Friday, 28 September 2012

{pretty, happy, funny, real}


Several of us spent Wednesday morning working on new wreaths for our front doors.  Elizabeth hosted and provided us with a perfect workspace.   The children played together well and were content.   We laughed and talked and finished the morning with some beautiful finished products.   Even though everyone used the same basic components, each wreath was unique.   I made my wreath last year, so I was there to help and enjoy the company.   Female bonding and beautiful crafts made for a great mid-week boost!

Ready to begin!  This is one of Elizabeth's pics.   Hers are the ones that were obviously NOT taken with an iPhone!

Almost done!

Julia and I working on her wreath.

Lauren contemplating the perfect placement.

Elizabeth's finished wreath

Julia's finished wreath

Lauren's finished wreath


We celebrated my husband, Joey's birthday.   The kids couldn't wait to surprise him as he entered the door after work.   Since we both have September birthdays, we usually just combine our birthday meal on his birthday.   This year, we went to Carino's and everyone enjoyed it.   When we returned home, we ate cake, sang "Happy Birthday" and opened presents.   It was a good day.

I made Ina Garten's famous chocolate cake.   It is an amazing recipe.

I had to use a different icing, since the chocolate called for in the original recipe contains nut allergens.  Still satisfactory results, though.

Thomas was fascinated with the trick sparkler candles on the cake.   Daddy managed to avoid being in a photo!


Our latest check-up visit to the allergist was quite an adventure.   He is an INCREDIBLE physician and we are blessed to have him in this town, but visits to his office are usually not quick.   It's great when he's with you because he takes so much time and care with each patient.   It's a little rough while you're waiting with small children, though.   Thomas and Clare were quiet for a while (see pic below), but the big plastic blocks made such a satisfying sound as they flew across the floor.   Add to that, I kept falling asleep, so I'm sure people heard my children yelling, "Wake up, Mama!"   Of course, as always, was Emmeline, sitting there quietly.   It was a great good-news check-up though!

A bit of calm as they shared a book.


I have several "reals" to share this week.   I was finally inspired to tackle my catch-all area in my kitchen.   Prepare to be shocked by the BEFORE.   I am slowly developing a system for the bills, mail, medical/Rx receipts, and all the new school stuff.

This is a pic of a pic of a pic of my Before.   I didn't know what information might be visible in that paperwork!  You get the general idea of chaos, clutter, and yes, owing to that bit of stove visible in the right corner, fire hazard.

After--lest you be too impressed, that Netflix movie in the basket arrived at our house back in July!  Ugh!   I hate to waste money!!

Eczema on my hand has been real this week.   I haven't been as vigilant about wearing gloves when cleaning and washing dishes and this is the real result.   This is an improvement, though and by Sunday, I'm hoping to see healed hands.

round button chicken

Garage Sale Score

Saturday morning, fortified with coffee and chocolate cake (Breakfast of Champions), several friends and I headed out to see if we could find any treasures at local garage sales.   Each of us found at least one treasure and everything we bought was a bargain.   It was a great morning.

I have been looking for a bookshelf for Thomas's room and I found one at the last sale we visited.   Mama would always say, "If you wait long enough, you can find anything at a garage sale."

Now, to load it with the books that have been stacked on big sister's floor for weeks.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

{pretty, happy, funny, real}


This could double as {pretty-happy}!  My friend, Lauren, and I share September as our birthday month and we celebrated with some dear friends Wednesday night.    Gifted Nan made the beautiful flower arrangements which not only brought beauty to the table, but also were our special gifts to take home.   My poor iPhone picture simply cannot do them justice.   The cake was a scrumptious chocolate dream, a chocolate cake covered in chocolate ganache.   The dishes are lovely vintage tea/coffee plate sets and they suited our gathering--and our group--perfectly.   We were able to get our first glimpse of Mary's lovely new home as we "oohed" and "ahhed" over its features.    We sometimes jump up and down or even clap in exclamation.   Pretty girly.   Pretty wonderful.   Pretty refreshing to our spirits.

Gifts for the birthday girls!

Mary's yummy offerings!   We always pull out our special dishes for each other.


C, after her fever broke, curled up under the same comforter I used to curl up under when I was sick.   My now quite vintage comforter!

Later this week, at the park, signs of a much-enjoyed surprise cupcake on her face!

Our family is on the mend after about two weeks of various viruses, dental procedures, and general sinus "stuff."    Happy development indeed!   I am so happy to pass on the "healing" powers of the Winnie the Pooh blanket.


T has had a blast playing in the mornings.   I wasn't able to catch him as he was when REALLY in action as Thor, the God of Thunder, but I was able to make him pose for a second.   He chose his own cape!   I love to watch him tear through the house and yard, making his own sound effects and providing hours of script as he battles all those who would seek to do injustice in the world.   Or something like that.


Migraines have been real this week.   I had my worst one yet Tuesday and I depended on my oldest child to help with the younger ones until Daddy got home.   My medication now travels with me, as I've figured out that if I don't take them at the first sign, they will be of little use.   The meds' relief is real, though, when I am able to take them in time and for that I am grateful.

round button chicken

Friday, 14 September 2012

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

I'm finally trying to do this link-up with the blogs Like Mother, Like Daughter, since the format works for this share.   Here's a little of the from our week:


It's no secret that pies are my thing.   Some women relax at a mall or a spa, but I love to relax by making homemade pies in my kitchen.    There is a homey and wholesome beauty to the sight of my baking island in the midst of pie-baking.


From apple pies above to the apple which apparently hasn't fallen far...

My daughters love to play school as soon as they get home now.   This is the sight I found in my oldest daughter's room.   It's the same sight my mother found in my room most days of my elementary school years.   It's the sight relatives and friends will always recount from their memories of me.   The tradition continues as my daughters now line up their own dolls and stuffed animals to teach them.


We finished painting the children's rooms and then finally did a little decorating.   This is my youngest daughter's special little shelf.   Loki, the Norse God of Mischief alongside one of her patron saints (middle name), St. Jeanne d'Arc, the Maid of Orleans.   For anyone who knows my spunky, loving gal, this combination makes perfect sense!


My schedule has been so hectic as of late that I haven't had time to read the paper in the mornings, as was my normal habit.   I feel horribly guilty when I see this stack which waits for recycling rather than my hungry eyes.   Soon, soon, I shall return to the feel of newsprint between my fingers rather than a quick swipe or click on a screen!

round button chicken

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Hangin' Around: More House Projects

To continue where my last post about our house projects left off,  I have some new pictures to post.

I wanted the kids' rooms to be finished before the first day of school, so it was a mad rush to get it all done.   There are still books on C's floor since we have run out of bookshelves!   I know the kids' room colors are terribly traditional and awfully stereotypical, but they chose them.

E's Lavender Room

Update: I exchanged the white bed skirt for this ruffled lavender one.   It looks better and it was on clearance at Target for less than $5.

This was the girls' dress-up center, but now it's Emmeline's dresser.   The next project for her room is painting this, since the finish and wood quality are not great.   I don't like seeing wood pieces painted, but the damage on this one is too great for a refinish.

Mama bought the "Emme" boutique hat box after Emmeline was born.   There is an "Emme" label hat inside.   That's her 10 year old portrait, as well as the fleur de lis cross given to her by my friend, Gina.

The paper doll painting on the left was painted by Mama.   It hung in my room when I was a little girl.   The paper doll sets on the left were gifts from Regina when Emmeline was born.

C's Pink Bedroom

C's sweet new bed.   The butterfly canvas gave her a bit of glitter in her room!   I decorated her lampshade.

She needed a bedside table so I re-painted a glass and black metal plant stand.  That's why I love metal pieces.   A can of spray paint can refresh it or completely change it.

Bookshelves in progress...

She loves her cowgirl print--'with all your heart'--that fits her!

Mama painted this ribbon rack.   It hung in my room as a child.   Each of the children will have a piece painted by Grandma:)  

T's Blue Bedroom

Going for vintage on this wall...the cowboy hung in Joey's childhood room.   I'm going to frame some Norman Rockwell boy prints to hang on this wall, also.

The piece on the left is one that Joey etched in the crypt of St. Martin's in the Field in London.   It is St. George.   The one on the right is from our church's garage sale.   Our little Thomas Becket has to have an English wall, but I guess it's a little odd to have knights decorating a room for someone named after Becket!   When he was born, Joey wanted to decorate his nursery with a 'Chaucer theme.'   Right, pray tell where we might find Chaucer nursery decorations?   Maybe a mobile...with the Wife of Bath, Arcite, The Prioress...?

Finally...Things On the Living Room Wall!

This is the longest, tallest wall I've ever had to work with, so it's taken over a year to decide what/where to hang.



My friend Amber cross-stitched this for me.


Our Louisiana collection.   I still have to have glass cut for a print of Christmas Eve bonfires on the Mississippi River.   The picture to the left is a favorite, as it is from a favorite professor.  She and her husband traveled to our wedding in horrible weather.   It's a watercolor of downtown Natchitoches, LA during the Christmas Festival.

I found this image of Our Mother of Perpetual Help at our local St. Vincent De Paul thrift store on the day I donated my parents' clothes.  We finished cleaning out their house and we donated clothing and other items.   It was a beautiful reminder of God's love and faithfulness at all times in my life.  

It's nice to have all the pictures off the floors where they were propped up against walls around the room.   The rooms all feel so much more homey and cozy.   It was worth the elbow grease and deliberation!

Note: For light items smaller than 8 x 10, you can hang them with a straight pin.   Growing up on a farm, I learned to use a hammer well and if you do it just right, you can drive a pin in straight and make only a tiny hole in the wall.  

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