Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Beginnings and Endings

Tomorrow marks the first day of Advent in our house.  The beginning of 25 days worth of "Festive Activities" and I can't wait.  Last year we had so much fun, and I documented each day.  Last year it rained and rained, and I was dividing my time to be with my mom and being a mom.   This year I feel more on top of things overall, and I'm looking forward to spending time with family and friends. 

The Christmas Jammies have been unpacked and laundered.  Since they are on sale, I went ahead and ordered the next size up for the kids.  My kids LOVE these jammies and claim they are as "soft as kittens!"
I just ordered Personalized Pencils for the kids stockings, since cool pencils are all the rage at school, I'm hoping these will be appreciated.
Folks, I think we have our first Christmas Miracle!  I ordered our Christmas Cards before Thanksgiving!  The last few years I have been cutting it close with the Christmas Cards and this year I vowed, "As Blog as my witness... I will get them out early"  I saved copies of my favorite pics throughout the year in a special folder just so I could easily pick the pictures for our annual collage.
Today is the final day for the "Faux-Prah's Favorite Things Giveaway"  Your odds of winning are really good, way better than the lottery so go forth and enter!  Don't forget to enter on Quite Contrary Mary's Blog too and while your there stop and appreciate her gorgeous grey walls.  Mr. Man and I are in the midst of picking a grey for our living room, because truly... Mary and I have the same brain.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Wishful Thinking

In the spirit of the last few days of the Faux-prah's Favorite Things Giveaway I am posting what I would giveaway if I were a rich man.  

I have lusted after this La Cornue CornuFĂ© Stove in Provence Blue for years.  I don't know if I would actually have the guts to buy it in Powder Blue, I tend to get nervous about committing to a color for a big purchase.  I love this stove so much, I imagine myself stirring something on the stove while speaking to my perfectly behaved children in fluent French.   One day I will have this stove and I will make amazing meals for everyone on it.

Laser Hair Removal Treatments are not something everyone talks about, but it is a gift I gave myself.this year and it is fabulous!  At the end of my treatment I am hoping to throw away my razors. 


  If I could, I would give everyone a Beach House.  I know I've mentioned before how Santa Barbara
is home for me. I dream of having a vacation home there and spending our Super Ultimate Mega Summers there.

The last item on my list is a Classic Porsche 356 Speedster.   I want one of these so bad, and I know I would look fabulous driving around town in one.  You know what, you would look fabulous in it as well.   My neighbor had one when I was growing up in Candy Apple Red and I have fond memories of going for rides in it with my hair blowing in the wind. I would trade my mom-mobile in for this in a heartbeat.

 If I could giveaway these items, I would, but alas I can not.  However, you can enter my Faux-Prah's Favorite Things Giveaway and win a gift card to Nordstroms.   The giveaway has been extended until Wednesday due to the Holiday Weekend.   Don't forget to enter Quite Contrary Mary's giveaway to win her favorite things.  What is one item you would give away if money was no object? 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Grateful for the Extras

It's Thanksgiving time, my mom's favorite time of year. I miss her and little reminders of her are everywhere. My heart aches as I see moms and daughters at the grocery store picking up last minute items for the Thanksgiving feast. Even through the tears and the grief,  I am filled with gratitude and finding myself pausing during the day to give thanks for the things I have.

Yesterday, I had three extra kids for the day spanning ages 3-8.  I forgot what simple tenderness there is in holding onto a little hand for safety.  While I played taxi for our budding Ballerina, Mr. Man held down the fort.  I came home to a busy house, with two kids reading under the big old pine tree, 1 kid helping Mr. Man dig a hole, and another playing Barbies inside.  We always thought we would have four kids, but life just hasn't worked out that way, and maybe this is how it is supposed to be, just our two kids and a whole lot of room for "extras". Thank you for the "extras" that joined us yesterday and for the extra laughter that I heard during their stay.

Later, the hillside beckoned, we had a picnic, read some more, and built a "coyote trap" out of sticks.  Thank you Mr. Man for working hard to provide for us this amazing house.  Thank you beloved "Chalet" for the adventures you provide daily to us

The kids ran races and Zoey joined in.  I begin to wonder if she thinks she is a child and not merely just a dog.  Her tail wagged nonstop and she dutifully found more sticks for the coyote trap. Thank you for the dogs who have graced our life both old and young.  

Later that night, spaghetti was made, some with sauce, some with butter, some with cheese. I looked around our full table and gave thanks.  Thank you for the extras who fill our table and our hearts.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Faux-Prah's Favorite Things Giveaway Part Deux

It's time for another round of my FAVORIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITE things! I had the toughest time coming up with the second list.  I couldn't quite narrow it down and when I would ask Mr. Man his opinion he would say, "No, you can't give everyone a deer and a crew of Juans."  Lame, he is such a Debbie Downer.  This week, I'll be posting things that I wish I could give, it's full of some gorgeous eye candy and beauties. 

For this week, Quite Contrary Mary and I are doing a simultaneous giveaway, which means you could win either one, or even both if you are super lucky.   The first item on the list is my favorite book of all time, The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck.  It is one of those books where you don't want the book to end, because you don't want to say goodbye to the characters.  

I love my insulated cups so much, it's become my latest accessory.  I always have one in my hand. 
It reminds me of Mary-Louise Parker in Weeds who always had an Iced Coffee in her hands.
This next product has REVOLUTIONIZED how I do laundry.  Seriously, I cannot rave about this product enough.  Laundry has always been problematic in our house.  I used to do it all on Saturday, and then spend my wild Saturday nights folding laundry.  Then we added sports and our Saturdays became crazy.  Then we were living out of stuff that needed to be folded and my "reading chair" in my bedroom became the "family dresser" or more like a mountain of clean laundry.  Then I discovered Shout Color Catcher and my whole laundry process changed. Shout Color Catchers absorbs loose dyes so your colors don't bleed on to other clothes.  So long to separating all the clothes and then sorting and folding.  Now, I take Mr. Boys dirty hamper and toss it in the washer with the Shout Color Catcher and detergent.  When they are all done, I put them in a basket on Mr. Boys bed and he folds and puts away his clothes.   There is no co-mingling of clothes and everyone's clothes get their own loads.  It is genius and I love it.  I used to worry about all of AK's pink bleeding out onto her white ballet clothes, but they all come out sparkling clean and their original color.  
Do you know how much I love Nordstrom's? Oh how I love them.  It's my favorite place to indulge in a little me time. I love their customer service and the fact that they don't decorate for Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving. I love that their personal shopping service is free and they will work with any budget.  I used to be embarrassed when I went in and said, "Look, I don't have a lot of cash."  The lady helping me said, "Babe... do you think I'm living like Donald Trump?  I totally understand where you are coming from."  Their shoe department is amazing and if I had millions, I'd buy one of every pair of shoes they had.  For you, I'm giving away a $25 gift card to help nudge you into buying something special for yourself. You deserve it!
To enter the contest, all you have to do is leave a comment in the post below.  You can tell me your favorite things, your favorite place to shop, or just say, "Winning looks good on me".

To receive an additional entry, you can share this giveaway on Facebook, just leave me a comment below that says you shared it on Facebook.

If you want one more way to enter, you can become one of my chosen people and become a follower.  Just click "Join This Site" under the followers  on the left.  Don't forget to leave me a comment letting me know you have become a follower.

You have until Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 11:59pm.  Winner will be picked via and will have 48 hours to respond.  Winner will be announced Wednesday,  November 30th, 2011.  Don't forget to enter Quite Contrary Mary's Giveaway and share some Hot Chocolate with me.  Mint Hot Chocolate is my best friend on chilly mornings. 

*Disclaimer: I recieved zero compensation for this post and zero donations of the items featured on this giveaway.  However, Nordstroms if you would love to compensate me, I would love to be paid in Frye Boots.*

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dear Fox News,

Dear Fox News, 
I think it's great that I finally found someone who is excited by the deer as much as I am.   People tend to call me, "The crazy deer lady" and it gets a bit lonely when you are the only one who is passionate about something.  I also think it's great that you love my house and the "back 40". Isn't amazing to have this oasis in Los Angeles?  It's so serene and pretty.  I know, I think I'm really lucky too.  
 Here's the thing, maybe next time you want to come and do a "live shot" of the hillside and deer ambling by, maybe you can leave your helicopter at home?   At least once a week, I am awoken to what sounds like a Helicopter landing on top of my house.  I'm not really a morning person, and so when I stumble out to let the puppy out,  I don't really like feeling like I'm walking into a hurricane.  The puppy can't really focus on "doing her business" when she is terrified she is going to fly away, can you blame her?   
It makes everyone grouchy, because it's a house of non-morning people. I'm sorry that I always give you obscene gestures, it's just not my favorite way to start the day.   Plus, as Rupert's manager isn't he entitled to some Royalties from using him as your live shot for the weather?   Have your people call Rupert's people and I'm sure we can work something out.   
The Mademoiselle of the Chalet 
aka Rupert's Management
PS It's the last day to enter Quite Contrary Mary's  Faux-Prah's Favorite things giveaway.  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of my very favorite books and she is giving it away.   Yesterday, Mr. Boy and I hit our favorite store for some goodies for next week's giveaway.  I can't wait!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I have needed to go to Ikea for 3 weeks now, and every morning I wake up and say, "Today I will go to Ikea and get that one solitary part for AK's curtain rod."  I've been avoiding it, because I'd rather stay home. 
This little bird decided to join me in my homebody status by flying into my kitchen a few weeks ago.
 I do leave my house, but not voluntarily... it's for soccer, ballet, scouts, groceries.  Becoming a homebody has been a new experience for me.  Even Mr. Man is baffled, he has always thought of me as a bit of a shopaholic.  The truth is... I love being home.  When the kids are at school, I'd rather sit at my desk, look out at the hillsides and write rather than shop.  There is a contentment I feel in my house, that I have never felt before.  During this month of giving thanks, I'm giving thanks for not just a house... but a beautiful home.

P.S.  Have you entered Quite Contrary Mary's giveaway yet?  I am also a big fan of A Tree Grows In Brooklyn and Coconut Oil. Coconut Oil is seriously our go to product in this house, just like Windex was in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"  

Monday, November 14, 2011

First Faux-Prah Winner and How I celebrated 11/11/11 at 11:11pm

Mr. Man has a large extended family and has approximately 4,012 first cousins.  I have exactly two cousins, yes two.  The last time I saw my cousins, I was 12, so I wouldn't say that we are close. At first Mr. Man's large extended family was overwhelming, but I have embraced them.  I love them, and now many of them are married and have kids of their own.  We call the cousin's offspring "Mini-cousins" and my kids love having family gatherings with them.  On the Occasion of 11/11/11, we got a few of the cousins together to celebrate. 
We laughed and talked, and mocked my "$6.99 hairs cut".  I think my new years resolution will be no more cheapie hair cuts, but you know that moment when you just can't stand your hair anymore and you get desperate?  
Evening Highlights: with the cousins:  Playing Twister for Kinect (cheesy game but we laughed a lot),  Posing for a picture at 11:11pm, and making fools of ourselves doing the Digg and Torch playing Dance Central.
See how much fun Mr. Man is having, it's actually his new "look".  Earlier this year he tried sporting a beard and a toothy grin, now he is going for more of a freaky stare.  Here is a pic from Halloween...  spooky, I don't love it.
Also, who wants to be the very first Faux-Prah giveaway winner!!!  
KRCrafts from I made this myself!  Congratulations, you and Mr. 7 Hands will be so very happy together, I just know it.  I hope you don't faint from excitement upon reading this.  KRCrafts - shoot me an email at qwendykay at to retrieve your Faux-Prah's Favorite Things Gifts.  

For all of those who didn't win, don't despair.  All this week my favorite faux sister Quite Contrary Mary will be giving away her favorite things. Then the following week, we will both be hosting giveaways!!  Tis the season of giving here on our blogs. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

5 Things I know for sure.

In keeping with the Faux-Prah Theme of our Giveaway, I would like to address the "Things I Know For Sure"

1. I know that going to a cheap haircut place is just like playing the lottery. Chances are you will come out a loser and not love your haircut, but every once in a while you get a decent haircut.  It is that hope combined with an innate frugality, and the desperation of needing a haircut this very minute that will keep you trying to find the holy grail. Last week, I took a gamble on a place that had a sign in the window, "$6.99 Hairs cut".  Yes, I am quoting.  Wanna guess whether I was a winner or a loser?
2. I know that shoes make me happy and that people think happiness should come from within.  It's one area of my life, I'm happy to go against the grain.

3. I know that cancer is a thief and robs people of their loved ones. I can not wait for the day when a cure for cancer is found. 
4. My talents are not: singing, cleaning, Photoshop, and being a super awesome responsible PTA mom. I think the great part of being in your 30's, is that you finally make peace with the areas you aren't talented at.  While I might not be the Super Awesome Responsible PTA mom, I am a fun mom, and when my kids are grown, I will be able to look them in the eye and say, I tried my best. 
 5. I know that puppies are hard to photograph when they aren't asleep. I also know for sure that puppies are super cute.

What is one thing you know for sure?

Today is the last day of the first Faux-prah's Favorite Things Giveaway.  Enter by clicking here!  Next week, my favorite Faux Sister Quite Contrary Mary will be doing a giveaway with life changing products.  You will not want to miss it!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Give oh Give Away

I am so excited about the Faux-Prah Favorite Things Giveaway and I'm excited you are entering!  If I could, I would give everyone a Mr. 7 Hands.  (Did you know I just imagined myself standing on a stage screaming, "You get a Mr. 7 Hands! You get a Mr. 7 Hands!  EVERYONNNNNNNNNNNNNE gets a Mr. 7 Haaaaaaaaaaaaaands!"  Just like Oprah.  Seriously Oprah, I'm glad you are a quitter, now is my time in the spotlight.) 
For your enjoyment, here is the SNL version of Oprah's Favorite Things audience.  I laugh until I cry every single time I watch it.

You have a few more days to enter! Just leave a comment on my giveaway post by clicking here

Monday, November 07, 2011

Faux -Prah's Favorite Things Giveaway

Every November I have a ritual to help set the tone for the holiday season. I sit and watch Oprah's Favorite Things show where I scream, shriek, and cry right along with the audience.  Then after the show is over,  I call one of my best friends and we dish and swoon over the best items on the show.  She can't stand the show, hates it, loathes it, but can't stay away from watching it.

Moi: O.M.G.  Did you see that fridge? I hadn't ever thought to have a fridge with a computer on it!
BFF:  I know... I swear I saw someone faint when she unveiled it.
Moi:  Garrett's Popcorn... I've never tried it, have you?  How have we lived and not eaten Garrett's Popcorn?
BFF:  Ugh, $8,000 for a tub of caramel corn... I swear I saw someone faint when they got their big old tin. Of course, their greedy paws were still clutching their popcorn as the collapsed right there on National Television.
Moi:  I'm not sure I can fathom buying $90 soaps, in the shape of a swan, but Oprah swears they keep her skin glowing.
BFF: I KNOW!  Some lady fainted after she took a whiff of the swan soap. I swear Oprah drugs the audience.
Moi:  I can't stand it, I need some Oprah Uggs and those fat cupcakes. 
BFF:  DON'T BUY THEM, You will come down with the fainting disease that the audience has.

Now that Oprah is off the air... what am I going to do to get into the holiday spirit?  I'll tell you what I'm going to do, it's time for me take over and build my own empire!  I've secretly always wanted to be Oprah and giveaway my favorite things.  Thanks to the World Wide Interwebs I can now be Faux-Prah.

Introducing the Bon Jour, Qwendykay And Quite Contrary Mary Faux-Prah's Favorite Things!  
(Please tell me you imagined that in your best Oprah voice)

All this month you can win our favorite things.  In case you don't know, Mary is my very favorite Faux Sister and we share the same brain.  We met years ago and found that we shared way too many freaky common interests, including a passion for the color blue, shoes, and an unnatural love of blogging. Here is the freakiest part, both our mothers have the same obscure name and the same quirky traits, which can only mean... we share the same mother, hence we are sisters. You follow?

Introducing three of my Favorite THINGS!

Mr. 7 Hands  
I swear, this is one of those revolutionary tools that will reside in your kitchen drawer, and you will wonder how you lived without it.  Mr. Man and I fight over this tool, because he likes it  in the garage, and I like it in the house.  It has 7 different screwdriver heads and is the perfect tool for house projects or changing the batteries in the kids most obnoxious toy.  This is my favorite gift to give to people, and while they aren't that enthused on opening it, they always come to me a few weeks later and say, "Mr. 7 Hands is GENIUS, Genuis I tell you."

Nexcare Bandaids
Bandaids?  I know... but unfortunately, I don't have Oprah's fat wallet.  Seriously, these are the world's best bandaids. They stick like nothing else, stay on forever, and help things heal up.   Poor Mr. Boy has Eczema and itches his legs until they bleed.  They are waterproof and create a "seal" around the cut.  LOVE them.

$25 Amazon Gift Card
Oh how I love  My Prime membership has given me the freedom to become a serious homebody.  I haven't visited Costco in months, since I order most of the non-perishables from Amazon, and who doesn't love the smiley faced boxes.  I order everything under the sun from there.  Last week I ordered two "paint your own mugs" for the soccer coaches, Ballet Tights for AK, and a foam wreath for an upcoming project without having to leave my house. With $25, you'll get free shipping on your purchase... maybe you can buy my some of my other favorites, which may or may not be featured on my other giveaway. 
Such as GoGoSqueez applesauce, which has helped immensely in the lunchtime battle of eating healthy.  Or maybe you can buy another Mr. 7 Hands for your loved one.  The possibilities are endless.

To enter the contest, all you have to do is leave a comment in the post below.  You can tell me your favorite things, tell me why you love me, or just say, "Winning!".  To receive an additional entry, you can share this giveaway on Facebook, just leave me a comment below that says you shared it on Facebook.

You have until Friday, November 11, 2011 at 11:59pm.  Winner will be picked via and will have 48 hours to respond.  Winner will be announced Monday, November 14th, 2011.

*Disclaimer: I recieved zero compensation for this post and zero donations of the items featured on this giveaway, hence the small retail value of the items.*

Friday, November 04, 2011

15 Things on my Bucket List

If there is one thing I have learned this year it is that life is short. I've always hesitated to create a bucket list, because I love list, but I can't relax until my list is complete.  

However, I'm a fan of the folks at JustAsk, who created the Gene Testing for Breast and Ovarian Cancer, and when they came up with their Bucket List contest, I knew I had to do this. Plus, just 15 things on my bucket list, that's easy enough.  I think if I did my entire list it would 4,00 items long.

1.  Paris - spend some time in Paris, eating, drinking, shopping, and lounging with Mr. Man
2.  Go on an African safari.
3.  Compete in a Triathlon
4.  Learn to make mitre cuts in wood for moldings.
5. Go on the Ultimate Girls Weekend, I'm not sure the destination, but I think passports would be needed. 
6. Get published.
7.  Take my kids on an International Trip (They keep asking for Christmas in Tokoyo!)
8.  Learn to Ski, or attempt to try it one more time.
9.  Learn to bake really good cinnamon rolls. 
10.  Run a half marathon every five years until I'm 80.
11. Host a fancy dinner to thank my friends for being so awesome in the hills behind my house.
12.  Own a diamond necklace worthy of passing down to AK
13.  Teach my children to love traveling.
14.  Shop on Rodeo Drive
15.  Paris - with my children

 So tell me, what are 3 things on your bucket list? 

This is my entry in the Just Ask Bucket List Getaway Giveaway. Just Ask offers a breast and ovarian cancer screening and is encouraging people to share 15 things that I want to enjoy in my lifetime as a reminder to be aware of my health. Want to enter? Head over to to get the details.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

21st Century Digital Boy

Do you know what I love most about the 21st century? 
I love that on any given 21st Century evening, you can be talking to your favorite 8 year old about his favorite topic: Mummies.  Specifically King Tutankhamun and when you get stumped, you can just  face time your favorite Egyptologist from the comfort of your own home, while wearing footie Pajamas, and making your Bionicles wrestle. That is exactly what we did tonight, and I learned in the process, that my mother, just like me, makes up a bunch of stuff when she doesn't know the answer to kids incessant questions. 

Apparently, Howard Carter, the man who discovered King Tut's tomb did not die a tragic death when a piano fell on him, nor did King Tut have hydrocephalus.  I'm beginning to wonder what else I was taught that was purely fiction.  I guess, like mother, like daughter.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Left my Heart in San Francisco

During our glorious Super Mega Ultimate Summer, we took a road trip to visit my brother and his family in San Francisco.   My kids are great travelers, all they need is The Three Stooges on the DVD player.  They giggled and laughed for six hours.
While there, we hit Stinson Beach.  My kids were in heaven...
my kids were awed by the idea that this beach has shark infested waters.
They loved playing frisbee with my brother, who I love and adore, even if he calls me "Twinkiehead"
AK got a mini surf lesson, and she loved it.
Nate found some Jellyfish that didn't sting.
And AK fell in love with boogie boarding.
We also drove down Lombard street like all the tourist do, but Miss AK rolled down her window and asked, "Pardon me, but do you have any Grey Poupon?" to all the tourists.  We laughed and laughed, it was hilarious, that joke NEVER gets old.
We visited China Town

And we visited a fortune cookie factory that was a total tourist trap.   AK got a double fortune in her cookie, which apparently means double the good luck.  Mr. Boy calls them "Future cookies" and it makes me giggle every time. 
Mr. Boy and AK love being in San Francisco, and so do I.  My brother is so good to me, and I love spending time with his cute little family.  
I'm craving the lazy days of the Super Ultimate Summer... anyone else?