Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Noah McAllister.

We are proud to announce that we have a new family member.   
His name is Noah McAllister and he is a Betta fish.

For about 6 months now, C has been telling us that he wanted a fish and we have been telling him that he could have one for his birthday.  So, yesterday afternoon, we set off for "town" to adopt our new friend.  C picked out a bowl, some pebbles, and a cheesy "rock" for Noah and we now have a fish friend who has to be moved from room to room so that he doesn't miss out on any of the action.  In fact, he's here watching me type right now.  : )

I have to say, for the record, that I'm probably more of a fish person than a dog person.  I like to watch them float.  I appreciate their laid-back nature.  I especially like that they don't bark or shed.  I hope that Noah lives a long and happy life in his happy little bowl.
In other birthday news, C took cupcakes to school yesterday which was exciting because it was the first time that he has been able to do so.  Having a summer birthday can be a drag that way, but being in summer school provided a great opportunity for taking Star Wars cupcakes with navy blue frosting.  I was worried that the other parents would hunt me down in car line for "frosting crimes," but as I watched the children coming out of their classroom yesterday afternoon, they looked no more grungy (or covered in snack) than normal.

Anyway, C said that it was the best birthday ever because his friends sang to him and kept thanking him for the cupcakes.  He was so happy. 

And that lasted for about 10 minutes.  For the rest of the 30 minute drive to town there was much whining.  Do they ever stop whining?  Please, someone, tell me that this is a phase and not just my particular child's personality.  You can lie if you have to!!!  Nothing makes me sadder and madder than a whiny child--especially when you are on your way to do something nice for the whiner.

Okay.  So we got to town and decided to go to the nature center to walk the trail.  Um, proper shoe attire for this type of activity is recommended.  Flip flops are not proper shoe attire.  But in an effort to stop the whine, I did it.  And it was all worth it when we saw a deer taking a bath in a small pond and a turtle sunning itself on a log.  Nature provided a moment of harmony that somehow erased all of the strife that had occurred earlier.

And then we had to hike half a mile uphill to get back to our car and, you guessed it, the whining returned.
All in all, I think that C had a good birthday.  I hope that he had a good birthday.  We are having a family party on Saturday and I have a lot to do between now and then so I had better get going.  Noah says that he's not great at loading the dishwasher or vacuuming, but has some experience with dusting.  Long live Noah McAllister!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Six years ago...

c's first birthday (2006)
happy birthday to you
happy birthday to you.
happy birthday, dear c.
happy birthday to you.

six years ago today, our sweet, crazy, loud, silly, handsome boy was born.
i'm not sure that i've had a full night of rest since.
he drives me crazy at least 734 times each day.
but he makes me laugh at least 735.

i love him so, so much.
and i'm proud of him.
and, while i'm in no hurry for him to grow up, i can't wait to see what he is like as an adult.

i just can't believe that this neat little big boy is my boy.

happy birthday sweet c!!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

My To-Do List.

It's a dark and gloomy morning here in small town Missouri.  Strange sounds are coming from the refrigerator and a sudden gust of wind has startled the dogs.  My coffee cup sits empty, but I can't move.  I am paralyzed.  Paralyzed by fear

The fear of............................................................................My To-Do list.  {Dun Dun Dun Dun}

Okay.  It's not really that bad.  I just need to completely clean and decorate my house, prep three weeks of my summer course, plan meaningful birthday treats for C, buy groceries, clean out my car, clean out the garage, finish gifts, grade 40 papers, compute midterm grades, work out, color my hair, give myself a pedicure, mow the yard, pack for a trip, send a long over-due email, call a friend, pay bills, clean the oven...

It's going to be a busy week, no doubt about it. 
I am exhausted just thinking about it.

But, as J's sweet Grandpa used to say:  "Nothing to it, but to do it."

So off I go!  Have a great Monday...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Gratitude.

Hello. Today, I thought it would be nice to share some words of gratitude. I know that I may seem to grumble on an on at times and I can certainly appear pretty pessimistic, but I am grateful for so many things.
One of the things that I have really enjoyed lately is sitting out in our front yard, watching C run through the sprinklers, draw on our driveway with sidewalk chalk, or play in his little swimming pool.  Usually at this point in the year, we have super hot and humid days that make you run for the air conditioning, but we've lucked out and had some really lovely weather over the last few weeks.
Another thing for which I am grateful is C's summer school program.  C will start kindergarten in August and our school system has offered a "Kinder Prep Academy" this summer.  I'll admit, I have really enjoyed the large chunks of free time, but I what I appreciate even more is the fact that he has had a great time.  I think that most parents worry about their children's first exposure to "real" school, but C has really benefited from and enjoyed this summer program.
Finally, I'm thankful for the fact that we are days away from the end of June and that means it's almost pay day!  Now before you think I'm just being greedy, let me explain.   I don't receive a paycheck in the month of June and that's a big hardship for our little family.   We worked really hard to stick to our (very-stripped-down) budget this month (with few exceptions) and it feels good to be closing in on the finish line.  J feels like he's going to turn into a tuna fish sandwich and I am almost tired of peanut butter--something that I never thought could happen!

So, there you have it!  A little Sunday gratitude.  I hope that you all have a good day. 

P.S.  Wish us luck because I think C is about to lose his first tooth.  There is blood and he's a bit freaked out!!! 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Week-End Bookmarks.

I don't know about you, but in any given day, I see about a thousand different blog posts that make me yell with excitement (or at least mutter "wow" to myself so that my husband won't think I'm insane). I always bookmark these posts and then quickly forget about them. I know that a lot of people have started using Pinterest to store ideas, but I seem to get sucked into that site and before I know it, I've saved a gazillion different pictures. And then I quickly forget about them. So....

I have decided that, every weekend, I'm going to highlight a few of my favorite finds from the week. Hopefully, this will serve as a handy reference rather than something that I quickly forget about. : )

So to kick off the weekend, here are a few of the great things I've found this week:

#1: Lindsey's awesome art project makes me want to rush out to the store to buy a canvas and a million happy little paints (or at least a dozen):

#2: Sarah talked about the importance of being present for our children and, as usual, her post was a great reminder for me this week.  At least three times a week, she writes something that stops me in my tracks and makes me rethink everything I ever thought I knew about parenting.  She began this post with a great quote:  "They may forget what you said, but they never forget how you made them feel."  --Carl Buechner

#3:  Meg's picture reminded me of how much I love sunflowers: 

#4:  Andrea at Knitty Bitties shared some great thoughts on living intentionally.  I especially liked her advice on ways to manage a home-based business.  She is SUPER organized, just like me (hahahahahah)!!!

A couple of non-blog things that caught my eye this week:
I received my July/August edition of  Country Living today and it features Sarah Richardson's lake house.  I love, love, love the kitchen: 
and the dining room:
and this little sitting area:
 I think I love Sarah Richardson!
Ralph Lauren Hampton Dessert Plates are a totally adorable way to celebrate the Fourth of July (though I would definitely replace that silly kiwi with a giant slice of apple pie & some vanilla ice cream. 

Have a great weekend!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Baby Blues.

Hello all!  "Better late than never" seems to be my theme today...

You'll never believe it, but I actually got some sewing done this week!  My cousin had a baby boy a couple of weeks ago so I decided that I would try to make some burp pads and a bib for the new bundle. 

It was fun to try out something new, but I realized while working on this bib that most of the sewing I have done has been straight lines.  This little guy threw me some curves!

Now, if I can just get these packaged up and sent on their way before the baby's first birthday, I'll feel like a success!  : )

And because I had a special request from a certain soon-to-be-6-year-old, I attempted a little plush pet.  Meet Arnie the Arachnid... 

Not my best work!  Looks like I could use some practice with stuffed animals. : )

Have a great weekend...

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Tuesday after school, C and I went to visit our friends at their blueberry farm.  Until I met this family, I didn't even know that blueberries grew in Missouri.  Strawberries, yes.  Blackberries, yes.  But blueberries?  Huh.

Lord help me, I have been missing out!  You know when you eat a blueberry muffin and you think, "Hmm, not bad?"  Well...fresh blueberries are more of a "Holy cow!  These are awesome!" experience.

Now, it might have had something to do with eating them straight off the bush, under the beautiful blue sky as puffy white clouds floated by.  But I've found that a little bowlful, eaten at my kitchen table tastes pretty awesome, too.

It was a lovely afternoon and as I drove C to school the next day he asked, "Can we go to M's house again today?" 

Alas, he's stuck with just mom for the rest of the week.  How can I compete with blueberry patches, super long snake skins, climbing trees, weeping willow tree/light saber battles, and blueberry parties in a treehouse?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Technical Difficulties.

This is my second post today and it's not because I'm productive.  I have a picture to add to the other post I wrote (and you know how great my pictures are-Ha!), but I can't seem to get it to load.  Is anyone else having this problem?

Perhaps it's just not my day for technology!  I just got off the phone with our credit card company.  They left a message for me yesterday with questions about our account and it turns out that someone has been using our credit card to purchase things online.  El stinko!

Apparently this person used our credit card to purchase Greek apparel.  I couldn't figure out what that might mean.  Flow-y white shirts?  Gold jewelry?  I was trying to remember what the characters wore in the Greek scenes from Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

Turns out (after a quick internet search) that the "Greek" apparel probably included a whole lot of tshirts and sweatpants of the sorority or fraternity house variety.

Yay for fraud divisions!  Boo for online (probably college kid) thieves!!!

Yay for ordering my husband's father's day gift online with our credit card rather than our debit card!  Boo for affidavits and canceled accounts! 

I'll admit.  I laughed a little.  Of all the credit card accounts in the world to steal from, our little thief was unlucky enough to pick us.  I like to imagine how upset she was when she realized that our credit line was so small that she couldn't even buy hairbows or flip flops to match her awesome new tshirts! 

Craziness all around!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


It may surprise you to know that this post (this one right here) is my 100th post on this blog.  That's a lot of rambling and not-so-hot photographs, isn't it?  Lately, I've been trying to figure out what direction to take with this blog. 

Should it be more crafty?  Should I focus on decorating? 

Should it be the manifesto of a slightly crazy work-at-home-mom who could stand to lose some significant poundage?

Should I just come clean and tell you that "our happy little home" isn't always happy and that my husband and son frequently drive me crazy (though I'm sure they never tire of me!) and that I have a dog that makes me scream (and contemplate homicide) at least 12 times each day and that I have no idea where my life is headed? 

I used to think that I wanted to sell my crafts online and that a blog would be a good way to connect with people as part of that goal.  I felt like I wanted this blog to focus on only the pretty and the happy parts of my life. 

But more and more lately, I just want to talk about bits of everyday life like...
  • how great it is to sit outside and watch my son run through the sprinklers.
  • how frustrating it can be to parent a six-year-old boy.
  • how I can't wait to see my first lightening bugs of the summer.
  • how tired I am of being so broke all the time
  • how proud I am that we have (mostly) stuck to our budget this month.
  • how I really need to find another job when my son goes to kindergarten this fall
  • how I really don't want to find another job when my son goes to kindergarten this fall.
  • how I feel like I am constantly struggling to find a balance between happy and crazy.
  • how I still struggle with what the heck to make for dinner each and every single night!
  • how I am just trying to figure out what on earth I should be doing with my life...
You know.  That kind of stuff.  The chunky and the smooth.  With a sprinkle of crafting and a dash of decorating. 

What do you think?  Should I just stick to the pretty and happy or is reality okay too?

Monday, June 20, 2011


Hello there!  Sorry that I went missing last week.  I'd like to say that I was busy getting things done, but I honestly don't know where the week went.  I do know that I spent a lot of time trying to find a blog design (again) that I can stand for more than a day (again) and I'm still dissatisfied (again), but I am determined not to change a thing for at least a week (again).  

While playing around with my blog design, I decided to add a quote under my Blog title.  I thought it would be nice to find something about the concept of home.  Here are some examples of what you will find if you search the term "home" at
  • Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do... but how much love we put in that action. --Mother Teresa
  • Decorate your home. It gives the illusion that your life is more interesting than it really is. --Charles M. Schulz
  • Television has brought back murder into the home - where it belongs.  --Alfred Hitchcock
  • Most children threaten at times to run away from home. This is the only thing that keeps some parents going.   --Phyllis Diller
  • A man would prefer to come home to an unmade bed and a happy woman than to a neatly made bed and an angry woman.   --Marlene Dietrich
  • Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.   --Twyla Tharp
  • Well, they're Southern people, and if they know you are working at home they think nothing of walking right in for coffee. But they wouldn't dream of interrupting you at golf.   --Harper Lee
  • At every party there are two kinds of people - those who want to go home and those who don't. The trouble is, they are usually married to each other.   --Ann Landers
I love being at home.
I really love being at home with my family.

But I'll be honest--I really, really love being at home alone
Ah, the freedom!  The puttering!   The not-having-to-help-someone-find-something-every-two-minutes!!!  Am I the only one who feels this way?

Be it ever so humble, there is no place like home and I am off to enjoy another cup of coffee, a few yards of fabric, and some silience.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, June 13, 2011

New-ish Curtains.

I think I mentioned that we painted our living room a couple of months ago.  It went from a pale yellow to a warm tan (Sherwin Williams Ecru).  After we had painted, I had my helper (aka Dad) assist me in raising our curtain rods (i.e., I made him do it all by himself while I supervised!) by about three inches or so.  This little change made a big difference in the room (Thanks, Dad!) meant that my curtains looked like they were ready for a big flood.

I decided to add length with a pretty floral fabric band at the top...

...but I quickly tired of my "circus curtains."

I would love to have new curtains, perhaps a little something like these...
...but I'm working hard to make do with what I have.  With that in mind, here is my second alteration attempt this month.  I used my old curtains and some pretty fabric purchased over two years ago:

I think that I can live with these for awhile. 
I hope?

I'm so ready to move on to a new project...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Week in Review.

Okay, so here's the deal.  I've been trying to come up with an exciting post for two days now, but I've got _________.  (nothing)

Don't get me wrong.  Things are happening around here.  Big important things like...
  • C finishing up his first week of summer school!  He likes it.  He really likes it.  He's been tired and slightly confused by the school lunches, but I haven't had to yell at him and/or coerce in order to get him ready for school every day and that says a lot!  I'm so glad that he seems to enjoy it and I'm praying that this trend continues.
  • I've been enjoying my large chunks of free time, though I have a confession:  I don't quite know what to do with myself.  I mess around with little things (working a bit, checking email, doing laundry, etc.) when I should be tackling big projects.  I'm just not used to this new schedule yet.  Yesterday I sat down and created a routine for myself, but so far today I have completely ignored it.  Would you like to know why?  Because I made exercise the first item on my agenda and I have never, ever been able to workout first thing in the morning.  That's why.
  • You'll be happy to know that I have kept my commitment to exercise every day (so far) this week.  I worked out with Leslie on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and yesterday--for a change of pace--I walked outside.  Today I may mow the front yard.  I am not fit or perky yet, but I'm sticking with it.   The thing is:  I don't really feel motivated to work out until about 11AM.  Perhaps I'm lazy.  Perhaps I just have to wait for the caffeine to kick in.  For whatever reason, this seems to be when I'm getting it done. 
  • Working out at 11AM is inconvenient.  Perhaps as I get used to doing it everyday my workout mojo will move to an earlier time slot?  We'll see.
  • What else?  Summer school started and it seems to be going well so far.
  • I started cleaning out our garage yesterday.  Exciting, isn't it?
So now you see why I haven't posted in a few days.  We're just busy finding our new rhythm--a rhythm that will change again in three weeks when summer school ends for C.  I've got a lot of interesting things to mark off of my to-do list before that happens so wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Apples, and Cupcakes, and Owls! Oh My!

I've been playing with paper again!  I thought that I would show you what I have made and link up to Today's Creative Blog for Get Your Craft On Tuesday!

First up, the end-of-year gifts that I gave to C's preschool teachers...

Next, a cupcake commissioned by a sweet friend...

And finally--because I'm not ALL about food--a sweet little owl that is going to live in C's room...

Each of these "pictures" was made using a combination of scrapbook paper and paint chips!  So much fun!

Please take a few minutes, go over to Today's Creative Blog and check out all of the wonderful crafts!  Have a great day!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Six Random Thoughts.

Can walking with Leslie make me this fit and perky by the end of June?
Stay tuned to find out...
Awhile back, I was reading a lovely blog in which the author had posted 12 thoughts as part of a "12 on the 12th" series and I thought that I would borrow this idea, but, because I'm me (read frequently disorganized and slightly crazy ), I thought that I should stick with six on the 6th.  So, here goes:
  1. C began "Kindergarten Prep Academy" today and, unlike many of the other parents there who had dressed-up kids and cameras ready, I'm refusing to think of this as the actual beginning of kindergarten.  It's just summer school.  Right?  This morning C announced that it's "like a preview for kindergarten" andI think he's right.   I really hope that he loves it!
  2. For the last 2 1/2 years, I have been picking C up from preschool at 11:30 AM.  It's currently 11:21 and I'm fighting the urge to search for my car keys and jump into my car to go get him.  I can't wait to hear about his day.
  3. Because I'm now a lady of leisure, I feel like I no longer have any excuses when it comes to exercise.  I had planned to go to the park to walk each morning after dropping off C, but after experiencing the reality of extreme sweating while standing in line this morning at drop off, I have revised my plan to include air conditioning and Leslie Sansone videos in the comfort of my own home.  I'll let you know how it goes.
  4. I'm not actually a lady of leisure because my summer classes start today.  That's about all I have to say on that topic.  : (
  5. I seem to be on a clean laundry and dishes strike lately.  Who really needs wash cloths and plates anyway?
  6. I was just watching an old House Hunters episode featuring a woman from Sweden and thinking "Why can't I be a tall, skinny gorgeous woman from Sweden?"  And then she mentioned eating anchovies and pickled herring and I realized that being a short, squatty woman from Missouri is probably not so bad after all.  At least that's what I'm telling myself.  Short, squatty, wearing dirty clothes, and eating off of a paper towel, however, might be taking it a little too far and so I'm off to attack my list of chores! 

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Do you ever have those Saturdays...

...when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed?
...way too early? go to an activity that is more of a chore than a pleasure?

And you try to see the pleasure in the simple things... the clear blue skies...
...the dew on the grass...
...the healthy children chasing a ball up and down a field just for fun...

But mostly you focus on the negative things... a boy who refused to eat breakfast before the game... the fact that it is 90 degrees at 8:00 AM... the grumpiness that sets in (and decides to stay awhile) when you are running late and no one else seems to care...

It's been one of those days.

Here's hoping that tomorrow will be better!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Favorite Appetizer: Warm Bacon Cheese Spread

I got this recipe from a friend I once worked with, but it looks like it is originally from Taste of Home.
Who knew?  Here's the link:
Today is "Show Us Your Life" day over at Kelly's Korner.  For the last few weeks, she's been focusing on recipes (e.g., main dishes, desserts, etc.) and I've found so many that I want to try!
This week the focus is on Appetizers and my favorite of all time is Warm Bacon Cheese Spread.  This might be better suited for fall and winter get-togethers rather than 90-degree summer BBQs, but it's just so good that I have to share.  So here goes:

  • 1 round loaf of sourdough bread
  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 2 cups mild cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped

  1. Cut the top off of the loaf of bread and carefully hollow out the bottom, leaving a one-inch shell.
  2. Cut the bread that you have removed into cubes and set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese.  Add the sour cream, cheddar cheese, and Worcestershire sauce until combined.
  4. Stir in the bacon and onions.
  5. Spoon into the bread shell.
  6. Wrap in a piece of foil and bake at 325 degrees for one hour (or until heated through).
  7. Serve with bread cubes, veggies, and crackers.
It seems like we have also made this in a small crock-pot rather than baking it in the bread bowl, but I'm not 100% sure on that one!  My memory is not to be trusted. 

Okay.  I'm officially hungry now! 

Have a great weekend!

I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I've been Featured!

Well, my goodness!  What a sweet thing to be featured by Brenda on her lovely blog Cozy Little House.  Imagine my surprise when, taking a break from dusting, I logged onto my blog and found all the sweet comments and new followers!  You all have made my day {week, month, year...}

I must confess that the lovely yard that Brenda featured is not actually mine.  It belongs to La Caille, a beautiful restaurant in Sandy, Utah.  Alas, my own yard features flowers in serious need of pruning and two dogs that refuse to stop barking today.  Certainly not perfect, but full of potential. 

Nothing about my yard, home, or life is perfect, but I have lots of ideas (and several yard sale finds that are ready for some sprucing) so I would love it it you'll check back in when you have a chance.

Have a great day!