Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lyla's First Birthday

Happy Birthday Lyla Anne!

Okay, yes.  This post is almost a month overdue.  Oh well.  You know how it is.

We had the best time with Lyla's party.  I spent the entire week before making foofs (more to follow on that), party hats, cake and, of course, cleaning the house.  I had

This is all the stuff that went into the preparation process:
That is our kitchen table.  Pretty much what it looked like all week long.  

Note:  Let me say now that I know I went a tad overboard, I know Lyla will not remember this.  I know  that this was mostly about me, etc.  I still had a ton of fun.  And, won't she feel special when she sees all these photos?

So.  The night before, Simon, who is much more artistic than I, helped me to carry out my vision.  He is so totally awesome.  I say, "Honey, I want it to look, you know, hangey and drapey and celebrationey, but not too cluttered or overdone or tacky.  You know?"  And he says, "Yeah, I think we can do that."  And he does.

Isn't he cute with his concentrated thoughtfulness?
That's yarn in his hand.  Before you see the rest, I can't take credit for it all.  My artsy sister, Hannah, made Lyla this amazing branch-thing, at least five feet long, totally wrapped with yarn, that had these plastic flowers hanging from it.  It was like rainbow Spanish moss.  It hung in Lyla's room until, being an actual branch, it started to die.  First it wilted, then it started to break.  I painstakingly unwrapped the whole thing and saved the yarn and the flowers.  That's why the yarn is curly.  I did not curl it.  Hannah did. :-)

We hung the flowers first.  They are made from--get this--the tops of water bottles.  No kidding.  Hannah is the coolest.  This, by the way, is our "back" door, which is really on the side of our house.  The window looks into our sideyard, but looked weird open.  All this is in our kitchen.  FYI.  :-)
Next the foofs.  Foofs are not my invention, though I did make these.  The white ones are made by attaching coffee filters to a small Styrofoam ball for seventy two hours.  The pink and red are tissue paper, cut and attached similarly.  If you want to know how to actually make them, check out this amazing blog:

She has a tutorial on "foofs."  Her name for them.  I wish I had thought of it.  

The final product.

Aren't they gorgeous?  And c'mon.  Wouldn't you LOVE this if you were one?
You can see, here, the bottle top flowers.  I also used white ribbon and cheap, dollar store bead necklaces to hang the foofs.  Okay, Simon used them.  I supervised.

I made a (yes, slightly crooked) ruffle cake from the Martha Stewart website.  I am not attaching a link because the icing was terrible, awful, disgusting. I even left a bad review. It tasted like stale grocery store cake icing.  If you really, really want it, message me.  I just didn't want to send a direct link to my mean review...which I cannot remove.  :-)

Also--pink punch, strawberries and blueberries and some red and pink candies.

It was pretty.  And the inside was good--I used Cake Doctor for that one.  I also made Lyla a tiny cake so she could do this:

See her boots? cute.  She demolished the little cake.  Love this James-family tradition!

I also made party hats, which we all wore.  Wasn't my family supportive?  And patient?  Lyla LOVES things on people's heads, so she loved this.  She even left hers on pretty well.

All in all, a successful event.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, March 28, 2011

I am a wannabe Pioneer Woman

Oh man.  I got it bad.

I have a crush of major proportions.  Ree Drummond, you make my heart beat with joy!

The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, Ree Drummond, Hardcover

I have read Black Heels to Tractor Wheels one and a half times since yesterday afternoon at around 4:00.

Yes, my house is a disaster, and my kids drank Carnation Instant Breakfasts this morning.  Worth it.

I am fully aware that I may be the last person IN THE WORLD to jump on this popular train.  Here's the thing--I've had her blog bookmarked for a long time, liked her recipes, etc.  But this book made me truly fall utterly in love with her.  What a great read--why don't they make more books like that?  Note to self. I must write one.

Read it.  Read it to get away from your living room, read it to laugh, and maybe cry (especially if your hormones, like mine, are in permanent cry-mode since your last child), read it to feel hope and inspiration and to fall in love with your own husband all over again.  It's one of those.  It's also, clearly, a quick read.  Which is great for those of us who have more important things than reading to get done!

Also read it to get away from the awful, oh-so-numerous skinny-smart-woman-married-to-dumb-fatass sitcom. I hate those.  Why does Hollywood think making the men in those things DUMB will give the women the leg up?  Those women are the dumb ones, to me, for having married lazy, ignorant, emotionally stunted selfish pigs.  Wow. I had some serious feelings about that.  I may need to return to that in another blog.

Anyway, as a good friend of mine recently told me over a delicious lunch at La Duni, it's a book about a Real Man, and woman truly in love with him.  Nothing pretentious or troubled, and so refreshing to see that devotion and love played out in someone else's life besides my own.

Also, it is perhaps the most gorgeous book I have ever owned.  No, not perhaps.  It is.  The cover alone makes me very, very happy.

So grab it!  Let me know what you think!  Also...if you have any ranch land for sale, I'm thinking I might want to get going on that.

Finally, check out Ree's blog at  You will thank me, if you haven't already read the whole thing.