Sunday, July 25, 2010

Are you sure dust doesn't count?

Well, I'm pretty certain that those creative professional home decorating experts aren't talking about dust when they talk about 'layering'!  In fact, I know it's about putting stuff in front of other stuff without fear when accessorizing a dresser or mantle or tabletop!  I'm learning! I've been doing minimum maintenance for so long because of this tendinitis that my cute accessories were literally obscured by dust.  Not good.


 I decided that it would be a good project to keep me from going crazy while the family is gone this weekend. I've taken everything off of every surface I can reach without the step stool since, with no one but the dog to catch me if I fall, climbing would be unwise.  I am quite ready to be done with this painful arm, but healing is taking so much more time than I thought.  It's no wonder our medical  insurance pays for 20 physical therapy visits for tennis elbow - I thought I'd never use that many, but now I wonder!



Slowly and surely I've been washing everything.  I've been shocked at how much dust has accumulated since I last deep cleaned - we were beyond the swiffer stage and into serious 'douse and dunk' cleaning!!! I still love Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Geranium all purpose cleaner - it's been making this chore a pleasure!  The van smelled so good the other day when I grabbed some Surface Wipes and gave it a quick cleaning out before the guys left to pick up sister!


So now the kitchen table is completely covered in stuff and a few things are in the Goodwill pile, and a couple of things needed some TLC so they are out in the Grammy Flat for some re-vamping or gluing.  The surfaces of our home are clean, bare and ready for some real layering!  My problem is that I am stuck in a very long, very deep decorating rut!  Unlike many who seem to have endless energy for moving things about and re-doing everything every few days, I tend to put stuff where I like it and leave it. 

Forever.  
Hence the dust! 

I've made myself a few rules - we'll see if I can stick to them:

My ( I don't have a clue about decorating) Accessorizing Rules
  1. If I don't love it, I won't keep it.  Time for some thinning out and passing along. The Goodwill pile will grow, but since everything we own was thrifted/clearance or a gift, I can let it go with no regrets.
  2. It can't go back where it was - everything must find a new home. No exceptions.
  3. No glass in the DANGER ZONES - this means the family room (where rough housing and wild romps with Bailey take place regularly) and the sunroom ( where there are bats and balls and a 10 year old boy who isn't supposed to swing in the house ...). No exceptions.
  4. Less is more - not every inch of every surface needs to be covered with stuff.

I think that's it! 

I daydream about asking a friend to come over a do this with me - one sweet friend is very gifted with home decor and I would love her to just come and give me some creative ideas to use what I have in a fresh way!  I love her home and she seems to have boundless energy for moving stuff around. Maybe we'll get our act together and do that someday!  For now, I'd better get back to work.  My family should be home soon and I think they'll want to eat at the kitchen table tomorrow!

Blessings,

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Company Girl Coffee - Some assembly required


Hi Company Girls - I'm glad you could drop by today. It's over 100 F in the shade, so I hope you are ready for something tall and cold.  I'm having iced sweet tea with lemon and a fresh baked cookie.  I was crazy to turn on the oven in this heat, I know, but I had no choice.  The cookie jar was empty and the boys could not begin thier adventure today without Mama's cookies for the trip!   I'm thinking about having ice cream for supper since the boys are out and Dreamer is still at Poppa and Grammy's house!  

It's been a busy day.  I started with ironing the Historians shirts, two loads of laundry out on the line and errands to the library, the Habitat for Humanity Restore, and playing 'personal shopper' for the Historian.  When we got home at noon we had lunch and did a quick cleaning of the van before heading out for another physical therapy session for my tendinitis and then to the grocery store for provisions.  When we got home we filled the cooler with drinks and ice, and the Storyteller got in his swimsuit and 'washed' the van while I made cookies.  Frankly, if it had not been necessary, I would not have stepped one foot out my door today - this heat is debilitating for me.  I drank three large bottles of our ice cold water and kept thanking the Lord for His provision of strength and a/c!

Now, after rushing about to get final trip preparations made, I am finally sitting down. I'm trying to work up the courage to go out and get the clothes off the line, but it is still soooo hot.  To hot for me!  I hope the dog doesn't want out any time soon because since I am on solo Bailey duty, I can't send someone else out with her!

This really tickled my funny bone today - I was 'personal shopper' for the Historian because I was afraid that if I washed his running shoes again, they would completely fall to pieces!  My Historian hates shopping for shoes and he has been putting it off for months.  I think at times he would rather have all his teeth pulled than go shopping, so we went shoe shopping for him.  Storyteller and I took the three pairs that they had in his size (and our budget) and brought them to the office for a quick trying on. Thankfully one pair suited and we took the others back right away, since their return policy is pretty poor. 

Here's the funny part:  I had to put these shoes together!  I am old enough to remember when the shoes came with their laces separate and we actually had to put in our own laces.  Yes, I'm very old. I can't remember when the shoe industry began to think that consumers were too dumb to lace sneakers and started to do that dreadful chore for us, but it has been years since a new pair of shoes needed any sort of assembly for me!  I guess Nike has decided that the men of America can handle a little 'peel and stick' assembly.  The arch support was not in place and came with directions in 4 languages as far as placement and adherence! Too funny!  It made me giggle anyway - or perhaps it's just the heat!

One more sip of iced tea and I'll get those clothes in before they fade any more!  I hope you have a great weekend - thanks for stopping by.  I'm praying for safety for my family this weekend and I'd appreciate you lifting them up as well.  The Historian will log in over 1300 miles in just two days to bring our sweet Dreamer home. I'll be enjoying some peace and quiet.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Possibilities

We had such a fun time thrifting yesterday - half price day at the SallyAnn is always an adventure - and always crowded! We went in search of boys pants, which if you know boys, you know I was looking for a miracle!  Generally the 'experienced' pants we find in Storyteller's size are in pretty rough shape - or they are brand new never worn because some other boy really hated them.  I found a pair of black Polo jeans new with tags on for $2.19 at Goodwill on Tuesday and yesterday I found a pair of khaki Polo chinos new with tags on (and the price $68) at SallyAnn yesterday for $1.50!  I'd say I saw an answer to prayer, wouldn't you?  I am still on the hunt for two pairs of everyday pants or jeans for him, and he needs a Sunday dress shirt or two, but all in all, his fall/winter wardrobe is shaping up.

I also found a 100% linen blouse to make a pillow with, a navy blue cotton knit dress for Dreamer - Ralph Lauren, a (tag still on) gray and black Polo casual shirt for the Historian, a fun summer blouse for Dreamer, 8 camp style blue enamel bowls and this wooden pedestal bowl for $.50!  My total was $11!



I'm always on the lookout for things on a pedestal - they just catch my eye and if you add in scallops, well, my heart may just go pit-a-pat!  Usually I find that combination in glassware and I have a few cute compotes that we use for fruit quite often that were thrifted treasures.  This little wooden number seriously made me smile - in fact, I was looking around and wishing there were two or even three of them!  I have so many ideas - the possibilities abound! 

While I like it as is, I think I'll add some paint.  I can see it in shabby white filled with pretty sea shells or colorful fake fruit.  I can see it in black filled with sparkly ornaments at Christmas, or in brown, filled with orange leaves, sweet gum tree ball and acorns, and I can see it in Blue Ocean Breeze on Dreamers dresser, a perfect repository for her jewelery!
I found 4 or 5 similar bowls on Etsy and E-Bay for $45-$79, so I guess I'll just have to keep my eyes open when thrifting for more!

Have you been thrifting lately?  What do you look for in your treasure hunting?

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer is slipping by


Yesterday we quietly celebrated Storyteller's 10th Birthday!  I can hardly believe that he is 10 already.  Wasn't it just yesterday that we brought him home from the hospital?  I'm sure it was! We had a nice day together, though we missed sister sharing in the celebration.  Storyteller is still quite hooked on baseball - in fact, I'm forgetting to share an answer to prayer with you!  He is NOT doing football this fall!!!  
We found out about a fall baseball league and he had to make a very hard choice - but baseball won out, and my relief was great.  Very, very great. He is really looking forward to it.



We decided on fudge cupcakes to go with the 'baseball' supper of hot dogs, corn on the cob, chips, peanuts in the shell and raw veggies - which strictly speaking are not ballfield fare, but we stretched it a bit.  It was a late supper since the Historian had to work until 8pm, but it was a fun celebration! Each candle represents 3.3333 years of his life - he didn't want a lot of candles to blow out, I guess.



Dreamer spent some time with my sister and her family this past weekend at their trailer in the Kawarthas and Kerrie-Lee sent me great pictures of our girl!  Fishing - but not really fishing since Uncle John baited her hook and released her catch -  she had a wonderful time!  She is really enjoying her time at Poppa and Grammy's house, but we are missing her terribly.  She and Storyteller had a long talk on the phone yesterday - I think he is missing her now too - at first he was just enjoying pretending to be an only child!  Now, he misses his playmate.

I'm struggling with extremely low energy these days so I'm trying to do a bit at a time as I am able - I wonder if the heat and humidity are zapping my strength more than usual this summer. If I get caught up on the cleaning a bit, I have a fun project to work on.  I found a really abused end table for $5 at our Habitiat for Humanity Re-Store that I think might be just what I wanted for the Grammy Flat porch, but it needs some TLC first. I keeping popping in to Habitat to look for a small wall cabinet for Dreamer's bathroom - I'm sure I'll find just the right thing one of these days - the fun is in the hunt!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer Suppers

I think that with all the hot weather we've been having lately, cool and refreshing salads are just on my mind. It's either that or because I bought a gigantic bag of yummy romaine lettuce at Sam's just a day before Poppa and Grammy spirited our Dreamer away and it needs to be eaten and we have cucumbers galore in the garden  ... either way, I'm thinking SALAD! Are you thinking salad? We just got a coupon in the paper for Ruby Tuesday, and while I do enjoy their fresh salad bar, I'm happy to save the $$$ and make something yummy at home. I can never eat their 'prepared' mixed salads anyway because of the preservatives that are so hard on my liver and give me migraines, so it's a lot to pay for simple greens and fresh veggies. 


  I'm not the only one thinking salads today - Family Fun just sent me a link to 20 wonderful looking salads that would make delicious entrees - here's the link for you: Favorite Salads Photo Gallery  Yummy looking salads for sure!

This isn't the first time I've blogged about salad for supper either, so I'll make it easy for you to go back in time to Salad Supper from the summer of 2007!  




Tonight's supper featured - you guessed it - salad!  This one is a bed of icy cold romaine and spinach, sliced cukes from the garden, blueberries, strawberries, Feta crumbles (on sale with a coupon - still a treat!), toasted almonds and some stale artisan bread made into crunchy croutons - mmmmm! We also had Sticky Honey Chicken Tenders over brown rice - Storyteller is requesting rice often since Dreamer hates it and he loves it. Sticky Honey Chicken is quick and doesn't heat up the kitchen too much -  a four ingredient recipe that works for us.

Sticky Honey Chicken Tenders
2 Tablespoons salted butter
3 Tablespoons pure honey - the runny kind works best
1 1/2 pounds fresh chicken tenders - remove tendon
 1/2 cup unsweetened orange juice

Melt butter and honey over medium heat in a large skillet and add the tenders.  Brown slowly on both sides, and then add the orange juice.  Cover and turn down the heat to low.  Simmer for 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and juices have thickened. There will be a small amount of deliciously golden honey orange glaze, but if your family loves it, you can double the glaze amounts and that way there will be no fighting!  This is so golden and pretty - perfect to serve on a bed of rice or with a side of steamed veggies. Makes great leftovers too.

Do you plan for leftovers?

I'm all about planned leftovers these day.  Jen from Balancing Beauty and Bedlam calls it C.O.S.T. cooking - as in Cook Once, Serve Twice.  She is so smart! It just makes sense doesn't it?  I've done this for years and years, but without a fancy name for it - when I'm on the ball! There have been seasons when I forgot the blessings of second suppers and failed to plan ahead.  Lately it's been a blessing to think ahead because we still have freezers full of wonderful locally grown meat.  I hate to pay $7-9 per pound for nitrate free cold meat for lunch when, with just a bit of planning, we can enjoy our drug free, hormone free $1.30 per pound pork or $1.70 per pound beef, so planning for leftovers makes economic sense too!



 We have unplanned leftovers too - those dribs and drabs that often get forgotten at the back of the fridge.  I've actually designated a top shelf in the fridge to them now so that we will use them up before they expire! Our of sight, out of mind happens all too often.

It's been a while since I blogged about The Luscious Leftover Buffet, so for the benefit of newer readers I'll share the secret of getting those leftovers out of their Tupperware Graves and into your regular family menu! Here's the link my The Luscious Leftover Buffet ideas and tips .  Many families live on leftovers and are great with that, but there are quite a few who don't see leftovers for the blessing they are - we were that family until we started The Luscious Leftover Buffet.

As you can probably tell, I am enjoying working on our regular desktop computer once again.  It is a blessing to have it fixed and working well, and even more of a blessing that it didn't cost as much as a new computer like we feared it might! I hope it lasts, but we have some reasonable options if it doesn't, so that's a good thing too.

Sleep is a blessing too, and I'd better get some now.  I am doing physical therapy for this tendinitis and I find the pain level very tiring, but hopefully, prayerfully, it will improve day by day.  I really look forward to enjoying using my right arm without thinking about it.

Thanks for dropping by!


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Monday, July 12, 2010

Answered prayer ...

We are up and online again here in our quiet little corner of the world.  The computer guy came this morning and put some more memory in the old laptop, protected it with some free virus soft wear, hooked it up to our cable and got us running.  Yeah! He took the big tower to his shop to sit on the work bench and do some more work.  Finding those bad sectors on the hard drive is time consuming I guess.  Oh, to know more about computers!  I really should have at least taken computer basics in high school, but the home ec room called to me!  Baking and sewing are still more fun!

Maybe when I am senior citizen I'll  keep my brain active by taking some computer classes!  I admired my mother in law for learning about computers in her early 70's.  She took classes for Seniors at the local cultural center and then went with my sister in law's prudent suggestions and purchased a reconditioned laptop to use.  I don't think she used it as much as she had hoped, because she was pretty busy with cancer treatments and church activities, but when it no longer met her needs, she purchased this Dell.  After she went on to glory, my sister in law used it for a while, but then she too passed away, and that's how we ended up with a little used laptop that is now meeting a need.

Hopefully by Wednesday we'll have the other computer back and working well - I miss all of my bookmarks, address book, recipe files and inspiration files - which I will update my back ups on more frequently after this, you can be sure! 


I thought you might like to see Mum's purse - sorry about the poor picture, but we took it late at night!  I made the little cosmetic case for her as well since I had a bit of fabric left.  I used a magnetic clasp on her purse since she likes to get in and out fast!  I put less pockets inside this time since it was too hard to find everything with 8 pockets. I added a pocket for her keys on the outside at her request.  I told Mum it had a 10# limit, but you can see she has already loaded it up with stuff!

We prayed that Poppa, Grammy and Dreamer would make it home safely, and thankfully they did.  They had a really good trip and enjoyed laughter, good conversation, and special ice cream on the way.  The Grammy-Mobile is equipped with a DVD player and so that was a real novelty, but Dreamer watched just one since it upset her tummy a bit. We are missing our Dreamer - but since there is always much to do, we will keep on without our sweet girl!  It is quiet here since we are missing Grammy too!  I am sure she will have a lovely time with Poppa and Grammy and perhaps when she gets home, brother and sister will find they appreciate each other more than they once did!  I can hope, right? Better still, I can pray!  They do get on very well together most of the time, but they are in each other's company constantly and they are normal children.  A little break is a good thing!



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Saturday, July 10, 2010

We're still not up and running ...

I had no idea how hard  it could be to live without the computer for over a week!  I am well and truly addicted to my easy access to the world wide web!  Where are my favourite recipes kept? On my computer, of course!  Where is my list of phone numbers and e-mail adresses?  On my computer of course! My favourite decorating ideas and wreath inspirations - you guessed it!  I'm just a tad lost here - but after three hours of in-home repair our computer seemed to be well again, but it quickly died once again and we can't seem to manage to get in touch with the computer guy!  We're playing phone tag now!  I am getting just a wee bit frustrated, but in the grand scheme of things, my computer woes are very small ... except that while I've been absent from my blog, the TROLLS have been visiting and leaving nasty messages in older posts and back links to goodness knows what!  I am sorry about that - I hope you have not been directed to somewhere you have not wanted to go!  For now, I will close off the comments and hopefully dissuade the trolls.  Thanks for checking back with my quiet little blog!  I'll be back as soon as I can!  I'm using my Dad's laptop for this post, but it leaves with him tomorrow!

In other news ...

Dad is here to pick up Mum!  We have had a very good visit and it is ending too soon. Our sweet Dreamer is going to go with her Poppa and Grammy for a little lakeside visit - the call of two big bodies of water is just too much for her to resist!  I can relate, and would love to pack myself into Grammy's suitcase and head North too, but our Storyteller is half way through a daily baseball skills 'camp' so we have one more week before he is free to go anywhere! Hopefully, if I can get some of my tendinitis issues resolved through physical therapy, I will be able make plans for a week up North before the summer is out!  If not, we will meet Poppa at a half way point and get our Dreamer back! We will really miss her - but I'm glad she is getting the chance to go!  I know she will be well cared for by her Grammy and Poppa!

Mum has a new made with love by Heather personalized summer purse to take home with her, as well as a new bold summer wreath for her front door, and a wreath for fall as well.  I made a new swag valance for her bathroom window out of a shower curtain that we found at Khols.  Very cute and fresh! She is really excited about having a whole new look for her bathroom.  I also made her a silk arrangement complete with mini 'outhouse' for her bathroom wall!  Boy, have silks ever gone up in price since the last silk arrangement I made!  We were in shock!  We did find some cute clearance flowers for the wreathes so that was better, but when you are looking for specific matching colours, I guess it's worth paying a bit more to get exactly what you like! We've done more shopping than I usually do in a month, but Mum found some really good deals and a perfect quilted bedspread for her bed at home.  In fact, dad repainted their room about a year ago and I had made new valances for their windows last spring and he had the bundle of colour samples in their car, so this morning when we finally got to compare the sample with the new quilt, we were so blessed to see the 'perfect match' - in fact it could not possibly be better!

I should go - it's past my bedtime!  I hope we'll get our computer fixed next week and I'll be back in business, but in the meantime it's been fun to blog again!  Hope to see you all soon!



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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Computer Woes


Well, if it isn't one thing it is another, right?  Our desktop is dying and we don't have a lot of other technology to keep us connected to the outside world - no Ipod, Blackberry, cell phone or whatever else folks are using to keep in touch these days!  I told you we are simple folks! The Historian pulled out an 8 year old Dell laptop that was his mother's and was rarely used, and that's what I'm pecking away with - through an old dial up connection no less! I'll be back when we have this all resolved!  Maybe the computer just caught the Storyteller's cold? I guess our computer is getting old - it's 4 years old and used daily!  Maybe it just needs a long nap and a trip to the computer spa!  The technician will be here tomorrow at 10 and we'll see what's up!