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what I'm loving right now:


I'm trying to give up soda. I might as well be trying to give up speaking, or laughing. That's how hard it is for me. I haven't officially said "as of NOW, no more at all", cause I've tried that before and by noon the headache comes on, I get irritable, and I buy a big gulp. But I realize that if I quit drinking it, and it alone, I would probably lose 15-20 pounds. I know this cause I did it before. And also because I don't usually enjoy soda by itself, I like to be eating at the same time. So no soda, less (and different) eating. So I'm trying to ease into it.

And this Arrowhead sparkling water is fabulous. When I bought it, all they had was Raspberry-Lime, which kind of made me gag. But it tastes really delicious. And of course it's got the fizzies, just like my beloved soda. It's not at all the same, but it's something.

And then this: I read this book when Oprah originally announced it as part of her book club....must have been in 1998 or 1999. After the Oscar's on Sunday, I picked it up again and finished it in 2 days. It's SUCH a good book! Although, after reading it this time, I feel like maybe I shouldn't have been reading it when I was only 18/19 years old....it's pretty explicit. But it's such a good story, and such GREAT writing. I just love it. It's translated from German, and when I read stuff that's been translated I always wonder about the translator...how to me they deserve as much acclaim as the author. I know from just trying to translate things I read in french.....it's really really difficult to a) determine what the writer MEANT when they were writing, and b) to make it sound nice in English.

I don't know if I'm up for seeing the movie The Reader though....although I'm tempted after watching the Oscar's, and because I love love LOVE Kate Winslet. But I don't think I'm up for all that nudity. Plus, as was evident with Confessions of a Shopaholic, the book IS always better than the movie so maybe I should just leave it at that! :O)



A few weeks ago when it was raining, I looked outside and yelled to the girls: "GIRLS! COME HERE NOW!! IT'S SNOWING!!!".

Which of course, living in Lemon Grove is nearly impossible. But it was hailing...which is as close to snow as we get. So I figured why not celebrate it! :o) This was our meager little "snowstorm":

But then after it, came this:


and that made us all even more happy than the snow. :O)
Last Saturday was my best friend's son's 3rd birthday! He's very into sea-related stuff, and apparently his favorite animal is the penguin. And it just so happened I had a pattern for one, so this is what I made him:

And then this next thing is really fun & easy to make, but it seems to me it's only for a limited age group. Give it to a toddler too young for it, and their parents won't trust them with it because crayon coloring would end up on the walls or (as has happened to us) some of the crayons might end up in the laundry and get washed & dried and make a mess. Give it to a 7-8-9+ year old, and you get a "thanks", and then a look that says "but Hannah Montana isn't even on this, what am I supposed to do with it?". So since Caleb was turning 3, which seems to me to be the perfect age for it, I whipped him up one:















a day early, I know, but:

the cuteness never ends...

How do people come up with this stuff? Have you ever seen anything so cute and creative???? These are all made out of RIBBON!

It's times like these when I saw THANK YOU LORD that I have three girls.....and 3 heads of beautiful hair to put cute little clips and bows in!

Love is in the air...

Our house is decked out in red, pink & white....there's hearts and reminders of love everywhere you look, I've changed the music on my blog to mushy-lovey stuff, and I'm ready for the big day!

However, once again, long time in between posts = lots of pictures & random content in next post!

This is something that was probably only funny to me, but I'm sharing it anyways. The girls love tostadas, so we made our own. This is what they looked like:




and the funny part: this is what Mallory's looked like (finished):



she loves tomatoes and cheese and lettuce, so I don't know why on earth she left hers so bare!

Last Saturday Arissa & her sweet Drill Team buddy Olivia performed at a talent show at St. John of the Cross, a local catholic church. They did their new number, "Broadway Baby"...this is a very blurry photo of the performance:


Not one to be left out or out-done, Mallory is back in dance. :o) This is her & Mariah on their way to the first class of the new session....I just thought they were so cute in their tights:


And now onto current holidays and celebrations! 7 days till Valentine's day...I can't wait. I'm getting all our family/friend gifts in order, still putting up more decorations, and trying to get 60 (20 classmates x 3) valentine's ready for giving at school for the girls. Not to mention trying to do my own little Valentine related stuff. This is sort of Valentine-y, even though I made it quite some time ago (I think I even posted a picture of it before). C'est francais, and it says 'toi et moi', 'you and me'. I was going to frame it real nice and give it to someone until Jesse pointed out that to an english-only speaker, it kind of looks like it says "toilet" but is missing the 'l'. :o(

Getting our family/friend Valentine gifts all ready:

Special treats for Arissa's drill team buddies:


Aren't these the cutest things? My friend Courtney and I attended a Stampin' Up open house a few weeks ago and this was the project we made. Inside are Hershey kisses. :O) My favorite part of this is how a paper crimper is used to make the ends look like this was a store-packaged thing, not just some paper twisted up and tied with a bow. Thank you, Cula, for the Open House & idea!





This is the tag I made to attach to it:


And these are the tags I'll put on the rest of our Valentine gifts:




And now....SPOLIER ALERT!!! Courtney, if you happen to be reading this and it's BEFORE we've come over to wish you a happy birthday, don't scroll down any further!!!
This is something I've been working on for Courtney for her birthday. Remember this post?: http://howardfamilyof5.blogspot.com/2008/12/my-next-knitting-project.html
She left a comment saying she liked it and, jokingly, that her birthday was feb 7th. So of course, being an Obama AND a knitting enthusiast, I got right to work.
Ladies & Gentlemen.....please stand for.......OUR PRESIDENT:

Nevermind the wee bit of black showing above his tie....I was going to cover it up but Jesse said maybe Obama just has a lot of chest hair, so I let it be. :o) I got the YES WE CAN button off of etsy.com....I thought it added a cute touch.

major cuteness!!!

I was doing my dailing browsing of etsy.com, when I saw a cute hair clip. Upon looking further into the shop, I found this which took my breath away: have you ever seen anything so cute?

And then, I saw this and I just said ok, i give up, i'm buying stuff:

it's a ballerina RIBBON SCULPTURE! I've never seen anything so precious in all my life. This shop has different characters too, there was a Dorothy from the wizard of oz, and I believe there's a sleeping beauty & maleficent too (CULA!!).
This is the link to her shop, be prepared to be amazed!

relaxed cats

Am I just way too bored here at work or is this picture HILARIOUS???? :o)


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