Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I'm already looking forward to strawberry picking season.  Although the soil is not ready for planting yet, it sure felt like it today with the weather at 67 degrees.  It is such a beautiful "winter" day, although I am so anxious for Spring. 

We usually only have a couple of plants growing at home in my favorite purple pot on our back patio.  We don't harvest too many at home, but the boys enjoy watching these as they change from their white flowers, to the "green small strawberries", to the light pink and then vibrant, red, plump, juicy fruit.

We make an annual trip, a.k.a."Adventure", to a local strawberry patch to pick most of our strawberries that I use for making freezer jam.  Last year we hit the patch late in the picking season and got the last crop.

Yesterday I was cleaning and washing a couple of quarts of strawberries in the sink.  I've done this for years, but I tried something new this time. It was an epiphany!!  And after I was done, I wondered why the heck had I not done this before!  Don't laugh.. I know you've been guilty of this, too. 

Are you ready to hear what amazing thing I learned??

It will forever change the way you wash, clean, and "de-stem" your fruit.  Here it goes:

I ran luke warm water in the sink, over my hands, while holding the berries instead of freezing, ice cold water.

Call me a slow learner, if you must.  Laugh... you might. But I felt like I had just passed a really hard exam with flying colors.

So, if you've been guilty of letting the cold water run wild
while cleaning your fruits and veggies
(like I have forever.. and why!?!) 
give it a try...
move the handle over...
your hands will thank you!

Life changing, I tell ya!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

~great grandparent gifting~

What do you buy a great grandparent for their birthday who wants nothing, needs nothing, and doesn't have the space for anything more?? 

Easy.... a photo of their great grandsons capturing their special day!!  Both of the pictures below are something that I came up with for two different 80th Birthday celebrations. 

August 2008
November 2011

To capture both photos, I used this:

Props (the great-grandsons)

I drew out the message I wanted on the driveway, had the boys jump in, and stood on the ladder to get a better view down.  Then I uploaded each photo to Walmart's photo department, swung by on the way to each party (no joke!!) and grabbed a frame while I was in the store.  I assembled the framed picture in the car and arrived at each party with a wonderful, creative, personal gift.  They were a HIT!!     

Give it a try... for any occasion.  I'd love to have you come back and leave a comment with your link to your photo.  Enjoy!!

It's amazing what a little creativity and some chalk can do...   

Now, head over to Hope Studios and check out some more ideas!!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

~partners in crime~

I looked at my cell phone around 3:30 this afternoon when I got back in my car after being in the grocery store. I had this awful feel that something happened to one of my children and I'd have a text or voice mail waiting on me.  Call it mother's intuition... just one of those feelings.  No missed alerts.  All was good!

I decided to swing by Starbucks for a treat... Grande Caramel Frappucnino.  I've had a gift card in my wallet since Christmas and was ready to swipe it for the first time.  I drove home with my window down slightly, singing along with country music on the radio, and sipping my sweet caramel goodness.  I backed into our driveway about 25 minutes later, popped the trunk, and my husband came out to meet me.

That's when I heard the news.  See those two cuties above?!?! Well, don't let them fool you... they are partners in crime!
No one was hurt.  No one was bleeding, bruised, bumped, and no bones broken.  BUT...

They were playing basketball in our driveway after I left for the grocery.  "One" brother got mad at the "other" brother (neither one claims to be the guilty one) and threw the basketball really hard at the "other" brother.  The "other" brother moved out of the way to dodge the fast moving ball.  The ball flew over to the next door neighbor's house and hit the siding... really hard.  Both boys came in and told dad what had happened.  Dad made both boys go next door to tell the neighbor lady they were sorry about hitting her house.  (Yea Dad!)

Neighbor lady opens the door and both boys apologize.  Then, she begins to tell both boys that she heard a noise, went into her bedroom to look, and found that a shelf had fallen off the wall and tons of figurines had dropped to the floor and were shattered.  Neighbor lady tells the boys, "that's OK, I needed to get rid of them anyway".  Both boys say sorry, again, and leave. 
Both boys come back home and tell dad what went down.  Dad immediately tells the boys to get their butts back next door and help neighbor lady clean up the mess.  (Yea Dad, again!!)  Then dad decides to go with the boys and help.

So, all three boys head back next door.  Dad moves a bunch of furniture out of the way so the boys can (carefully) pick up the many vintage figurine parts and throw them in the trash.  Dad asks what we can do to repay for this accident.  Again, neighbor lady is very understanding and says, "everything is OK... accidents happen." After a lengthy back-and-forth banter, all three boys head on back home.

Then, both brothers got an earful from dad. 
Good news and bad news.

I went into our living room, both boys on separate couches and very quiet.  I said, "heard you had quite an afternoon, boys."
And this is what my older son says:  "It's OK, mom.... she said she was going to get rid of all that stuff anyway." (REALLY!?!?!)
I walked in towards the kitchen and took a long, hard sip of my Starbucks treat.

We will not be hearing the constant sound of two basketballs being dribbled in our driveway the rest of this week.  I'll have to figure out what we are going to do for the neighbor lady to make up for this little incident.  But, all in all, I'm glad it wasn't worse considering I had that gut feeling prior. 

Both of the "other" brothers are still in one piece ... that's more than I can say for the figurines in the trash can next door.

Friday, February 24, 2012

~this moment~

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
Inspired by SouleMama

Thursday, February 23, 2012

~sticky notes~

Ahhhhhh... to be a kid again!

These are the kinds of things that make me smile. 
Simple sticky notes scattered about our home that my little ones write reminding them of things "important" to them.
Austin left this one attached to his clock, set the alarm extra early, and woke us all up..... just so he could play a new game when he woke up.
Now that's important stuff, don't you think!?!

I'd trade one of my "Pay the Water Bill: TODAY!!" notes for this one any day!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

~I wonder...~

Today I attended the funeral of a lovely woman who I have known for exactly a year, from yesterday.  

As I was sitting at the service this morning, my thoughts drifted in and out:  I was recalling memories, thinking of images I had stored away, listening to what the pastor was saying, wondering what the little girl in front of me was trying to do to keep herself occupied, thinking that I should have brought my own tissues, listening to the beautiful words sung by a church member, thinking I needed to learn how to play the guitar soon, looking at all of the beautiful flowers surrounding us.  I know I'm not the only woman out there who has a mind racing with things constantly, am I!?!?

But the thought that really stuck with me the rest of the day was this:  Who will be attending my funeral someday and what kind of memories will they have?

I have been to countless services before, young and old, family and friends, neighbors and co-workers.... but NEVER have I had this though.  Why now?? What has changed?  Was it a sign?  Why would I even think this??  

So, I sit here now thinking about where I am in my life, who I am influencing, how much I am involved, what kind of good, or bad, am I doing in this life.  I'm taking a closer look at the "who's" and "why's" surrounding me.  What will I be remembered for?  

I know in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter if you have 1 person or 2,000 come to your funeral to pay their respects.  But, what kind of memories will they have of me? With me?  What kinds of things will the pastor have to say about me?  I've always been one to worry about things... but never this. 

I wonder...

And I'm missing you already, CM.  We'll meet again someday.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I put this together for a little gag-gift for my Dad's 60th party.  Perfect for a centerpiece, my Dad thought it was funny, and the kids all liked picking out a sucker to take home.  You could use this idea for any age and pick whatever kinds of suckers you wish. 

For this project, I used:

Block of green craft foam
Quilting pins
17 Tootsie Pops (1 bag) 
43 Dum-Dums  (about 1/2 of 1 bag)
Wire wrapped floral pick scrap
Sharpie marker

It only took about 10 min. to put this one together.  Next time I will fill in the space right under the suckers with something so the foam doesn't show.  

Can't beat a centerpiece/gag-gift for under $5.00.  Word of caution... be careful not to drop it.  I found this out the hard way... twice.  Most of the suckers stayed in, but the foam became dented on the bottom. 

*Don't mind all the bottles in the background... needless to say, we had a pretty fun celebration!  And I dropped it twice BEFORE consuming any of said bottles in the background, thank you very much! 

Now head on over to  Hope Studios  to find other fun ideas!  I'm joining in her weekly "Tutorial Tuesday"! Enjoy!! 

Monday, February 20, 2012

~these boots were made for working~

You can tell a lot about a person by looking at their boots.

These are just one pair of my husband's boots.  One of many. 
And they all look (and smell) identical.
I appreciate these boots and everything they represent. 
My husband is a hard worker.
(Here's a little story.. bear with me for some background info and I'll get to my point in a few!!)

Before we were married, my husband and I lived together, went to college together, and worked together.  I think this says a lot about our relationship and how we are now with our family.  While one might think this is too much time together (and trust me, sometimes we BOTH felt that!) it worked for us and an added bonus was being able to ride together, too.

Anyway, we worked at a golf course together.... he was on the grounds crew and I was the Horticulturist. Our boss at the time would always come into work wearing his Carhart jacket, jeans, and Dickies work boots.  Mr. Boss-man would have his hands in his pockets telling us plans for the day and such.  For an entire year, I would watch this man give direction to his employees and occasionally he would go out on the course and help. 
But he would never, EVER work up a sweat or get dirty. 
And we all noticed this.
And I remember this about him to this day.

Now, I know some people are naturally cleaner than others and some people really make it a point to have their appearance in tip-top shape at all costs.  And that is OK. 
There are even hard working people out there who have clean boots, and some 'not hard working' people with dirty boots. 
While I have no statistics to prove my thoughts, I am still a firm believer that you can tell a lot about a person and their work ethic by looking at their boots.

My husbands boots are proof of the man that he is. 
He is a worker.  He gets the job done, no matter what. 
Anyone can pick them up and see he has had a full day of work.  He knows they can easily be knocked together, wiped off, or poked at with a stick to get the mud out.  He doesn't care what they look like, how muddy they get, if they are spray painted while striping a football field..... they serve a purpose. 
And I've stopped complaining about him taking them off all the time, even when he tracks the mud in.
Why?  Because I appreciate him and all he does.      

His boots were made for working.... 
not for looking handsome in.
P.S.  Although, I must admit he is really good at doing both at the same time! :) 

Friday, February 17, 2012

~this moment~

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
Inspired by Soule Mama

Thursday, February 16, 2012

~coming soon~

Have you heard the news?!?!  One of our favorite stories is making it to the big screen March 2nd! 
Are you as excited as we are to go see The Lorax movie??

I thought I would share with you a few pictures of Derek (from Kindergarten) when he got to dress up for school in his favorite story character.  They celebrated a whole week of Dr. Seuss fun and had activities for each day. 

On this day, Derek was *The Lorax*.
We bought the bright orange fleece at a thrift store and I cut the sleeves. The hunting hat was on clearance at a local store.  We had some thick yellow yarn and felt on hand and we tied them in knots around two K'Nex pieces for him to hold for his mustache. 
It all came together and I thought it was adorable!

In keeping with the story, we decided he should hand out "Truffula Seeds" to all of his classmates to plant at home.  I picked up a variety of flower seed packets and just printed off these new labels. They fit perfect in this little wire basket for him to carry around and pass out!  

Needless to say, the costume and seeds were a huge hit with his friends and teachers.  And we had Truffula plants blooming all along the side of our shed that year!!

Do you have a costume idea to share??
Please feel free to leave a link to your idea in the comments! 
(And now you know where we'll be March 2nd...)

Linking up with obSEUSSed

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Sixty and still snowboarding... this grandpa is pretty cool,
don't you think!?!

The whole family is looking forward to hitting the slopes this weekend to celebrate the big 6-0 for my dad.
Skiing, snowboarding, hot chocolate, sitting by the fire inside the lodge, spending time together as a family...
sounds like a great time!
Happy Birthday, Dad! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

~Day of Love~

I woke up this morning and found a beautiful vase of flowers and a card left on the kitchen table.  Guess our conversation at dinner the other night might have planted a seed.
No complaint's here...  they were lovely!

Derek's party at school on Friday was a blast!  Tons of sugared-up little cupids scattering about delivering lovely notes and playing games.  We picked up those Wooly Willy's for the treat bags and they were a big hit!  Derek's teacher had made these adorable mailboxes from cardboard and let the kids paint and decorate them earlier in the week.  They were SO cute!
A classmate was celebrating her birthday that day, also, so they got EXTRA sweets. Cookies AND cupcakes AND suckers AND conversation hearts AND chocolates.... oh my!!
And then it happened...and we all expected it would.... little guy was sick Friday night. 
It's pretty much a routine in our home.
It happens two nights out of the year.. 
Valentine's Day and Halloween.
Derek loves his candy.... but it just doesn't love him back!    

Happy Valentine's Day!
Here's wishing you not only a day of love,
but a lovely year ahead!

Monday, February 13, 2012


Old magazine and book pages

It's amazing how these little hearts can add such a sweet touch to your home!  The ones above have actually been up in this window since last year.  When the light is on in this room, you can drive by our home at night and see these pretty little heart silhouettes dancing through the curtain.  It's something simple that makes me smile when I pull in the driveway in the evenings.  I might just leave them up there until next Valentine's Day, too. 

They're just that pretty.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

~bee mine~

Yesterday was Derek's Valentine's Day party at school. (*More pictures to come next week!*)  Today I thought I would share a few ideas that I found and whipped together with him for his teacher and the kid's in his class. They were all a HUGE hit!! I've included the links for you to get the free template's, too.  What I liked most about these crafts were that they were very inexpensive, fun to make together, and it added that personal touch for gift giving.
"Bee Mine" Honey for his teacher from Calli's blog

I had my own bumble-bee stamp to use for this project, so I didn't use the free printout, as cute as it was!!  
Who wouldn't love to get this sweet goodness!?!

The pictures above and below are what we crafted from finding Angie and Kristin's blog.  Check out their blog for the free template!!  We bought the foam at Walmart and I traced and cut them out.  Then Derek punched the hole with a pencil and attached the suckers. We made the mustache ones for the boys and the lips for the girls.  The kids LOVED these!!

Instead of attaching a sticker or tag with the "to" and "from", we opted to use brown paper lunch bags with doilies.  This made it exciting for the kids to open... like a little present.  I wrote the classmates names and Derek just had to sign them.  We used pink for the girls and red for the boys.

And if you look to the right back side of this photo, you can see that there is, in fact, a "To: Derek, From: Derek" treat included. He thought this was the funniest thing ever and had to show all of his friends at school!!  

Happy Crafting!!  Please feel free to leave a link to your post so we can all see what you have been busy making for
 Valentine's Day 2012!! 

Friday, February 10, 2012

~this moment~

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 
Inspired by Soule Mama

Thursday, February 9, 2012


'Knockout' Rose from my garden, Summer 2011

Title:       Flowers
Setting:     At the dinner table
Characters:  Derek , Mom, Dad, Austin

Mom:  "I've never, EVER, gotten flowers for Valentine's Day!! "
      *Glance over at Dad, sitting to your left*

Dad:   Give Mom, sitting to your right, a glaring, squinted *look*.

Derek:  "You know what, Mom? Neither have I!!?!?!"

Austin: Laugh

Mom:  "OK, Derek.  How does this sound: I'll buy you flowers for Valentine's Day if you buy me flowers for Valentine's Day!?! Deal?"

Derek:  *Smile BIG* "Deal!"

Dad: Smirk

Austin: Laugh

The End 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012



I am thankful my family has food to nourish our bodies.

Tomorrow I will be partnering to bring a Mobile Food Pantry to Senior Citizens through my work.  As rewarding as it is to be doing this, I cannot help but feel saddened by the large percentage of people living in my own community who go without.
Hunger is everywhere.

So, tonight...
when my plate is full, 
my heart will be also.

Monday, February 6, 2012

~THE RIGHT words~

His ultimate goal is to write a novel.
He has works that have been published, but nothing this long.
He sets goals, deadlines, and masters his craft daily.
I haven't seen him this passionate about something in a long time. 
This is something that even those close to him know nothing about.
Wonder what they'll think when he hands them over a copy?

Today was a milestone.... 40,000 words.
What made it even more special was that he included his boys.

Austin and Derek had the honor of typing one word each
in "daddy's book".
This was a big deal in our house!

the... by Austin

right... by Derek

That's just the kind of dad he is.
And one of the many reasons I love him.

I've come accustomed to the sound of him clicking away at his keyboard each night, knowing that someday soon I will be reading this piece of work.
Anticipation, anxiousness, excitement... all growing.

Is it wrong of me to wonder if I'll make the dedication page?!?!
I'm sure I'm not the first wife to have this cross her mind.
Or am I?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

~my wrestler~

Wrestling season is officially over!
Today was the end of the year Championship meet in pee-wee Wrestling for Derek.  Long day, hundreds of people, lots of noise, little grapplers scattered about on mats all with one goal in mind. To win.

We are so very proud of you, Derek, and all that you have accomplished this season. You've learned, struggled, persevered, enjoyed victories, had some pins, and lost matches. Most of never quit. 
You fought til the end, and never gave up.

Congratulations, Derek! 

Friday, February 3, 2012

~this moment~

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 
Inspired by Soule Mama

Thursday, February 2, 2012

~empty fortune cookie and shadows....oh my!~

Please tell me this means really, really good luck!!

Never, in my 32 years, have I opened an empty fortune cookie.
  My oldest offered to share his fortune. 
I declined, but thought the gesture was sweet.
 This sure made for a good laugh after the day I have had!! 

Have you ever cracked open this crunchy treat to find...nothing??

This morning before the bus came we anxiously anticipated the verdict of whether or not Punxsutawney Phil would see his shadow or not.  The verdict is in.... looks like 6 more weeks of winter! I am totally OK with this prediction, considering it has been in the 50's and beautiful all week. Very unusual for February in Ohio!!
In keeping with the theme of this day, the following picture is one of my favorite shadow pictures of all time.  It is my father's shadow as he does yard work around a shed at my grandmother's home in Myrtle Beach. 

~Happy Groundhogs Day~
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