Archive | January 2013

A Brilliant Wife

Ok. I admit that title is pretty self-serving, but it’s how I feel today. Lately, I feel like I’m playing catch-up from the night before. The kids are running wild, laundry is piling up and dinner…well, if my gourmet cook hubby, Dean, isn’t home to make it, I have just been ending up getting a pizza or making pancakes. 🙂

It wasn’t always like this. I used to make freezer meals and have a stockpile of groceries in the pantry (that I bought with coupons, of course! :-)) Last year was pretty difficult and I found myself trying to take the easy route as much as possible. Buying Lunchables instead of packing healthy lunches for the kiddos, letting the noisy chaos get really out of control before disciplining and redirecting. But yesterday, I decided to tighten up some the loose ends around here. I started on laundry (not a pretty picture). But I decided to just plow through. I gathered up all of the dirty clothes throughout the house. Every time the dryer buzzed, I folded the clothes and threw in another load. Isn’t it amazing how getting caught up in one area can make life suddenly seem better? Then,when the kids started to get restless, I got out the UNO cards and sat down at the table where we started a game which lasted until bedtime. When I left a round to fold clothes, the boys continued playing. How amazing to hear giggling kids playing nicely together. They love it when I play with them. Why don’t I do that more often?

So, this morning I got up and decided to have another go at being brilliant. I did some homeschool with Joshua and Emily, put together a crock pot meal, got some bread dough rising for dinner rolls tonight and cinnamon rolls in the morning. Since the laundry is done, I have had time to keep the kitchen tidy and snuggle with Emily and Adam, who are fighting little colds. As I was singing along to music while peeling sweet potatoes for the crock pot meal, I realized, I feel good. I’m organized and excited for tonight when I can win play cards with my kiddos again.

Next week is Dean’s birthday. I am really excited to plan some extra special things to celebrate the day my favorite guy was born. 🙂 I’ll keep you posted. Now, go out and have a brilliant day of your own!



Already Decorating For Valentine’s Day

I admit it. I am addicted to the holidays. Christmas, of course, being the Holiday Supreme, but, really, there’s no occasion I won’t decorate for. I tell myself, and everyone else, that it’s for the kiddos, but let’s face it, I love the anticipation of a special day. Almost immediately after taking down the Christmas decorations, I started scouring Pinterest for Valentine’s Day ideas. I started a Valentine’s Day Board  and decided what I’d choose to decorate/make for our home.

I love this idea from Better Homes and Gardens


and made my own version for Emily’s roomIMG_2792I also made one for the fireplace

IMG_2784I was thinking that some easy ideas are to take scrapbooking paper and frame sweet sayings or designs.

IMG_2786I made this for our bathroom. Just a little touch of love throughout the house. IMG_2793The very first movie Dean and I saw on the first day we met in 1990 was “Always”

AlwaysSince then, we’ve gotten the movie poster framed and hangs in our living room, and a few years ago, I found those metal letters that say “always”, shown in the picture above. What can I say. I’ll love him always. 🙂

It’s easy to decorate for Valentine’s Day. The idea is to say “I love you” throughout your house with little “kisses” here and there. Besides the garland and signs, I’ve added little pink candles and flowers. IMG_2787A few months ago, I found a round table and 4 chairs on Craigslist for $25. I bought it with the intention of painting it white, but I never got around to it until I started decorating for Valentine’s Day. Here it is the way I bought it.

IMG_2717After some sanding and a few coats of paint…

IMG_2739I have the look I am going for. I still have a couple more ideas to try.

valentinesgumdrop Valentine's Day wreath

Valentine's Day Heart Wreath 1

I’m not sure how to post the links to these ideas on this blog, but to go to the source, you can visit my pinterest board

Passport to Love Date Night

I’ve been following a blog for a few months now, and I have to say, it’s actually changing my marriage. The Dating Divas.  It’s eleven married women who post brilliant date night ideas. Dean and I have enjoyed planning several of their dates, but the one that has recently caught my eye is the passport to love.

The idea is that once a month for the entire year, you and your hubs take a “staycation” to a different country. For example: you might choose to “go” to  Hawaii (yes, I am aware that Hawaii is a State, just go with it). So your date would go like this, when he gets home from work, greet him at the door with a lei (you can get them at party city or another party store). You should have some fun Hawaiian music playing in the background and greet him with a kiss on each cheek. Then for dinner, you could make teriyaki chicken with rice or, better yet, go out to a Hawaiian BBQ Restaurant. For dessert, Trader Joes sometimes carries coconut sorbet in a half of a coconut shell. Don’t forget the Pina Coladas! 🙂 Get creative! After dinner. put the kiddos to bed, snuggle on the couch and watch a movie set in Hawaii, like, “50 First Dates”. The idea is to have fun with your guy.

I LOVE this idea, so I planned a Passport to Love for Dean. I printed up the invitation and passports from the dating divas website. Then I chose one day a month (not that we are only going to go out once a month, but just once a month for this involved date) and filled out an itinerary. And presented the idea to Dean. He was as excited as I was! For the month of January, I chose London. We are fortunate that we have teenagers who are happy to babysit the younglings (for a nominal fee ;-)) So we got all dolled up (I even wore my fake eyelashes!) and went to a pub for Fish and Chips and some Guinness beer. Ok. slight change of travel plans, we decided to go to Killarney’s, which is actually an Irish Pub, but the result was the same.images-1

Fish and chips and Guinness! And fun! We talked and talked (uninterrupted by little sweeties). IMG_2722 IMG_2728

Later, we went home and watched Notting Hill. Of Course!

images-2In November 2000, for our 10th Anniversary, Dean and I went to the Real London in England! 😉 and I kept a journal of all the fun (and not so fun, cold and rainy) things we did there. As the perfect ending to our date, we looked at pictures from that vacation as I read Dean the journal.

Next month, INDIA! I’m thinking a visit to our favorite Indian restaurant and maybe “Slumdog Millionaire” or perhaps a popular movie made in Bollywood! We are already looking forward to it!

A Brilliant Son

I’m feeling a bit nostalgic today. I found an old journal I kept when our first son was a baby. He made me a mom, a job which I have proudly held for the past 18 1/2 years. When he was little, he was a super talker. Like, full sentences when he was 18 months old! But the cutest thing was the way he used to say his words. Like, the word “shoes” was said with his sweet little lips stuck out trying to form the word.   “Shooooos”.  So adorable! He was a thumb-sucker from the womb. Some of my favorite photos are ones with his thumb in his mouth. (By the way, he never needed braces) 🙂

joey snuggling with daddy 1994 joey-about 3 months old

He and I spent lots of time at the library. Often, I’d arrange to meet my other Mommy friends at the library and we’d sit and visit while the kids read books and played with puzzles. I remember once, going into Joey’s room late at night when he was about 2 years old. I thought he was asleep, but he looked up at me with big blue eyes, took his thumb out of his mouth with a smack and said, “Book?” That’s my boy!

joey 1996

We do the best we can when there’s discipline or guidance required, but Joey is our first-born, remember. Sometimes we have to kinda make it up as we go along. After all, I’ve never been the Mom of an 18 year-old before. He sets the standard for the rest of the kids. (Sorry, guys, but it’s true) By the time Adam gets to be 18. I should be an old pro, right? well, maybe just old. 🙂m_71c75583afe6badd60dfba0d2204906b

After the other kids came along, I expected there to be a little jealousy, but Joey stepped up to the plate and helped out. Truly, I don’t know what we would have done without him.DSC00327

Now Joey is out of school and working. He still lives at home for now, but he talks about when he moves out. 😦 It makes me sad and proud at the same time. It’s true that time flies. I make him promise to take me to breakfast on a regular basis, so we can stay connected. He says he will. I’ll hold him to it. IMG_1362

Our First Snowball Fight

I know it may be difficult to believe, but we have never had a snowball fight as a family. Mostly that’s because our youngest kids have never seen snow! Our last 3 children were born in Southern California where the temperature rarely drops below 50 degrees. Dean and I decided that this was a good year to take the hour-ish trip up to Idyllwild in the mountains and have some fun frolicking in the snow. Here are the pictures.IMG_2643 IMG_2650 IMG_2651 IMG_2664 IMG_2672 IMG_2674 IMG_2682 IMG_2686 IMG_2689 IMG_2692 IMG_2693 IMG_2695 IMG_2696 IMG_2701 IMG_2702 IMG_2705

Thanks for following along on another brilliant adventure.

A Brilliant Year

Ok.I know that I haven’t posted anything since the beginning of December, so I’ll catch you all up with what’s been going on in our brilliant home.

We had a lot of fun getting dressed in our winter clothes to go see the Christmas Tree lighting in the park.IMG_2528 IMG_2530

We made some yummy chili.


We decorated our family Christmas tree.


We enjoyed some Holiday lights.


And we made some delicious cookies.

IMG_2566 Merry Christmas and a Brilliant New Year!

How was your Holiday?