Thursday, December 19, 2013

Chalkboard rehabs... Christmas edition

I don't know if you realize this but I LOVE chalkboards... and chalkboard paint! I've been known to paint a wall or two turning them into gigantic chalkboards. Remember the dining room grocery/notes wall or the studio wall. OH, my word, I just discovered I have NEVER shown you all of the changes around here, for that I humbly apologize!! So I'll just have to show you sneak peaks of the studio makeover today because a big part of that room is the chalkboard wall... and I mean one GINORMOUS chalkboard wall!! However first I have to show you something...something I am so incredibly tickled about. 
Do you see this bullfighter?  Pretty spectacular, right?  ha ha!  Okay, I am sure it was lovely in someone's living room back in the day but well, let's just say it doesn't exactly match our decor.  However it was HUGE and the perfect price.. $1.25.  Yes, a whole whopping $1.25!  I know my husband was just sure when I had finally lost it when I showed it too him, especially since I was gushing about how great it was.  Okay, to be fair he only raised his eyebrows at me and then shrugged his shoulders.  He KNEW it was going to be fabulous when I got done with it.  

Well this charmer came  home with me and a few coats of chalkboard paint later...
and now her she is in all her glory!

This beauty is currently gracing the wall, just above the desk right inside the front door in the living room. But she has been known to move about quite a bit... so far she has been found in dining room, propped against the wall and the bookcase in the living room, and has even spent a bit of time in the family room. I just love the ability to change things up and having a chalkboard this size to play with makes me smile!  One of these days I will have to show you my collection of chalkboards.  They range from small to room size...

here's a sneak peak of the studio chalkboard

and the beginnings of the studio.  

Its come a long way since this picture but is currently unavailable for photography. ;-)

Have a wonderful day!
(yes i accidentally deleted my earlier post... we won't discuss how that happened.)

The lamp shade rehab... twine to the rescue.

As our nights lengthen and the days become more chilly, we begin to cocoon ourselves in cozy, comfortable surroundings.  The blankets and throws make their appearances, sweaters and warm woolen socks begin to make their appearance.  However the one thing that we noticed in our home was that come nightfall it was dark.  I know you are thinking, well, duh... its dark outside, the sun has gone down.  ha ha!  I know, I know... but it wasn't the darkness outside but the darkness within the walls of our home.  Within our living room to be more specific.  A room with ZERO ceiling fixtures.  Seriously, it just leaves me scratching my head wondering why in the world this house was built with no ceiling fixtures in the living room.  So we use two table lamps and a floor lamp... met my lamp shade.

Nice shape but kinda dated looking... and stained, BADLY! and the trim at the top and bottom were peeling off.  And it had begun to smell funny.... and we couldn't figure out why!  Added the fact that when the light was turned on, well the shade cast a rather sickly golden glow.... not at all the warm cozy feeling it emitted in a photograph.

So I striped it to bare bones and recovered it... butcher's & baker's twine.  Because we know I am all about using what I have on hand. 

I simply love the texture now.  

We added an Edison bulb. 

It now blends seamlessly with our decor. 
Its just the right amount of understatement and whimsy, are wrapped up together!

(on a side note... it is best to NOT chose to sand with a palm sander in the middle of one's living room. it might, just might result in a fine layer of dust covering EVERY thing... to include the bookcases.  just saying, haha!)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Bits of this and that... projects in the works

Sneak peaks of what all is going on around here......
artwork being created

sweet treats being baked for lunches and after school snacks

favorites being revisited

presents for others

junk being reused and repurposed

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving!

(Okay so it isn't Thanksgiving yet but) it is definitely a season for giving THANKS!  But then in all honesty each day OUGHT to be a season for giving thanks... I know, I'm preaching but trust me its more to myself than anyone else.  You see for a time there I was SO caught up in the busyness of our lives that I started to forget about truly living in the moment, enjoying the time we have with our boys, relishing those snippets of time driving the them for one place to another, being grateful for the season we are in... So I disappeared from here.  I know, I know, I do this on a regular basis but this time it was due to intent, not neglect.  You see I've been working hard to bring balance into my life.... for a time I was too caught up in every thing, unable to allow myself to say "no", and a place where I was feeling so overwhelmed, mentally and physically and spiritually.

Living a life filled with too much..... yet too little.  So changes were made, actually are still being made. Time is being carved out for more meaningful pursuits and priorities evaluated as time is such a precious commodity.  When I look around me it is even more evident as Ian is currently in his final bit of training (for the time being), Sean is in the midst of his senior year in high school awaiting graduation and then he too will leave to pursue a career in the culinary arts in the Army, and Evan is a freshman in high school.  I want the boys to have fond memories of home... memories of a refuge from the storm, a place to gather with their friends, to laugh, to live knowing they are cherished, creating together, and being lavished with the love of family!  Being boys i know that for them food speaks volumes... homemade pizza, fresh baked bread, preservative free jam, whole grain crackers made with love, a hot cup of tea in a cup bought with them in mind.  They are simple, yet complex and I love them so much!  I am proud of the men they are becoming.

lost update...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Summer recap & a sneak peak

I am sitting here this morning wondering where the past 2 months went.  Are you feeling the same way?  Can you believe school is back in session already?  How did that happen?  I mean, wasn't it just June yesterday? Can September truly be just around the corner?  ALREADY?  

I don't know about you but I truly feel like the years are speeding by... seriously!  I am still reeling over the fact that my BABY started high school 2 weeks ago.  SERIOUSLY, folks!  He is a freshman and now taller than me.  Okay so that part wasn't much of a stretch as I'm only 5'2" but still... add to that the fact that middle boy is now a senior and the eldest left for Army bootcamp back in June.  WOW!

So what have I been up to all summer... well let me see... my sweet hubby was out of town for 5 weeks meaning he was gone the entire month of June.  Upon his return home we... well.. what did we do?  Oh yes, he went back to work and the boys were heavily involved with fall sport conditioning programs, marching band camp, and cross country camp.  So yes I spent a LOT of time in the car... playing chauffeur.  Do you know what?  I LOVED it!  The discussions we had... they ranged from down right silly to thought provoking discussions about the future to just enjoyable chit chat.  I would NOT trade all the time we spent driving here, there, hither & yon for anything in the world.

There were also weekly trips to the local farmer's market... 

a day trip into Chicago (a first for our family) which included the Navy Pier, Ikea (always a family favorite), and the Hard Rock Cafe (another favorite of the boys.)

One of the other things that has gone on this summer is converting this room...

(this actually looks cleaned up compared to when the bed was still in here...)

into a studio of sorts.

Here is a sneak peak of the room:

Even though it flew by it was a good summer filled with family, out of town friends, and relaxing days!

I have to admit I am excited about this school year though... you see Sean is taking culinary courses at the local career center in addition to his regular senior class load (which is remarkably light).  Yes we have been having fun in the kitchen already.  I love watching him discuss their latest class project or his lab time.  His eyes light up and he becomes so passionate!  In all honesty I think that is one of the delights of parenting is watching our children discover the passions they will carry over into their adult lives... to see their eyes light up and listen in on the animated discussions!  

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Google reader... a bygone era

Just wanted to remind everyone that as of 1 July, 2013 Google Reader will be a thing of the past.  If you haven't already done it you may look at a couple of options such as Feedly or even BlogLovin' as a means to continue following all of the blogs you were following in Google Reader.  I'm not going to lie to you... currently I am using both for my personal blog following.  My personal preference... I would have said BlogLovin' until just a day or two ago when I remembered that I had a Feedly account.  Imagine my surprise when I really got into it... I LOVE IT!!  I love the fact that I can save old posts and can modify the look of how I read the posts.

I know some of you have already signed up to follow me in Bloglovin' but if you haven't already signed up to follow me through another means I would love it if you signed up to follow me via e-mail subscriber or Bloglovin' or even Feedly.

Have a wonderful evening!  (and yes I have some posts in the works... i have to admit projects have been few and far between as my husband has been out of town and just holding down the fort has taken priority... looking forward to connecting with you all again SOON!)

Monday, June 03, 2013

A Celebration.... in honor of 4 years, 200 posts, flying the coop, and high school!

Let me start this off by saying WOW!  4 years next Monday?  How did that happen?  Only 200 posts? LOL sorry but that just strikes me as completely humorous!  NO one ever said that I wasn't a bit ADDish when it came to my pursuits!! Which is more than evident is my posting or more oftentimes lack of posting... but that is okay by me.  :-) It has been a progression, kinda like my life!  Trust me I don't regret starting this blog one little bit!!  I've made some truly wonderful life long friends... some of which I've had the pleasure of actually meeting in person (yes that would include you Jen, Karianne, and Missy and some who I am still waiting to meet in real life... huh Mel (just to name one!)  Yes lady one of these days we will actually meet.  Okay the same goes for Donna and.. another lady who has truly blessed my life... oh the list could go on and on!

 (glorious sunrises)

And get this... today is THE last day of the school year... how did that happen?  Seriously... it just leaves my mind reeling!  Yep, a whole lot of change is going on here... sweet hubby is getting back from a trip to Haiti where he helped to build a church/school on the top of a mountain where there was no centralized meeting place of any sort.  Then he will be off to Quantico, VA for 5 weeks... FIVE whole weeks!  I know it is nothing compared to the deployments he used to go on but still 5 weeks??? I am hoping it will go quickly as the boys have pretty busy schedules this summer.  Well, kinda busy... especially in the late afternoons/evenings.  Yes we have marching ban practice and tennis pre-conditioning starting tomorrow.  And speaking of tomorrow, or rather this afternoon we will officially have a senior in high school as well as a freshman in high school and one just arriving at Ft Benning, GA for Army basic training.  Yes my baby will be in high school!!

(stormy nights)

Okay now on to one of the things that I've had to sit on for weeks... my first born has actually flown the coop? I dropped him off at the recruiter's yesterday afternoon.  Yes, our eldest Ian enlisted in the Army and got the job of his dreams...  he has an Army Ranger slot!!  He was over the moon happy!!  So now he is currently on a plane flying to Ft Benning, GA to start his many, many months of arduous training.  We would greatly appreciate ALL and ANY prayers for him as he has chosen a path that few are willing to undertake and even fewer actually achieve.  However this has always been the way he has done things!  Ian is definitely a man not afraid of hard undertakings!!  (ugh I was going to post a recent picture of him but realized the only one I have is one I promised to NEVER publish!  its too funny but i won't do it! lets say we were all being silly and its just kinda weird looking! ha ha!)

(summer blossoms)

Keep an eye out because I have more news later on this week!  Some surprises concerning the actual 4 year anniversary of this blog... and the ever present ADDishness of my pursuits!  There might just be giveaway involved as well (or maybe even two! because if there is something this girl is consistent about it is making things for others!!  yep love me some surprise gifting!!)

On that note I hope you have a wonderful Monday!

(french sea gull.. the same the world over!)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Journey... to a more fit me.

Hello!  And how is everyone today?! Yes I'm feeling rather perky this morning... which is quite an accomplishment for a full fledged night owl!!  I have to admit I am feeling great!  Why? you ask... well, you see, there is a reason I have disappeared, once again, from the blog world and FB for that matter as well.  The story goes like this... back in during the winter I started to prepare for a trip to France with our middle son and the French program at his high school.  You know, doing things like trying to add in a little more walking (because our house is smaller and it takes minimal steps to get from one end to the other) and deciding what to wear.  I noticed some of my favorite spring outfits had gotten a little tight over the winter... hmm.. yes I did the inevitable!  I got on the scales!!  And do you know what?  I did NOT like what I saw... then I took a good look in the mirror, wearing minimal clothing.  THAT did it!  I mean seriously how could I have gotten this out of shape!!!  We won't discuss how much I weighed (that will be many months done the road... just know it wasn't pretty!!!)  So I started to walk a little more... and cut out the late night snacking.  Fast forward to France... oh the food was delicious but the serving sizes were smaller.  Trust me that wasn't bad at all... in fact they were the perfect size.  Yes I kept up with the group but then I got home and saw the pictures of me... that did it!  NO more couch potato!!

Yes that is me... a rather unflattering me... 
(please excuse the impassive expression and bad hair... ha ha!)

The big thing that I took away from that trip was the need for more exercise!  Fast forward to the beginning of May when I realized I had slipped back into the old routine... dinner, dishes, hours on the computer, then bed.  I did not gain anything but I was stagnant and sluggish feeling again.  Things had to change...  Fast forward to now, May 28th, 2013... a mere 8 weeks into this new trek.  I'm down 13 lbs, have lost several inches, and most importantly have tons more energy!  What am I doing?  Well first of all I am limiting my computer time... all game apps have been deleted off my FB page, browsing is kept to a bare minimum, and I no longer sit on the couch for any computer work.  Yes the couch was my safe place, my comfy place... the place I could spend hours on the computer.  Not any longer!!  OH this means I am getting to bed earlier as well and getting up earlier.  Am I in bed every single night at a reasonable hour? No, not by any stretch of the imagination but it has gotten to the point where more nights than not I am in bed and asleep around 11:00 p.m.  The addition of exercise (an arm work-out, a core work-out, and a walk every single day!!) has really been beneficial as well.  I do the arm work-out twice a day right now because I really, really want to see results!  Yes, jiggly arms be gone!!  (I'm looking forward to wearing shorter sleeves this summer!!)  Some of my additional exercise has come in the form of taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking at the opposite end of the parking lot from the store entrance, and parking at the very opposite end of the mall when I have to stop in for something.  Each extra step really adds up!  

However the biggest change has been in the kitchen and what goes in my mouth.  No, there is no non-fat, super low calorie processed foods in this house!  There has been the addition of more whole grains (preferably sprouted for ease of digestibility), more vegetables, chicken, fruits, and nuts... and LOTS and LOTS of WATER!!! Do I treat myself with food any longer?  Not so much.  I've discovered my craving for sweets has diminished tremendously and when I do eat something super sweet.. it is just that SUPER sweet!  To the point of being too sweet.  If I do have a true craving, do I deny myself?  NOPE not one bit but moderation is the key.  I've found that by eating just a single bite or even two is typically enough to satisfy that craving.  In fact that is all I will put on my plate or in my bowl.  Then I use either a demitasse spoon or a baby spoon and slowly eat my indulgence.  By slowing down and truly savoring each and every tiny bite I've learned that I don't need all that much to satisfy me.  

Do I reward myself with food any longer?  NO, No, and no!  But I do reward my self... a pack of gum with xylitol, a new bottle of finger nail polish, or repotting cuttings from a friend's succulents.  I know the finger nail polish is a crazy one, right?!  Well, if you knew me you would realize it is!  But do you know what?  At 48 I am discovering it can be kinda fun to be a bit girly!  Yes, this coming from the "girl" who has lived in a house full of males for the past 19 years!!  (and I wasn't all the girly before they came along! ha ha!) OH the third thing for me has been accountability...  I have a friend I talk to pretty close to every single time I got for a walk.  I am part of an on-line fitness group where I check in once a week with my progress as well as daily (if necessary for encouragement) as well as part of a tiny private group that encourages each other to get to bed on time.  

That being said you will be seeing more of my fitness routine, new recipes, progress updates, and photos from my walks.

(yes it is super fuzzy... that is what happens when one is laughing while trying to take a self photo while standing on a chair! lol!  Oh those jeans were too tight for me to wear while in France!!  They are now even a tiny bit loose fresh out of the dryer!)

So feel free to keep up with the progress being made!  If you are wondering what finally propelled me to get in shape after 13 years... well it was the realization that I am not getting any younger and that I finally.. FINALLY wanted to do this.. not because anyone was pressuring me but because this is the body the Lord has given me and I need to take better care of it!  I might be 48 with a teenager who is leaving home next week to begin his own journey in life as an adult but that doesn't make me old... there is still life to be lived! So I'm getting off my duff and getting back into the game!!

Have a wonderful day!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pointe du hoc, omaha beach, and points in between

Mere words can not express the raw emotions I felt on the day we visited Pointe du Hoc, 
Arromanches-le-Bains, Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery in Normandy, and points between.  Somehow the cold blustery day was befitting the solemnity of the visit.

Pointe du Hoc


Normandy American Cemetery at Omaha Beach