Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year's Eve! A List Of Where To Celebrate!

Happy New Year's Eve!!! Today, NL has got a little list action for you. 


  • Anywhere- as long as you're with the ones you love!
  • Times Square, New York with one million other people
  • Kiribati or Samoa. Those beautiful islands are the first place in the world to countdown the new year. I believe one of NL's readers, Richard, recently went to Kiribati. Richard, is Kiribati the place to be to ring in the new year?

  • American Samoa- the last place to celebrate the new year. If you loved 2012 this is your way to hold onto it for just touch longer!

Doesn't it seem crazy that Samoa and American Samoa are about as close as islands can get and they are 25 hours apart. Planning things could get a bit tricky. By the way, I do realize that this crazy time warp has to happen somewhere. But I bet the fact that they are both Samoas makes things slightly funkier. Below is a some map action for you.

  • On the floor doing sit-ups or whatever you can do to get your resolution started. Yes, it may be a little lame to get your workout on at midnight. But doing so will certainly prove that you're serious. 

  • Awesome dance party! Go have some fun! Get your dance on. Bring your own playlist (from here).

That is a serious dance party. I do realize that I am making the world's creepiest face. My super flexible sister is bridging it up above me.

  • In a time-traveling DeLorean where you can pick the year you want to celebrate in.

  • Big Ben, London. Celebrate the new year by watching an enormous clock with a bunch of lovely-accented people! The Royal Greenwich Observatory in London also has quite a few fancy clocks. 
Not quite Big Ben, but at least Abbey Road is in London.
  • On the plane where you can fly through all sorts of time zones and celebrate New Year's multiple times! About 20 years ago, my mom, sister and I flew home from Australia and were thrilled to get to say HAPPY NEW YEAR about 5 different times as the pilot announced it over the loudspeaker.
  • San Francisco, a fireworks factory or anywhere that has a great fireworks display. I kind of doubt that firework companies put on a fancy display on New Year's Eve. But, they should!
  • And, on the other side of the spectrum... a clear sky to watch the stars and think of all the fun you had in 2012.
  • Last, and probably least, a clock store where you can see 2013 happen all around you! Everyone knows that clock stores are open 24 hours a day every day of the year.

There she is! The New Year's List of a Lifetime!

Don't forget, yesterday I shared an awesome New Year's Eve playlist that my sister and I made. Go ahead and press that big triangle play button and get to listening! My sister spent a long time making it available to you online. If you have Spotify, click here to get your music on.

One more thing... a New Year's Eve birthday shout out to a bud I've known since kindergarten.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

NYE Party Decorations And Music!

New Year's Eve is just a day away! It is time to get to decoratin'!
If you aren't interested in decorating but you are interested in hearing one of the best playlists ever made then you are in luck! After all the pretty pictures there is some happenin' music that a guest star helped me put together.

Tape balloons to your wall and make your abode classy!

Serve your guests clock pizza!!!

Ooooohhh more balloons! A balloon maze- very fun. Quite possibly very annoying though.

Maybe you could write "2013 goals" instead of "2011". But wouldn't it be kind of cool to have a board where everyone could write their resolutions?! If you need help setting a resolution or sticking to it check this post out.

Once again, be sure to get your numbers right. But, make sure you snazz-up your house with some gold-ribbon dripping decorations!

Confetti food!!! THIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN!

Picture this: You're getting ready to celebrate 2013 making its way to town. You put down your champagne flute and some turkey picks it up and starts drinking out of it. You may be so upset that you go home in tears. Or maybe you deal with it like a normal person. Either way, why not just mark your cup. You could use a marker although your host may not appreciate that. You could use a wine charm. OR!!! or you could bring a game to your delightful New Year's Eve party.  

See those little clocks on the bottom of the glasses in the photo below? Go ahead and make yourself something like that. But on each clock mark a time. Then, every 30 minutes or whatever interval you have marked on the glass, the person with that time on their glass has to stand up and tell everyone their resolution for 2013 or say something that they particularly enjoyed about 2012.

That's right people, I just made up a New Year's game to blow your party's mind.

And Music! You know I couldn't leave you without a playlist for your fabulous event.
Lucky for you, my sister (the playlist master of the world) is visiting me right now. Somehow, I convinced her to spend the last 4 hours working on this sound party with me. She has some serious playlist expertise. So, you will be sure to enjoy the following New Year's Eve playlist. 

FYI This playlist may lead you to believe that I only know songs from the mid to early 90s. And, you would be correct!

One more thing: there is a surprise after the sweet playlist. 

  1. The Zombies- This Could Be Our Year *Start things out nice and slow for your party people. But don't let them forget the theme of the party... The New Year!
  2. David Gray - This Years Love
  3. The Beatles- I'll Follow The Sun
  4. Cyndi Lauper- Time After Time
  5. REM- It's The End Of The World AS We Know It
  6. David Bowie - Golden Years
  7. Foo Fighters- Next Year
  8. The Outsiders- Time Won't Let Me
  9. The Thrills- This Year
  10. The Beatles- Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey
  11. Peter Bjorn & John- Young Folks
  12. Dressy Bessy- It Happens All The Time
  13. Beck- Where It's At *Oh, what! I'm starting to bob my head a little. I think I might be ready to hit the dance floor.
  14. Whitney- I Wanna Dance With Somebody *No, she didn't! Whitney's playing. I am really feelin' it.
  15. Madonna- Lucky Star *Heck yeah! It's Madonna. Grab all your girls and get on the dance floor.
  16. Michael Jackson- Billie Jean *No one can resist dancing to Billie Jean
  17. Janelle Monae- Tightrope ft Big Boi
  18. Lady Gaga- Just Dance
  19. Outkast- Hey Ya
  20. Britney Spears- Toxic
  21. The Pointer Sisters- I'm So Excited
  22. Young MC- Bust A Move
  23. Skee Lo- I Wish
  24. Big Tymers- Still Fly
  25. Kanye West- Good Life
  26. Billy Joel- Running On Ice *Billie Joel. A very random choice but I did it.
  27. Lionel Richie- Dancing On The Ceiling *You were just running on ice. Obviously, it is time to dance on the ceiling.
  28. The B-52s- Love Shack
  29. Spice Girls- Never Give Up On The Good Time
  30. TLC- No Scrubs
  31. Prince- 1999
  32. Blondie- One Way Or Another
  33. Michael Jackson- Remember The Time
  34. Dire Straits- Walk Of Life
  35. Huey Lewis And The News- Back In Time
  36. fun- We Are Young
  37. B.o.B- Airplanes
  38. Bill Medley- Time Of My Life
  39. Bill Withers- Lovely Day
  40. Alphaville- Forever Young
  41. Starship- It's Not Over ('Til It's Over)
  42. Beyonce- Countdown **during the New Year's Ever Countdown
  43. Pink- Raise Your Glass *this song might get you dancing again. That's OK. Go for it. But be ready to cool down again.
  44. Vampire Weekend- Horchata
  45. The Lemonheads- It's About Time
  46. Green Day - Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)
SURPRISE: Not only is my sister the #1 playlist playa' ever she is also very generous with her time. Get ready for this... she made a Spotify playlist of the fabulous New Year's Eve music above. Now, you can listen to it yourself without having the songs. She would like me to note that Spotify did not have actual Beatles songs so she had to get covers that are not nearly as good. There are a couple other covers on there and we had to let track #12 (ol' Dressy Bessy) go because Spotify be-a-hatin'.

If you have Spotify, just click here and it will take you to the playlist where you can listen your heart out! If you don't have Spotify and you want to download it click here. It is a pretty short process.

ps My sister would like to let everyone know that she provides a free service of making awesome playlists for you. But you don't get a choice in what's on them.
pps I made this playlist in Winamp because everyone knows that 90s music sounds the best on it.

sources: wall balloons, clock pizza, balloon maze, 2013 board, 2012 goldconfetti chocolate bark, clock game

Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Favorite Cora Photos! 5-6 Months Old, Part 2

A couple of weeks ago, I showed you Part 1 Of My Favorite Cora Photos From Months 5-6.

How about we take a look at the second half of that fun month?!?!

I used to put Cora in a box full of toys whenever I took a shower. I kept making the box bigger and bigger. Eventually, it was obvious that the box situation wasn't going to work anymore. But here she is enjoying her box time!

You know we loved our park time!

The swing has always been her favorite!

Awww my sweet smiley baby!

Someone was a big fan of Mali!

Such a cute giant little baby!

This one is one of my favorites ever!

The stripe squad. Cora was a big fan of Teacher Mali and Doctor Becca!

A little family photo action.

This hat was one that Kelly and I wore growing up.

She's got her Scott-eyebrows working here.

Cuddle time with Boo!

A Granddad morning wake-up!

Smiles from Granddad. Even when Cora was this young she was using her "if you try to get to get too close to me, my hand goes in your face" move.

Granddad snooze patrol!

I'm just a little baby in a hoody.

Happy Hoody Baby wishing Emery happy birthday!

There will never be a day when I pass up the opportunity to take a photo of Cora sleeping.

After a little handiwork by mom I got her head back up.

Cora's 6 month birthday... trying solid food for the first time.

She wasn't so sure.

And most of it ended up on her face.

She wanted to try feeding herself.

Sitting on dad's shoulders (or head, apparently) used to be Cora's favorite thing in the whole world.

6 month family photo time!

If you want another dose of Cora in your life it is your lucky day:

Happy Saturday!!!! 

Just a few more days to enjoy 2012! So, get to work!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Road Trip Advice And Car Games

Car trips used to be so fun when I was little. We would take a row of seats out of the van; put a bunch of blankets down and turn the whole area into a little fort for my sister and I to play and sleep in. Obviously, car seat guidelines do not allow for anything even remotely like that these days.

Cora isn't into being confined to a car seat so she is not a happy camper when we go on long road trips. I know a lot of babies sleep in the car but that just isn't Cora's style. I usually sit in the back with her and try to keep her entertained. That works for about the first 45 minutes and then she says, "SERIOUSLY, get me out of this thing." I've tried sitting in the front and passing her back a new book or toy when she gets sick of what she has. I've tried music, dancing.... but Cora just doesn't love the car.

Here she is sleeping in the car! Miraculous! Whenever she falls asleep in the car I basically just stare at her in amazement until she wakes up.

So, I went to my trusty pal, Google, to see if there was anything else I could try. One suggestion was a portable DVD player- an idea that I had also heard from a few friends and family members. We had been trying not to let Cora watch any TV until she was two (as suggested by Cora's pediatrician and a few parenting books I read). So, we had always thrown that idea out the window. But the impending six hour drive to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family made Scott and I reconsider our policy. Decision made... we bought a portable DVD player and I rented a few DVDs from the library.

The outcome... Very helpful! I didn't turn it on until I sensed a meltdown on the horizon. She went into a major TV zone. She loved the DVDs Baby Babble and Baby Babble II. She even interacted a good bit with it. She did not like any of the Baby Einstein videos. I bought a used Dora DVD and I think it freaked her out a bit especially since I walked Dora behind the DVD player and then turned on the movie like Dora magically went into the TV. I don't think we will try Dora on TV or DVD again for a long time. Cora seems to like to be in charge of whatever weird things she thinks Dora should do- like sleep in a shoe or hide under her high chair.

Here she is loving her Baby Babble.

I hope we didn't shoot ourselves in the foot by giving in on the DVD player. I hope to one day be able to do all the fun car activities like my parents used to do for me growing up.

Here are some examples of the car games we used to play growing up:

  • Alphabet games. You can compete to see who  is the first to find every letter of the alphabet in order. Or you can have a theme like "animals" and take turns naming animals in alphabetical order.
  • We had Bingo boards and our parents would call out number-letters combos to see who would win.
  • Lots of books to keep us occupied
  • When we were a bit older we played a game that I have just entitled "what do you get." It is a little tricky to explain. But the idea is that each person in the car picks a number 1-10. Let's say you picked the number 3. As you're driving along, you get 3rd house you pass. It is now yours. Then everyone talks about how you'll like living there. Then the laughter ensues! I'm telling you... it is a fun game! You can vary it by making it the 3rd car you pass. you can even say the 3rd person you see is now your new best friend.
  • A surprise bag of books and toys that the child can pull out.
  • Trivia questions. A lot of times we will bring a trivia book with us or print some facts out about wherever we are going for the car ride.
  • 20 Questions
  • I Spy
  • My nerdy dad and sister used to compete to see who could answer math equations the fastest. I would put the math problem into a calculator and tell them who won. Then, I would enter the number 1 and press +1 and equals over and over and over until I got sick of that game. Spoiler alert: sometimes I wouldn't ever get sick of that game and the only thing that stopped me was reaching our destination.
  • License plate game where you try to find a license plate from every state.
  • Mile candy. This is one game that I don't hope to carry on. My parents used to give us a piece of candy every mile that we were good. My dad's mile candy of choice: Necco Wafers.

Well, there you go, folks! 
Does anyone have any other tips for how to get your babytoddler to enjoy life on the open road?
Any other car games for slightly older babytoddlers?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Living Room Chronicles: Step 2: Craigslist Deal Of A Lifetime

Welcome back to The Living Room Chronicles!

I will keep you enticed by telling you a story about a crazy deal from Senor Craigslist.

Actually, this isn't just a crazy deal from Craigslist. This is Step 2: THE CRAIGSLIST DEAL OF A LIFETIME. I may be exaggerating just a bit, but it was a pretty darn good deal.

OK, follow me here. It gets a little tricky.

Charlotte became my home almost 7 years ago.  I moved into an old duplex in an awesome part of town with my husband to be and his roommate.  At the time, they had an orange corduroy couch with wood paneling.  As you might imagine, it was, by far, the ugliest couch I have ever seen. And, to top it off, it sagged like you wouldn't believe.  Lucky for me, he had a matching arm chair. When you sat in it, it would explode in every direction and practically throw you off the back of it.  There were permanent grease stains where your head goes on both pieces of furniture.

It had to go... everyone knew it.

So, one fortunate day I was looking on Craigslist and came across these two couches for $100 total!  I called immediately and went to pick them up that night.

Here's a Christmas photo from 2007. The couch Scott is sitting on is one of the two welcome, non-grease-stained additions.

Here they are after we set them up in our current house.

They were only a few years old and didn't have any major stains or tears.  

We immediately threw out the arm chair and listed the wood paneled couch on Craigslist.  Someone came and bought it for $85.  It was insane.  I wish I had a photo of this couch.  It is hard to believe that something that ugly and gross existed. It was even harder to believe that someone else would want to own it.  

Fast forward 2 years.  I decided it was time to upgrade our couches.  I will spare you the spreadsheets, templates and ridiculous amount of research that I did to finally land on a sectional made by Ikea. 

Here is our Karlstad sectional configuration. I found this photo from my Google image searches. It was taken at an Ikea showroom.

I did a lot of measuring and remeasuring- there was definitely a template or two drawn. 

In the end, ol' Karlstad the sectional fit perfectly into the living room. No exaggeration... if it had been a quarter of an inch bigger it wouldn't have fit. So, it was time for my Craigslist couches to hit the hay.  

I listed them at $300 total. That was $200 more than I paid, but I was pretty sure I could sell it for that. I also said that if it was picked up that day I would sell them for $250. The emails started coming in! One lady went crazy for them. The only problem was that she said she got paid the next day and wouldn't be able to give me cash until then.  Are you starting to think that this might be turning into one of those Nigerian scams where you get a bizarrely written email telling you how much they love your item. And that if you send them some money they will pay double what you're asking. It's not.

So, back to the story. I was willing to wait a day for her to pick them up. She asked if I would be interested in a trade.  Let me tell you... I am ALWAYS interested in a trade. She could have offered me a pair of size 5 roller blades with a wheel missing and I would have considered it. Luckily, she had just traded her last pair of 2 wheeled roller blades. So, she offered me $100 cash and her 32" HD flat screen that was only a year old. Her husband worked for a Best Buy type store and got a good deal on it. As fate had it, I had just started looking for a flat screen about that size or smaller for my bedroom. She arrived, made the trade. And we were both very happy with the deal. A deal had been made!

If you think about it... I had two nice sofas for about 3 years for free and got a free TV out of it!
Quite the Craigslist deal!

Here is my new Ikea sectional.

The old coffee table didn't fit. That is why Step 3 is a new coffee table!

And now, I will share the After Photos with you.

Now, let's talk about the steps that got us there!

7 Step Aerobic Steparinos for you:

Step 1: Move in. Put in whatever furniture we had. Hang art.

Step 2: The Craigslist deal of a lifetime

Step 3: New coffee table

Step 4: DIY remote control holder. A tiny, tiny step, but we are still calling it one.

Step 5: Should we change out the fireplace?

Step 6: The plant table and the plants

Step 7: Finishing touches