"It is my job to make sure that you grow up to be a productive member of society and not a burden to it!" ~ my dad.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I'll be taking a blogging break through Christmas and New Year's. I won't be back until the first week of January.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and may you have a very blessed 2009. I pray the Lord rains down His blessings and abundance onto each and everyone of you. Also, that you open your hearts to all that He has to offer so that you may truly experience your life with Christ as it was meant to be.

God Bless!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Making Adjustments

I knew when we moved here that there would be adjustments to make. I never underestimated the difficulty of these adjustments or the fact that a few of them would take quite a bit of time to get through.

I think, however, what I underestimated was the amount of adjustments there would be to make.

1) The weather: well, there's a no-brainer. It beautiful and warm and sunny and warm and crisp and WARM in Arizona. It is not warm in Nebraska. Not November through May anyway. I have found myself saying things like, Oh, what a nice day when the temperature reaches a whopping 30 degrees. Or, At least the wind isn't blowing today because then 10 degrees doesn't feel quite so bad. My thin and well-tanned Arizona blood has had to put down the sunscreen and pick up a parka. A neighbor said something to the effect that in a couple of years, I'll have acclimated. A couple of years?!?!

2) Being cold: Okay, this kind of goes hand-in-hand with the weather but, call me naive, I was expecting to at least be warm inside the house. Not so. My FIL keeps the heat at a sizzling (read the sarcasm) 64 degrees. I'm learning how to dress in layers. And, no, I don't mean the cute tank top layers all the hip chicks are wearing out the on the west coast. I mean turtle necks under sweaters under goose-down vests. I mean flannel-lined jeans and a double layer of fuzzy socks. I mean a hat AND earmuffs. Together. Okay, those last two I don't wear inside but a little exaggeration never hurt when trying to make a point. Especially when that point is I'M COLD!

3) Living in small quarters: My family and I moved from a 3100 sq. ft. home to the basement of my IL's home which is roughly 800 sq ft. Now don't get me wrong, I was more than happy to give up that much room. I'll be the first to say that that size of a house was just too much for me. I was overwhelmed and tired of trying (poorly) to maintain it. When I made the choice to stay home after having my daughter, I meant that I wanted to stay home for her not for the house so it truly was good riddance to all that square footage.

Moving into 800 sq ft has been a relief but not without it's challenges. There is one bedroom down here and since The Boy is a light sleeper and I'm hyper-protective of his naps, the kiddos get the room with the door. That means our bed is out in the open and has become a regular part of the everyday furniture. Not to mention, say good-bye to privacy.

We sold most of our belongings but still managed to, somehow, bring too much with us. It's been a challenge to my creativity to find a home for everything we use and need. The kids toys seem to be everywhere but I think that's because in a small space, clutter overwhelms quickly. The good news is it literally only takes mere minutes to clean up.

It's been a month, but I think, with the help of two storage rooms, rearranging the area three times and being diligent about picking up, I've found a place for everything and everything is in it's place. I've even carved out a little spot for scrapbooking. :)

4) Living in small quarters with my kids: Okay, don't get me wrong here. I love my kids but they are with me ALL THE TIME. I have no place to escape and I have no place to banish them for 1/2 an hour. I can't even force them outside like I could in Arizona. *sigh* Gone are the days of giving them the heave-ho and then locking the sliding glass door.

Oh, don't you Gasp at me. You've done it too! Or you at least dream about it.

Happily, I'm adjusting. We are doing more together like baking, reading and snuggling. Hubby has been off work so he's had more time with them as well. On the not-so-freezing-cold days, he takes them out to play and even took Punky sledding for the first time. She loved it! This was the whole point of slowing down, wasn't it?

5) Staying home: Because I had become involved in too much outside of the home while in Arizona, I had made the promise that I would not obligate myself to anything outside the home for one whole year. Also, because I have left all of my friends and family behind, including my beloved church and the fact that it's blazing cold outside, I tend to stay in most days. I probably only get out about twice a week. This is a big adjustment for someone who left their house almost daily. I found myself, about a week or two ago, feeling very down and unmotivated. I allowed myself to watch too much television and was slowly becoming a couch potato. It took about 4 solid days of this before I woke up and remembered that this slower pace of life was exactly what I was craving back home and that, really, the biggest adjustment I needed to make was one that included my attitude.

So the next day, instead of reaching for the remote, I reached for a new hobby and started working on improving my domestic skills. I can fill up my days indoors with a multitude of wonderful things if I only choose to do so. Spending time with my kids, reconnecting with my husband, baking yummy treats, knitting warm scarves, reading and getting to know my IL's a little better and, to be honest, learning to appreciate the beauty of a Nebraska winter all give me reason to get up in the morning and stay clear of the couch.

Yes, I knew adjustments were to be a part of my future here in the Midwest and I knew that some of them would be daunting. Some have been expected and some quite unexpected. Some easy to get through and some I'm still working on. Some still to come, I'm sure. But I am adjusting and I am making the most of it. I'm always amazed at what God has in store for me and just how He gets me through it.

What amazes me more is how He blesses me when all is said and done. And blessed I am. There may be no such thing as small change but there is also no such thing as small blessings.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm Addicted

When I was a little girl, my mother taught me how to knit and crochet. I remember making several blankets for my Barbies but that's about it. I really don't remember being frustrated with the process.

A couple of years ago, I realized I really didn't have much in the homemaking skills department to hand down to my daughter. I remembered the fun of crocheting as a kid and attempted to pick up the craft once again.

I don't think I've ever done anything more aggravating in my life! For starters, my stitches were so tight they squeaked! Apparently, one cannot be stressed or uptight when crocheting. I may have been a tad stressed and uptight. The art of crochet was soon heaved out the window.

Fast forward to today: I have found a new best friend in the realm of yarn crafts: The Knifty Knitter!

These are the circular looms for hats, scarves, purses and whatnot. There are oblong looms as well for blankets. I don't have any of those yet (hint, hint, Sweetie).

These are so easy to use, I'm quite tickled with them. And knitting now actually calms and relaxes me! Who'da thought?

I've made a couple of projects I wanted to share. First, a warm scarf for those cold Nebraska days:

And a little hat (one of three) I've made for Punky's dolls. I highly recommend trying new techniques on smaller projects. You'll see results right away without spending too much time or materials in the event you make a few mistakes. Punky's doll clothes are my test items.
For instance, this little hat is riddled with mistakes. I won't point them out to you but they're there. It's just easier on one's crafting ego to make mistakes on smaller projects. Trust me.
If you're new to knitting or it's been awhile since you've hooked 1 and purled 2, I highly recommend the Knifty Knitter. You can pick one (or two or three or ten) up at your nearby craft store or Walmart.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


From Ew! to New!
Re-purpose Thrift Store Finds for Fab Christmas Decorations

I got this idea from one of my many favorite HGTV shows. Remember how I said a few WFMW back that anything can be painted? Well, allow me to demonstrate.

After seeing this great Christmas decorating idea on HGTV I sped over to my nearest Goodwill and found these not-so-quite-beauties:
I loathe brass. It is soooo not my thing. But these candlestick holders are really diamonds in the rough. They just need a little TLC.

I found my spray paint and clear finish at Walmart. I had never tried this brand before but the fact that the paint can promised it would bond to plastic even without a primer is what sold me on it. On the back of the can, it states that it will also bond to metal. That's what I was looking for!
Since it is waaaay too cold to spray paint outside, I set up a tall box in the storage room downstairs. Since the box still had the top panels, I was able to spray a little then close the box up quickly to the "dust" wouldn't escape and cover the other items around me.

It took a few coats but I was really happy with the finish. The paint had a nice smooth feel to it and covered nicely with hardly any drips. The drips that were there (barely noticeable) were, I'm sure, caused by too much spraying at one time. So if you're going to do this project, remember: take your time and spray in small, short bursts. Don't hold the can over the item and spray continuously.

I then followed up with a coat of clear finish. I didn't like the clear finish because it made my smooth paint rough. So now, my candlestick holders aren't as smooth to the touch. I think it's a necessary step, however, to guard against chipping.
I then went to Walmart and purchased some very inexpensive Christmas tree ornaments and placed one on top of each candlestick holder. This one is my favorite.

Here they are all together. Much better, wouldn't you say? What I love about this project is the fact that the candlestick holders are not just for Christmas. Once the season is over, I'll top each of these with a pretty candle and place them at various places throughout my home. Come Easter, I may just top them each with a beautiful Easter egg. Wouldn't that be darling?!

So the next time you're at a thrift store or garage sale and you see something that has a great design or functionality but is aesthetically displeasing (a.k.a. ugly) just imagine it with a fresh coat of paint. You never know what beauty you may uncover!

Re-purposing thrift store items into something beautiful for the holidays - that Works For Me!

My other WFMW posts:

Monday, December 15, 2008

Decorating 101

Welcome back for my second installment of Decorating 101. Last week, I talked about color and the impact it can have on a room, especially when painted on the walls. The first color scheme example I showed you was a monochromatic color scheme: the use of one color in variations of tints & shades to provide a simple yet stunning impact on a room.

Before I move on to the next color scheme, I'd like to just briefly go over hue, shade and tint. First, "hue" is just another name for color - pure color. A pure color is any color that has not been affected by the addition of white or black. Red, blue, yellow, green, violet and orange are pure colors.

A shade is created when black is added to a pure color. A tint is created when white is added. For instance, navy blue is a shade of blue while pink is a tint of red.

Now, I'd like to show you my favorite color scheme. It's my favorite because it's just so easy. There is really no messing this one up.

Complementary Color Scheme a.k.a Direct Complements.

Complementary colors are two colors that sit directly across from each other on the color wheel. The color wheel above is a great illustration. Blue sits directly across from orange. Red from green and violet from yellow. Though you are not limited to pure colors only. Again, any two colors that sit directly across from one another.

If you choose to decorate with direct complements and stay true to that color scheme, just remember not to add any additional colors into the room. White and black are not considered colors so, therefore, they don't count. You are also safe to add in neutrals.

See the two examples below:

Sticking to a definite color scheme helps considerably when shopping for decorative accessories for the room. You are limited, in a good way, to what you can purchase at the home decor stores and, therefore, eliminate many poor choices that probably wouldn't work in the room you're working on.

Again, because I'm not a professional and do not hold a degree in interior design, I'd love to hear from anyone with additional tips and advice on how to use color effectively in decorating. Also, if you have a post on your blog involving any decorating and would like to share it with the rest of us, please leave a link in the comments section.

Thank you and happy decorating!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Butter For Your Feet.

You know what doesn't work for me? Dry, cracked nasty feet.

The problem is, since I spend a great deal of time barefoot, I often end up with dry, cracked nasty feet.

The several weeks prior to the move, I spent very little (if any) time pampering myself. I certainly didn't have any time to give myself a pedicure. I also spent (because of the warm Arizona weather) the majority of time barefoot, even when outdoors. This, of course, resulted in some seriously nasty feet. The kind of feet that actually make noise when you put your socks on.
Yeah, that bad.

And when we moved to Nebraska, (because of the not-so-warm weather) I started wearing socks everyday. Well, I could no longer handle the "snags" my heels were causing so while at Target one afternoon I stumbled upon this:
I have to tell ya - if angels make a foot mask, this has got to be it! It's called Heel Genius Foot Mask by Soap & Glory. I'm not kidding when I say this: after just one use my disgusting dry & cracked heels felt like buddah!

And I'm not talking fat-free butter, but silky-smooth, creamy, luscious butter!

I have tried many things on my feet in the past and some of them worked quite well, but nothing compares to Heel Genius. I continue to put it on my feet about once a week if necessary.
I am in love with Heel Genius! It definitely works for me!

My other WFMW posts:
How To Correctly Fold A Towel.
Organization Bins, Boxes & More!
A Place For Necklaces.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Decorating 101

Years ago, I took a Decorating 101 course through the local community college. I learned a great deal, much of it I still use to this day.

Still can't say that about high school algebra, however.

Our last assignment was to create a Design Elements and Principles Notebook. I have held onto this notebook and often times will pull it out for a little inspiration and refresher.

I thought it would be fun to go through parts of the notebook with you and share some of the things that I learned. I am NOT by any means a professional but I think I do a not-so-half-bad job of decorating my home. I would like to encourage anyone who is reading this to offer up additional advice in the comments and, if you are so inclined, even supply links to your own blog of posts you've done involving decorating. I'd love to hear from you and share ideas!

I thought I would start off with talking about color. The use of color, particularly the use of paint on walls, is one of the most important decisions you can make when it comes to decorating your home. Paint gives you the most bang for your buck. Plus, the wonderful thing about paint is that you can always repaint if you decide the color isn't right for you or you just want to change things up a bit down the road. Sure, repainting may be a bit of a pain in the you-know-what but it's nothing like laying down a new tile floor and then realizing you've made a terrible mistake.

I cannot recommend enough buying a color wheel. You can pick these up at any craft store for just a few bucks. These handy little tools come jam-packed with lots of info on color combinations. If you are planning on decorating with more than one color and you're not sure what colors work well together, a color wheel can literally walk you through this decision.

To start things off real easy, I wanted to talk to you about just one color. Or, I should say, the use of just one color. This is called a Monochromatic color scheme.
A monochromatic color scheme uses a single color on most every room surface. In this type of scheme, various darker shades, grayer tones, and paler tints of the main color may be included in the palette. In addition, the one color is often paired with white or another neutral.
The use of just one color may sound boring but, on the contrary, it can have a beautiful and dramatic effect:
This room is a great example of a monochromatic color scheme using only the color blue. A few different shades and tints of blue are used throughout the room with the addition of white and dark neutrals. No other color is used. Simple, isn't it? Yet, oh-so-beautiful!

If you're not comfortable with combining colors but want a professional look, try going the monochromatic route. I think you'll be please and surprised at just how easy it is to create a stand-out room using this simple color scheme.

As I'm coming to the end of this writing, it occurs to me that I should have probably gone over the definitions of hue, shade, tone & tint. I'll cover that in the next Decorating 101 post next week along with a lesson in Complementary color scheme. Until then...

Happy Decorating!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Super Savings Saturday

It's Super Savings Saturday over at MoneySavingMom.com, please go check it out. You won't believe some of the awesome deals those mommy-bloggers get!

I did go grocery shopping but didn't save a whole lot as I am just now trying to get back into the coupon thing since the move. And as much as I wanted to take advantage of Walgreens full rebate on the Head Wipes for Bald Guys, I'm afraid I had to pass.

I'm mean really, Walgreens, is that the best rebate offer you could come up with this Christmas season?

However, I have had a great deal of fun checking out the nearby Goodwill. After getting several pairs of mittens and winter hats for the kids at only .99 cents each, I scored big-time for me when I found this lovely hanging on the rack:

That is a like-new, not-a-mark-on-it, beautifully-made J.G. Hook trench coat. I had no idea who J.G. Hook was until I came home and my MIL told me she gets his catalogs. I got online and checked out a couple of websites and, to my delight, discovered that J.G. Hook trench coats range anywhere from $80 - $120. How much did I pay for my Goodwill find?

Hang on to your hats, people....I paid a whopping .99 cents!!!

You can rub your eyes 'til the sun sets but you did read that right. It was Yellow Tag week meaning all items with yellow tags were .99 cents and this was the only coat with a yellow tag on it!

Nice! Sweet! Dandy!

I hope you all have found some great deals this week as well. I'd love to hear about them, especially your thrift store or garage sale finds! :)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A New Friend (for awhile, anyway)

It had snowed enough here the other day for Punky and Daddy to make a new little friend.

Her name is Ima Coldspell and, despite the lack of smile on her face, she's a happy little camper.

Punky was most pleased to meet her acquaintance. It was her first official snowmangirl on her first official day of snow. She has never seen snow, being a born and bred Arizona girl, and had only read about it in her Pooh books, so she was quite tickled with this new event in her life.

Mommy, not so much.

Punky is proud of her artistry and looking forward to making one more her size soon.

Mommy, not so much.

Ima Coldspell met with her demise as the temperature warmed up by the afternoon and "went to see Jesus" later that day. Punky missed her new little friend and was a little bummed when all the snow melted as soon as it had come.

Mommy, not so much.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


How To Correctly Fold A Towel
(per Martha Stewart and my husband)

Years ago, my husband and I would have a reoccurring argument regarding how to properly fold a towel. Since I was the one who the majority of the time did the laundry, I felt that he should fold the towels my way. Yet I would often times find myself re-folding the towels he folded in order to make them fit with the towels I folded. Ugh!

Remember all the stupid stuff you would argue over when you first got married? Ahh, good times.

Well, lo and behold, there came a day when Martha Stewart did a segment on her show on how to properly fold a towel. You know, the department store way. I watched with rapt anticipation as I was sure to be vindicated!

Well, wouldn't you know, my long-time domestic heroin turned on me. Turns out Martha folds her towels the exact same way my husband does! I simply had no choice from that moment on to surrender my towel-folding technique and begin folding towels "correctly". Now, you can too!

Here's how to get your towels to stack nice & purdy like they do in the department stores:

First, you need a large enough surface to work on. Spread your towel out flat.

Fold, lengthwise, one-third of the towel in on itself.

Then fold the remaining one-third over the rest of the towel leaving the edge of the towel approx. 1"-2" from the opposite edge. Doing this helps to hide the unfolded edge inside the towel for a much neater appearance.

Next, from the side, fold the towel in one-third of the way.

Fold the remaining one-third over the rest of the towel.

Flip it over and as you can see, both sides show only folded edges.

Now, isn't that all soph-is-ta-macted? I knew you'd like it!

Stack your towels folded side out for a neater appearance. Just like they do in the department stores. Everybody say, "Yay!"

I do my hand towels almost the same way except after folding the hand towel in thirds, I then only fold it in half.

This makes going from the cabinet to the towel bar without any unfolding or re-folding.

And that's what Works For Me!
My other WFMW posts:

To-Do List Tuesday

1. Grocery shop
2. Give kids a bath
3. Organize the toys in the kids' room.
4. Call Ped for Punky's vax records.
5. Laundry (towels)
6. Call Brenda
7. Start a letter to my step-mom.

Whew! What's on your list today?!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Home Sweet Home

For family, friends and followers, I thought you might like to see some pics of the warm & comfortable place the Lord saw fit to land us while we work through our financial difficulties. We have been blessed with a very loving & generous family who were more than happy to take us in.

This is the home we live in.

This is the street we live on. At the end of the street is farmland.

At the other end of the street is farmland also. This is the view from our driveway.

If you look in the middle of the picture, you'll see a small batch of evergreen trees - waaaaay back there.

That's the Arlington Cemetery. I love walking through cemeteries (in daylight) and reading the headstones. There is such a history on those blocks of stone. I'll be covering more on the Arlington Cemetery in a later post.

Punky playing in the side yard. She has no idea that it's COLD outside and she really should be wearing more appropriate outerwear. I mean, really, where is her mother?!

If I understand correctly, that green stuff covering the ground is called "grass". They say it's pretty easy to grow around here. Being an Arizona girl, I wouldn't know about these things.
Until next time...Love to you all!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Organization Bins, Boxes & More!

I could not survive without my organizational items. I about fainted the first time I walked into an Organized Living store. I thought for sure the Mother Ship had called me home. I won't tell you what happened when I first discovered IKEA. This is, afterall, a family friendly site.

I will use any excuse to go to the storage section of a store and snatch up the latest, cutest, handiest little square box, cloth bin or set of drawers. For instance, I am not a jewelry-kinda-girl. I'm probably one of five women on earth who actually tells my husband NOT to buy me jewelry. As a result, I do not have one of those sophisticated, grown-up, faux-velvet lined jewelry boxes. Instead, I have this:

And because my daughter has more-than-her-fair-share of hair, she also has more-than-her-fair-share of hair accessories (okay, I'm a bit addicted to the hair pretties). I have found those little compartment trays work perfectly for keeping her barrettes and smaller items neatly arranged. Another three-drawer unit works great for her larger hair ties and headbands.

Here's a tip: Go to a hardware store to look for these little bins first before heading out to your local craft or scrapbooking store. They sell the same exact thing to men for less! Go figure!

Since we have moved in with my IL's, all four of us are sharing one bathroom. Albeit a large bathroom, but still. In one closet I needed to find room for myself, hubby, two little ones, medicine cabinet items and cleaning supplies. Yikes!

I simply could not have all of these items just thrown in there willy-nilly. Walmart $2.50 bins to the rescue! This is only half the closet. The organized half!

Target has a nice selection of closet organizers, as does Lowes' and Home Depot. There is also as assortment of cute and colorful cloth bins to keep your stuff hidden yet easily accessible. The unit below is in the kids' room. The different bins hold a selection of various toys. This also helps to make clean-up easier for the kids.

Your organizational items needn't be just square or plastic. They can just as easily be decorative as well. I found these silver topped glass jars on the sale table at Pottery Barn years ago. They are perfect for my bath salts and cotton balls. The poodle bin holds yet another stash of my daughter's hair accessories as does the little crystal jar.

The three vintage soap dishes help designate a spot for a few of my pretty things while adding a bit of shabby style. You can easily find items like these at garage sales or thrift shops. The white one on the right (holding the butterfly clasp) I found at a thrift store and was originally brass. I simply spray-painted it white giving it new life! My brother taught me that anything, anything, can be painted. So give that dingy old thing a second look before you pass it by and simply envision a new coat of paint on it. You'll be glad you did!
And that's what Works For Me!

Check out a slew of other great ideas over at Rocks In My Dryer.

My other Works For Me Wednesday posts:

A Place for Necklaces