Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Toms Giveaway!

Yall know we love Toms.  I have a pair.  Carter has some.  Even Lainey does.  (Jack thinks they're dorky, but what does he know?!)

What's the best thing about them?  Their "one for one" program.  Every time you buy a pair of their shoes, they give a pair to a child in need.  It's really that easy.

So, I entered the Books for Bloggers contest and won!  And, I'm happy to share the bounty with one lucky winner.

Here is how my package arrived.  LOVE that they took the time to hand stick the famous Toms sticker on the outside.

And, here is the deal.  I get one to read, keep and review.

I also get one to giveaway.

Leave me a comment for one entry.

Repost (blog or facebook) for 3 entries.

Easy peasy!

Giveaway expires Saturday, December 3, 2011 at midnight.  Winner announced next week!

Good luck!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Scoop - We're Busy!

Caroline arrived on Saturday.  We were late getting to the airport due to traffic, so I don't have the beloved airport photo.  Damn.

Kids made her feel welcome, regardless.

Carter's birthday party was that evening.  Holy mess of a house.

Caroline and I tortured the birthday boy by wearing matching pjs upon their arrival back from playing at the sports complex nearby.

Doesn't he look happy?

The crew.

Sweet little brother Jack slept in the living room with the big boys.  It was a big step!

We girls hid out in our bedroom and snoozed by 9pm that evening.  Lainey Caroline had to have a hand on Caroline at all times.

With all the cursing and animosity he could muster, Blake retrieved the Christmas tree from the attic storage.  This looks normal, right?

And, our biggest piece of news........not to replace the best cat ever (RIP Batman).......but to share our love of the kittehs with someone new......we adopted a pet from the SPCA.

Jack would have been just as happy with the toys provided to the cats.

Meet Finn McMissle.  She's 11 weeks old and just about the cutest thing ever.  She wears makeup.  See?

Can you pick out which one is real? 

She's so tiny........so, so tiny.

And, she loves Caroline the most. 

Ignore the red eye.  I don't have the time.
Been super busy with Subway art and Christmas card design.  Orders coming soon, peeps!

Off to Disneyland today to celebrate 37 years on this great green earth.  Staying overnight and then treating the kids to a harbor cruise looking at Christmas lights from the boat. 

We know how to party.

Miss yall!  I promise I'll get my head screwed on straight soon enough and get back to blogging. 

Oh, and if you're not connected to me on Facebook, don't miss this story:

She'll kill me for posting this, but I know it will warm your heart. Upon gathering kitty supplies, Caroline and I walked by what appeared to be 2 Marines, one in a wheel chair and his friend pushing a cart filled to the brim with daily essentials. We assumed he had returned from active duty, perhaps injured from it. My sweet sister bought him a $100 gift card and anonymously gave it to them as they paid. THAT, people, is the Christmas spirit!!!!! So proud to call her my sister.

My sister is a total bad ass. 
Yes, I can say that.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pearl Earring Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Dee! 

You're the lucky winner of the gorgeous pearl earrings compliments of Holly's fantastic jewelry lines that were just added to Facebook.

More give-aways coming.......check back soon!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Subway Artist

OK, so technically, I'm not an artist and I don't work in a Subway, but I can create some pretty cute Subway Art a la Photoshop.

Who knew I had such skills?

I can make you your very own version.....for a mere $20.

How it works:

Send me an email with:

1.  words you'd like to use

2.  colors you'd like included

3. any other special instructions

If you're not up to creating the content, let me know and I'll do it for you.  Every piece is different and yours will be unique.

These are great for:

*revolving artwork for your home (I have a frame above my fireplace that changes with the seasons)

*teacher gifts

*baby gifts



*sports teams (I see an LSU one in my future!)

*baptisms or christenings

*holidays in general

The possibilities truly are endless.

For $10, I will create your piece and email it to you for you to print at home.  Want me to print it and frame it for you?  I can do that, too.  Inquire further for details.

Find more gift ideas and a collection of my mad skillz on my Facebook page here.  "Like" me if you want to stay in touch and learn more!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Giveaway Time - Earrings valued at $125!

Please note:

*****Giveaway entries MUST leave a comment to be entered in the contest.  Many people are liking Holly's pages (which thrills me!) and I won't be able to distinguish you from the others if you don't comment.  Comments are open to everyone.  You don't have to have a blog!*****

My friend, Holly, has opened up her business to the Facebook world. 

In celebration, she's giving away this beautiful pair of Cultured Akoya pearl earrings in 14kt yellow gold; 7-7.75mm.

To qualify, simply 'like' the three Facebook pages here:

includes:  platinum, gold, white gold.....bridal, mother's rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, etc.

includes:  money clips, bracelets, cuff links, keychains and more

includes:  Tiffany-inspired classic jewelry

All of Holly's pieces are custom designed to your exact taste and preference. 

The details:

For one entry, like all 3 Facebook pages.

For 5 entries, re-post this giveaway on your blog or Facebook page.

Leave me a comment letting me know how you entered! 

Winner will be chosen using Random.org and announced Thursday, November 17, 2011.

Giveaway entries end at midnight, Wednesday, November 16, 2011.

Good luck!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Jillian's Visit + Scoop

I met Jillian at Building Better Moms in Kansas City.  Remember that group?  I so wish we had one here. 

Jillian seemed sleep deprived, a little nutty and super sweet.  Totally my kind of girl.

Our kids became instant friends and we did, too.  She visited last week and now our kids are counting the days, weeks, months.....until she returns with her family for a California vacation.  Hopefully next summer.  We can't wait!

Jack wasted no time getting comfortable with her.  Slid in early one day and took a nap right on top of her.  For about 2 hours.  She's a patient guest, no?

We have birthdays one day apart.

She brought me this to celebrate.  I love it.

Night 1 included kids in bed early and a visit on our back patio.

Night 2 included rain and lots of it.  So, we stayed in and attempted charades.  This resulted in Lainey scattering kitties around Jillian.  Again, very patient.  :)

Jillian witnessed all sorts of Starnes oddities.  I hope she was scribbling down notes somewhere because we were all kookier than usual, believe it or not.

Jack rushed in at some point and declared that he found this bell, originally from Santa's sleigh, slightly crushed by a reindeer taking off in the middle of the night, but still in tact for the most part.

I can't make this stuff up, yall.

We had no plans for Disneyland, Legoland, the beach or anything touristy at all.  We just wanted to visit.

Played Phase 10 (an old family favorite) in the gazebo.  Perfect.

And, our fish died.


In less than a month, I've lost a cat and killed a fish.  More on that later.

Jillian delighted us with all sorts of wackiness from her childhood while visiting night 1..

One such story included her mother sitting her and her 3 siblings down to watch the 'steamy' scene between Kelly McGillis and Tom Cruise in Top Gun.

You know the one.

Then, she proclaimed that it wasn't anything like that, it hurt and that you shouldn't do it.


Had to take her down to the water to see the house it all started in.  The Top Gun House.

We couldn't stop laughing taking the pictures.

Then, we moved on to another lesson in life. 


CarterJackLainey (the fish's name.....just go with it.....none of them would give in) was buried at sea.

After Lainey screamed, "I didn't eben want him to die!" upon finding CarterJackLainey belly up, we knew we had to address this with a fair amount of respect.

So, we lied to her. 

By agreeing with her. 

Said the fish would swim off if we took it to the ocean.

Save the commentary.  You would have done it, too, if you'd seen those big green eyes crying.

Shortly after the ceremony, we drove down Coast Highway, only to find a small band set up just meters from where we were.

Had I known, I would have hired them for the ceremony.

Off to the Davidge house we went to watch the LSU game.

Jillian painted faces.

Mike set up the stereo system to blare the LSU fight song into the harbor at opportune times during the game.

We ate like kings.

My little Cajun loved it.  Carter, too.  Jack?  Notsomuch.

Look at that final score.


Take that, Saban.  (Good, huh Cindy?)

It was a crazy fun night.

I returned Jillian to the airport the next day.  I hate that part.  Saying goodbye.  Yes, we text each other all day, every day.  Just wish she and her family were closer.

In other news, I decorated for Thanksgiving.

There you go.  There it is.  I know you're impressed.

Blake painted this darling table and chair set from Land of Nod.  We needed a new look for it and some weather sealant.  Love it.  We use it often.

And, I purchased this second-hand set of furniture.

Now, to paint. 

What color?  Any ideas?

It will stay there......we'll add a rug and a coffee table......the Land of Nod table will be adjacent to it and there is a Pine armoire out of view up against the house.  We have a TV to set up in there, too. 

Blake will finally have his outdoor living room.

Perfect for California.

So, ideas on color?  It will need to be painted and then somewhat distressed to blend with what the weather will bring to it.  I'll purchase new cushions, too.

What else?

***I renewed our Disneyland passes today.  Another year of fun (and possible You Tube videos) awaits! 

Well, I renewed our current ones.  We have to sign up Lainey for her own pass.  Now that she's 4.  After a year of "sit criss cross applesauce, Laine and cover up with this blanket if you want to go in the park!", I think it's time.

I know.  Not our finest parenting moments.  But, Disneyland is EXPENSIVE, yall.  And, she was barely 3 when we moved here.

Please forgive me, Walt.  I promise I spent the money in other ways at your fine establishment.

***I'm offering $8 blog headers until 11/11/11.  Email me if you're interested!


***Caroline arrives soon for Thanksgiving/Christmas fun!  We'll be putting up the tree, paying Disney a visit with a 2 day trip to Anaheim, exchanging gifts, seeing Santa, welcoming the elf for the season, and shopping like mad.  It's my favorite of all her visits, I think.

Off to read.  Loving George Bush's Decision Points.  Oh, and I get my Kindle back this week.  Anyone trading books yet?  Fill me in on how to do it!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Operation Christmas Child + Jillian

First, I wanted to remind you all that Operation Christmas Child is fast approaching.

Remember that I originally wrote about it here.

Well, National Pick Up Week is November 14-21

So, start packing your boxes asap.

Drop off locations are throughout the country and you can find them here.

We chose a boy and a girl......ages 2-4 each.  I have the labels sent to me automatically because we participate each year, but you can actually make your own or print them off the website, here.

We 'wrapped' from the interior this time.  I wanted them to look festive and fun, but they ask that you not seal your boxes.  I also used plastic boxes so that they can use them for storage after they open their gifts.

It's easy, folks!  Give it a try and I promise you won't regret the efforts.

Big update on Jillian's fun visit coming soon.  I'm swamped with work and kids and parent/teacher conferences.

Did want to share this pic, though.  Love.

Oh, and Carter's first basketball practice is tonight.  During tryouts, 4 other coaches tried to draft him just before the coach we wanted was able to. 

First pick, kids.  That's my boy.

Another great season ahead!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Thankful Turkey

It's easy.

It's fun to do.

It's a great tool for teaching your kids to count their blessings.

Normal kids, of course.

The Starnes kids took it to another level this year and tried to out-do each other.  Lainey glued on the first feather while Jack was furiously coloring and writing his own.  It turned into a competition, feelings were hurt and one started crying.

Which made me think - this isn't unlike the Thanksgiving holiday itself. 

Turkey, tears and grievances. 

If one of them had a drink in his hand, it would be all the more realistic.

I knew my kids were brilliant.


Start with the basic turkey shape (2 circles, a beak, legs and don't forget the gobbler)....and add a feather every day for what each child is thankful for. I bet you'll be surprised what your kiddos come up with!

We start this every year at the beginning of November and then by Thanksgiving, you have a turkey filled with all your blessings. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Halloween Wrap Up With The Starnes Family

Ready?  Set.  Go!

All in one post, to save you the misery of looking at several for each event.

Carving pumpkins:

Less goop and more stringy stuff this year.  Looked like shredded cheese. 

May I present to you, Jack Skellington!

School parties & parade:

Lainey put on quite the display of tantrums.  Just giving the Kindergarten teachers something to look forward to!

Take notes, ladies.

Meow Meow got dressed up.

A swarm of Kindergartners dressed up and cracked out on candy.  Excellent.

Blake met us at the party.  So glad we could both be there.  It doesn't often happen with his travel schedule.

Kindergartners paraded around the court yard.  Blake and Laine took their places by the 1st graders, there to cheer them on and give high-fives.  So cute.  I love this school.

At home prep for trick-or-treating:

Sweet Laine and Jessie.

Neighborhood kiddos.

Miss Daryl!  Neighbor, stand-in grandmother to the children, and good friend.

The McNamaras showed up and Quinn wins the award for best sport ever.

A family of Care Bears.  I kid you not.

Carter was shocked we didn't get egged after I left up my annual sign threatening punks kids from emptying the bowl into their bags.


See, Blake?  You could be Quinn.  Count your blessings.

Schroeder passed out candy at one house.

And, the always-cool spider house did not disappoint.  Love this one.

Kiddos ended the night eagerly awaiting more trick-or-treaters. 


Time to make the Thankful Turkey!  Back soon with more on that.