Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What Are You Reading This Summer?

 

 I Love Summer! 
And I Love Reading Books set in the Summer! 
Here's some of the Books I enjoyed this Summer . . .  

Whistling Past The Graveyard 
by: Susan Crandall

RV There Yet?
by: Diann Hunt

 The Vacationers
by: Emma Straub

 
 Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It

and I'm now Reading;
The Rocks 
by: Peter Nichols

What have you been Reading this Summer? 
I have a whole Bookshelf on Goodreads dedicated to Summer Reads
If you're on Goodreads, lets be Friends! :) 

Monday, August 15, 2016

BFF's

 We moved into the house we're in right before my girls started Kindergarten.  At our Church they met Maddie & her younger sister Morgan, and they became fast friends! Their Mom, Tammy and I became friends as well. We spent many afternoons poolside and on outings with our girls. Tammy & I ran a Mom's Group together at the Church. Our kids never went to the same school, and even after we no longer went to the same Church, we stayed close . . .

 
I love this pic of the little cuties!

 Here they are a little bit older.

It's great when you can be friends with your kids' friends parents! We all love hanging out together! Our families enjoy getting together. Over the years we all have spent countless Holiday's together, every Halloween & New Year's Eve among them!

 Ringing in a New Year Together

 Us at Maddie's "Sweet 16"

 One of the MANY Dance Concerts we all went to! 
Girls supporting each other, become Women who support each other!!

 Beautiful Girls and their first Prom! 

It's also great when you find "Couple Friends!" Too many times, you'll meet someone you might like to hang out with, but the husbands might not get along, or vise-versa. But, thankfully that's not the case here.

At our oldest Son's Wedding! 

 Daddy/Daughter Diamondbacks Date!

 Happy Birthday to me! 

Happy Birthday to her!

 Tammy and I do have some things in common; Besides raising Brilliant and Beautiful Daughters! :) We Both love Reality T.V., especially American Idol! And could Fan Girl with the best of them! And we Love Movies, and have seen too many together to count! And have stood in line for Twilight and Hunger Games tickets while our girls were in school! Yeah, we're the "Cool Moms!" Though like all Friendships, we've had to overcome some hardships; namely She Doesn't Like To Read! (I know, right?!) Yet, she will ask me what I'm reading and listen intently as I talk nonstop about Books! Now that's a true friend!

Here we are waiting for one of the Twilight Premiers to begin!

Here's Tammy having her Favorite American Idol, Danny Gokey, sign her Boob! :0
(Okay, it was really her VIP Name Tag, but what are friends for if not to tease you?!)

We really do Sparkle!! 

As do our girls! 

Jay taking the girls out 4 wheeling! 

So, why the Blog Post talking about our 13 year Friendship? Because as long as we've known Jay & Tammy, Maddie & Morgan, they have talked about a dream they have to live on a tropical island. Now a lot of people dream of leaving the daily grind and living on a Beach somewhere, but who really does that? Well, they sold their big house and their boat. Rented a smaller house the past few years till Maddie Graduated from High School. They sold just about everything they had, and actually did it! Yes, our good friends have moved to Aruba! 

 Hanging out together before they leave!

 
 These four little girls are so grown up now!

We are so Happy and Thrilled for them, but we are sad for us. We text (or Facebook Message) and Facetime, but It's hard not seeing them all the time. My boys used to house sit for them whenever they went away. We have dog sat each others pets. Shared Birthday's and Holiday's. Gone to each others School Events. After they shipped what they were moving with them & sold everything else, we had them over for dinner once a week. I've always loved their big square dinning room table that seats 8. Our little table sat just 6, and with us adding 2 Daughter in Laws, we'd have to squeeze around it. Well, that big beautiful table is now ours! We think of them every time we sit at it!

 Dinner in the Square!

 Our last time together in their empty house

The Amazingly good news is that we will always have a place to stay on Aruba! :) It's been a huge undertaking to move out of the country. If you'd like you can follow along on their adventures and learn the ins and outs, and all the things you'd never think of, with a move of this kind on Tammy's Blog. Z Island Life. And we can all live vicariously through them together!

 Just hang up the phone! ;)

 Just don't forget where you came from!

So, now I guess I'll be taking applications for a new Best Friend! :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

What I Learned At The Democratic Convention . . .

Turnabout's fair play! I shared what I learned from the Republican Convention, now it's the Democrats turn! I have not been to Philadelphia as of yet, but would love to visit! Here are just a few observations I made while watching;


- The crowed here, doesn't dress up as much in the fun, bright, and very patriotic costumes that the Republicans do. Not sure why that is, costumes are fun. YOLO! There were a few, Meryl Streep wore a Flag Dress when she spoke, but overall not as many. Lighten up Democrats! :)

- There were Many more celebrities at this one! Again, not sure why that is. With so many celebrities hoping for a job from Trump in The Celebrity Apprentice, why they're weren't many to sing or speak for him. Not that a celebrity should persuade your vote, but it's fun to see them. Scott Baio spoke at the Republican Convention, and I loved Joni Loves Chachi, but I couldn't name all the Celeb's who sang or spoke for the Democrats!

- 9/11 Survivors and First Responders really credit Hilary Clinton with being there for them. As a New York Senator, she lobbied Congress for funds, and signed a bill into law within 48 hours of the attack, for benefits for those cleaning up, who had been told the air and ruble was safe. :0 They also shared how she visited them in their Hospital rooms, and has continued to check on them all these years, and never for the camera!

- The speeches weren't as negative! It was nice to actually hear plans for policy, and not just bashing the other side. My Husband, who hasn't totally decided who he is voting for at this point, even said how much nicer the speeches at this convention were, compared to the first one!

- I really like this pick for Vice President. In a world of Positive -vs- Negative, I will always strive for the positive!

- I really liked the fact that we heard Independents and Republicans speak at the Democratic Convention! Talk about Unifying the Country!

- History Was Made!!! Weather you're voting for Hilary of not, if you are a Girl, or a Woman, or you know or Love one ;) It has to make you grateful and proud!! The first Woman nominated by a major party for President of the United States! (In the same way even those of us who didn't vote for President Obama, felt pride in the fact that this country with it's history of slavery, could & would nominate an African American man for President.) It wasn't all that long ago that Women couldn't even vote in this country! Look at us now! I loved when Hillary said to all the little girls watching her accept the nomination, they could be next!! "When there are no Ceilings, the Sky's the Limit!" 


Saturday, July 23, 2016

What I Learned At The Republican Convention . . .

How fun would it be to attend a Political Convention?! I think it would be fun & exciting! But most of us will just have to do with watching them on TV or following along on Social Media. I have spent time in Cleveland, which is a great city BTW! And Here are just a few things I observed while watching the Republican Convention . . .


- People seem to forget something all our Mothers should have taught us when we were little, which is "If You Can't Say Anything Nice, Don't Say Anything At All!" I heard my Mom say it! Didn't you? I feel like if Politicians spent as much time letting the voting public know what they stand for, and what they will do in office, rather than just bashing their opponents or the establishment, we would all know better what to vote for! For example, I had considered voting for Chris Christy, (back when there were half a million Republican candidates) I'd watch the debates, and I kinda liked him. But after watching him at the Convention, and seeing just how mean and nasty he is, I would never vote for him now! I don't need to know how bad you think someone else is, tell me what you've done and what you will do! You know I love Interviews! And this is basically a Job Interview, (for the most important job of all!) and if a potential employee went into a job interview, and did nothing but bash their previous employer, and talk smack, and failed to tell you who they are, and articulate what they could do for your company and why you should hire them, you would never pick them to work for you. I just think Politicians should keep that in mind!

- I like the Trump Kids even more than I did before! I've watched The Apprentice, since it's inception, and have followed all the Trumps on Social Media, I've always liked and respected Ivanka, but the boys aren't showcased as much & don't talk as often on the show. I liked hearing from them and much of what they had to say!

- Though I've never been a huge fan of Ted Cruz, I like that he stuck to his convictions and didn't totally support someone who attacked him and his family in such a hateful way, by belittling his wife. Yet still supported his Party.

- All that time they spent spewing hate and bashing the other party, they needed to let this nation know what the Party and Candidate actually stand for. What actual Policies will be put in place? They showed where they stand on Gun Laws, but what about "People Laws?" Until Ivanka spoke the last night, Women's Issues weren't really addressed, and even then, specifics weren't listed. When looking at Candidates I need to know where they stand on Education, Equal Pay and other Women's and Minority Issues. And I didn't get what I needed. From the looks of the Convention, one might conclude that Guns are more Important to the Republican Party than People are?! I hope that's not true, I'm just saying how it looked.

- Good or Bad, people will judge us by our children! You always hear people bashing the parents when a kid turns out bad, or praising the parents for their children's accomplishments. And I must say this point bodes really well for me, cause I have really great kids myself! :) And Donald Trump's Children are Poised and Successful. And as I've stated above, I like them! Though I do find it amusing that even though Donald has clearly stated that he never has & never will change a diaper, and that it's the mothers responsibility to rear the children, that he is touted as a good father, and therefore a good man. A family man, which I think he is, even though he's on his 3rd wife, and is a known womanizer.

- Which brings me to my last point; Do Actions Really Speak Louder Than Words? If Ivanka's introduction of her father were the first and only thing I knew of him, I would for sure be voting him. But I've followed him for years, watched every season of The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice, so I've seen his actions with my own eyes. The way he puts down women, or reduces them by sexualizing them. And I even really liked some of Donald's own words given in his speech, he even praised the crowed for cheering at his words of accepting everyone, no matter their background. Yet his actions were to choose a running mate who fought for a law to allow companies to discriminate against people who's lifestyle they don't agree with. So, should I go by his words or his actions? I believe there is good in all of us, I also believe we all are capable of evil. No one is all good. And no one is all bad. Don't call people names, call out what you can and will do to for this nation. It didn't look good that other Republican Politicians don't appear to be backing him, not just Ted Cruz, there were no Bushes present, no John McCain, (who is a beloved Arizonan, an American Hero, who Donald Trump has also said some terrible things about!) I did see, Bob Dole, who I like & respect very much, was there. I think both parties are torn. I guess I'm like Ivanka, and the many millennials she talked about, who don't just vote blindly for one party, but actually look at each candidate and vote for the one who most lines up with what they believe in. So, you'll just have to stay tuned to see what, if anything, I learn from the Democratic Convention happening soon.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Vacation, Had To Get Away . . .

That Go-Go's song goes around in my head while packing for any Vacation! 


We took a little trip to Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Where our Sister & Brother in Law live & have built themselves a Paradise


My Husband's other sister who lives in Colorado, 
flew in & went with us, surprising the family there!


As you can tell, we spent a lot of time in the Pool! 
But you tend to do that in 110 degree weather! 


One of my Happy Places is floating on water, soaking up the Sun! 
I could do that all day, and I practically did! :)  


We were The Vacationers, Reading The Vacationers!!
(Can you tell we're all in the same Book Club?!)


We relaxed, played games, ate some great food
and just had some Family Time!


We did some Thrift Shopping around town
And got Ice Cream, served by our Nieces Daughter! 


My son celebrated his 26th Birthday while we were there! 
I know, it's not possible that I have a child that old!


You can't visit Lake Havasu without seeing The London Bridge! 
It's always nice to get away for a bit! 
Hope you all are enjoying your Summer!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Daddy Of A Day!

My husband and I we're both extremely Blessed in the Dad department. Two Good Men! Two Great Grandfathers to our kids! Unfortunately, they both celebrated Father's Day in Heaven. We Miss them and Love them so much . . .

 My Dad taught me the importance of Working Hard & Playing Hard! And Loving Hard!! Thanks for being the Man you were to all of us.

 
My husband has often said, regarding his Father "I am who I am because of the influence you were in my life."

And It has been one of my greatest joys in life watching this man of mine become the Father that he is! He is the best Dad our kids could ever have!

Here in Arizona we are having record breaking heat! As you can see in the above photo it was 123' degrees in the car. On Fathers Day, the actual temperature was 118'!

 We had a cookout & swim party at our Daughter-In-Law's parents house! You can't be outside here right now, unless you're in the water! I call the above pic, taken on Father's Day; Enjoying the "Donkey Days" of Summer! ;) I hope you enjoyed your day as well and that all the Dad's out there felt appreciated! Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wicked Themed Graduation Party!!

 

On my girls' 18th Birthday, this past October, we took them to see the Broadway Musical Wicked. The untold story of the witches of Oz. It is so good! If you ever get a chance, go see it! Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth were the first to play the rolls & both won Tony Awards for them!


 Well, my girls fell in love with Wicked! Singing the soundtrack constantly. It was Lexi's Halloween Costume and how she got asked to Prom!! So naturally, when thinking about our up coming Graduation Party, I thought of Wicked! If you know anything about me, you must know that I love Party Planning, and I love a Party Theme!! And with two girls, one who loves Pink & one who's favorite color is Green, this was perfect!


There are a lot of one liners & cute saying's from Wicked, so we started by making posters to hang around the house & back yard. And we incorporated The Wizard of Oz as well, since that is what Wicked is about after all!



Greeting our Guests at the front door was Our Welcome sign! Along with what happens to unwanted guests! ;) Watch out or we might drop a house on you as well! 


I pulled out my Scarecrows I decorate with in the Fall, to sit in the Backyard. Where we turned a Corn Hole Game into "Toss Toss!!" (How Galinda teaches Elphaba to flirt by flipping her hair!) ;) We also strung white lights around the backyard with about 25 Mason Jars with tea lights inside them. And placed candles inside our fire pit (since we live in Arizona & it's too hot to actually use the fire pit!) circled by chairs, which made for a nice outdoor space after the sun went down! 

 

I found this Tin Man cup at Goodwill for $1.99! I've had some little Wizard of Oz figurines since my girls were little, and once had a Wizard of Oz Birthday Party. I put them on a shelf in the entry way with a Playbill from the play! So cute!


Also in the entry way, I sat a vintage suitcase, like is used in the play, along with the Book. Yes, Wicked was a Book before it became a Broadway Musical Sensation! See, you learned something new today! :) Easy, but effective decorating!


Pinterest is a great place to get ideas! We started a Wicked Graduation Party Board awhile ago. You can see ours here.  One idea we got from Pinterest was to make little Witches Brooms out of Pretzel Sticks and mini Peanut Butter Cups. Easy, Cute and Yummy!



For the food, we of course, in Wicked Fashion, had Pink and Green; We had green vegetables, and pink fruit. Made Yellow Brick Roads out of Meat & Cheese trays, Put potato & macaroni salads in pink & green bowls. All served on Pink & Green Plates & Napkins. We ordered Pink & Green Cup Cakes, but no place had Wicked themed cake decorations, so my creative daughter, Erica made some Good Witch Crowns & Bad Witch Black Hats Picks for the cupcakes. They looked so cute!


 

I made a Poster board for the gift table, of pictures of them through the years, from birth through Graduation, that said "Follow Your Own Yellow Brick Road!" Perfect for Twins! 

 


I also found this idea for Party Favors on Pinterest; Changed For Good is one of the great songs of Wicked! So we made a sign saying "If knowing Erica and Lexi has Changed your life For Good, wear a pin." Then we had a Dorothy Basket with pins we'd had made, by my son's friend who has a pin business with one of their senior pictures on them. They turned out really great, and everyone loved them! You can find him here on Instagram.

 

 

Other party decorations included Pictures of the girls, and Their High School, along with sayings from the Play or Movie . . . 



 

We found little magic wands and wanted Ruby Slippers to set around, but couldn't find any. Maybe if it had been around Halloween time, we could have found more Wizard of Oz & Wicked stuff. But what we did find was little plastic Cinderella shoe pencil sharpeners at Party City, we bought like 12 of them and some Red sparkly spray paint & made our own! You can see them throughout some of the pictures. 



 

Our Party was Open House Style, guests could come between 6 & 10 pm. We had Family & Neighbors come. Some Friends we hadn't seen in a very long time, or not nearly often enough. And a bunch of our girls' High School Friends! Our little house got pretty full at times. It was loud & fun!!


 We are so proud of our Girls! They are both Brilliant, and Beautiful! And are each headed to Great Places, with Bright Futures!! Stay Tuned & just watch them Defying Gravity!

 Congratulations Erica! 
Congratulations Alexia! 
We couldn't be Happier! 
Or Prouder!!