing cd & chocolates)
other ideas:
"thank you breakfast" for the administrators/front office @ both schools
bus driver gifts...chocolate & gift card? 
ok - so anyway...gotta get goin' on my day - and on all of these ideas!
happy friday!

oh my knees...and forehead

Thursday, May 28

man...either i am just "really" working out hard or perhaps it's that i'm overextending during knees are achy lately. (it definitely couldn't be because i'm getting older..."stop it!") regardless, my calves have been extremely sore for the past 2 days so i'm taking it as a "good"'s a "good hurt". it's progress. it's a sign of commitment. it's a sign of dedication and perhaps down the road...i'll end up with some "real" results.

on the search for a new hairstyle. (i do this every time i'm about to have my hair done - & then i usually just stick with the "safety" of my usual). but i'm bound and determined to come up with something a little more flattering. do i dare admit what i'm about to admit?  it's just shameful & embarrassing. (but perhaps my friends & family have known all along and have just loved me nonetheless...and i'm just coming to the know - lightbulb moment. kind of like looking at recent pictures of yourself and thinking, "oh my...i don't 'feel' like i look that fat - how could i NOT know?" - you know what i mean).  i just can't help but notice how big my forehead is in all of my pictures. there...i admitted it. i have a big forehead - again...this may be something you have been privy to. it's begging for some sort of inscription - goodness knows it's got plenty of space for it. it's time to step out of the comfort zone and do something about it. i've been scouring sites and i've come across the fact that some celebs have the same issue: (jennifer love-hewitt, naomi campbell, kim bassinger mischa barton - just to name a few).  & okay, so i'm merely stating that to make myself feel better - as if it justifies some how that having a big forehead is actually "ok" because reese witherspoon has one too?)

check out these looks i've found:

not for me...but i just adore this photo from the freepeople site.

love the lighting in this one - 
wow...look at that forehead...

love her. does she have a big forehead? 
she pulls it off pretty good. 
(i think mine is longer - not wider)?

i just love her

  audrey hepburn-look

i'm able to achieve this look just by waking up each morning...
who knew i was so "fendi-fashionable".

ok -must go. ella is calling.

hold them closer, longer, deeper

Wednesday, May 27

some heartbreaking memorial day news has me wanting to hold each of my children a little closer, for a little longer, all the while breathing them in a little deeper...
clara came home yesterday from school with the sad news of one of her school mates having died on memorial day. (it was a boating accident due to inclement weather and it took the lives of 3 children). clara didn't know the girl personally but the tragedy has effected the entire middle school. there were dedicated silent halls yesterday and everyone has been encouraged to wear the color pink today in honor/remembrance of the 14 year old eighth grader. even ema opted to wear pink to her elementary school today - (click here if you're interested in the full story from one of our local news stations). 

anyway - incidents like this are always a reminder to me to "slow down", "pay more attention", "listen more intently", "re-focus" on the important things in life & seriously breathe in all that my children are.  they are each a gift - & i'm so grateful to have the honor to be a mother to each of them. my heart and prayers go out to the family/friends who are mourning the loss of their children.

day 4 - road trip

Tuesday, May 26

i'm officially on day 4 of my "done with chocolate" road trip. i now have 17 more days to go. (i've already decided how i'm going to reward myself on day 22...dove has some new chocolates out that j lovingly pointed out at the grocery store over the weekend...dove with peanut butter centers....mmmm...yummy.

i don't think that's a very good sign that i've already got a "reward" picked out & it so happens to be a chocolate reward. who knows. maybe by the time my road trip ends i won't be so inclined to gravitate towards chocolate after all...??)

the weekend proved to be very enjoyable. we ended up over at uncle nate's for a bbq with kris, mike, j, ella & i - here are some pics:

i was asked to bring the dessert for the bbq and nate requested "peanut butter extravaganza".
if you are watching calories or fat intake...don't bother with this dessert. i've never actually sampled a piece of it even though i've made it for nate on two separate occasions now. he claims it is "incredible"...

sunday ended with a candlelight dinner for j & i - his idea.  we grilled together, cleaned dishes together - and was the perfect way to end the weekend. (his weekend anyway, he had to work yesterday).

speaking of yesterday, it was a day filled with driving to & from ormond beach with clara, ema, ella, ava and grandma kirkland. all 3 of the older girls had their feet checked for custom supports/inserts. we then drove over to cracker barrel for lunch and by the time we got back home it was 4p.m.  thanks grandma k for spending your day with us.

as you know, saturday is the day we will officially be celebrating clara's 13th birthday. she has requested a marble swirl cheesecake for her birthday dessert - (she's not a big "cake" fan and frankly, i'm not either...we normally opt for ice cream cake, if anything). but anyway, i allow the girls to pick what kind of birthday dessert they want and we've had everything from cheesecakes, volcano cakes and just massive ice cream sundaes. with cheesecake on my mind i was delighted when i came across this:

a new site called bakerella i've bookmarked and "sidebarred"...i love little finds like this. they are such treasures!

and again, speaking of treasures...look at this "j-inspired" creation:

yes...ella is officially a "bubble head" cute is she??

have a wonderful tuesday - only 4 full days this week - make them all count.

happy memorial day....

Monday, May 25

we don't have any "earth-shattering" plans for the day. j works and the girls and i will be driving over to ormond beach...but wait. not for the beach....for an appointment for clara. (darn it). however, the menu for the evening is bbq-style: turkey burgers, german potato-salad & 3 tomato salad. followed by fresh strawberries & a dollop of cool-whip...topped off with, of course, ....a small "american flag-style toothpick" on top! 

i'm grateful, truly grateful, for all of those men and women that serve & protect our country. (both past & present). i'm thinking especially about my grandfather today. he has an incredible story of heroism...both in his service to our country but also in his love & service to his family...especially his wife, my grandmother. both are no longer on this earth - i miss them dearly. i would not be who i am today without their influence. xxooxo

i'm done with chocolate...

Friday, May 22

okay - so maybe not forever. but seriously....i'm done with chocolate for the next 21 days. after an unusually large consumption throughout the week i've decided it's time for a reprieve. i need to get serious again about my fitness/health goals. i've been exercising faithfully but what good is it if it's only to counteract the 5,000 calories i've consumed everyday - in chocolate and baked goods. (specifically these chocolate chip cookies).  

so here we go. i'm putting this commitment "on paper". i'm putting it out there for everyone to see. don't worry - hold me accountable. i'm begging you to do so. i'm on a road trip for the next 21 days....the road to change...

hopefully the next 3 weeks won't prove to be the "highway to hell"...

have a fantastic friday and a wonderful memorial day weekend...

picture sources:

happy birthday claracakes!!

Thursday, May 21

it was at 12:41p.m. - exactly 13 years ago that i gave birth to my first little girl...clara louisette kirkland. she weighed 8lbs. 3.5 oz. and was unusually alert for a newborn. i remember her turning and lifting her head with eyes big & wide - as if she was attempting to make sense of what had just happened...(as was i)...*laughing*! what an amazing experience.

some of my favorite memories of little miss clara are some that we talk about often....
- she was walking at 10 months old.
- cut her first tooth at 10 months.
- could sing the "titanic" by age two. (even for an audience of family members).
- she would sneak eggs from the fridge and bury them in the yard - hoping to hatch some chicks.
- she called oatmeal "oat-ma-meal"...which i still call it that today.
- upon starting preschool at age 4 she's always been a straight "a" student and somewhat of an "overachiever".
- she's always been musically inclined - plays the piano, the french horn, the melaphone and loves to sing.
- she's very meticulous and organized.
- on several occasions she'd wake up in the morning at age 4, climb into her baby sister's crib   (without me knowing) and sling ema over the side onto the gigantic over-sized pillow clara had strategically placed on the ground for ema's soft landing..
- she was my initial inspiration for focusing on photography, graphic design & scrapbooking
- at the age of four/five, she was the only one who could translate what her baby sister, ema, was trying to say between the ages of one & two years old.

and clara has blossomed into a beautiful young lady. i love you so much clara and i'm grateful to have such an amazing daughter.

she was treated to a birthday breakfast this morning - served to her in is our birthday tradition. she selected a homemade "egg mcmuffin" with bacon, egg & cheese along with a bowl of fresh strawberries, kiwi & apples.

and then here's what every 13 year old needs...
everything to give herself a girly manicure...or pedicure...

an assortment of polish in a rainbow of colors...

a collection of nail art decals, stickers & glittery fun things - 

not to mention a sparkly little trunk to keep it neat & organized...

i'll be taking chick-fil-a up to school to enjoy lunch with her and then she's selected her favorite "bacon potato chowder" for dinner tonight. we won't be doing a cake tonight because she's got her last band performance this evening. next weekend, her and i will have our annual lunch @ garden gate tea room followed by a pedicure for clara (another b/day tradition i just incorporated this year) and then we'll be taking her for a makeup consult @ the mall to help her transition from girl to young woman - in a very "natural" sense...& then we'll close the day out with a family celebration @ the house and the consumption of her requested b/day cake: swirl cheesecake w/an oreo crust.  

i love you clara! happy 13th birthday!

window shopping wednesday

Wednesday, May 20

i've decided to dub wednesdays as "window shopping wednesdays" here on the blog. these will be things i come across that i'd love to incorporate in my home, or wear or use or entertain with or give as a gift - things that make me happy to look at. things that inspire me. they may not always be practical - but....that's is.

all of these lovelies are compliments of anthropologie

happy wednesday to all - i'm off to fulfill my morning appointment with gilad who gently reminds us: "don't wait for inspiration to come to you. take action. and inspiration will come!"  (of course he completely means that in relation to getting our buns off the couch and exercising...but it's so perfect for every aspect of life - especially the "creative" part. big smooch!  

p.s.  it's "still" raining....

"well it's raining..."

Tuesday, May 19

"well it's raining....and it's pouring"....(lyrics & music from prisilla ahn's "rain"). it's been raining for 2 days straight - a little unusual for sunny florida. i thought it quite appropriate to have one of my fav songs automatically play today - it truly captures the way i feel about rainy days. (as long as it's not more than 2 straight days...*laughing*) 

while you are listening, enjoy this plate full of pretty little things that make me happy... 

i'll be using these point a la ligne candles on clara's upcoming birthday cake... the skinny "les petites folies" & the "bouquet de 4 paquerettes" aka "flowers"
 ...extra special for her upcoming 13th birthday on thursday....don't-cha think?

whispy spray of flowers...always a good thing

all on a beautiful tin plate...a gift from deb

j's mom, deb, has been visiting with us since thursday. i drove her to the airport this morning so i'm sure she's been back in illinois now for several hours.  she left behind several new "goodies" for ella: a new high chair, activity mat, & a couple of new outfits, along with the beautiful tin plate above. she also treated us to a couple of lunches while she was here. i know she enjoyed seeing how big ella has gotten & she even endured the dreaded pediatrician appointment yesterday....ella got her 6 month shots. *ouch!* 

pillow talk

Wednesday, May 13

are these not just adorable pillows!?  i found them on etsy about a month ago...
i'm so into pillows. they are a quick & easy way to redecorate. 

pillow sources:

i'm on the search for one of these...

i used to find these old shutters everywhere and for some reason they are hard to come by nowadays. hmmm?

a little pillow talk...
> attended ema's last "orff" performance of the year, yesterday evening - they all did a fabulous job & we are sad to see mr. bonner retire. he is their music teacher & has 34 years of teaching under his belt. he is phenomenal and both clara and ema had the opportunity to learn soooo much from him. he's one of those teachers who truly inspires kids - a teacher you will always remember. we'll miss you mr. bonner!
> j's mom, from illinois, will be landing in sunny florida tomorrow & will be visiting with us until tuesday. "boy are you going to be surprised @ how big ella has gotten!"
> had a wonderful mom's day - lots of love & a little bit of relaxation...from the baby.  not to mention a new pair of fantastic sunglasses from j along with a necklace he got me a couple of weeks ago. (& he also gave the girls some money without me knowing, so they could pick out a couple of gifts for me too...what a guy)!  mom & rick got me one of those digital frames - i'm so psyched to get that loaded with some fun photos & video!
> put up the last box of wall art from hof3 - the frames. LOVE them.
> i'm behind in my photographer's workshop...ugh!
> been exercising faithfully everyday with my "personal trainer"...gilad...*smirking*
> been feeling like my kids just "expect" things from me & don't realize or appreciate the extra things i do for them. (must be their ages?)
>feeling the "redecorate" vibe...holding myself back.
> only 16 more days of school left for the kids - the summer schedule looks a bit hectic already. which merely means the summer is going to fly by for them.

hoping all of you are well & good! here's to a fantastic rest of the week!
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