Sunday, July 31, 2011

Can you believe it's August 1st?

My favorite Spiderman, Tobey Maguire

Summer is flying by! It seems here in Northern Illinois, we went from longing for winter to end, to praying for the high heat and violent thunderstorms to let up!

Well, whatever the weather, today is the first of August...and a quick peek at tells me it marks several "observances." Here we go:

--Today is Spider-Man Day, making the Duper heroes debut in 1962 in issue #15 of "Amazing Fantasy" comics. Nerdy teen Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider and soon developed the spider's powers as well as its web shooting talent and "spidey sense." Spidey got his own comic in March 1963.

--World Breastfeeding Week begins today.

---August is Family Fun Month and National Toddler Month.

My little toddler grandson, Josiah Daniel

--Today is Respect for Parents Day.

--August is Happiness Happens Month, sponsored by the Secret Society of Happy People in Lewisville, Texas!

--August is National Panini Month.--What's your favorite way to make paninis? Let me know in my comments section!

--And, of course, August is National Back-to-School Month! It still seems a little strange not to have to buy school supplies for anyone!!

--Today is Bookish Images Monday in my book blog, Cindy's Book Club! I'd love for you to go over there and participate--it's easy! Just click on the icon below...


Happy August, everyone!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thursday 13: Beautiful Bedrooms

I'm getting really tired of the way my bedroom is now, and I'm longing for a change! I'm thinking along the lines of light blue and white. Maybe sometime in the not too distant future...until then, here are some beautiful bedrooms for inspiration!

Which ones are your favorites? Let me know in my comments section!

Go here to participate in Thursday Thirteen!

Wednesday HodgePodge!

I'm participating today in Wednesday HodgePodge, hosted by From This Side of the Pond!

Here are the questions and my answers:

1. July is National Ice Cream Month...your favorite flavor? Soft serve, hand dipped or frozen yogurt-which do you prefer? And technically yogurt is not ice cream but its hot outside so I'll let that slide for today.

I have to be careful about ice cream, but my current favorite is Kroger Churned Lite Fun Munch Cookies 'n Cream. You'd never guess it's "Lite"--delicious! But when I have ice cream away from home, I'd say I prefer hand-dipped.

2. When you travel do you tend to pack too much or too little? Far too much--and I'm determined to remedy that! Last time I flew, my bag was actually a bit over the limit, but the skycap let it slide. I'm determined to streamline it next time.

3. What's your favorite cleaning product?
--Lately I've been loving Mr. Clean® Disinfecting Bath Cleaner with Febreze® Freshness. It leaves a wonderful, light fragrance. For all-around cleaning, I favor Lysol products.

4. What's the greater tragedy-an innocent person imprisoned or a guilty person set free? Explain.
--Tough one, but I think an innocent person imprisoned is nightmarish. If a guilty person is set free, yes, they may end up committing more crimes, but I think eventually their sins will catch up with them.

5. What's the longest trip you've taken by car?--Is "van" OK? In 1984, my husband and I took a group of high school seniors from Rockford, IL to Washington D.C., then down to Florida and back up to Rockford! That was quite a trip.

6. tennis-golf-canoeing-biking...pick one. I would have to say biking. I don't currently have a bike, but I would love one!

7. What sound drives you crazy?--At a Wal-Mart I go to, there is a high-pitched beep you can hear when you're in the check-out lane. It's horrifically annoying! I ask the cashiers how they can stand it, and they say they've tuned it out. I'm this close to complaining about it.

8. Insert your own random thought here.--I can't believe summer is going by so quickly!

Click on the icon to participate!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

From the Archives: Penelope--A Whimsical Movie with a Good Message

James McAvoy

(Originally posted 9/10/08)

My daughter and I watched a charming movie the other day that must have completely escaped my notice when it first came out. It was Penelope...a whimsical, funny tale that I think has a good underlying message about self-esteem for young girls.

Penelope is a young woman born into a rich family that has been cursed. The first daughter born to the family will be born with a pig's snout...and will remain that way until she is loved by "one of her own kind."

Christina Ricci does a good job as Penelope, bringing just the right touches of humor and longing. Although it's obvious she wants to be released from the curse, she's able to laugh at herself and create a rich world in the privacy of her own room, to which she's pretty much been exiled.

Catherine O'Hara is hilarious as Penelope's mother, who is frantically bent on getting her daughter married off to a blue-blood so the curse can be lifted. Her character should give pause to moms who unreasonably try to change their daughters.

But the real charmer in the movie, for me anyway, is James McAvoy (you'll remember him as the faun in The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe) as the guy who falls for Penelope without seeing her...and whose love proves true even when he does get a load of the snout.

Although hiding his beautiful Scottish accent with an American one (why? there are lots of other British accents in the film), it's easy to fall for his character. Who wouldn't love a guy who sees past a horrible defect to the beauty of the girl inside? McAvoy is not conventionally handsome, but he was quite attractive in this movie.

Although modern, the movie has a fairy tale feel. The creators of the film said they tried to portray it as taking place "any time, anywhere," and they pretty much succeeded.

Best of all, besides being fun and entertaining, the movie says good things to young girls in an age where eating disorders and teen-age plastic surgery are all too common.

I enjoyed it very much.

(Originally posted 9/10/08)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Life Made Lovely: Men in Period Costume

Tumblr is a great place to find images of just about anything. One Tumblr blog I enjoy is one called Vintage Dudes. Basically, it's pictures of actors in historical costume.

It shows you that some of the apparel worn by men is years past was really, really cool and attractive.

On the premise that "life made lovely" is enjoying beauty of all kinds, here are some of the vintage dudes! (Photo credit: All images are from Vintage Dudes.)

I'm participating today in Life Made Lovely Monday--click the icon for more info!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thursday 13: Thirteen Things I Like about Texas


No, I don't live there, but I would if I could! Here are 13 things I like about Texas...

1) The fact that several of my dearest loved ones live there.

2) The fact that it was the birthplace of my two grandchildren.

3) The fact that Texans are so proud of their state, you can get just about anything, from tortilla chips to lawn ornaments, in the shape of the Lone Star State.

4) Texas accents. They are different from other southern accents...a fact that the producers of the show, "Dallas," never seemed to catch on to. Texas girls do NOT talk like Southern belles.

5) Round Rock Donuts--IMHO, better than Krispy Kremes.

6) Tex-Mex food. Amazing.

7) The fact that criminals should know that Texas is NOT a good place to be convicted of murdering someone.

8) The way that most Texans don't feel the need to be politically correct.

9) Bluebonnets. Breathtaking when they're in full bloom.

10) Dillard's. Another thing we don't have in Illinois.

11) Austin. A very cool city.

12) The fact that I can go there in January and wear summer clothes.

13) Dr. Pepper. Yep, it originated in Waco, Texas. Someday I'm going to make it to that Dr. Pepper Museum!

Go here to participate in Thursday Thirteen!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fun with Photo Effects!

Oh, you didn't know Andy Warhol had immortalized me?

I have a point-and-shoot digital camera, with which I love to take pictures...but I also like to jazz them up a little sometimes. A while back, I found some sites where you can do all kinds of fun things with your pictures.

Here are some examples of my handiwork, assisted with photo effects. I think I created most of them with a site called Photofunia, but just google "free photo effects" and go for it! It's easy and fun.

A pencil sketch of my grandson Josiah...

Love this pencil sketch rendering of my daughter Elizabeth...

Elizabeth shows up in a pretty Valentine's vignette

This is my sister Beverly and me in Times Square! (We look a lot alike, don't we?)

This one's perfect for a make-up fiend like me...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sharing Some Link Love

What's going on in my little corner of the blogosphere...

I'm amazed at the quality of the blogs I'm following! I thought I'd take some time to point you in the direction of some great stuff...


--One of my favorite blogs that I just recently began following is The Weigands. This beautiful Dallas couple (the entire family could make a fortune in modeling, IMHO!) are artistic (she's an artist, he's a photographer and filmmaker), have two adorable babies named Aiden and Ainsleigh, and are refreshingly open about their faith. I love this blog!

Today, Casey and Ainsleigh are sharing a What We Wore: Girl's Edition. Tell me if you've ever seen a baby girl more adorable than that Ainsleigh!

--This whole Internet thing can get a little overwhelming at times, but Jeff Roney's blog, RoneyZone Media, always seems to be on the cutting edge with something helpful to share. Right now, he's sharing ten things you need to get started in (semi)extreme couponing.

--Do you like to look at beautiful home interiors--to get ideas for your own home, or just to gape at gorgeousness? Brabourne Farm is for you. Today, she's
featuring lovely little entry-way tables, set off to beautiful advantage.

--Alison Sweeney is the soap opera star who also hosts one of my favorite TV shows, The Biggest Loser. Alli's blog is a treasure trove for anyone--mommy or not--who's interested in living a more fit, nutritious, healthy life. It's reader-friendly, fun and appealing, and often offers contests and give-aways--like right now, when there's a chance to win a $1000 dollars American Express Card!

--I've been loving Blonde Episodes, another blog I discovered only recently. Visiting Kori's blog is like browsing your favorite magazine, except with Kori's personal touch. Kori is a recently-published author too...I'm looking forward to reading her vintage mystery, Murder on the Boulevard.

--Not only is Robin Lee Hatcher a delightful novelist, she's a top-notch blogger as well. Her Write Thinking blog is appealing, thoughtful, and informative. Her latest post reflects on the fact that, as a Christian fiction writer, she's glad she "writes hope":

"...Even when I've tackled difficult topics such as infidelity or alcoholism, since I know Christ and since most of my major characters know Christ, the books I write cannot help but be stories of hope."

The latest in Andrew Peterson's enchanting Wingfeather Saga series

--I happen to love singer/songwriter/fantasy fiction writer Andrew Peterson, and I heartily recommend his Rabbit Room blog. It features, thoughtful, intelligent, faith-based posts, book and movie reviews-- not just by Andrew but by his friends and compatriots. Check out Andrew's take on Harry Potter: Harry Potter, Jesus and Me:

"...(J.K. Rowling) didn’t grow up in the Bible Belt of America; she grew up in England. And yet, in defiance of a culture that tends to snub its nose at Christianity, she wrote a story that contains powerful redemptive themes, stirs a longing for life after death, piques the staunchest atheist’s suspicion that there just might be something beyond the veil, and plainly shows evil for what it is—and not just evil, but love’s triumph over it."

--Many pastors blog, but one of my favorite pastor-bloggers is Chris Brauns of A Brick in the Valley. (It doesn't hurt that I've met Chris and know what a great guy he is...he actually pastors in my area.)

Chris' posts are reader-friendly, clear, and always seem to share something good about faith, the Bible, and the Christian life.

These are just a few of the awesome blogs I follow. I'll share more later! In the meantime, when you get a moment, check some of them out. You won't be disappointed.
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