Monday, February 28, 2011

Question Of The Week - Guests

We have 6 different groups of guests visiting in March alone.


Most of these visits will include at least one dinner at our home. Some will take us to Disneyland, some to the San Diego Zoo.....beach......etc, etc.

All of them will be fun. We love, love, love to entertain and now have the perfect backyard to do so in.

I'm struggling with coming up with interesting meals, however. Need some ideas!

***What are your favorite entertaining menus? Ideas for entertaining?

Friday, February 25, 2011

It Doesn't Take Much To Get Us Excited

*While taking out the trash this morning, I found this.

I love him. I know they're dirty, mean, disease filled creatures, but I think he's cute.

We've been watching him all morning. I finally tipped the trash can over when I realized he might be stuck. Still there. Wonder what Blake will think when he returns home from a week of travel and finds me snuggled up next to this guy in our bed?

Might be some divorce papers involved.

*Jack has the most potential for nerdom in our family. And, I mean that with the highest of regards. Take a look at this:

Love that kid.

*While I don't usually get excited for award shows, I'm going to be watching this Sunday. One reason. James Franco.

Holy cuteness. And, he's a super freak, which makes me like him even more.

Also? Wicked smart. He just published Palo Alto, a compilation of short stories. On my list.

Loved him in Milk. Such a brilliant actor. 127 Hours, also good.

*One more thing. We have an even larger TV in our living room now. Moved the one Pa got us to our bedroom. A friend gave us the new one. (Obviously a good friend to have.) It's like a techie revolution over here at the Starnes house!

Off to check on the opossum. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Question Of The Week - Do You Mardi Gras?

We do. We love it.

Ours kids think Mardi Gras is a major holiday just like any other. Well, they actually think it's more fun than most.

What is it? For the Wikipedia version, go here.

Simply put, it's a epitome of all celebrations prior to Ash Wednesday. Lent follows and then Easter. It's the party of all parties before we start repenting and sacrificing.

It's also:

Cajun dishes.
King cake.

And, more. So much more.

Each year, we celebrate. It's been as simple as a Cajun dish of eutoufee or Red Beans & Rice. It's also been as elaborate as flying in live mud bugs for a crawfish boil. Either way, we love it.

Some recent decorations:

Beads outside for kids to play with.

Mantle in the works. Mardi gras is full of excess. I need to tacky it up.

Our wreath, which needs an update. Crawfish and doubloons are beginning to fade. There is one strand of beads on there that Blake bought on Bourbon Street in 1999 when he came in town for Jazz Fest. Pre-marriage. Pre-kids. I held onto them for years not knowing what to do and then I finally created this wreath. Lots of good memories.

My Aunt Mary, who lives in Hammond, LA, sent us a King Cake Mix. Can't wait to make it!

California peeps have not a clue what we speak of when we mention Mardi Gras. Just blank stares all around. The Midwest had seen a bit of it and Colorado, too. West Coast? Nada.

We're here to educate. If it wasn't such a rough season for crawfish, we might indulge and have a boil. Will likely be too pricey this year due to colder temps in the south.

But, don't fear, friends. We will celebrate. I'm craving a Hurricane like nobody's bizness.

And, we'll be indulging soon enough in the city of all cities for celebrations......New Orleans. Blake and I will be flying down sans kids this Fall. I cannot wait!

So, my questions.

***Do you celebrate?

***Have you been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras?

***Did I leave out any fun traditions?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Giveaway Winner + Eat. Live. Be Healthy Snacks + Koalapalooza

Morning, bloggies! Lots to cover today.

First up, Allison from Q&A Mac won the Mod Giveaway. Allison, send me an email and I'll pass along the info to choose your strap!

I'm sorry, Jann, that you did not win after all that work. You other bloggies, too. I wish I could give each of you one because I am in love with mine!

Here's what I'm thinking, though........Mother's Day is right around the corner. We just passed Valentine's Day. Did your man forget? How about a birthday? This would make the perfect gift.....and you'll be happy you bought one. It's a super cute accessory. I get compliments on mine all the time! And, speaking of mine, none of yall guessed it.


Between this and your lack of knowledge on my college years, I'm starting to wonder if you know me at all! :) And, speaking seems as though many of you were horrified by my activities, so I'll be providing some explanations soon enough.

Okiedokie.....moving on.

This week's topic for Eat. Live. Be. is Healthy Snacks. Mine are less than imaginative, but they work for me.

1. Fruit. Southern California has tons of it and at great prices. Always fresh and delicious!

2. Almonds. Easy enough.

3. Blake gags every time he sees it, but I'm a fat free cottage cheese fan. Pair with Saltines. Yum.

4. Taken from my friend, Kelly, years ago........veggie trays. OK, not all at once, but I buy one every week or so for $9.99 at Costco. It splits up into several snacks and it's already prepared for you!

Latest stats:

*I've lost 7 pounds total. Not totally impressive, but I'm feeling great and happy thus far.
*Last week's exercise included walking, walking, walking.

And, finally.......Koalapalooza. I know. It sounds scandalous, yes?

It was fun. At the San Diego Zoo.......lots of Australian themed exhibits. Kids were less than pleased that we didn't walk away with a real koala (?????), but they had fun anyway.

I'm still campaigning for one of these guys as a pet. LOVE them. Don't you?

Punks. Nice hit, Laine.

We watched the Sea Lion, Singing Dog, Top Gun Parrot Show. Eclectic and interesting. Sat front row in the Splash Zone. Seemed fitting for this daring day at the zoo.

Every time I see a koala, I'm reminded of the Simpsons episode where they show what goes on at the zoo after dark. Anyone remember that one? Wasn't a koala biting the head off of another animal?

Frozen fruit treats and a churro for Jack. Happy kids.

Balboa Park from the Skyfari. I'm so intimidated by this place. Anxious to figure it all out, but not sure where to start.

On the ride......

So high up. Still makes me nervous.

Because we're hanging from this simple contraption. Freaky.

I do enjoy the views. This is our favorite tree top stop.......the multi-level buildings shown here.

We had to walk 4 miles to get to the zoo because everyone else had the same brilliant idea to go on President's Day. Gorgeous weather and a day off of work. Had to be crowded.

Kids raced to keep the commute interesting.

Agenda this week:

*New phone. No, I'm not getting a damn IPhone, Shannon. It will be the latest Blackberry and only because I have to a get a new one in order to receive a company discount. I would have been totally fine keeping my hand-me-down from Blake.


*Mardi Gras decorating.

*Spring Break planning. 18 days until Carowine arrives! The Rand fam is coming in town, too! Cannot wait.

*Work. Boss has been in Vegas. She'll be cracking the whip this week.

*Lunch with said boss in La Jolla. Yes, I have the best job ever.

*Christmas list. Don't make fun. I've bought a ton of gifts and need to get organized so I don't over-buy.

Later, peeps!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Super Sized Scoop

Which one was a lie? #3 Fooled ya!

On to the scoop.......

Jelly Cat now gets dressed every day. She also gets buckled in the car. Which takes about 20 minutes. If she is bumped to the front seat due to carpool overcrowding, Lainey protests b/c "She's not firteen! It's not safe for her to be in da front!" It's cute and annoying all at the same time.

Sweet punkins playing outside on a pretty day.

Annoying big brother.

Sweet little Laine.

Eyes closed, twirling.....twirling......twirling. So much fun having a daughter. Who knew?

While Carter was on his overnight field trip, I took the punks to the beach. Love this picture.

The beach usually opens up opportunity for soda and fake-orange-covered delights like Cheetos.

More twirling.

Anyone want to give us a sailboat? This looks like so much fun.


Loving my book. Anyone familiar?

Not Jelly Cat's best angle.

A simple sweet treat for the kids...... Take mini graham cracker crusts.

And, pudding.

Combine to make pies. The punks filled them, sprinkled them and I drew the heart. Easy peasy and fitting for any holiday!

In addition to doing her own laundry, Lainey has been (within reason) dressing herself. She mastered the all-polka-dot look for sure.

Surprisingly, this was a good set up for Jelly Cat. I think the headband is supposed to be an eye cover.

Valentine's much fun with Preschoolers. Rylee's mom made cupcakes. Rylee made one blue for Jack. :)

The happy couple.

Hard at work.

Loved seeing the punks pass out and receive Valentines. So sweet. Jack's response to the pink princessy ones? "No fanks. I don't want any of doze." Teachers explained that he had to receive all of them to be polite. Our sweet, honest boy.

These three are so much fun together.

We headed to the beach for a picnic with Holly and kids after school that day.

Sweet girls, Ainsley and Holly.

The boys got in the water......and Nicholas took off his wet shorts at some point. Carter retrieved them with a shovel. Nice.


Chub-a-lub baby girl. Love her.

Surfers at sunset.

That evening, I arrived home, tucked kids in bed and later found this. Lainey snuggled up with "Cowgurl Kitty". We framed the card Caroline sent Lainey. She looks a lot like Batman's girlfriend.......Gypsy kitty......more on that later.

Giveaway ends tonight. Good luck!