Friday, April 29, 2011

It's a Right Royal Wedding

I am an Anglophile.  It is probably a combination of reading too much Jane Austen and having half the blood in my veins be English.   Living in England for almost four years cemented it.

So I've been really looking forward to the Royal Wedding.

I am not such a die hard that I stayed up last night and saw the live footage, however.  I was planning on it earlier this week, but my husband was travelling all week and that means I am on deck, all the time, for my six kids.  And that furthermore means...

I am tired.  With coverage starting at 1 a.m. my time, I figured that watching it live wasn't a good idea.

But still.  I was excited for this.  Almost as excited as these people:

But, the next best thing was to brew some of my favorite Twinnings (which has the Queen's seal) Herbal Infusion (Black currant, Ginsing and Vanilla--yummmmm),

make myself some toast with lemon curd 

and watch the highlights of the wedding courtesy of the BBC with Sawyer and Lucy.  I watched one clip via ABC, but quickly realized that I didn't want to hear Barbara Walter's commentary.  Sorry Wahwah... :)

First, I watched all the guests arriving, including David and Victoria/Posh Spice Beckham.
I love all the hats.  I wish we wore hats in the US.  Somehow you have to either be a parking patrol person or a very theatrical  kind of person (like Miss Darbiss from HS Musical) to be able to get away with a hat here.  It's such a shame!

from High School Musical by Disney
Anyway, then I watched Prince William and Harry arrive, and all the bridesmaids.

Then, of course, I watched Kate arrive/ I saw THE DRESS.

It was designed by Sarah Burton from Alexander McQueen.  Guess which two classic film wedding dresses it reminds me of?

 The lacework at the top reminds me of the 1991 version of Father of the Bride.

The neckline, sleeves and cut of the bodice and skirt remind me of Julie Andrew's dress in Sound of Music.

Anyways, I though the dress was lovely.  I really liked how fluid her veil was, and how beautiful it looked with her tiara.  Although, really--how bad could any veil be with a tiara like that :) ?  Overall, I thought that her dress, veil and accessories hit just the right note for such a formal and public ceremony, without being overdone or underdone.  That is not easy to do, is it?  I feel like in everything from fashion, to decorating to cooking that I'm always trying to figure out how to keep myself from extremes.  Maybe I need fabulous wealth and an army of advisers in order to get it "just right."  Lucky Kate! :)

After mulling over the dress, I then proceeded to watch Kate walk up the aisle.

What a long walk!  I think I would have been in tears by the end of it, but she managed really well.

I loved seeing Kate and William whisper to each other when they were near the altar.  I could have sworn I could lip-read him saying "You look beautiful."  Awwww :).

Then of course, I had to watch them exchange vows.  They were both nervous but excited (don't you remember feeling this way on your wedding day?).

Then they left Westminster Abbey and headed to Buckingham Palace, where they came out on the balcony and shared not one, but two kisses.  I'm sure after all the failed marriages that have hounded the royal family over the last few decades that lots of analysts will be analyzing those kisses.  Do they display enough passion, etc.?  All I can say is that kissing in front of people in a way that conveys your passion without being in poor taste is hard to do.  I can imagine that it's even more difficult if your personal life is reported in papers all over the world.  It would definitely make me very reserved with any display of emotion in public.  I thought they were sweet.

I really wish them all the best, although in real life, even princes and princesses don't get a happily ever after in marriage without being willing to work at it.  It is oh-so-worth it, though.  Their adventure, complete with joys, as well as struggles and sorrows, is just beginning.

Did any of you watch the Royal Wedding?  What did you think?

I'm linking up to one of my favorite linky parties:

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Good News and a Good (maybe too good) Book

Exciting news!  Despite all my stress, we have found a house to buy here.  Yee-haw!

My husband was talking to some acquaintances at church, who connected us with some of their friends who were planning to sell, but whose house wasn't on the market yet.  It is just the kind of place we have been looking for.  We close in just three weeks!

Here are a few pictures to whet your appetite:

 Isn't the yard beautiful?

I'm excited to decorate my front porch!

There will be lots more where that came from as we move in and start decorating.

So, moving means I should be madly taking things to the Goodwill, making lists, reserving moving trucks, throwing stuff away, starting to pack, right?.

But am I?


Uh, no.

And this is why:

I miraculously found this at my local library without a hold on it last night, and so I spent the entire day reading except for brief respites to cook, chauffeur and put out fires--don't worry, not literally.

Has anybody else read this and found yourself  spending every spare minute devouring it?  Anyone?  Please tell me I'm not the only one to get sucked in by a page-turning book.

Anyway, I finished it and will now return to my regularly scheduled (and very much needed) programming of getting ready to move.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

I don't usually wear my religion on my sleeve on the internet, but I just have to say that I am so happy today is Easter.  I love having time to reflect on what Jesus' life, sacrifice and resurrection mean to me.  He is the reason I have hope, the reason I try to live my life a little better each day and the reason for my joy in my life and my family.

One of my favorite hymns is "I Know that My Redeemer Lives."  I had an amazing experience a couple years ago singing this song with a choir of teenage girls from my church.   It truly felt like we were singing with angels :).

Here is a link to the arrangement we sang:

I know He lives and that He loves us all, more than we can understand and more than we deserve.  I know He loves me and I am humbled by and grateful for His grace.  

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter today!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My Real Anniversary

My husband, Aaron, reading a book to some of our kids

Eighteen years ago this weekend, my husband and I were married.

In a few years I will be married longer than I was single--yikes!

I am so grateful and blessed to have him as my husband, and here are some of the reasons why:
  • He is funny and zany and makes me and the kids laugh many times every day.
  • He sacrifices in so many ways to make me and our family happy.  My oldest son goes to seminary (an early-morning religious class for high school age kids at our church) at 6 a.m.  four times a week.  At first, my husband and I were trading off taking him every other week.  With the baby being up to nurse at night and getting up so early, I was dying, but I was trying hard not to complain too much, because my husband's schedule can be pretty demanding, too.  As a New Year's resolution, he offered to take over all the mornings without any strings attached.  It makes me love him even more each morning when I don't have to get up (but I should probably show it by helping us get to bed earlier and not getting all chit-chatty when we are going to bed at night).
  • He actually likes a good period drama as much as I do.  On rainy days, he's the one who will say, "Know what this makes me feel like watching...?  Sense and Sensibility."  He's my favorite person to go to the movies with.
  • He will call me on the carpet when I need it, but he also often refrains from rubbing it in when I am in a mess of my own making, and just helps me clean it up.
  • He supports things I want to do to fulfill my own personal dreams and ambitions--like getting my Masters degree (he babysat countless hours while I was finishing my thesis), working out and blogging.
  • He is a really hard worker.  He comes home from working hard all day long and helps with everything we have going on here, too.
  • He also knows how to play.  I don't really know how to play very well.  I came from a family that either worked hard, prepared to work or worked slower practically all the time.  It is good for me to be married to a man who knows how to take a vacation, because we are making amazing memories with our children.  If it were up to me, I would probably just buy furniture and stay at home :).
  • He listens to me when I talk about all sorts of dreams, ambitions, frustrations, etc. and has good advice when I am stuck.
  • He is a good-looking guy and works on staying in shape, but still loves me and finds me attractive even if I'm in not-so-great shape right now :).
  • Most of all, I love and respect him for being the spiritual man that he is.  He sacrifices to help other people in our congregation, leads our family in prayer and reading the scriptures and is my partner in crime in getting everyone to church each week (not an easy task).
  • Plus, as irritating as it can sometimes be, I usually think it's kind of fun that his name is Aaron...
I know you are all now very jealous of what a great man I have, but you can't all be me (sniff) :).  Happy anniversary to us!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Brassy CAN be Sassy: In Defense of Brass

I know that nobody in blogland seems to like brass and I get it.

I really do.

I can see the sense in painting over stuff like this:

I really, really need to do something with this lamp base.  I love the shape of it, but the brass is too brassy.

Or in changing out door knobs like this:
Not our doorknobs, since we're renting, but they are definitely overly shiny.
And frankly, I'd prefer a $2 plastic one over this sweet baby:

However, there is a time and a place for brass.  Real brass.  The kind you have to polish--or the kind you don't mind looking a little tarnished and old-moneyed.

One of my favorite lamps in our house has a brass base with great patina.  It looks fabulous with the leather club chair's brass nailhead trim.

The thing is that most modern brass has that anti-tarnish coating on it.  It is real brass, but it looks cheap and fake.

It gives brass a bad name.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who heard Bon Jovi when they read that last line...

It might save work, but it never has that mellow, lovely patina of tarnishable brass.  Sure, you might need to polish uncoated brass every once in a while, but it isn't a big deal.  And I think the color and warmth of real brass is worth it.  By the way--click here for a surprising way to clean brass

But back to my point: do you see the difference between these two candlesticks?

See what I mean?  The uncoated one looks classic and classy, the coated one looks like it's trying a little too hard :).

Here are a few style pics to prove my point that brass can be sassy and stylish:
From Elizabeth Dinkel Design
From my house :)
Also from my house--part of my fancy schmancy yet El Cheapo Easter Mantel
From Anna Melnikova Interiors,  Doesn't that brass chandelier look amazing against the peacock blue, the cream and the distressed wood of the table?

From Between Naps on the Porch.  The classic brass kick plate and door hardware just looks right with this lovely, traditionally styled front porch. 

So while I respect every one's urge to cover over their "sassy brassy" whatevers, and I love the look of brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze and chrome as much as the next woman, please save some room in your heart and home for real brass--you just might be glad you did.

What do you all think?  Has brass gone the way of the dodo and the dinosaur, or can it be a part of a stylish home right now?

Linking up with:  

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Monday, April 18, 2011

Family Healthy Habit #1: Drink Enough Water

This is the deal.

I need to be honest with myself and just admit that baby weight does not go away by itself.  Or at least, it doesn't after you are 35.  I have proved this theory by not doing anything concerted to try to budge the (gasp!) 25 pounds that were a fun little extra after Lucy was born and things were crazy.  And surprise surprise...they're still here! 

 The good news is that I am not gaining weight.  I'm maintaining--just at a higher weight than I like to be.

However, I need to do something because I feel better about myself, have more energy and have a more varied wardrobe when I am at my normal weight.  Plus (and this is the big plus), I want to be a better example to my kids in terms of health.  The fact is, that whatever bad heath habits I have, I am not-so-kindly sharing them with my kids and that is not good.  I have noticed some unhealthy habits in my kids as of late and it has made me take a long look at the proverbial man in the mirror (and if you are hearing Michael Jackson right now, join the club :) ).

 Sooooo, I am going to start introducing a new healthy habit for my family every couple of weeks.  Some of these will be big ones and some will be smaller ones, but I think all will help me gradually reach my personal weight loss goal and help my whole family be healthier, too.

Because I am essentially lazy (which, come to think of it, is probably what got me into this mess in the first place!), I am starting with the easiest one first, and that is:

Drink        more       water!

Sorry if that looks bossy and scary up there ;).

I've done a little research about water, and here are the high points:
  • water helps all your body's systems function more effectively, including your brain, elimination, temperature regulating, etc.
  • water helps flush out impurities in your body and especially your skin
  • water is in many foods--80% of your fluid needs come from beverages, and 20% from foods
  • water can help you lose weight by making your metabolism more effective and increasing satiety (I like this one :) )
  • drinking enough water can help reduce cravings, especially for sugar and alcohol (also like this one--although I'm not a drinker, I am definitely a sugar-aholic)
  • many migraine sufferers are chronically dehydrated and experience improvement after making an effort to drink enough
  • thirst is not always the best indicator to let you know how much water you need--you need to drink to stay ahead of your thirst
I am obviously not a doctor or an expert, so please don't take my word for it.  Here is a link to a USDA site that lists lots of resources on the whys and wherefores of water/fluid consumption.  There are a few preschool teaching resources listed that I'm going to use, because I have a couple kids who definitely don't drink enough and I need to get them on board with all sorts of motivating facts :).

Wondering how much you need?  This water calculator takes all pertinent factors into account to help you figure it out, for yourself or your children.  You can also drink too much, so don't think that if some is good, that a whole bunch is even better.  There have been several well-publicized cases of water "poisoning" the last five years and it is scary, so use the water calculator and your best judgment. 

And since part of the reason I even set goals is so I can have an excuse to buy something fun (only partially kidding here :) ) I have ordered some cute water bottles for some of the kids.   I know these aren't cheap, but they last forever and the flip top means lazy water drinkers like my kids and me are more willing to take a sip.

Bottoms up, everyone!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What Fundamentals and Fripperies is all About...

Hi, I'm Erin and this is my family:

You're exhausted just looking at my picture, aren't you? ;)  Life with six kids from 15 down to under a year can be a bit tiring, but it is also full of joy.

Now that I've been officially blogging for five whole months (and because I want to linky party like it's 1999 with Sarah at Modern Country Style), I thought it would be good to revisit what my blog is all about.

I am a stay-at-home mom.  Since becoming a mom, I have had part-time jobs here and there (most enjoyably using my education as a adjunct professor teaching introductory Sociology courses).

However, like most stay-at-home moms, my days are mostly filled with lots of essential and fundamental tasks (like laundry, cooking, taking care of my sweet kids, cleaning, shopping, chauffeuring, etc.).  These fundamentals are often enjoyable, but some of them (like laundry--my nemesis!) can feel like drudgery as I do them over and over and over and over again....

I've found that if I want to feel joyful in my role as I'm performing the fundamentals, I have to make time for the non-essential, fun things that make me happy--the fripperies.  No fripperies, and I become a cranky mom--a cranky mom indeed.

Hence--Fundamentals and Fripperies.

I like to explore the fundamentals of my role--what is important and essential and how I can do things better.

Things like:
Fundamentals are also things I'm doing with my children, like:

Fundamentals include taking time to notice the world around me

and, the thoughts I am thinking about life, like this:

I also like to explore my shallow side and have fun with the fripperies of life.

Fripperies like:

Greek Gods Yogurt - Pomegranate

I also sometimes find sneaky ways to combine the fripperies with the fundamentals, as in these posts:

In the future, I'm planning to incorporate more decorating posts like this one:
AND, I plan to do more craft posts and tutorials, like a SUPER easy apron tutorial that's been in the works for just about forever.  They take about 30 minutes to make (and that includes dragging out your sewing machine!).  Here's a picture--you're intrigued, aren't you ? :)  It's coming...

So this is me and my life--the meaningful and earnest alongside the shallow and petty, and everything in between.  It's:

Fundamentals & Fripperies--get it? :)

I love interacting with fellow bloggers and friends (old and new) as I share what I'm doing and thinking. Please comment if you are so inclined--I read, respond to and treasure each person who takes the time to comment :).

If you like what you've seen so far, please consider following me on my sidebar so we can keep in touch.

Thanks for coming--I hope you visit again very soon!

I'm linking up with:

Happy Homemaker UK's Post of the Month Club 

Weekend Bloggy Reading