Monday, July 23, 2012

Into the Woods....

Life is crazy, isn't it?  

Sometimes I just sit and marvel at how fast time flies.  One minute I am buying end of the year teacher gifts, the next minute I am buying school supplies.  Whoa! Where did the summer go?

It has been wild, crazy, busy, and fun!  Once upon a time, I remember trying to schedule things to keep my kids busy throughout the summer.

This year, the summer seemed to take charge of me, instead of the other way around!  It was tough, but we still managed to spend some time together and do things as a family.
It has been a little bit rough on the kids this year as they deal with a mom who runs a business.  I think I gave a whole new meaning to "take your child to work" day! Seriously though, there were certain days when it was just unavoidable!

There is no telling how many customers walked up to my window to get a cupcake and heard a strange bickering coming from the direction of the front seat.... I just tried to smile, and avoid the familiar "finger flick" move used by many moms, until the customer had walked off.

So, I have tried really hard to schedule time to spend with them, preferably not on the truck.
Some days that involved going to the pool, other days it just meant a quick lunch at Chick-fil-a and time on the slip-n-slide!

However, yesterday after church we had a unique outing that I absolutely LOVED!!

In case you were not aware, there is a professional Theater Company operating in Donelson!  The Larry Keeton Theater is located inside Fifty Forward, which is a well-known Senior Center in our area.

This is where I was previously confused...

See, I assumed that the theater was strictly for the older members of the Senior Center.  I had NO IDEA it was simply located there, but open to the public.

So, yesterday when a friend (Jane Schnelle, who happens to be the Director over the Center) invited me and the kids to come out to a show, I really wasn't sure what to expect.  She told me we would all really enjoy it, so I jumped on it.  This was definitely something we had not done before and the kids were begging to be entertained.


It was AWESOME!  I could not believe how good it was!  
It was so nice, it was just like being at TPAC! Only, without the huge crowds, downtown parking, and expensive tickets!

The kids came out talking about it, which is quite an accomplishment since I have two boys who normally would not consider going to the theater as entertainment. But, they LOVED IT!!

It is really a charming little theater, where any seat is a good one!  The cast was made up of very talented, experienced actors, and the sets were beautiful!  From what I can tell, the tickets are way less than you would expect for a professional production!  It has been years since I have seen anything at TPAC, because it just doesn't fit into my budget. 

The show we saw was called "Into The Woods".  It began with a selection of popular fairy tales.  As the show continued, the fairly tales merged into one story.  But, just when you think the show has come to "Happily Ever After", they go to intermission.  I remember heading to the restroom with the kids, thinking "what could possibly come next?..."

Well, this is where it gets really interesting!  The story continued with life AFTER  happily ever after....  which is NOT always so happy!

The show runs again this weekend, I highly recommend it!  It is great for both adults and children! 

They have other great shows coming up, including "A Christmas Carol" just in time for the holidays!  
Seriously!!  Do you know how much it would cost to go see that at TPAC?! 
I cannot wait!  

I hope you will check it out, and enjoy it as much as we did.  It makes a great family night, date night, or matinee with the kids! Trust me, you will NOT be disappointed!

Here is their info:

The Larry Keeton Theater
108 Donelson Pike
Nashville, TN 37214

Now, go get your tickets!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter Turtles!!

I hope you all had a very Blessed Easter!

Wow! It was so beautiful today, I was thrilled!  This is how Spring is supposed to be (as opposed to the summer days we have had lately!)  So, as far as Easter Sundays go, you just can't get much better than today!

So, it was a really crazy, busy day.  Really though, what holiday isn't?  Plus, when you have kids the hoopla is magnified by ten.... per child!

So, we started out at Church this morning. (We were late, as usual...) I figure that getting everyone there, with teeth and hair brushed and clean (mostly not wrinkled) clothes on is mostly what matters, right?

The service was great!  It always is.

After a pit-stop at home to let the dog out, we headed over to my parents' house.  It is the usual gathering stop for holidays.  Great big yard and finished basement where the kids can play, be loud, whatever... without giving all the adults a massive headache.  
Seriously.  There are 4 boys, and one sweet little girl who manages to keep up with the boys.  
The stink of them alone will knock your socks off, so the location is perfect!
Luckily I managed to snap a few pics of some of them before they ran off to play in the dirt!

Well, I got 3 of them at least.  Getting all 5 kids to hold still for a picture in their nice clothes is tough!

So, we had a nice lunch with all the usual fillers!
We had barely made it into the coffee, but the kids couldn't stand it.  So, my sis and I headed outside to hide the Eggs.
There aren't too many places to hide them, so we have to be a little creative. 

They don't care, it's all about who gets the most (the fastest)!

As you can see, we have to give strict instructions before sending them out.  Can't have a brawl breaking out (if Lilly sees one she wants and a boy snatches it... yeah, it has happened.)

And they are OFF!

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the eggs get picked up compared to how long it took us to hide them!
Why can't this principle work for toys???  If only.

We also had a few guests with us today!
Meet Timmy, Pedro, and Pokey.  

We seem to have acquired a lot of turtles lately.  There is a creek behind my sister's house where some seem to live and they manage to make their way to the back door.  It's over at that point, the boys always want to keep them!

Poor Pedro showed up once before, but managed to escape (thanks to her dog, Barnaby..)  Still, he came back.  He still had his name painted on his shell.  
Some turtles just doesn't learn.

Finally, after playing with their new pool sprayer toys and a bucket of water in the driveway (which was a great, cheap form of entertainment that lasted a while!), the kids treated us to a show!  

Not sure how best to describe it, but they practiced and had a good groove going....

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I'm still here!

Yes, that's right!  I am still here!
I keep wanting to apologize for my lack of blogging lately, but really... do you want to hear that? 
Probably not.

So, this is what I have been up to.  It has been a crazy, crazy life since the cupcake business launched!!  Wow, I am so blessed by all the wonderful people in my life!  I have had so much support from friends and family, and have made so many new friends in the process! I really love it. (Did I say that already?  sorry.)

I can't even tell you how much I love what I do!!!  It is so rewarding to make a product that people enjoy!

One thing I have made myself do, though is make time for me.  Since I am working almost non-stop lately, I decided that I had to set aside time for myself to relax.  Even if it is only a few minutes a day.  That has made such a difference!  Every night, after the house is quiet and everyone is asleep I give myself about 30 minutes to curl up with a good book.
Love it!  It gives me a chance to unwind, and frankly I sleep better because of it!  I love to read, so this is the perfect stress reliever for me!

So, on that note, I want to know about The Hunger Games movie!  I am still reading the books (I am currently half-way through book 3).  I am curious how people have felt about the movie after reading the books?

By the way, if you have not read it, it is a must-read!  This is something everyone would enjoy.  My 10-yr old is even asking to read it!  Go get it now if you haven't, you won't be sorry!

You know, if you see a movie without reading the book first you will come out with a totally different reaction from someone who has read them.
So far I am loving the books!  I just don't want to be disappointed if the characters and storyline is not in line with the book.


Now, on a TOTALLY different subject!  My sweet yellow lab, Dixie, is growing so big!  She is quite hyper (still technically a puppy) and does not do too well when I am out working a lot.  She stays in her kennel while we are not home, so there is a lot of energy to be spent when we let her out!
(This is a VERY old picture of her, but trust me she is getting BIG!)

My point (there really is one!) is this:
We have found the most WONDERFUL thing to burn off all that energy!!  Plus, it doesn't take what little energy you have left after working a long day, either!

I guess this falls into the "I Recommend" category.
It is called a "Chuck-It"!  We found this little gem at Target recently, and it is worth every, single penny!  I think it cost around $8.00, but I could be wrong....

All I have to do is show it to her and she is bouncing up and down happy!
This long, plastic arm-looking-thing holds a tennis ball at the end.  You simply put the ball in it, then reach back and, well.. chuck it!  It seems like it sends the ball flying for miles!  It certainly goes a lot farther than I could throw it!
My sweet Dixie can't help herself... she runs after it.

Now, normally when she brings back a tennis ball that she has so diligently retrieved, she doesn't want to drop it right away.  However, I take an extra ball out with me and have it loaded and ready to "chuck" when she returns!  Therefore, she drops the soggy, dirty, messy ball she just went after!

Now, the real genius is this!  I don't have to touch the nasty, drool-covered ball!  You can reach down with the "chuck-it" and use it to pick up the ball!  So, while she is running the marathon to get the prize I am loading up for the next round!  

After 15 minutes of this.... well, all that puppy energy is spent and I don't feel quite as guilty for having left her home alone that day.  She immediately comes inside, gets a gallon or two of water, then collapses over the nearest air vent and falls asleep.  

(Now, I just have to find friends who will give me some old, used ORANGE or RED tennis balls.  Those yellow balls turn a nasty shade of green once she has had her turn with them, which blends in with my grass....)

We bought ours at Target, but you can get them so many places!
Here is the link to Amazon:

If you have a retriever-type dog, this is something you need... trust me!

Okay folks, that is all for now!  Time for some sleep, but I promise to be back soon!

Monday, January 23, 2012

A little pampering!

The holiday were crazy this year!
Of course, the holidays are crazy every year.  I don't think I am alone in this dilemma.

Between work, kids, school, church, and all the activities that go with them I felt like I was sitting in the middle of a tornado with no way of hanging on.
When it was over, I started feeling a little under the weather. 

That, I expected.
Sadly, it happens every year.  I think when the craziness ends and I finally slow down, my body is confused and doesn't know how to respond.  Luckily this year it came only in the form of a cold, rather than the severe case of the flu I got last year (on Christmas Day, no less!)

This year I decided that when January rolled around, I would set aside a day  to do something for myself.  I rarely ever do anything like that!  Partly due to time constraints, and partly (mostly) due to cost. 
However, on this occasion I was given a gift certificate and I could not wait to use it!

If you live in the Donelson area, you have probably seen the Seraphim Salon and Spa. 
It sits just off Lebanon Rd in a beautiful old stone house.

My gift certificate was for a Natural Elements Massage.   As I stated above, it could not have come at a better time.  I could feel the tension and stress from my increasingly-gray roots all the way down to my toes!

I have to give them kudos, because it was by far the best Salon experience I have ever had!
First of all, when you go in, you are automatically taken over by something that smells really good.
It didn't smell like color and bleach the way some salons do.  First impressions are so important.

Second, the ladies at the front desk were all smiles, knew my name and greeted me warmly!  Before I could get a word out of what I was there for they asked me if I would like to relax with a cup of coffee or hot tea before my massage!

Hello! Can you say GREAT SERVICE!?

Next, I was taken upstairs to the area where the massage therapist works.  It was the most comfortable, relaxing atmosphere I could imagine outside of my own home! 
Before she came in, the massage therapist gave me a cup of the most delicious Aveda hot tea I had ever had, while sitting on a comfy sofa in a bath robe, with my feet in a hot bath.

Of course the massage was awesome too! 
It lasted about an hour.  Afterward, she refreshed my tea and gave me a glass of cold water to sip on before leaving.  I was surprised at how much the glass of water helped to "wake me up"! (I was so relaxed, I really didn't want to go anywhere, so this helped.)

So, if you are in the area and want to treat yourself, go for it! 
The ladies at Seraphim will take great care of you, treat you like family, and you will leave feeling like a whole new person!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Another recomendation!


Yes, I know it has been months since my last post.  I am most definitely ashamed of this since I truly love keeping up the blog, but as you can imagine things have gotten a little.... uh, hairy in the months since my last post.

I'm sorry.
(does that about cover it?  If not, well....)

I wanted to start the new year off with another recommendation for you!
You probably know how much I love to read.  It is one of the few things that I almost always manage to make time for in a day.

Usually at night, after everyone has gone to bed, I will snuggle up in my favorite chair and enjoy some peace and quiet for a little while.
This is usually only 20-30 minutes, or until I nod off, whichever happens first.

Really it is therapeutic!  I find that it helps me sleep because I am able to completely take my mind off of the hectic, craziness that has become my life lately before going to bed.

As I have said before, I love a good suspense novel.  
Most people who know me think that it means I am reading horror stories, but that is actually not the case.
I do love horror movies, but books are different. Most of the time you cannot translate something that would be surprising and frightful onscreen into something that would deliver the same effect in a book.  On the other hand, a good suspenseful book could easily be turned into a horror movie, simply by the extra effects and features, music, etc. that a film can add.  I always love seeing a book that I have read turned into a movie.
Then, when people talk about what a great movie it is, I remind them of how I was teased for reading the book.... 
oh, nevermind!

Anyway, I typically read books that are suspenseful.  I love the page-turners that wind a story and keep you guessing until the very end.
I have read MANY of these over the years, from John Grisham to James Patterson.  All the big names you think of when you enter a bookstore.  I have even read a good variety of Stephen King.  That is a story for another day, though.  His are typically suspenseful, but in a more supernatural way.   

Then, last summer when I went to Florida with the family I was in need of a new book.  I took one along that I had picked up at a yard sale.  
My first day by the pool I realized I had discovered a lemon in the book world.  One that sounds interesting and exciting on the back cover, but is slow and stupid once you get 50 pages in.  
There were NO bookstores, I was an hour from the nearest Wal-Mart, and the Piggly Wiggly close by had zip.

Luckily, my little sis has the same taste in reading and had brought a few extra books along.
When I told her of my dilemma she was happy to loan me one of hers.

I looked on her bedside table to choose my new read and came away with one from an author I was unfamiliar with.
My sister told me that once I read some of his books, I would be spoiled.  I would find it hard to read books written by other authors because they just didn't have that extra "umph!"  I figured she was being dramatic.


I am totally hooked!
The author's name is Harlan Coben.

He has been writing for years, I just cannot believe I did not stumble upon his work before now.  My sis was right.  I just hope he keeps writing.... what will I do if he every quits?

Regardless, I picked up the book and started reading.  
I could NOT put it down.  I managed to break for dinner, but was soon buried in the story once again.  
I have no idea what time I finally fell asleep that first night, but I do know that I soaked up a good tan the next two days.  That is because I spent the next day and a half by the pool with my nose buried in that book!
I read it all the way through, in record time considering the fact that my 2 kids, 2 nephews, and my niece were usually splashing in the pool right beside me!

That first book I read was called "Just One Look".

I have since read 5 or 6 of his other books.  Each one was fantastic!  Obviously I have my favorites, one of which is that first book I read.  

As with some other authors, he has a series of books that follow a main character (Myron Bolitar) through each.  Therefore, those need to be read in order.  So, before picking up one of his books, I recommend you check to be sure you are not starting in the middle of the series.  It might be hard to follow if you don't start with the first one.

Among my favorites so far, if you are looking to try one (aside from the one mentioned above):
* Caught

* Tell No One

* Play Dead

All of his books are available on Amazon.  I got most of mine that way.  Just click on the links above if you want to try one of these, it will take you right to it.

You CANNOT go wrong with any of these!  You will find yourself whisked away into a suspenseful mystery, trying to determine if you have it figured out!

Isn't that the best part, after all?