Category Archives: Life & Home

Our life and all it’s ups and downs and how we make it through and stick together.  We live in a 1933 home, so we’re constantly decorating, always renovating and organizing, so feel free to follow!  Plus there’s all kinds of DIY’s, decor and decorating, gardening and not to mention I love throwing parties!

Spring Flowers for Mom

As hard as it is to be without my mom, it is an honor to be able to make flowers for her.  Here is  how I made spring flowers for mom…

I have to say that it’s really crazy sometimes how an idea comes together.  Just like the idea for this particular spring flower arrangement.  I really didn’t have any design in mind when we went to the store; I just knew I was late getting this done.  I kept thinking white for some reason.  I met my stepdad at Hobby Lobby with my daughter Emily, and all he knew was that he really wanted some Easter lilies and some color.

We found some pretty Easter lilies and it just evolved from there.  One thing I’ve learned about design is to work with the inspiration.  He wanted white lilies, which are pretty bland, but they did have a little yellow way down in the center, so that’s what we worked with.  Next we found those huge peonies, which are supposed to be peach, but really don’t look peach at all.  They really looked like an off white, with a yellow tint and pink streaks.  They were so pretty and they looked gorgeous against the lilies!  Then we found the yellow daisy flowers that match and pretty pink sprigs.Mom's Flowers

Materials:

1 bush of white lilies

2 bush of peony blooms deluxe

1 bush of yellow daisies

2 sprigs of pink mini flower bushes

1 1/2 inch ribbon

1/4 pink ribbon

6″ x 12″ green styrofoam floral rectangle

1 saddle for headstone

Glue gun & glue sticks

Green floral tape

Wire cutters

Directions:

This was a really simple design.  I started with the biggest flowers first and worked from the center out to the edges.  Cut stems with wire cutters to desired lengths; longer in the center and shorter as you move out.  Then add the large hot pink flowers in the center.

Fill in with the lilies.  Not all of these are sticking straight up.  The ones near the edges are put in at an angle.  Feel free to bend them to get the desired shape, or try different angles.  This goes for all of the flowers.  Fluff, bend and shape until you get the look you want.

Last, place the yellow and pink sprigs randomly.  If you have bare spots, fill in with any leaves you may have pulled off stems.  For the hot pink sprigs, I broke the large sprigs off into smaller sprigs.  Because I did that, each smaller sprig only had a few thin wires left that we wound together; which is really weak to put into the arrangement and be outside.  The wind would probably blow it out of the arrangement.  To help with that, I took a stem from one of the flowers I had to cut down and used floral tape to attach it to the hot pink sprigs.  It made them go in the arrangement easier and they are sturdier.

For the ribbon:

Measure around the foam and add 1/2 inch for overlapping the ribbon.  Cut both ribbons.  I hot glued the pink ribbon down the center and carefully hot glued it to the foam.  I start and end in a corner, so that the overlap isn’t as noticeable as it would be if it was in the front or back. Mom's Flowers

For the vase flowers, I started with the largest flower first and then the lilies and taped them together with floral tape.  Then I played around and placed each flower and wrapped with floral tape.  You can use foam shaped specifically for the vases, but for some reason, it’s really hard to find here, so I just usually have to skip it.  The foam helps to hold it in the vase, because a strong wind can blow them out.  To keep mine from blowing out, I bend each stem up like a J and outward.  Then place in the vase.  This helps to anchor it in the vase.

That’s it!  Super simple, but gorgeous.  Make sure to save any leaves that you trim off in case you need to fill in any gaps, holes.  Save the bottoms of stems you cut off in case you cut something too short, or, in my case, you need to add them to a stem to make them stronger.

Like I said, it’s really neat how things come together.  I got white, my stepdad got the pop of color he was looking for and my daughter helped to pull the rest of it together.  When it was finished, he loved it and so did I.  I’m sure my mom does too.  Blog Signature

 

Spring Cleaning: Ceilings, Ceiling Fans and Lights

Starting your spring cleaning?  Lookup!  Ceilings, ceiling fans and lights first!

If you’re following along my Kitchen Deep Spring Cleaning Master List, you know it’s time to start Spring Cleaning: Ceilings, Ceiling Fans and Lights.  If you haven’t started spring cleaning that’s a great place to start.  Today is all about looking up.  How often do you actually look up at your ceiling?  Probably not often, but it get really dirty up there.  So, let’s get started.

Why start with the ceiling?  Because according to Sir Isaac Newton, what goes up must come down.  You’d hate to have everything looking pristine and picture perfect in your kitchen and then realize you have tons of cobwebs in the corners of your ceiling and light fixtures and then have all of that dust fall on everything you just cleaned.  Let’s start with the ceiling.

Tools Needed For Ceiling:

A broom, or duster long enough to reach the ceiling and those corners

Dust rags, microfiber cloths or paper towels

Glass Cleaner

Mrs. Meyer’s Multi-purpose Cleaner

To begin, I went ahead and took down my curtains to keep them from getting any dustier.  Starting in one corner of the room, start removing cobwebs and dust and work your way around the room.  Check the ceiling around light fixtures, smoke alarms and ceiling fans and the tops of cabinets for dust.

Take down light fixtures and clean with glass cleaner inside and outside of the globes and set to the side to dry.  Don’t forget to wipe the dust off your light bulbs!  But do this with the lights off.  Replace any burned out bulbs now, or replace with more energy-efficient ones.  Replace globes when dry.Spring Cleaning:  Ceilings, Ceiling Fans and Lights

Ceiling fans get really dirty, at least in my house.  In most rooms of the house, I can use the pillowcase trick to capture the dust off the blades, but in the kitchen where cooking oil travels in the air, the dust tends to stick a little.  Gross!  See the pic?  I’m almost embarrassed by it.  Please ignore the mess in the background!   This is a real house and that just happens to be the next room on my spring cleaning list.  Look the broom is in the corner, so you know I’ve been cleaning!  Also, on my to-do list, get the trim moulding done!Spring Cleaning:  Ceilings, Ceiling Fans and Lights

Told you it was icky!  So how do you get a really icky ceiling fan sparkling clean?  First I used my vacuum cleaner with the long hose attachment and vacuumed off as much dust as I could.  Then I took all of the blades off and took off the globes.

Cleaners used for ceiling fan:

White Vinegar

Baking Soda

Dawn Dish Soap

Wash Rag

First I used  hot water and Dawn and gave them a good wash.  This removed a good bit of stuff.  Then I scrubbed them with a paste of baking soda and vinegar.  It was amazing!   A couple of the blades I had to go over a couple of times, but they came clean.  I did the same things with the globes.  Place them on paper towels to dry.  I guess I should also include that it takes a Route 44 drink from Sonic and some pretzels to get this done. Look!  My cow is hiding!  He’s shy.Spring Cleaning:  Ceilings, Ceiling Fans and Lights

See how pretty the blades are now?  Just ignore where I got paint on them from when I painted the ceiling.  Note to self…take the ceiling fan down before painting the ceiling!  Next, I cleaned the fan itself and I used Mrs. Myers Multi-Purpose Cleaner.  Once everything is really dry, put it back together and you’ll have a super, sparkly ceiling fan!

That’s it!  Next you can move on to windows and walls.  But at least now with clean lights you can see everything that needs to be cleaned.  I was surprised, how much brighter my kitchen was after cleaning my light fixtures and they weren’t dirty.  On to the next part of spring cleaning!  Don’t forget to download your Kitchen Deep Spring Cleaning Master List!

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Spring Cleaning Time! Kitchen Deep Spring Cleaning Master List

Welcome to my new series Spring Cleaning Time!  

It’s time to get our houses in order and have less stress and more time, which is exactly what every woman needs.  This is not your typical spring cleaning where you give most things a good cleaning, this is a true deep cleaning of everything you own as I discussed here.  But, it’s not meant to be overwhelming, which can and does happen when we start large projects like this.  Honestly, I have found it to be liberating and with each item I clean or purge, my stress level goes down a tiny bit and I enjoy the room a little more.

Like I said in the series introduction, this is a true deep cleaning taken room by room and sometimes, project by project.  Today, I’m posting the master list for the kitchen.  I think this is the hardest room in the house and why not get the hardest over first?  I was always taught to do the hardest, or messiest thing first and work your way down.  Then the last thing you do is a piece of cake!

So here is the list:

 

To print or download a pdf please click here…Printable Letter Size Kitchen Deep Cleaning Master List

I’ve tried to include everything that I could think of, or that I personally did in my own kitchen, but I’m sure there are things that I’ve missed. Fill them in on your printout and then let me know so I can update my list.

Next up will be a post about products and how-to’s that I’ve used in the kitchen.  There are some great products and simple techniques that will make your deep  spring cleaning simplified.

Happy spring y’all!Blog Signature

Spring Cleaning Series Coming Soon

The birds are chirping and the sun is out and my van is now turning yellow, that means it’s time for spring cleaning…

I love spring cleaning!  I know, I must be crazy, but there is just something about the act of spring cleaning that makes me feel good.  I feel organized, lighter, and I even like cooking and cleaning more when my house looks good.  Even with my kitchen floors a mess from remodeling, (no, we haven’t even came close to finishing the kitchen floors) and I need to repaint the kitchen cabinets and I still need to get all the trim work finished, and I’ve noticed the ceiling needs to be repainted, I still feel better.

There are tons of things I’ve noticed I’ve got to do by spring cleaning.  I think a lot of things we overlook because we get so used to them and simply ignore them over time.  This year is the first time in years that I’ve done a true deep cleaning of just about everything in my kitchen.  Don’t get me wrong, I spring clean just about every year, but have I really deep cleaned?

This spring, I’ve decided to challenge myself.  I gave myself the challenge of doing a very thorough deep cleaning of each room of my house and as I go through each room, make a list of things that need to fixed, finished, or changed.  I’m going to purge and get of anything that is broken and can’t be fixed, anything that I don’t use, and anything that I don’t like.  I’m no longer going to display items that I’m not really crazy about just because someone gave it to me.

I’m going to clean, really clean each and every nook and cranny.  I’ll be posting my lists of what I’m tackling in each room and those may even be broken down by what I’m cleaning.  For example:  I’m currently in the kitchen and yesterday I did the windows.  So I’ll make a post about how and what I used to clean my windows.  I know all of this may sound boring to you.  But, I have found out that I’m learning about myself as I continue through this project.  So far, I’ve found out that I don’t like a lot of stuff sitting around.  I honestly thought that I liked having lots of decorations, but I don’t.

As I clean and purge, I have found out that I’m really more of a minimalist than I ever thought.  I’m more of a clean freak than I ever thought. I’ve also discovered an effect on my mood that I didn’t plan on.  I’m less stressed when I walk in my kitchen.  Even though I’m not finished with the kitchen yet, and the sink is overflowing from last night’s supper, I’m actually less stressed about it than I would have been a week ago.  I think because now when I walk in, I don’t see all the clutter, all the dirt and all the dishes and I’m not as overwhelmed.  Not to mention, my body is so sore.  I mean, I’m on a heating pad each night to sleep and taking Tylenol.  Who knew spring cleaning could be this much of a workout?  Boost!

I know, there are tons of spring cleaning checklists on Pinterest.  But, I bet none of them are going to be as detailed as mine.  As I work each room, I’ll post the list and as I work on each item on the list, I’ll post more details, including products that I’m using, tips and links.  I’ll also post about any decorating that I do also, I already have several DIY crafts for the kitchen!

Spring cleaning can get mundane and boring at times.  To make it a little more fun, try these ideas:

  • Crank up some music
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Listen to a book
  • Call a friend while you clean
  • Enjoy the quiet?

Keep checking back for more spring cleaning tips!

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The Spring Cleaning Bug has bit me hard!  Today I’m starting in my kitchen.  I’m pulling everything out of my cabinets and drawers and giving it a complete cleaning and organization makeover.  My family is probably not gonna like me today, but when it’s all done…Magic!

Kicking Kidney Cancer’s Butt!

Just wanted to let all of you know that my husband’s kidney cancer surgery went great!  He had surgery last Thursday to remove a portion of one kidney that had a small tumor.  First surgery is now done and he can heal, then it’s one more surgery to go.  Next surgery they will be completely removing the other kidney.  He is doing great, in awesome spirits and not even hurting; a little sore, but very little pain.  Thank you so much for all the prayers! God’s Got This!

A Battle We Didn’t Expect-Cancer

All of us will face battles from time to time.  Most battles we can anticipate, but some come out of the blue.  Our family is facing a battle we didn’t expect-cancer.

2017 has started off with a bang for our family.  We thought last year was crazy with 5 surgeries in our little family; Becca had wisdom teeth surgery and rotator/labrum surgery, I had a hysterectomy and Emily had knee surgery and labrum surgery.  We should be done right?  Well, I guess not.  Now it’s my husband’s turn and we’re facing a battle we weren’t prepared for and a battle we didn’t expect.  My husband has cancer.

My husband has cancer.  Those are words I never expected to say.  They don’t even want to come out of my mouth.  But now I’m being forced to say them.  He’s being forced to say it.  Our kids are being forced to say it.  Not how we expected 2017 to begin, but here we go.  First I’ll tell you how we found out because it’s just a testament to how God works and how we could have easily missed it.

My husband, Todd, is only 50 and very active and healthy, so when he had a lump/knot thing come up on his shoulder-blade, me and a lot of doctors and nurses that he works with (he works at a hospital) encouraged him to see his primary doctor and get it checked out.  We all figured it just fatty tissue and nothing really to worry about.  His doctor decided to send him in for a scan just to check.  Everyone was right, it was no big deal, BUT, she saw tumors on his kidneys and immediately consulted with a Urologist and they both agreed it was cancer and it was aggressive.

He had to tell us, and I sat frozen for so long, unable to speak, or move.  I couldn’t even ask questions, or check on the kids.  I think I honestly went into shock.  Then fear hit me when I looked in his eye and saw this wasn’t a dream.  He took the news very well, he’s a rock that man.  The kids, well, I’m amazed.  I’m the one that’s freaking out!  Since then, it’s been a whirlwind of appointments.  Just so you know, he feels great!  No symptoms at all!  Which is the weirdest thing, because when people find out, they expect him to actually look sick, or feel sick, but he doesn’t.  Matter of fact, if he hadn’t had the lump come up on his back we would have NEVER known he has Kidney Cancer.  That lump saved his life!

In a  little over a week from now, my husband will have a part of one kidney removed, and then a month from that, he will have the other kidney completely removed.  All of the doctors we’ve spoken to, have said that he will be able to live a completely normal life after his surgeries and recovery, even will one partial kidney.  Totally blows my mind!  Just think about how many times we go in for physical, and they do blood work and everything checks out fine.  That’s what my husband has had, normal blood work!  It would never have been caught and one of his tumors is huge; covering 1/2 to 3/4 of the kidney.  Makes you wonder if everyone should have a head to toe scan every year to catch stuff.

So far, the hardest parts have been listening to my husband tell us the news and the waiting to find out what exactly we’re facing.  Waiting to find out, if I was still going to have a husband and a father for our kids.  Waiting to get to the specialist.  The fear of all of the unknown.  Telling other people.  Having other people look like they are going to break down, for you when you tell them or they ask how we’re doing, but you’re smiling because you have a secret that’s really not a secret to those that have faith.

From the moment he found out, my husband looked at us and said, “I’m not worried because God’s got this.” Whatever the outcome, He’s got this.”  That’s what we’ve been saying and that’s what we believe.  So when other people look at us like we’re crazy for not freaking out, or not falling apart (which I promise I have my moments and I know that all of us have at some time), we just tell them, God’s got this.  Does it mean this will be a cakewalk?  Of course not.  It just means, that He’s here with us.  It means, we’re ready to fight and he’s fighting with us.  It means my husband has a life to live and he plans to live it and be back on the lake fishing tournaments by spring!  It means that even though this is a battle that we weren’t prepared for, that God is already prepared for it and He’s got this.  We just have to trust Him.

Please be in prayer for my husband and our family.

God’s Got This!

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Need a Minute to Have a Mommy Meltdown

I’m going to apologize in advance for my meltdown.  I just want to act like a two year old for a minute.  I want to kick my feet and bang my head against the wall and scream not fair!

My daughter Emily, who is only 14, and has a disease called Ehler’s Danlos with Hypermobility Syndrome, now may have one more thing to contend with.  She already has reflux, asthma, normal allergies, skin sensitivities to all kinds of things, allergies to certain medicines and now may have an allergy to a food.  She is already allergic to tomatoes, crazy, I know.  Not a severe allergy but enough that it triggers her reflux which then aggravates her asthma.

The past couple of days she has been breaking out with hives and which each day they are getting bigger and more spread out and with a stronger reaction.  Since I already have one child with severe allergies (my son) I knew what this meant, get to the doctor.  Last night the place where the hives were, was as large as a volleyball.  Bright pink and full of huge hives.  We even snapped a pic on her IPod so we could show the doctor.  I highly recommend doing that because even though we didn’t get a great pic, it still was enough for the doctor to look at it and say, “Yep, that’s a food allergy!”

So today my baby girl had her blood drawn for the umpteenth time and now we wait to find out if it’s nut (been eating some nutty buddies), eggs, dairy, wheat, etc.  And I’ve been doing some research and found out that people with Ehler’s Danlos seem to be predisposition to have food allergies.  Go figure!

I was really hoping we were done with new things. Each person in my house already has some type of food allergy/sensitivity, but I was really hoping we were done with all of this.  Everything seemed to be cruising along, normal even.  It was really nice!  Please don’t get me wrong, I know that this is certainly not the worst thing in the world.  Simple even and could be 100 times worse.  But it is scary dealing with epi-pens and food allergies and I didn’t want her to have one more thing to worry about.  It already overwhelms her at times.  No child should have to go through illness, no matter what it is.

Ok, I’m done whining (I’m actually smiling now, really!)  Thanks for letting me vent.  I just needed to get it out of my system. Blog Signature

 

Classroom Makeover!

I haven’t been blogging a lot lately because I’ve been really busy with a surprise that my hubby brought home, a new desk!  A big executive desk that was given to him for free!  Ain’t God grand?  I think so!

So what was the first thing I needed to do?  Make it mine and since it wasn’t my hubby’s desk from childhood or an antique that someone gave me, I had no problems or guilt about wanting to paint it.  My hubby wasn’t so sure though.

Here it is!  It’s so big and it was really nice, but it had some rough spots.  So I sanded the finish off to take off the shine so the primer and paint would adhere.

Next I gave it 3 coats of Behr paint and primer in Decorator White.  Once it was all covered, I sanded it down in a few places to reveal the dark wood underneath.  I was going for a shabby chic look but I only did a little because I didn’t want it to look too old. Then I coated it in 2 coats of varnish.  I may do a 3rd coat later, but for now I’m really happy with the results.

Next I moved it into it’s new home right by the window of our classroom.  I love it! There’s so much room on top to work and spread out and I love the worn look after I got the desk personalized.  I still need to redo the lamp to match and I need to paint the trim on the white board to match the corkboard.  That’s next on the list! 

I went to Hobby Lobby and got the urn and the candle this morning for next to nothing, on sale baby!  The vase I had and the flowers I also had from an old arrangement. Emily wants to paint the pencil holder she made when she was little, but I like it just the way it is.

Here you can see a close up of the drawers and the handles.  It’s kinda hard to tell in the picture, but the handles were that gold-brass color.  I actually painted the round parts red and the curves in the handles red.  When it dried it looked really pretty.  Then I gave them a quick varnish.

Here’s the finished desk and yes as you can see I’m on my Facebook page!  I can’t wait to blog and write and do school from here!  And what does hubby think of my finished product?  He really likes it and I can’t believe how it turned out!

 

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Basketball Banquet 2013

I love decorating for banquets!  This year I had to go really simple because I’ve had that yucky cold that’s going around and won’t let go.  But I think my girls, their friends and I pulled it off!

We had a great time at the banquet and it’s always sad when another season comes to an end but getting to hang out with these great kids makes it all worth it.  I love homeschool!  Have I said that lately?

Banquet 1

I literally dreamed about this centerpiece.  I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do and then at 4am I woke up and knew what I wanted to do.  Too bad I couldn’t go back to sleep! I took balloon weights, (the big ones) and cut a balloon stick in half (10 inches) and put it in the center of the balloon weight. Then I made a balloon cluster out of 7 balloon and attached them with the clips that came with the sticks.  Then I used my publisher program and printed out the team banners and table numbers on card stock and attached them to balloon sticks and crammed them in the weights.  They looked so cool and they were really easy to make.

Banquet 2

Last year we used a giant roll of paper tablecloth and it was a huge hit with the kids both big and small so we decided to use it again.  For the runner we cut black wrapping paper into 3rds.  Let me give you a warning about using paper make sure to have some really good tape on hand because you will need to tape the runner and the tablecloth down on the ends or they will not stay put.  I think they may have even used scrapbook dots under the runner.  But once in place they are great!  Add crayons and you can doodle on the paper and the runner!  We even add candy on the tables which is always a hit!

Banquet 3

A close up of the centerpiece.  They turned out so cool and we got lots of compliments!  Below shows how we did the buffet tables.  Once everything was in place, (very important) I took a giant Sharpie and labeled what everything was.  Why did I do that?  I saw it on Pinterest and thought it was cool!  Haha!  Also because I usually print out a menu because it’s typically catered, but this year it was only partially catered (the meat, slaw and cake) and everyone else divided up the sides that are typically catered.  It made identifying the sides quick and easy since there were 4 or more containers of baked beans, mac and cheese and so forth.  It eliminated the question, “What is this?” and I didn’t have to make placecards for each dish.  And then there’s the cake with each team and players names on it!  Yum!

PicMonkey Collage

To mark the beginning of the buffet, I wrote a big “Welcome to the Stallions Banquet!” so there would be no question as to where the line should start.  Plus I was in a doodling mood!  We wound up with about 130 players, parents, siblings and family in attendance.  A big Thank You to Hendrick’s Motor Sports for letting us use their Team Center for our banquet.  It is a great facility and you are so welcoming!Banquet 4

I love this picture because you can see how many people were there and you can really see how the decorations look in the space.  This is Emily, her bf Brandon and the Varsity Girls team (isn’t he lucky!)  goofing off and chowing down.  Now I know where the missing crockpot of nacho dip went!  You have been caught! Ha!

Banquet 9

Don’t forget about a trophy table!  Use this to showcase your program’s accomplishments throughout the years. Cover with a tablecloth and attach banners.  We brought just a few trophies this year instead of all of them and we also used the tables to hold the shirts and awards the players would be getting from their coaches.

Banquet 10

These are just some of my favorite pics of the evening.  It was so hard to choose!  The first is my sweet boy Spencer getting his awards; the second is Lindsey receiving her Senior recognition from her longtime coach Phil; the 3rd is my daughter Becca and her bff Lindsey; the 4th is Jonathan an honorary coach of the varsity boys team with his cowboy hat, he is the sweetest; and the 5th is a really cool picture of Emily’s bff Karley and Kara that are on the varsity girls team.

PicMonkey Collage 2

My advice is to make your banquets fun, include posters that fans made over the season to hang on the walls or from tables.  Use balloons because they are always festive. And let different people take turns taking pictures of the evening.  I didn’t take a single shot all night.  My camera was passed from my kids to their friends all night.  Luckily I really trust them, but they took the coolest pics I’ve ever had.  Wish I had room to show them all to you but you can go to my Facebook page if you want to see more!