July 30, 2008

Back to Reality

It is that bittersweet time of year at our house.  School has officially started for us.  
If you're not from NC, then you might be thinking it's a little early.  My girls attend a year-around school. We LOVE the year around schedule ... except for the week we have to go back so soon in the summer.  
But, in October, when everyone else is working away, we will be outside enjoying the crisp fall air without a care in the world.

So about this time last week I was pretty much acting like a 2 year old on the inside about this whole going-back-to-school thing.  Yes, I had my arms crossed over my chest, a big pout on my mouth, and I stomped my foot as I thought, I don't wanna have to start the school schedule again. I don't want to let my girls go.  I want to keep on having FUN!

I totally think the Lord has a great sense of humor.  We laugh a lot together.  (Somehow, I think He gets to laugh at me a whole lot more than He's letting on).  
Last week I decided that I needed to have an attitude adjustment (and grow up) about the new school year before my girls picked up on it.  So I did my best at getting them excited about the new year.  Lots of pep talks and new notebooks did the trick.

Let me preface what I'm about to say with this:
I have never been one of those moms that can't wait for their kids to go back to school.  I treasure our summer vacation and enjoy having my kids at home, near me.

Which brings me back to the Lord's sense of humor and wisdom.  
While I was having my attitude and 2yr. old hissy fit-prayer times, He knew what was coming.

I'm sure He chuckled.

He knew that within a week, my children would go from best of playmates, to worst of enemies.
He knew that within a week, my tender, sweet girls would have cat fights worth paying money to see.  He knew that within a week, my tolerance for arguing, whining, and complaining would be stretched as thin as spandex on a hippo.  He knew that I needed to be assured (again) that He was not calling me to homeschool my three children this year.
Next year, maybe.  But not right now.

He is good.  Even though it was painful, he was preparing my momma-heart to not hurt as much as I dropped them off at school.  

I met a friend on Monday morning after we dropped our school age children off.  As we let our younger children play on the air conditioned Chic-fil-a playground, she confided that she usually has such a hard time on the first day of school, but this year she couldn't help but think of that Staples commercial where the dad is buying school supplies humming the Christmas tune, "It's the most won-der-ful time of the year."  
I laughed out loud.  Apparently her children had been invaded by the same evil aliens as mine!

Even though it was hard to let the euphoria of summer dissolve, I know that:
  1. We are blessed to have a wonderful school available for my children.
  2. Schedules are healthy.
  3. Grocery shopping with 1 child is much easier than with all 3 in tow.
  4. My girls appreciate each other (and me) more at the end of the school day.
  5. Only 58 days until fall break!

July 29, 2008

Creative or Desperate?

I need help.  Serious help.
I'm downstairs by myself at 9:30pm.

I'm being attacked.
(No, don't call 911)

I'm being attacked by that she-beast that lives inside me and calls out for a sugary-chocolaty snack on a regular basis.

We'll call her NCC (Nightly Craves Chocolate)
She's nocturnal.
Well, okay, once a month she comes out during the daylight hours.  But everyone around here knows to run for the hills if NCC shows her face during the day.

Nonetheless, she's here.  Right now.  And she's hungry.

And there is NOTHING in this house. Just kiddy food.

I'm desperate!!!!

Or maybe I'm creative.

What do you think?

I think that some mini marshmallows, and chocolate chips in the microwave for 15 seconds make a killer s'more when you add in some teddy grahams.

Go teddy, go teddy, it's your birthday.  Uh huh.

NCC has settled down for the night.
Do you have any creative ideas for your NCC?

July 28, 2008

My First Award!

Thanks to Jen, I've received my FIRST EVER blog award!
I feel so honored!
Now for my acceptance speech ...

Okay, just kidding, I won't blab on and on.

Instead, I'd like to pass this award on to some other deserving bloggers.

1. to Kimba at A Soft Place to Land for her remarkable ability with a spray paint can and her inspiring words.

2. to Lacy at A Sparkle and a Smile, my blog sister-at-heart (even though we've never met and we are many states apart).

3. to Lysa for being my inspiration to write (and for keeping it real).

July 24, 2008

Summer Favorites

Thanks to Lacy for this great idea!
What are your favorite summer time items?
Here are some things I am enjoying this time of year:

Fresh blueberries, watermelon, and tomatoes ...

I love this stuff mixed with skim milk.
Hot, cold or iced ... it's delish.

Having time to catch up on all my favorite blogs!
Notice the fabulous computer bag I found online.
Oh, and that's my iced chai on the right.
And of course the cool, refreshing NC mountains!

Hmm... this is so fun, I can't stop now.  I'll have to
post more of my summer favorites again soon.


Christmas In July

Here is the reason I no longer need the window treatments:

I had seen a shelf like this at a friend's house and new it would look great in our kitchen AND utilize the space in the vaulted ceiling area.  

I have a large collection of Nutcrackers that I usually display on our mantle at Christmas time.
For the past 13 Christmases my husband has given me a new Nutcracker.  We've started the tradition with our children as well.  They each get to open one present on Christmas Eve just before bed.  We try to find a Nutcracker that goes with their interest from the year.  Last year we found a golf nutcracker for our budding Tiger Woods; and a Cowgirl for our horse lover.

This past December I told my husband (who loves setting out the Nutcrackers) that if we got the shelf done in time, we could put ALL of the Nutcrackers on it, displayed together.

Guess what?  I had a new shelf by the next weekend.  I love the power of persuasion!

July 22, 2008

A Great Table and Curtains for YOU

Remember our porch project?  Well, we happened to have some wood scraps left over.  Mrs. Thrifty couldn't let them go to waste and so I asked my husband to make a coffee table out of the scraps.  I was envisioning something just kind of thrown together.  I gave him a rough idea of what I'd like (dimensions, etc) and this is what he produced: 


He made it and painted the black edges.  I got to try my hand at staining.  I didn't know staining could be so easy.  All that time I stayed in the land of paint because I was askeerd.  No more fear.  He also made a beautiful side table to go with it (but my picture was pitiful).   

Want one?  If you live near us (central NC) then we can make you one.  It can even be a different design.  

Times are tight right now for those in the housing market (i.e. builder) so we've been very creative this summer.  We had a yard sale.  We posted on Craigs list.  We cut back ... way back.   We've also cleaned out, which is the best part about having a yard sale!

We've been humbled and learned to appreciate others' generosity and kindness.

Do you know anyone that needs new window treatments?
These are available:
There are 3 sizes available:
Single window, double window and triple window.
They are lined.  I made them myself, so the quality is...custom!  Here is a close-up:
I have enough fabric to make another single window or coordinating placemats etc...
The color in the room is Ralph Lauren Berry #6 to give you an idea of the red.

Tomorrow I will post about the shelf my husband built in this eating area (which is why I don't need the curtains anymore).  

We are off to do back-to-school shopping with Grandma today.  What?!  Back to school?!  I'm not ready.  Please, just one more week of staying in my pajamas until noon.

July 20, 2008

Avoiding Veggies

Every party has a pooper.
This summer the pooper has the name salmonella.

Just when the time is right to enjoy fresh veggies, the news is peppered with phrases like: 
unsafe to eat          avoid tomatoes         
removed from grocery shelves and restarant menus

That's no fun.  
Unless you grow your own.
 My garden took on a mind of its own this year and gave me a bumper crop of ...

Yes, these yummies came from my mom's garden.  (Another perk of living next door!)

My 9 year old heard the news about avoiding certain vegetables.  But she didn't catch the word certain veggies.  She thought they said all veggies.  So today, she just about knocked my mother's veggie burger out of her hand mid-air.   Mimi!  You cannot eat that!  It has ve-ge-ta-bles in it!  

Basically my 9 year old responded to the newscast the same way I would respond if there was a news flash that eating tiramisu increases weight loss.  I would totally take it to the extreme.
Hmm.. if tiramisu makes you loose weight, then surely bread pudding and chocolate chip cookies would do the same.

Even though it was a bummer to not get guacamole with my tacos today, it wasn't the end of the world.  While I heard, Avoid avocados and jalapenos, she heard Don't eat any vegetables. Ever.

How many times do we do that with God's word?  We often read it and only hear what we want to hear.  Or we add to it.  Have you ever heard someone say: 
God is good.  I am basically a good person, so I'm doing alright.   I'll probably get to heaven one day.

Yes, God is good.  While compared to a serial killer or habitual liar, I am a good person.  But is that what will get me into heaven?  
This is what God says about that:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
not by works, so that no one can boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9

In fact, my most shining moment, most giving days, most unselfish acts do not even compare to God's goodness.  He says:

All our righteous acts are like filthy rags.  Isaiah 64:6

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

This is how I know that I WILL go to heaven:
If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  Romans 10:9

Oh that I may never add to or take away from the truths found in the Bible.  I don't want to pick and choose what I want to hear, but be open to all that He has for me to know, enjoy, and live!

July 17, 2008

I Love America

Our family went to the local rodeo this week.  
We've lived her forever and we've never been to this rodeo.
For shame!
A little gem, right under our noses.  Every Tuesday night, all summer long.  A fun, cheap family night!

The girls loved this part:

I got goosebumps during this part:

And THIS is why I love America:

July 16, 2008

Fabulous Finds

On our way home from the mountains I had to stop at Hobby Lobby.
Why o why don't we have one here?!
I think I know why.  It's really for my own good.

Since I had all three children I knew my time was limited.
I am not ashamed to say that I totally used the candy bribe before we even got out of the car.

As I approached the 60-80% off signs, I started having heart palpitations.
First I found this: 

With this sticker on it:

I know, hate me.  While the grey finish was okay, it wasn't really my style.

Oh yes, much better.  To see it in its true glory, check out yesterday's post.

Then I found this.
Poor thing.  There were several of these available, because really, who wants a rooster that looks like it is rusting and molding at the same time?
But then I saw the price: Was $19.99  Now $6.80.  Now we're talking!
I've been wanting a rooster for my kitchen for a long time and couldn't find the right one.  After a little TLC (and a good coat of spray paint, of course) this one was ... fabulous!

July 14, 2008

$10 Makeover

{Edited : Join in the linky party over at A Soft Place to Land for other great DIY ideas!}

I visited our local Goodwill and walked away with these beauties for $10.

All of them.

For $10.

Notice the scratches and dents on the candlesticks. It's okay, babies, I see your inner beauty!
I know that the orange and brown African tray has nothing in common with my decor. You've got good structure, honey.
I sanded down the rough edges.
A can of flat black spray paint.
A little bottle of acrylic craft paint in white.
A pencil eraser to make perfect dots.

Now for the candlesticks.
I know in the picture, they looked okay. I kind of liked the scroll work, but they were really in bad shape.
Besides, you can never go wrong with black (in my home, or on my clothes) as it covers a multitude of sins.
What I love about these candlesticks is the size. They are about 18" and 24" tall with a diameter of about 5". Super sized.
Check in tomorrow to find out about the fleur de lis... try not to be jealous of my fabulous find.
Thanks to Kimba for her spray paint inspiration!

Cheap Windows, Warm Heart

I love to decorate, redecorate, and decorate again. It's what I find to be relaxing and energizing. These are my most recent curtains in my family room.  We've lived in this house for 6.5 years and this is my 3rd set of window treatments.  I make my own and I usually take the time to line them and make sure the seams are straight. 

 And then I met the Nester.  Her philosophy is to make window mistreatments.
Do you know how freeing that was?!

I am also a bargain shopper.  Okay.  I'm a cheapskate.  I've been wanting new curtains, but didn't want to spend $$.  

Until I found this fabric.  At the $7.99 store!  But wait!   It was a remnant, so I paid $4 a yard. Can I hear an AMEN?  

Since there were only 3 yards, I cut the fabric in half down the middle.  I did hem the bottom and sides of each one, but ... are you ready for this... I didn't even hem the top or add lining to the back.  I just rolled it under and used my fabulous curtain rings (from Walmart!) to attach them to the rod.  
So how do you like my $12 window mistreatments?

"It doesn't have to be perfect to be a blessing."

Isn't that refreshing?  Especially for us perfectionists!  Recently my hubby and I were having a conversation about how we want our home to be welcoming and warm, but not so 'perfect' that people feel uncomfortable.  

I think many women struggle with the home-perfect issue.  Some may struggle with the 'it isn't pretty enough to have others over'  syndrome.  Others struggle with pouring so much time and energy into the look that they miss out on allowing their homes to be a blessing to others (and even their own families).

It's all about balance.  Of course I want to keep my home clean.  Who wants their family or friends to be totally grossed out (yeah, phrase of the 80's, I know) when they use the kitchen sink?  Then again, if I obsess about how clean my house is, and miss out on making a fun memory with my kids, what's the point?

So today, don't be perfect, be a blessing!

PS> Notice the 'imperfect' plastic container of dirt that my son is trying to grow grass in, on the table.
Just keepin' it real.

July 12, 2008

I Found My Thrill

On Blueberry Hill!
After a week of enjoying cool mountain breezes, I am back home and eager to catch up with all my bloggy friends!
One of our fun little adventures was picking blueberries.  We usually try to pick blueberries in the mountains, but this year we happened upon a delightful new place.
This place looked like something straight out of Southern Living magazine.  This is the little barn where we paid.  I want to string those lanterns across my back porch.
I enjoyed the view from these rockers for about 30 minutes.  All I needed was a glass of iced tea!  If you are ever in the NC mountains, you need to check out this place!
Yes, the kids loved it as much as I did!

July 2, 2008

Happy Birthday USA

I come from a very patriotic family.  My mom serves weekly at the USO.  Both of my grandfathers served in the armed forces during WWII, and now my brother serves in the Navy. 

 I've learned firsthand the sacrifices that our service men and women make everyday for my freedom.  Not just going to scary places and seeing the unspeakable, but leaving family behind; missing holidays; living a sometimes lonely life; being ready for the call, at any time.

This week I send a special thank you to my brother and all those who serve alongside him. Thank you for your often thank-less job.  Thank you for not just doing it, but doing it with a great attitude.  Your sacrifice touches me and my family daily.  Your hard work and endurance will touch my children and grandchildren.  

Even though the news tries to portray you as dissatisfied workers doing a job you don't want to do, I've come to understand that you are doing what you love for a country that you love.  While your job isn't easy, you are proud of what you do and who you do it for.  

That makes me so PROUD of you.  

So, on this week that we celebrate everything American, I want you to know that I celebrate you and your comrades.  Even though your names may be lost over generations of time, your honor and service to this country will remain with greats like Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson.


July 1, 2008

Purchase of the Day

WARNING: This is a girls-only  post ...  for the 3 men that actually read my blog.

Why, at the age of 35 years old, do I still get nervous about buying feminine hygiene products?
I usually only buy them at Target or Walmart because it is easier to hide them under  layers of stuff and then wedge them discreetly between cereal boxes  on the conveyor belt.  

Heaven forbid I run into someone I know with  a box of tampons sitting on the top of the cart!

Why do I break out into a cold sweat when I see a man running the cash register?  Why can't I just walk up with my head held high and put those down?  I mean I've been buying them for  20 years!

Sometimes I wish I were brave enough to plunk them down on the counter and growl "whatchewlookinat?" Mr.T style.  But no, not me.  I cower.  I strategically plan my shopping trips to avoid embarrassment.   


Except for days like today.

Today I was desperate.
I went to the drug store. 
I was trying to shop as discreetly as possible, to avoid the loud, "What's that, Mommy?" questions from my children.
I was so out of my comfort zone, with no cart to shield my secret purchase.  

As I stood in line, my hormones screamed for the king size Reeses Cups on sale. 
I caved.  

I realized what a hormonal dork I looked like as I placed my jumbo sized box of tampons and my king size candy bar on the counter.    Yeah, I may as well have bought queen size panty hose for good measure.

And then I looked up. 

A teenage boy.  
Of course.

Poor guy.  I'm sure he wanted to laugh as much as I wanted to run and hide in the racks of mascara.  He was trying to be friendly throughout the transaction.

And then he said it.

Do you want a bag for this?

Ummmm.... no, let me just put the jumbo box on the top of my head and parade myself through the parking lot while I wolf down my king size candy bar.