Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sunday Projects


I have a few weeks before school starts for Stephen and I. I decided now would be a good time to tackle some organizational projects and craft projects. Mike continues to work on his music room. I wanted to make a few personalized décor items.

I found this L at my new favorite craft store-Beverly's and musical note wrapping paper from Home Goods.

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I used the L to cut  the wrapping paper, painted the L black and used lots of Mod Podge. Here is the final result:



I love how it came out. The next thing I did was easy peasy. I had an unfinished frame from Ikea, painted it black, added some musical note washi tape and musical stickers I found at Target.DSC00805[1]

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer 2013-pt.1

This summer has gone by way to quickly. Since I've been off of work, I always try to find as many fun things as possible to do with Stephen. That has not been the case this year. I had jury duty for 2 weeks in June and then Stephen injured himself at the local indoor trampoline park. In spite of being injured, the trampoline park has become a favorite hang out for Stephen and his friends. It's a great place for 12 year old boys to burn off energy and get away from the computer/video games. Stephen has spent a good portion of the summer sleeping. I swear he has grown at least 2 inches and is now slightly taller than I am. School starts in 2 weeks and I am trying to squeeze in as much fun as possible while we have time. Last week, we went to the aquarium, the beach, Ostrichland and my step-mom's family reunion. I drove 600 miles in 3 days.
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Friday, June 28, 2013

My rant on bullying


Bullying is a huge social issue right now. I know that as I parent I have been faced with this issue numerous times. My oldest son suffered from bullying on many occasions when he was younger. 15 years ago I do not think we were as aware of bullying and the impact on our children as we are today. I cannot go back and change what my oldest son went through, I did the best I could. However, we live in a different environment today. One that is aware of how bullying can affect our children. My youngest son has had many situations with bullying. It can be a very frustrating situation when you are dealing with schools, protocols, and parents. Our first occurrence was a when my son was 9. Fourth grade was our worst year ever! It was a constant battle with the school, numerous visits with the principal and finally a formal complaint to the district office. It took the entire school year to resolve the situation. The following school year my son was enrolled in a different school, different district. We managed to get through 5th grade in a new school without any problems. I had hoped that the transition to middle school would be easy. There have been challenges and just when I think one issue is resolved another one pops up. Why do kids have to be so MEAN?!! Is it because kids are facing difficult home lives, their own insecurities, or any number of things that our children face today, that causes them to lash out at their peers? Being bullied is something we need to talk to our kids about. Bullying isn't just face to face anymore, it's also over the internet-video games, computer games, Skype, Facebook, etc. As parents, I think we need to always keep the lines of communication open. I know that becomes more difficult as they become teenagers. I'm a nosy parent. I want to know who my son is with, who he is talking to, playing online with. I am fortunate that my son talks to me. I may not know all of the details, but I do know when something is not quite right and he will come to me when things are beyond what he can deal with. He has to learn how to deal with difficult people and I continue to guide him along the way. Fortunately, he has a great group of friends that he can confide in. I will always be the nosy parent no matter how much my son may dislike it. However, I will let him handle these situations, learn and grow from them, and only take it to a higher level if necessary. Have you dealt with similar situations? If so, what was your approach in dealing with them? Curious to know if I'm on the right track.

Thursday, May 16, 2013



My Nana passed away yesterday. She was 96 years old. For the past 10+ years she had been in a convalescent hospital and over time it became increasingly painful to visit her. The last time I went was a few years ago, she didn't know who I was, she didn't remember my kids. I made the choice then to remember how she was when I was growing up, not the woman lying in bed barely able to hear or eat, unable to walk, unable to recognize her loved ones, and slowly slipping away. I have wonderful childhood memories. Memories of my Nana teaching me to cook and bake. Something I love to do today. Memories of family get togethers, sleepovers with cousins, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune blaring so loudly on TV you could probably hear it on the next block :) She was there for me during good times and bad times. She gave me a place to live when I needed somewhere to go with my year old son. My Nana was one tough cookie. She endured multiple car accidents and the untimely death of her husband. And yet, she continued on. She was an active member of the community, involved in church and women's groups. She may not have always showed us or told us, but she loved her family. Tonight, she rests in peace. She is with her husband, her grandchildren who went before her, her siblings and her friends. I know that they will ALL be watching over those of us who remain until that day we are reunited.

My Nana:


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day Craft

Wishing all the wonderful Moms a very happy Mother's Day. We are on a tight budget and buying gifts for my Mom and Stepmom is never an easy process. A while back I pinned a craft idea on Pinterest-. found here  My stepmom saw it and hinted that she would like one and from there an idea was born. First, was locating the pencil boxes. I hit all the local craft stores (we don't have many) and finally found what I was looking for at Beverly's. I decided on scrapbook paper and mod podge. I used papers that I knew would complement the décor for each of my moms. I spray painted the boxes white, found some unfinished knobs at Home Depot and this is what I came up with:

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I made 2 for myself. It's a great way to store make-up brushes.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

30 Day Squat Challenge

I saw multiple postings for a 30 day squat challenge on Facebook and Pinterest. In my never ending quest to be healthier, I thought this might be a good way to tone up muscles that weren't getting used when I walked. The first few days were fairly easy, little did I know that by the time I finished the first week at 100 squats, my legs would be very angry with me. My knees hurt, my legs hurt in areas that I didn't even know were there and it hurts when I walk upstairs. I am determined to see this through. In case you are wondering, day 30 is 250 squats. I have already warned my family that they may come home and find me on the floor unable to move. :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spring Break Roundup


Last week was Spring break for Stephen. My goal was to keep him busy as much as possible and away from the TV/computer and video games. I think I succeeded. Monday we met Stephen's Grandma and cousin for brunch and bowling. Wednesday Stephen spent the day/night with his brother. They spent the day cleaning out a storage unit (Stephen needed a few hours of service time for the Honor Society), playing disc golf and hanging out. I'm glad that my boys can still find a common ground even with the 13 year age difference. Mike and I took advantage of the kid free night and went to dinner. It's something we have not been able to do very often and we both miss having that one on one time together.  We spent Thursday at Magic Mountain. Now I love my roller coasters BUT there is one that has intimidated me for quite some time-Goliath. This ride has a 61 foot vertical drop. My goal 2 years ago was to start experiencing some of the more 'thrill rides' that Magic Mountain has to offer. Up until last week there were only 2 rides left to try-Goliath and Lex Luther.  Lex Luther was closed so that left Goliath. I have to tell you that I kept my eyes closed during most of the ride. I was scared-even with my eyes closed. Will I ride it again? Maybe. It's not going to be one of those rides that I want to ride each time we visit the park. Stephen's history class is studying ancient Greece. So Friday we ventured to the Getty Villa in Malibu. The museum is beautiful and very interesting. If you haven't visited the Getty, I definitely recommend it. Both locations are full of wonderful masterpieces of art and beautiful gardens. Saturday we met Stephen's dad for a round of mini golf and Sunday was a rest day. Unfortunately, the only picture I was able to capture was one from the Getty-Stephen is getting tired of me snapping pics every time we go somewhere.


                                      Doesn't he look thrilled Winking smile

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Catching up. Again.

Geez. Seems like I have been really busy lately, but doing what I don't know. I feel like I have been running around like a crazy lady the past few weeks. I have had a few job interviews with no offers extended. It is such a frustration trying to find a part-time or semi full -time position to gain some additional experience. I continue look for work and keep on strengthening my skills. I know that eventually something will happen-in God's time, not mine.  Being a mom and managing our household seems to be consuming a lot of my energy lately. Especially the mom part. Stephen is getting closer to the dreaded teenage years. The attitude and surliness begin. UGH!! Everyday is a new battle. Anyone have any words of wisdom to help me keep my sanity during these difficult years????
I finished up a Mother's Day project. Unfortunately, I can't post pictures yet-since my second mom reads this blog. :)
It's Easter weekend. Today we had a bbq with a few of Mike's friends from work and some of our neighbors. I love our neighbors. The weather was perfect, the food was great and everyone had a good time. Tomorrow is sunrise service at our church, a hike after breakfast and family dinner. Then we begin spring break-bowling, the Getty for an extra credit project for Stephen, brother time, date night, Magic Mountain, and mini golf.
Today my friend Mitzi took a few bunny pictures with Stephen. It's been a few years-
easter 2                             stephen1
Happy Easter!!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Creating Subway Art

I love Subway Art. I would put it everywhere in our house but I think Mike would object. He subscribes to the less is more philosophy. We have been in our house for 5 years and there are still bare walls. I decided it was time to tackle these areas one at a time. First was Stephen's bathroom. Now Stephen could care less if there is anything on the walls, but it is also the bathroom that is used when we have overnight guests. I made these using vintage looking scrapbook paper, canvas and Mod Podge. I'm not in love with them, but it is an improvement.
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The next thing I wanted to do was put some sort of motivational subway art in our bathroom where we can see it every day as a reminder. I spent hours on Pinterest searching for something and nothing felt right. So, I decided to use Google and find out how to make my own. I used Google Docs which was definitely easier that trying to create it through Word. I LOVE this and am quite pleased with myself for how it turned out. I can't wait to frame it and hang it in our bathroom.
Subway Art
And guess what? Now that I know how to do this, the possibilities are endless. ;)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Vanity Tray

The blogging world has opened up so many creative ideas for me. Yesterday I saw a post using an acrylic picture frame as a tray (click here for details). A few months ago I shared a redo on a tray I found at Goodwill. Unfortunately, it has not held up so well on our bathroom counter.

The acrylic frame seemed like a perfect solution to contain the chaos of perfume bottles. Today I ventured to Michael's to see what I could find. SCORE! I got all of this for $8.00.
Michael's score
The paper I used in the original tray was on clearance for $.14. I need to protect the paper from moisture so I glued it to a piece of cardboard from the frame, cut the scrapbook paper to size, sealed with Mod Podge and Mod Podge sealer. I love it. This couldn't have been any easier and the total cost was under $10.00.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Trying to be healthy

I have struggled for years with my weight. And now as I approach the big 50 ( in 18 months) I am finding it extremely difficult to lose those nasty extra pounds. Instead of focusing on weight loss, I am focusing on being healthier. I cook healthier meals, healthier sweets and walk A LOT!! I love where we live. There are so many options for walking/hiking. Last Spring my oldest son and I hiked a 6 mile trail at least once a week. We have yet to do it this year-hopefully soon. The view is breathtaking on a clear day:
And there is the occasional goofing around:
Vinnie Towsley
Lately, I have been taking my faithful companion (Max) on walks on a paved trail close to our house. We walk 3-4 miles and  are exhausted (in a good way) by the time we get back to the car.  Here is Max patiently waiting to leave for our walk:
Max waiting
Today Vinnie joined us. Max was in Heaven having someone who can actually run with him. I want to run or jog, unfortunately, my body doesn't always cooperate with that desire. I get painful shin splints. I have been using a brace that past few days and it is helping. Don't know that I will be ready for a marathon anytime soon but it is an improvement.  Anyway, on our way back to the car today we say a crane (kind of weird to see it right across from a Pavilions):

Not the greatest picture, I was trying to be quick before Max scared it away.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day


Now that Stephen is in middle school, we no longer do the class Valentine Day's cards :( I decided I would make something special for a few special kids. I found these great kraft paper french fry boxes from Pick Your Plum. I had so much fun decorating these with washi tape and twine.

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I also made red velvet cookies. Recipe here

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I love making the holidays fun, even if it is something simple. Besides, it gives me an excuse to bake ;)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Honor Society

DSC00624Tonight was the Induction Ceremony for the Honor Society at Stephen's school. The transition to Middle School can often be challenging. Stephen was only in our local elementary school for one year. It was amazing how quickly he made friends from the beginning and those friendships (with the exception of a few) continue. I truly believe that the environment of a school makes a world of difference in a child's education. Granted, it is not the only factor, but I believe it has serious impact. Our hope is that these friendships partnered with a good school and positive influences will result in continued success for Stephen. The Honor Society expects outstanding performance in scholastics, service, leadership, character and citizenship. It is encouraging to see approximately 400 kids in one school qualify for this honor. I am proud of our community, our schools, our kids. I am especially proud of this boy:



Thursday, January 24, 2013

Valentine's Day table

Being in a relationship makes all the difference when Valentine's Day rolls around. For many years, I hated the day. Now I enjoy doing small things of love for the special men in my life. It's usually a nice dinner and some yummy baked goods. This year I am making treat packages for my favorite neighborhood kids and yummy red velvet cookies for my guys. I'm not a flowers and chocolate kind of girl. Wait, don't get me wrong, I LOVE chocolate but don't necessarily need it for Valentine's Day. I'm perfectly content getting a card from my sweetheart and sharing the day with special people.
Since we don't have a mantle for me to decorate, I have a holiday table. It usually houses all of our family photos. For Valentine's Day I wanted to keep it simple. I am obsessed with subway art. I have a frame that I use for every holiday. I found my favorite bible verse (1 Corinthians 13) in subway art form here:  Perfect for Valentine's Day.
I needed to do something creative-I feel like I haven't had much time for this outlet. I saw this on pinterest:
I had the twigs, I bought some felt, cut out the hearts and improvised.
Here is what I ended up with:

Friday, January 18, 2013

Kid Stuff


 As a parent, we always want what is best for our kids. Sometimes life throws curve balls and you do the best you can.. I raised my oldest son alone. I always wanted what was best for him but wasn’t always able to provide him with extra perks.. I did the best I could keeping him active in sports and encouraging scholastics. ( maybe someday I will dedicate a post to the trials and tribulations of being a single parent).  I am proud of the adult he has become. He’s hard working and making his way in life in spite of some struggles.. Life changes.. Today I am fortunate to have a wonderful man in my life who is very supporting and provides a wonderful life for us. My youngest son has been living with us full time for the past 18 months., his father and I had previously shared custody. As a result, we were able to put him in a better school district.  Sometimes I look at my youngest and forget that he is 11. He has experienced so many things at such a young age. Things we don’t want our children to have to go through. I see how these  experiences have changed him. He’s wise, funny, smart, loyal, and intolerant when it comes to things he knows are wrong. Someday I hope he realizes how important forgiveness is. Anyway, this is his f,irst year in middle school. At the beginning of the school year we told him he could earn $$ for good grades. No D’s, F’s or U’s allowed. I love that I can check his grades on a daily basis and catch any problems before they get out of control. As a result of his hard work, his first report card consisted of all A’s with the exception of P.E. and invitation to join the honor society. WOW!! I am so excited for him. This is a great opportunity. Oh, and that $$$, I believe we are going shopping for an Ipad this weekend.. We are so very proud of him.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Small Changes


I love when I can change something in our home for next to nothing. Months ago, I  bought some red fabric tape. I wasn’t sure what I was going to use it for and put it away. The crystal lamps in our bedroom belonged to Mike’s mom and I have yet to find lampshades I like. A few years ago, I added burgundy ribbon to the shades. It was ok but I knew I wanted to do something different.


Last week I had an Aha! moment….a purpose for the red fabric tape.


I Love it. Just that one little change can make a huge difference.

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year, New Goals


I decided to do away with New Year’s resolutions this year. I think setting goals is a better approach. I noticed that many of the blogs I follow were using one word for their goal for 2013. That got me thinking that maybe I should do the same. I want 2013 to be the year that I finish my Quickbooks Pro Advisor program and get my bookkeeping business going. I decided that if I was going to choose one word to motivate me, it was going to be success. A few days ago, I came across this printable on (thank you)

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Perfect!!! Framed and sitting on the desk where I will see it every day.