Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Fancy Tea for a NineYear Old Birthday Party!

Our dear friend, C, turned 9 in May. Her mother is quite the hostess and feted her with the most wonderful soiree! From tea cups to a hair station for the dolls, this Mama thought of it ALL! We were sad to have missed such a beautiful occasion.

The girls were greeted in the garden by a perfectly set table for the young ladies and their dolls. They were seated and served delicious tea sandwiches, fruit, and other delicacies. Their pink lemonade was served in perfect tea cups!

After the girls dined, they were able to visit a table where their doll's hair could be braided or they could fix her hair themselves. This delighted the girls to see their dolls sit in a salon chair!

Nancy always has such beautiful tables, and this event was no exception!

Tuesday's Tip

Don't you hate it when you're at a fast food restaurant and you squirt your ketchup on a napkin and it leaks through and tears the napkin? How many times have you tried putting ketchup on your napkin or on the waxed paper that surrounds your burger? It always manages to make a mess. Since we're all traveling this summer, the likelihood that we will visit a fast food restaurant is pretty high. Mama Henley's family ate at a Chick Fil A on the way home from the best camp ever, Camp Greystone. My mother in law met us in Atlanta, and she shared a tip from my sweet father in law. He used to take the lid from a drink and put the ketchup on the plastic lid. Brilliant. Why didn't I think of that? Instead, I've been mopping up nasty ketchup napkins for years. Don't be like Mama Henley; try Papa's trick instead! Happy Tuesday's Tip!

"To do a common thing uncommonly well brings success." Henry John Heinz

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Baubles and Bangles

I am not one to wear a lot of jewelry as I prefer very simple jewels. My ears have been torn so many times that I can not wear the fun fashionable earrings that dangle and sparkle. For years I wore pearl studs until DH gave me a pair of diamond earrings. I do love them and wear them every day. I think it would be fun to have sapphire and diamond earring jackets for a little variety, but it's more important that we continue to feed our children! :)

Anyway, I was a bit surprised to receive a Mother's Day gift, much less a gift in a small box. In fact, it worried me just a little as I wondered what in the world he had bought. What a delight to open a box with three gorgeous bamboo enamel bracelets. They are pink, lime green, and black! I love them!! It is fun because I mix it up and sometimes I wear one or two and sometimes I wear all three. I am proud of DH for doing such a great job! What fun bracelets are you wearing this summer?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fat Friday / 220 East Restaurant

Dh and I love to find good restaurants. We especially love to support local restaurants as we feel it does the most good for our community. Do you try to buy and eat local food? I've had trouble finding a co-op here in Florida, which was most surprising, but I love it when you can order fresh local food delivered to your door each week. It definitely encourages good eating habits. Anyway, tonight we tried a restaurant that is new to us called 220 East on Davis Island. What a treasure! The food was fresh and delicious and very reasonable. Somehow the owners have managed to create a place that is inviting and romantic for a date night yet loud and comfortable enough for 2 families with 8 children between us to dine happily in the corner. The children's meals were reasonable at $5 each, which included a drink and dessert. They were also large enough to share if one chose chicken fingers or one of the larger choices. The blackened grouper sandwich was prepared perfectly and we were able to add a house salad as opposed to french fries for just $1.50. What a treat! It is always fun to visit Davis Island and we happily obliged and let the children enjoy an ice cream cone at Java and Bean as well! If you're ever in Tampa, you should try 220 East! I know we'll go back!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Polite Moments

My friend, Amy, used to have a blog. I miss it so! I wish she would blog again because she is one of those people from whom I always glean wisdom. She creates exciting ways to teach her children things. Their toys are meaningful and have a purpose. She is a godly woman, wife, mother, daughter, and friend. I just love her.

Several years ago she gave our children the sweetest set of 5 books by Cathy & Gary Maldaner. They are called "Polite Moments". They teach every day life skills, how to visit other families, working for others, how to be a servant, and how to do things. Most importantly, they are based on Scripture. The stories are enjoyable and easy to understand. We love them! In fact, I love to take them on trips as a little devotional at night. You can order them here. They also make great gifts! In fact, I just stocked up on them as they are on clearance now!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Oh, Cabana Boy!

It's that time of year for pool parties and at Mama Henley's house, we love to have friends come over to swim. I encourage friends to come even if we're not here! It's so hot here that believe me, you WANT to spend some time in a cool pool. Today we are having friends from school over for a swim. Since everyone's schedules vary in the summer, it's hard to know how many people to expect. Therefore, I bought popsicles and water to serve. Those are two things that I know our family will use this summer if they are not all consumed this afternoon. If the 24 popsicles are not enough, then I will dig deep in the freezer and pull out popsicles that we bought previously. With such a simple menu, it will definitely be a crowd pleaser. And, if there is no crowd to please, we'll enjoy them on other hot days! It's easy to entertain when you make it simple. It also makes people feel welcome if they realize that you have not killed yourself but that you truly delight in having them over to play. In fact, go a little crazy and leave out some dishes or other things that you don't have a chance to put away. It's amazing how little things like that go a long way towards making someone feel welcome. Hospitality is always better than entertaining for hospitality ministers to the person and gives glory to God, while entertaining gives glory to oneself. Do you agree or disagree?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tuesday's Tip

As we're all running our A/C like crazy this summer, it's important to remember to change our filters! Have you changed your filter lately? Sometimes it's hard to remember when you last changed your filter. I have a solution for you! When you change your filter, use a Sharpie marker to mark the date it is installed. If it needs to be changed in 3 months, then write "In July 3, 2010 Out Oct. 3, 2010). When you remember to check it, you'll see how long it has been there and when it needs to be changed! Happy Tuesday's Tip!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Eton Suits

My heart stops for little boys wearing Eton suits. In fact, there has never been a more handsome boy than our son when he wore an Eton suit in 2 weddings. Eton suits can come in any color of fabric. You have probably seen one in grey wool, ivory silk batiste, or navy light wool or linen. Young boys look so handsome in them! I loved learning that the suit itself is from Eton College in England. Over time, the long waist coat was replaced by the shorter jacket we see in Eton suits. From 1820 to 1967, young boys at Eton College were required to wear the Eton suit, along with a large, stiff-starched white collar. You will see these suits today on young boys in the south or in choir schools. I just LOVE them! Older boys used to wear these suits. I think there is nothing more handsome on a young lad at church or at a wedding! Do you love Eton suits as I do?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Today I feel so blessed. I am married to the man of my dreams who is the best father I have ever known. DH is a father who truly enjoys and loves and adores each one of his children. He spent the late afternoon today playing in the pool with them. He met me at the After Hours Peds with one of the girls tonight after I left Publix. He prays for his children and reads the Bible to them. The biggest gift he gives our children is his love for the Lord and then his love for me, their mother. DH, we love you!
I am also so thankful for an amazing father. My Papa is funny, strong, interesting, intelligent, knowledgeable, and a true renaissance man. He is gifted in so many ways and is always a help to me.

I also gained a father when I married DH. My father in law was one of the finest men I have ever known. He was the world's biggest optimist. He saw everything he did as "the best". You might be eating at McDonald's but he would convince you that you were at the best restaurant in town. It was a fabulous trait and one I hope our children inherit. Papa always saw the glass half full. Tomorrow, we will really miss this precious man.
On a happy note, I now have two brothers who have become amazing fathers themselves. What a gift to see them in their roles as "Papa"!
As we celebrate these special men in our lives, we will also remember the Daddies who are no longer here, the children who will spend tomorrow without their Daddy, and the men who wanted to be a daddy and are not at this time, and lastly, the fathers who will spend tomorrow without one of their children either due to deployment or an untimely death. We are praying for you and counting our many blessings!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Oh, No, I didn't....EWWWWW!!!!

Oh. My. Goodness. I just killed Templeton. Yes, that's right. I just killed a rat. YUCK!!! Imagine this:

Three grown women with 8 children are happily frolicking in the pool on a hot summer day. Everyone is happy and relaxed and the children are squealing with delight. Suddenly, the oldest boy points out that a rat, yes, a RAT, is crawling by the pool. I quickly realized that I had to kill it, but man oh man, I did not want to do the dirty job. My friend, Janie, pointed out that we needed a shovel. I knew she was right but I still didn't want to do the honors. What ensued was quite comical. The children all jumped out of the pool, the other adult jumped in a chair, paralyzed with fear (okay, I'm using some dramatic license), and everyone was running around. The squeals turned into screams of terror as we ushered the children inside the back door. The rat was clearly sick because it was not running as it should have. It sat there right beside my sweet babies swimming wing and a green surf skate, looking at all of us with its nasty beady eyes. Yuck yuck yuck. I screamed and handed the shovel to Janie. She took a swing at the nasty rat, and he fell into the pool. A shovel immersed in a pool becomes impossibly heavy, and it was tough to get the yucky rat out of our now-infested pool. Janie screamed, "He's drowning!" I took the shovel and managed to pull him out of the water and bang him with the shovel until he was dead. I am gagging now simply telling this story. EWWWW. Rat guts are disgusting!! I started gagging and could not get his gut-spilling lifeless body on the shovel. Janie was brave and got him on the shovel. Meanwhile, the wee babes are all laughing, crying, and screaming in mixtures of terror and sheer delight. One child was talking about the rat being one of God's creatures. Yeah yeah yeah whatever. It's a RAT and rats deserve to DIE! Oh. My. Goodness. I was checking on the baby still strapped in the a/c running car when Janie and I traded the baton and I had the honor of dumping Templeton into the canal beside our house. I could not look at the rat as I carried it to the water for fear I would hurl. Upon returning back to the house, I had the honor of cleaning up rat guts and bleaching everything in sight. I called the pool man and the pool has already been shocked so that we don't pick up rabies or some other nasty rat disease. Goodbye dear Templeton, I sure hope you didn't leave behind any friends or family!!!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


How many of you gals have been to a nail salon run by women from Vietnam? I took girl #3 to have her first mani/pedi with me in celebration of her upcoming 7th birthday in July. She wanted green nail polish and flowers on her sweet fingers and toes. Precious. Her hands are painted "You're a Pisa Work" and her toes are green. Love it!
As the lady was painting my nails, I noticed that her license had her Vietnamese name on it and then "Tina" above it. It made me sad that she can't use her given name here. I started asking her long she had lived in Tampa. She said she's been here 11 years. Her parents are still in Vietnam. In 11 years, she has not gone home to Vietnam. It has been 11 years since she has laid eyes on her parents. Can you imagine? I tried to ask her if she was scared when she came here, and she became very quiet. I realized that I needed to quit asking questions. So, I sat back and began to think.
Here I was sitting across from her after just a year and a half here in Florida. I remember being nervous about moving just 3 states away. This woman left her continent and has spent 11 years without seeing her parents. THAT is bravery.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Adirondack Chairs

What says summer like a set of adirondack chairs? I fell in love with them years ago at Camp Greystone when I would sit in by Lake Edith as a young girl. Aren't they gorgeous?

I love this lavender one. My friend, Kim, just bought some fabulous hot pink ones! Lavender is my signature color.

Thank you, Anne, for letting me steal your Facebook photos...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summertime Summertime Sum Sum Summertime...

We're on week 3 of summer vaca and life is good at Mama Henley's house. The children are enjoying some unstructured time and lots of playdates. We're making up for all of the playdates we didn't have during the school year when our schedules didn't allow them. I'm trying to mix fun things with cleaning house and other chores. Today Hurricane had a friend over and our 2 big girls directed them in a play. They were so organized it was like camp! They had a princess party and a pajama dance. Our Bug also had a little friend over as well while our little man went to Golf Camp. Tomorrow the big girls will enjoy time with twins from church and I'll keep cleaning the little girls' room. What a mess!
Today I have cleaned the refrigerator and washed 2 beds. The refrigerator looks SO much better. I cleaned out all of the old food and everything looks fresh and inviting. Clean yours this week if you have the chance because it does make a difference! I wash everyone's complete bedding once a week as we won't stand for Bed Bugs at Mama Henley's house! :)

As I was putting away laundry, I discovered more unorganized drawers, so I stopped to clean them out and throw away any things that don't belong. I spend every day doing just such a thing though you would never be able to tell it because I am always overloaded with paperwork and laundry.

Some days we leave our home entirely so that we can have a break from housework in order to enjoy a little fun. On those days we'll tour our city or local beaches. Last week we had a fabulous day in Clearwater where the water was so clear and calm and the beach was deserted. This Friday we will explore Indian Rocks Beach, home of Lighthouse Doughnuts and Salt Rock Grill. We'll visit with dear friends and frolic in the sand. One of these days we're going to hop on the Tampa Trolley and tour downtown. The Pier in St. Petersburg is another destination for summertime fun. Our agenda will be full between trips here and there and our explorations in Florida. What about you? What are your summer plans?

Care for Sterling Silver

Every good Southern girl has some sterling silver flatware. Perhaps it was your grandmother's or your great aunt's or even your mama's set. Some girls request sterling flatware on their bridal registry while others comb estate sales to round out their pattern. Caring for your sterling is one of the joys of owning it. It tarnishes easily, so one must pull out the silver polish and polish away! However, there is a neat trick that helps prevent tarnishing. Put one piece of white chalk in your sterling drawer. You will be amazed at how it prevents tarnish. So, what patterns do you all have? Are you an Old Maryland Engraved girl, a Repousse' woman or a Tiffany Audubon Birds lady? Do tell, honey!

Monday, June 14, 2010

You're Drivin' Me CRAZY!

Tampa drivers are nuts. Plain and simple. They are CRA-ZY. Certifiable. I will be driving down the road, minding my own business, and a car will honk. I don't have any infuriating bumper stickers with a political message that might encourage the honking. I don't have a Christian fish or a rainbow. The only bumper sticker I have is for Camp Greystone. I just don't get it. Why do they honk? Why are they so mean? I never hurt anyone!!! Today I was trying to make a left hand turn at a busy intersection. I scooted forward only to discover that I could not turn left. Of course the light turned red and so I had to scoot back just a little. I have a special rear view mirror camera that allows me to see the car behind me. I scooted back a teeny tiny bit. Every time I scooted a little, she HONKED!!! I was furious. What a control freak! I was not going to hit her ugly car and hurt my pretty one, believe me. I just can't get over all of the horn honkers here in town. Do you have them in your city?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Camera Questions

My beloved Nikon D40 took wonderful pictures at camp. Then, all of a sudden, the pictures became darker and darker. You can barely make out the images in the photographs. I have tried to push the reset button. I am sure I have caused even more harm by trying to fix it. I need your help! The pictures are dark but my flash works. I have no idea how to fix it. I have a new memory card, tried the old one again, and have charged the battery. For a while I had a "shutter release error" message, but that is gone now. What can I do to fix my camera?

And, if it has bit the dust... should I buy another Nikon or try the Canon Rebel? Help!

Oh, Baby, were you born with a silver spoon in your mouth?

The sterling silver baby spoon is a classic gift for boy or girl newborns. I love the Fairfax pattern for its clean lines and simplicity. However, you may choose Repousse' for a little girl who will grow up to like fussier or busier patterns. Fairfax is nice because it is good for both genders, and it can easily be monogrammed. I just love these sweet spoons for a really special baby gift.

One day baby will grow up and turn 10. A sterling charm bracelet with a monogrammed charm is the perfect gift for this age. Of course our little minnies had charm bracelets at birth, but now they need a larger size. It's that time!

If it's a boy who is 10, a sterling Jefferson cup is always a fabulous gift. Mint julep cups are also acceptable, and yes, you can even buy silver plate (the horror!), and Grandmother won't roll over in her grave. She knows how expensive sterling goblets are!

Suddenly, your child will be 16 and ready to drive a car. A sterling keychain is apropos, but you may want to buy a boy another Jefferson cup or mint julep cup. Some children would love a sterling picture frame, especially one from England.

Once your little dahlin' graduates from a fabulous university, it's back to a silver spoon in their mouth. Buy sterling flatware or bust. You'll be so glad you did!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Don't be so TRASHY! :)

I just LOVE a cute trash can. I believe they can really make a room or bathroom. For Christmas, my mother gave us the cutest green leopard dot waste basket from www.jayes.com. It seems you must log into their website, but I do know that Charlotte's in Raleigh, NC carries them. They sold many different styles at Christmas!

Monograms, Inc., also of Raleigh, NC, has a fabulous acrylic wastebasket that I love! Ours has an etched monogram, but you can also try the brightly colored monogram.

So, don't be trashy, find a fabulous wastebasket today!
I thought THIS was an excellent post from Grove Gals about the oil spill devastation. She is taking her family and going to visit the Gulf Coast this summer and spend some money there boosting the economy. I also love the idea of buying frozen seafood and finding businesses to support that are being affected by this spill. What will you do to help?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dear Jillian, Inc....

I want to read your blog! I was out of town for a week and away from my regular reads for about 2 weeks with the end of school, and now you have gone private! Will you please invite Mama Henley? Thank you! ahp5@aol.com

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A little something fishy...

Somewhere out in the great big blog world I read one of your posts about the MOST AMAZING goldfish birthday party! It was probably a March or April birthday party, as it was about the same time as our triplets' swimming birthday party. If you blogged about it, I was so amazed by your favors, invitations, decorations, etc. and I want to re-read it. I also want your contact for those cute invitations as I want to do a custom invitation for girl # 4's birthday in July. Can any of you help me? I've tried to google it, but it hasn't located the blog I read. It is probably a blog I read frequently, but I just can't remember. Thank you for your help, dahlin'!

What Shoe Doin'?

Summer is here, isn't it girls! Most of us have our toes painted and looking good. My new summer color is Dim Sum Plum. My sweet friend, Wendy, saw it and thought of me and gave it to me as a little gift. I love it because it fits me perfectly! I love hot pink and I love lavender, and Dim Sum Plum is in between those two colors. it is perfect for summer!
The Entertaining House recently posted about her new Jack Rogers. Jackie Kennedy made Stephen Bonannos and Jack Rogers shoes famous. They are a perfect summer sandal. Do you have a pair? My mama just bought a pair of gold ones and my sister-in-law had the BEST monogrammed lime green ones for her honeymoon. Fabulous!
This summer hubby surprised me with a GREAT new pair of shoes. He bought me gold Tory Burch Miller Thongs. I love them! They are now my summer sandal. What will you wear on your feet this summer?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What Are You Reading this Summer?

Summer is here and the beach is calling ALL of us!!! What will you read this summer while your schedule is a little less hectic or hectic in a different way? There is something about time spent outdoors that makes you want to peruse some good reading material while enjoying the ocean breeze. I ordered "Sarah's Key" by Tatiana de Rosnay from the library and it is finally here. DH is going to read the Andrew Young novel about the John Edwards scandal. Edwards is a former neighbor of my family, so it'll be interesting to read. Most of you have read "The Help", which is a bestseller from last summer. What other fabulous books are in your beach bag, by your bed, or on your coffee table! Do tell! Mama Henley wants to know:)

Tuesday's Tip... Stop the BUGS!

Have you ever noticed the hundreds of dead bugs on the front grille of your car? On a long road trip it can become quite a problem! The solution is that you should try spraying the front of your car with Pam. A friend of my mother-in-law has tried it and it keeps the bugs from sticking to your car. However, you need to be very careful as it can damage the paint on your car. Let me know how it works for you!

Another way to removed dead bugs is to slightly dampen a dryer sheet and then wipe the car. You then wash the car as you normally would.
Happy Tuesday's Tip!

Monday, June 7, 2010

How do you pack for camp?

How do you pack for camp? We use the extra large LL Bean Adventure Duffle with wheels. They are nice and roomy and easy to transport. I wrote about them one year at Christmas, but they are now our go-to camp bags. They are large enough to fit everything except for a pillow. They held all of our clothes and towels for 8 days at camp. We like the duffles because they can be flattened for storage. You may also need a LL Bean tote if your child was staying for 2 or more weeks and needed a 10 day supply of clothes plus extras. You can order one here. Go for a big one!

C&N Footlockers sell everything you need for camp... even towels! Personally I love the lilac trunk, but you can create your own and even make it multi-colored!!

The large trunk is $199.99 but I have heard they are so sturdy that they really do last a lifetime.

Other parents pack in large rubbermaid containers, such as the Durabull Industrial Toolbox. They are sold at Walmart for about $41, which makes them them the most economical option.

Thankfully there are several great options. How do you pack for camp?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I'm at camp this week teaching Cooking. As you can imagine, that has left NO time for blogging!!! We are having the best week ever. I am reminded that putting others first always is best, God always feels close to me in these mountains, and seeing little girls smile is priceless. If your son or daughter has the chance to go to camp, send them!!! Camp Greystone is an AMAZING camp for girls. It truly does get better every year!!! Happy Summer!
I'll be back soon with more posts!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tuesday's Tip

Do you love watching old home movies? We sure do! Do you record hours of your children's playtime and milestones on your video recorder? We do! Many of our tapes sit unused and unwatched in a special box. Therefore, I have started trying to take the time to download them to DVD so that we can actually watch them. I store copies of the movies in our car so that the children can actually see THEMSELVES in the movies. They love it!! They will even watch the same event over and over because they love to see themselves "when they were little". It is so precious! Tuesday's Tip is that you should try putting home movie dvds in your car too!