Monday, March 31, 2008

Easter crafts

I know this post is a bit late, but I wanted to share a couple of the crafts I used for my table this Easter. The first thing I decided to make for Easter was cloth napkins. When I was in college I "decorated" (if you can call it that) my dorm room with seasonal fabrics draped over tables, my nightstand, etc. I found a bunch of those recently and the fabrics are really cute and have held up well, so I didn't want to just throw them away. My idea was to make napkins out of them. I had three coordinating Easter prints and I picked up the green fabric at JoAnn fabrics to coordinate with all three prints and kind of pull the set together. I think they turned out pretty darn cute and we loved using them for Easter dinner!

The second thing I made for our Easter table was these cute place cards. I wanted something springy but not too complicated. These little grassy place cards were perfect - and no mowing is required! I found the idea in the March 2008 issue of Martha Stewart Living.

Cut a 3-by-4-inch rectangle from green card stock. On one short side, fold under one inch to create a base. Stamp of write a name on the place card. Using scissors or a paper cutter, cut a series of grass blades, stopping about one inch from the bottom. I used my paper trimmer and made the cuts 1/8 inch apart. To finish, make angled cuts along the top. I think this would be a cute idea for any kind of springtime dinner!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Typing Test

69 words

Speed test

I learned to type 5 years ago. Sad isn't it? I cheated my way through typing in elementary school because I didn't think it was that important. Oh how wrong I was! In 2002 when I got a full-time office job, I realized that my elementary school wisdom was sorely mistaken. So, I found an online typing tutorial and learned to type. I'm pretty pleased that I can type 69 words per minute five years later. I know it's not a record or anything, but I'm still happy with it. A and I had lots of fun trying to improve our scores this morning. Plus, each time you take the test you supposedly improve your typing skills - fun AND beneficial!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

American Idol - Top 10

I think I echo the sentiments of most of Idol's viewers when I say, thank goodness we're past The Beatles. This week the contestants are singing songs from the year they were born. I like that they have a lot to choose from - hopefully it will make for some good entertainment tonight!

Here we go...

Ramiele Malubay - The second they announced that she was singing Heart's "Alone" I cringed. Carrie Underwood sang this several seasons back and was awesome, so I was scared for Ramiele. I thought she was very pitchy, WAY oversang the song, and I wasn't impressed. I'm sorry that she's lost her voice or is sick, but I still think the song was too big for her. I'm sort of wondering why she's still on the show as I haven't been wowed by her yet.

Jason Castro - Was glad he used the guitar again, although I do think he needs to showcase himself without it as well so I understand why he didn't use it last week. Kind of agreed with Simon about him needing to take things more seriously. It may just be his laid back attitude that he's getting a bad rap for.

Syesha Mercado - Not real familiar with the song, but I think she did a great job. Her powerful part in the middle was what Ramiele's song should have been - big but controlled.

Chikezie - Unfortunately I didn't think this was his best. It was kind of boring although I don't really know the song.

Brooke White - Yeah, I love this song!! Agree with the judges that the first part of the song was the better part; the band was kind of distracting and I really enjoy when it's just her and the piano. I do think she's safe and definitely deserves to stay in the competition. Here's the thing about Brooke - I think she's really good and I know everyone says that they love her and I agree that she seems like a really nice and sweet person, but I am sad that she is a Mormon. Unfortunately, that kind of taints the whole thing for me.

Michael Johns - LOVED IT!!! He finally wowed me like I've been wanting him to do for the past few weeks. Right now - my favorite performance of the night! I would buy this guy's CD.

Carly Smithson - Ahhhh, Total Eclipse of the Heart - another 80s favorite of mine. I enjoyed the performance overall. I felt really bad for her listening to Randy and Simon's critiques at the end though. You could tell she'd put in her all and here they were slamming it. I guess that's the way it goes my opinion she should stay.

David Archuleta - I think I went to high school with a guy with the same name. Anywho...definitely didn't dig the belt and don't know the song. I'll admit that he's a good singer, but the same sentiments I have for Brooke apply here. Good singer and performer, but not my American Idol. (I totally agree with Simon on the theme park thing, although I wouldn't have come up with that analogy myself).

Kristy Lee Cook - Brilliant song choice!! Even if she messed the whole thing up, you know people are going to love it because the song is awesome! I do think there was one section that was pitchy, but overall I loved it! She's staying!

David Cook - Very interesting version. I wasn't sure I liked it at first, but it kind of grew on me as he sang. Very powerful voice on this one, but not really my style. He's safe and moving through to the next round.

Should go - Toss up between Ramiele and Chikezie

Will go - Chikezie

Best of the night - Michael Johns

And that wraps us up for tonight...MUCH better than last week ya'll!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Celebrating Easter

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter yesterday! We had a great time with my parents and grandparents. They arrived Saturday afternoon and shortly thereafter it started snowing! It wasn't heavy snow or anything, but it was snowing just the same. We wanted to go to a very special restaurant for dinner that night. When my grandparents lived in Quincy, IL they introduced us to this fun little restaurant called "Maid Rite." Last fall I discovered a restaurant by the same name in Loveland. A and I went there in October and it was very similar if not the same as what I remembered from Quincy. So of course we had to take my grandparents there for dinner Saturday night! It's about a half hour drive from our house and we didn't leave until almost 6:00 as it was, so we were definitely ready for dinner. Well, we get all the way down to the restaurant and it's closed!!!! Not closed for the evening, but out of business closed. It was such a bummer and a major let down! A and I don't dine in Loveland too often and weren't sure what else was available for dinner, so we turned around and drove back to Fort Collins and ended up at C.B. & Potts. I think they could have served us mush and it would have tasted good - we were so hungry! My dad always likes to order dessert and we ended up getting two to split between the six of us. It was a great evening - despite the change in plans for our dining establishment.

Sunday morning we woke up to cold temperatures, but SUNSHINE! It's such a blessing to have a nice Easter and we've certainly had our fair share of cold, gray, drizzly, snowy Easters in the past, so we appreciate the nice ones even more. We attended the 10am service at church but arrived plenty early so that we were able to find parking easily and got 6 good seats all together. The church was packed which was so amazing! I loved worshiping with so many fellow believers on one of the most special days of the year. After church we came home and it was time for action! I had the ham in the oven and the timer set, so it had cooked almost an hour by the time we arrived back at home. I was SO GLAD that I'd done so much prep-work ahead of time because it really paid off in getting everything on the table quickly when it came time for dinner. The meal turned out very well and I was very, very pleased with everything.

Mom, Dad, Grandma, and Grandpa left to return home around 4:00pm. Everything was all cleaned up from Easter dinner, so I took a little nap, watched some TV, and read. I was one pooped girl by the time my head hit the pillow. What a special and delightful Easter celebration!

The family before "digging in" for Easter dinner.

Our sweet kitty, Jasmine, taking in all the Easter festivities

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Preparing for Easter

Despite the snow falling outside, Easter is one week from today! This year we will be hosting dinner for one set of parents and one set of grandparents. Can't wait!! I've spent a good portion of this weekend planning the nitty-gritty preparation details. Now before you roll your eyes at this, keep in mind that I decided on New Years Day that I wanted to host Easter this year, so I've had 76 days of planning so far. Am I an organizational freak show? You betcha! I thrive on planning. :)

So, here is the breakdown of my Easter Dinner plans:

Honey-spice glazed ham
Cheesy potatoes
Raspberry-Craisin Spring Salad
Deviled Eggs
Apricot Jello Salad
Coconut Cake

Wednesday - start defrosting ham in the refrigerator
Thursday - hard boil eggs for deviled eggs and dying
Friday - dye Easter eggs, make apricot jello salad, cheesy potatoes, and deviled eggs
Saturday - thaw coconut cake (yes, it's store bought but I just bought it last week and it's "homemade" from their bakery. It's gorgeous!)
Sunday - bake biscuits while we're enjoying breakfast, bake ham while we're at church, reheat potatoes, make salad just before dinner, then pull the whole thing together!

Of course my weekly homekeeping tasks will be scattered among these things too, so it should be a pretty full week. Planning everything out like this keeps me sane and from getting too overwhelmed with prep work on any one day.

We're pretty much skipping St. Patty's Day this year because I'm just too busy planning for Easter. I will wear green tomorrow and remind A to do the same so he doesn't get pinched at work! Happy St. Patrick's Day tomorrow!