Tuesday, November 6, 2012

hostess gifts.

Hostess gifts rock.  Both to give and to receive.   It is just a sweet idea to bring a small gift to your hostess if you are invited for a meal - or for the weekend.  It says in a soft sweet way "I appreciate all the preparations you have made for us."

This past weekend we were blessed to have Abby bring some of her Minneapolis friends home to spend the weekend.   I was reminded of the sweetness of a hostess gift when I was gifted by our darling house guests.  Emily gifted me with her newest note cards, which she designed for Back In The Day Bakery - and a tea towel she designed for the same.  My favorite part is the label which reads "Emily Isabella Designs".  Lisa gifted me with her favorite gardening tool, which I am ecstatic about! A garden knife / scoop with a serrated edge that I can tell is sturdy as the day is long.

Giving a "favorite thing" or something you made is a great place to start.   For favorite thing - think "Oprah's Favorites".  Gift something that you would heartily recommend or do not feel you could live without.  The handmade or genuinely-love-this-myself gifts will give them a personal and loving flavor... and isn't that what gifts are about?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

the switch witch.

These young boys are carefully going through their Halloween candy.  They are picking out 5 pieces to keep.  The rest are being set out tonight (the night after Halloween) for the Switch Witch. She comes to trade little boys (and girls) a present for their candy!

Word has it that these two darling boys, Reed and Weston Vanderhill of Dallas, Texas are excited to have their candy packed up - and ready and eager to see what the Switch Witch will bring in the morning!

I am wishing that I still had little ones at home to start with grand tradition.  Hoping all my grand kiddies get to do it.

A big thank you to Winsor Vanderhill for sharing her idea with Mother Rabbit!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

a brief suggestion.

Yes, you are looking at a pair of my panties. (Mike just walked in and said "I hope this is on your blog...")  More specifically, you are looking at a pair of Target's Gilligan & O'Malley lace hipsters.  These are the #1 selling pantie --- and for good reason.  They are comfy, they don't ride up, and they are reasonably priced.  Plus you feel kind of fancy in them.

Daughter Abby took a brief sabbatical from designing Cherokee Toddler Girls clothing at Target headquarters in Minneapolis to do some design work in Women's Sleepwear & Intimates.  She is the one who turned me on to these.

So if you are in the market for some fancy pants, head to the Gilligan & O'Malley pantie bins at Target - third row down.  Please also check out the new Gilligan & O'Malley Bralettes as well.  Oh la la.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

fill the frame.

Move in and fill the frame with whatever precious thing you are photographing.  It is a simple technique: GET CLOSER.  Find yourself some beautiful natural window light and fill the frame.

If you are looking for more tips to becoming an even better photographer, may I recommend Nick Kelsh's web site HowToPhotographYourLife.com.  Sign up for his daily photo tips.

If you are thinking that this post was an excuse for me to feature my enchanting granddaughters Charlotte and Eleanor... you would be absolutely right.

lawn scoops.

Get your eyes off my darling husband for a minute and check out the cool "lawn scoops" I found at a small town hardware store.  They look like a combination garbage can lid and fork - with handles that give them the power of a giant mitt.  I thought they looked ingenious when I saw them and Mike proved that they really work.  Raking leaves is one thing.  Transporting the raked leaves to the pickup or trash container is another thing.  I am thinking these might be the new rage.  You heard it here first.

the wonder toaster.

One of the benefits of moving is the opportunity clear out stuff that you no longer want to live with.  When we were packing up our kitchen this past summer, I picked up our old toaster and tossed it into the garbage can instead of into the moving box.  It still worked... but barely.  And it made a tingy-chinky sound every time you touched it and seemed to shout that it was the lowest budget toaster in the world.  I pronounced that this toaster was not nice enough for our beautiful new kitchen.
The problem was it was time consuming to make toast on the broiler setting of our range.   So I went on a search for the perfect toaster - and found it!  May I introduce and recommend the BREVILLE toaster.  It has bells and whistles that you didn't know you could live without!  I bought it at Williams Sonoma (but I am sure you can find it other places) and this was the 'lower end' model in the store.  'A Bit More' and 'Lift and Look' are two of my favorite buttons.
If you are interested in some serious toasting pleasure, check out the BREVILLE.  I give you permission to throw your toaster away even if you are not moving.

hair management.

Speaking of growing older, I am quite amazed by how much thought and energy it takes to keep hair in the right places.  We all know that a great haircut is a true treasure and worth traveling the world to find.  (I guess I should be embarrassed to mention that one of the reasons I love going to Dallas is to have Jean Philippe cut my hair as only he can.)

Girls, young & old alike, learn the benefits of lip and eyebrow waxing out of necessity.  And lucky girls of all ages know the wonders of a bikini wax.  I even had my underarms waxed once or twice which I considered a real luxury.  But did you know this? ---  You can have your nose hairs waxed.  Yes.  A couple weeks ago when I was getting my eyebrows waxed I mentioned to Angie my waxer that I would rush home and take care of the nose hairs that were certainly protruding. And then she said it --- "I can wax it for you." 

And may I say it is one of my new favorite things? It was quick and much less painful than the tweezers method.  And inexpensive.  She applies the warm wax just inside the nostril, one at a time. The result feels smooth and clean, and my nose seemed to even work better which might have been my imagination.  None the less, I will add this one to my waxing regimen.

And while you are grooming, don't forget to shave the hairs that show up on your toes. (Someone had to say it.)

it's my birthday and i'll blog if i want to.

Today Mother Rabbit turned 54.  Did you think I was much younger??  (I am laughing.)  When someone would ask me what I was doing for my birthday I replied with "I hope to spend some time blogging."

Let the fun begin...

Friday, September 21, 2012

hand pressing.

Hand Pressing is a technique that Mother Rabbit (and oodles of other smart women) do to remove wrinkles from hand washed or delicate cycle items.  For all of my "special" sweaters and clothing items, I lightly fluff the items in the dryer on the lowest, lowest heat for just 5-10 minutes. (Always set the timer or you will forget!)  Then I remove them lightly damp and lay them flat in table tops or sofa backs that have been covered with a clean white bath towel.

Here is the "hand pressing" part: Using your hand like it was an iron, gentle press out any wrinkles. It really works like magic and it rather fun.  Smooth and "press out" the knits until they look like they have just been pressed.  Then let them dry naturally.

Mother Rabbit does not like dry cleaning, both for the "smell" and the added cost. My front loading Neptune washer is gentle on clothing and has both a "hand wash" and "delicate" cycle.  What is hard on your delicate items is the dryer.  A gentle wash cycle + a light fluff with a dryer sheet + hand pressing + natural drying = clothing that looks nice longer.

baby nails.

It is true.  Many of my posts are going to be related to babies now... because that is what grandmas do.

Clipping a tiny baby's fingernails is a scary thing.  That is why I was all ears when I heard the nurses at the hospital mention "filing" them instead.  Grandma Bunny would like to add that the fancy glass files work especially well.  I am always amazed that the clear glass files even work whenever I use them - but they do.  And they seem to be even gentler on baby girl's tiny nails... and that is what matters.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

capture it.

When you are fortunate enough to have a newborn in your presence, make sure to photograph the "womb position"... that magical way that the baby's legs fold right up into the same place they have been for many months.  It is remarkable. And every baby "folds up" a little differently. 

Don't tarry with this photo though.  Before you know it, their little legs don't spring back anymore... and it means your baby is growing up at lightning speed.

Isn't Charlotte Grace enchanting? She is perfect in every way.

the little scraper.

One of the handiest items in any kitchen is the little scraper - and I hope you have one. It is a tiny piece of hard plastic that is your best defense against baked on food. How do you survive without one if people in your kitchen make scrambled eggs?

I got my first little scraper from an insurance agency as a handy give-away advertisement. I have since seen them for sale at specialty kitchen stores for about $1.99.

Whatever you are cooking, baking or frying I recommend putting the dish or pan in the sink to soak as soon as you are finished with it. Even then, some things still stick. That is when the little scraper comes to the rescue. There is nothing that the little scraper, followed by some Bonami powdered cleanser, cannot clean. Note: I like the little scraper better than a brillo-type pad because I get creeped out by the way the food sticks on and into the pad.

This is also a fun little "treat" to stick inside a birthday card.

Friday, June 29, 2012

my daddy.

Two years ago on June 30th we put my daddy in the hospital for the last time.  Instead of coming home, he went Home on July 2, 2010.  I adored my dad and he continues to live large in my life.  I tell myself I want to learn all the things my daddy taught me and strive to be more like him.  This will keep me busy until I meet up with him in eternity again one day.

I keep this photo of my daddy on my desk.  When I made this photo panel, and put things I always heard him say in each corner.  Now when I look at it, it calms me and guides me.

Thy Will Be Done.

Keep It Simple.

First Things First.

One Day at a Time.

At this particular juncture of my life we are moving, anticipating a new baby and having a wedding - all within the next 7 weeks.  Believe me, I need my dad's counsel right now and am thankful he is still helping me.

If you would like, please enjoy this 10 minute video dad made for us just weeks before he went Home. He was truly one of a kind.

beware of flat rate boxes.

You have heard me say a jillion times that I am a huge fan of the USPS Priority Mail Boxes.  The envelopes and boxes are "free" with a mailing - and you can take a supply home to keep in your office.  You can even order specialty sizes from usps.com and they will deliver them to your door.

But buyer beware.  Be careful which boxes you choose! DO NOT use a flat-rate box if you are not mailing something HEAVY because you are being charged a "flat-rate" no matter what you put in the box.  For example, my sister just sent me three rather small bottles of my favorite Mary Kay eye makeup remover. She put them in the above "large flat rate" priority mail box.  Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. It cost her a "flat-rate" of $15.45 to mail this lightweight package.  If she would have used the flat-rate ENVELOPE it would have cost her $5.15!  If she would have used a regular non-flat-rate box, I am guessing she would have paid about $7.

The bottom line is:

ONLY use the flat-rate boxes if you are mailing a stack of books or jars of jelly.

Whenever possible, see if what you are mailing fits in the Flat-rate ENVELOPE because you can mail anything you can fit inside of it for $5.15.  And it does not have to stay "flat". It can be as bumpy or lumpy as you want, and long as you can get it sealed.

Make it a priority to make thoughtful decisions next time you are mailing a package at the USPS.

Friday, May 11, 2012

must-have gloves.

Find yourself a hardware store and treat yourself to what will be your favorite gardening gloves!  These new "Muddy Mate" gloves by Boss are amazing.  They give you gripping power and dexterity all while keeping the dirt out! I have never had gloves perform like this.

And for the record, what new grandma could refuse the cherry tomatoes named "sweet baby girl"!

 Mother Rabbit says: Even if it is a pot on your porch - PLANT SOMETHING.  It is a unique pleasure to plant a tiny seed and then watch it grow.  Happy Gardening!

Friday, April 20, 2012

purse wipes.

Mother Rabbit is a big fan of flushable wipes.  Mother Rabbit appreciates clean things and one of my mantras is "have wipes, will travel".  I purchase this particular purse-size version in the travel-size aisle at Target for $1.   Besides the obvious, I enjoy using them to wipe off my hands after pushing a shopping cart or maneuvering a public place.  Did you know that the germ-iest place on an airplane is the fold-down tray?  Not for me, because I always give it a quick wipe.  The purse wipes also come in handy when a spill happens.  Recently in a supermarket checkout lane the woman next to me dropped a container of sour-cream-looking-stuff on her sandal-ed foot.  Luckily, she was standing next to me.  She was profoundly grateful to have someone hand her a series of moist wipes, and before long she could exit the store gracefully.
I recommend seeing how handy you could be with your own set of traveling purse wipes.


Lululemon is an athletic wear company out of Canada that is all the rage.  When I started teaching the Ultimate Cardio class at Anytime Fitness in Oakland my girls told me that I needed some Lulu.  So on my last trip to Dallas I made my first Lululemon purchases and I am supposedly looking much more hip.  But the real scoop on what makes the Lululemon workout pants worth the extra $ is how they make your behind look.  (I do not feel like Mother Rabbit should say "butt" on her blog.)  I guess I passed that test because daughter #3 said "Mom, those look great on you... you don't have an old lady butt anymore."  I think that was a complement...

Anyway, my intention in sharing about Lulu was not so you could be tuned in to how much more shapely I might be looking at workout time, but because with every Lululemon purchase you receive a handy workout bag.  Not only that, but the bag is covered with verbiage that is worth repeating, and Mother Rabbit did want to share some of these wise words. Here are a few of my favorites:

SWEAT once a day to regenerate your skin.

BREATHE DEEPLY and appreciate the moment. 

Stress is related to 99% of all illness.

Your OUTLOOK ON LIFE is a direct reflection of how much you like yourself.

Friends are more important than money.


Waking up two days in a row uninspired? CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

Sunscreen absorbed into your skin might be worse than sunshine.  GET THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF SUNSHINE.

Do one thing a day that scares you.

Observe a plant before & after watering and relate these benefits to your body and brain.

Monday, March 19, 2012

biz wins.

Mother Rabbit had the privilege of doing some Grandma Bunny duty over the past month.  Lucky me.  I remembered when raising my little bunnies that Biz is what I depended on to remove baby poo stains as well as any food related 'situations'.  Now a days it seems to me that you see OxiClean in more prevalent spots in the marketplace for pre-soaking.

I am here to say that OxiClean does not work as well as Biz on breast fed diaper disasters. This is fresh research ladies.  I tried them both.  Only Biz lifted the stains on those darling little outfits. Biz wins for my baby girl... then and now.

a rested mother is a happy mother.

This is one of my mantras.  For mothers of all ages.  I feel compelled to say it again because I had the privilege of being with my daughter following the birth of her first daughter.  One of my most important tasks was to remind her of the classic advice for new mothers: Sleep when your baby sleeps.

Nothing helps one handle the stresses of life like a good night's sleep or a good nap. Period.

rub it out.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes your feet will ache in a certain spot? My suggestion: Spend some time massaging the area with your favorite lotion.  I keep a lovely smelling moisturizing lotion in the drawer of my nightstand for this very purpose.  As you know, our bodies were fearfully & wonderfully made in such a way that all the points in our feet connect to particular organs and body areas via the nervous system.  The study of this is called Reflexology and it is an amazing science.  While it would be fascinating to study this in detail, I am merely suggesting that you respect your feet and listen when they are talking to you. My feet "talk" to me most often when I am in bed, or should I clarify that is when I can "hear" them. 

I do not usually worry about what particular body part might be ailing when my feet ache in a particular area, I just concentrate on spending some time thoughtfully massaging the soreness.  Have you ever experienced how relaxing it is to rub your feet at night before tucking them under the covers? Try it. You'll like it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

my luggage scale.

One of the smartest little tools I ever purchased was a luggage scale.  I am not a "pack light" kind of girl.  I like to have the things I need and enjoy with me when I travel... so I have a wonderfully large suitcase. 

Tip #1:  Ideally, and whenever possible, I fly Southwest so I do not pay any luggage fees.

Tip #2: Whenever I fly (paying for luggage or not) I get my money's worth by taking the entire 50 lbs - without going over and paying the extra fees.  This is where the luggage scale comes in!  If by some fluke I still have some extra needed weight to hit the 50 (or 49.5) mark, I add a bottle of wine (wrapped in bubble wrap and plastic) or bottled water - both items that save $ on the other end.

Tip #3: I only buy luggage from LLBean because they stand behind their products.  I have had numerous pieces replaced, and that gets my vote.

it's a new day DAWN-ing.

I only use Dawn dish soap because nothing cuts the grease like Dawn.  It is, or was, hard on the hands, but have you tried the new Dawn with Olay?  My favorite is the Tropical Shea Butter scent.  This wonderful new product comes with a warning:  You are going to want to wash dishes at every possible opportunity.

out with the old, in with the new.

Have you located your favorite place to "recycle" items in your home and closet?  I just dropped off three bags of what has become not useful or beautiful to me anymore at my favorite spot.  The point is that the adage "one man's junk is another man's treasure" has much truth to it.   I can feel great clearly out stuff that has lost its value to me while thinking that someone out there in the world might really love to have it.  What a win-win situation.  And isn't it a huge treat when dresser drawers are not crammed full, and drawers look less hectic? 

I am also motivated to regularly clear out "stuff" because I put the money I get back in an envelope labeled JCrew.  It is fun to "splurge" on something special with my secret envelope.

Susan Branch says "Have nothing in your home that you do not believe to be beautiful or know to be useful."

Monday, February 13, 2012

my desk chair.

Yes.  I sit on an exercise ball at my desk.  Over in the corner I have a rather darling pink & white Pottery Barn desk chair, but it is not what I sit on when I have hours of computer time ahead of me.  I work with an amazing massage therapist at The Little House Day Spa.  I happened to mention to her some time ago that the only time I feel any serious pain is when I stand up after sitting at my computer for a long time.  That is when she recommended that I try sitting on an exercise ball.  The ball "chair" forces you to sit up straighter and you automatically hold your core muscles a little tighter.

I headed straight to a sporting goods store and purchased the size that related to the height of a desk chair (when my weight is on top of it.)  I noticed an immediate difference.  And I did not roll off the ball uncontrollably as I anticipated.  For whatever reason, this past week I started using my desk chair again... until the stiffness drove me back to my handy dandy ball.  Besides, it is fun having playground equipment in your office.