February 27, 2011

How to Bake a Perfect Life, an apron, and Book 10!

Whoa it's been a busy busy weekend!  Where to start?  Lets see, I finished Book 9 which was How to Bake a Perfect  Life by Barbara O'Neal.  I loved this book!!  First of all, you'll want to bake tons and tons of bread while reading this...I really wanted to, but I was so swamped this weekend with stuff to do - I just couldn't fit it in.  But I will get to it, I need to bake so badly after reading this!  It's about a 40-year old woman (a baker) whose very-pregnant-daughter has to fly to Germany to see her wounded soldier hubby, leaving the main character with her 13-year-old stepdaughter.  The girl was living on her own, in a homeless neighborhood after her bio mom was arrested for drugs.  The book is all about the main characters life and background, with a splash of the 13-year-old and the pregnant daughter's lives as well.  Its really good.  I give it a 4 out of 5.  It has love and laughter and baking and heartache...its a good time, I promise!

Then, after finished that I retreated to my new craft room to make an apron out of Book 8, the Martha Stewart book.  Here is it all finished, with a wonderful model, known has my husband;)
 Isn't he cute;)  LOL.  I thought it would be much more entertaining if he modeled it.  I was right.  Thanks babe!
 I made this all by myself!  I love it!  Technically it's for Ashley, but I think we'll share it.  She picked the colors which are pretty sweet together, if you ask me!  I made it by the step by step directions in the Martha book.  I gave this book a 4, since it was easy to read and came with patterns!
 I made these strappy straps! 
This took me about 2.5 hours from start to finish, including printing the pattern, cutting it out, cutting the fabric and sewing & ironing.  Good times!  Not bad for my first sewing project in a while, right?

So that brings me to Book 10 which is Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.  I am going to be brutally honest here, I don't think I'll FINISH this book by tomorrow night. I'll start it for sure, but it's not a book I want to speed through just to beat my deadline...I figure since it's month with 28 days, I can afford to go over a day or too.  I'm not going to beat myself up about it, I'm still reading 10 books! 

I can't wait to pick out my March 10!!  I can't believe it's time to pick 10 new books already!?!?  Where is the year going?

Stay tuned for pics of our new shelf in the dining room, and some IRISH decor, and a project brewing for this week.  I have to go and get ready for WORK tomorrow!  I have a job!  Yay:)


February 24, 2011

Backstage with Julia


I finished book 7 late last night - Backstage with Julia.  It was sweet, interesting story of a woman who worked very closely with Julia Child and was a very good friend of hers.  They not only worked on TV shows and books together, but they traveled all over and cooked together, because Julia always said, "Isn't cooking together such fun?!?!"  Man, she was such an AWESOME person!  She traveled well into her 80's and she TRAVELED, as in carried her own luggage, stayed up all night, and partied like a teen!  She said thinks like, "You are only as old as you feel..." her and her husband Paul never wanted to live in a "retirement community" because they were full of "OLD" people, even though they themselves were in their 70s when considering a new home!  She wasn't diet crazy or even healthy food crazy - yet she lived a full and happy life cooking REAL and lovely food.  Thats my kinda woman;)

I highly recommend this book, if you are interested in Julia Child and/or cooking.  I give it a 3.5 - because you know I reserve 4-5's for books I absolutely can't put down...this one is a long read because it chronicles a lot of Julia's work.  I loved it, but I know enough to know not everyone will.  Its a really good read though, if you are into that sort of thing!

 Because of work, I am WAY too exhausted to sew tonight, so I will be creating my first apron from the Martha Stewart book this weekend.  By the way, I can already say I love the MS sewing and fabric craft book.  It's hard to rate a book like this but I'm going to try.  I'm giving it a 4 because all the craft pictures were great, the instructions are great, she breaks down and defines everything and the book comes with CD that has printable patterns on it.  Perfect for a beginner, like me!! 

Now I have to sew that apron, that will be the end of Book 8.  I will start "How to Bake a perfect life" tonight and try to finish that over tonight, tomorrow and Saturday.  Then Sat - Mon is Dave Ramsey time - which will be tough because I have to take NOTES for that one....lol...not really but I want to take time and try to apply it.  Dave is going to read it again too, after I'm done (he doesn't have a Feb 28th deadline, like me!) I'm cutting it close this month, but in my defense there ARE only 28 days in Feb!!  That's 2-3 days less than most months, which is enough time for me to finish 1-2 books;)

Ok, I'm exhausted and am ready for a hot bath and a good book!  My first day went great!  Ready for my second...

Oh and I'm linking up with this beautiful blog My Romantic Blog for a show and tell Friday, showing my craft room progress:)

February 23, 2011

Back to work....

Welp...being a housewife has officially ended as of today!  Tomorrow I go back to work for a few months as a school counselor (I'm doing a long term sub position).  Now is the REAL test, can I still read 10 books a month?!?!  I hope so!!  I'm almost done my Julia Child book, and I'm halfway through the apron project out of the Martha Stewart book.  That means I have to read the baking book and Dave Ramsey, all by Monday!  Can I do it??? YES I CAN:)

I'm exciting about working.  and nervous.  and happy.  and....ready!!!  Oh geez, what should I wear?!?!  BTW, I found some REALLY cute finds at Targets $1 section tonight, to ptu in the crafty craft room - I'll post pics tomorrow - after work!! 

Night blog world!

February 22, 2011

Craft Room Projects Revealed!!!

My craft room is coming along!!  It's not nearly done, I still have to hang pictures and decorate a little more and actually MOVE my craft stuff done here and make a curtain for the shelf...whoa that's still a lot.  BUT!  I did TWO projects this weekend, I stayed up all night painting/sanding/hammering and almost killed myself doing these things!  I decided to close in the shelf in our basement to make it more of a closet, it used to look like this:
See how it is all open?  I wanted to cover it and so we bought some plywood and had it cut in half to fit the side of this.  The other side of the plywood, I wanted to use to build a desk to put into the wall, right where that folding table with the sewing machine is.  Here is my non-carpenter-I-dont-really-know-what-Im-doing drawing....

 So we had two pieces of plywood that looked like this...
 I used magnetic paint first, three light coats of this....
 and then the chalkboard paint - two coats of this - so it would be a magnetic chalkboard in my craft room for me to draw up and dream ideas on.  Also, Dave & Ashley can leave notes here too, if they want;)
 So I painted it and used my power drill to attach it to the shelf, so it looks like this!  Its very black and once it dries and sets I can put stuff and draw stuff on it, it'll look a little cuter - but I love that I have this space to decorate with chalk and shabby magnets.  I dont really have a "shabby chic" spot in our home so this room is it..
 I'm going to make a curtain to cover the front of the shelf-made-into-closet.  Something pretty to hide all that crapOla.  Anyways, then I got started on the desk.  I went to my parents house and mom helped me, using her table saw, cut all my custom measured (lol) desk parts.  I put two braces on either side on those built in cabinets that hold our water pump and something else, to help hold up the desk top.  Then I primed and painted all the desk parts and mounted the desk top on the braces...
 Not bad, right?  I put the sewing machine on it because the desk top is bowed a little bit.  Mom says to put something heavy on it and it'll even out in a few days, if it doesnt its not a big deal.  This is my first custom built desk, I'm not expecting it to be perfect!  After that I got started on making the "legs" with cubbies.  This part was hard!  I had to glue (wood glue) the little cubby shelves on, and let them dry - see the coke cans hold them in place until they stick??  Thats the official way to do this, by the way!  LOL
 Then after they dried I nailed them in, and then nailed the other side of the shelf on, and PRESTO!  I have a desk, after fitting them under the desk top - they fit perfect and help hold the top up a little better. 
 Heres a straight shot of the whole desk.  I'm very proud of myself for making this.  It was hard and took a lot of blood, sweat and tears (seriously) but I did it and I'm very happy with it!
 Here it is with my craft boxes tucked in.  I need to fill them and make custom labels, and decorate more down here.  That shelf over on the right will be mounted on the wall to hold sewing stuff, and I have wall words and lots of pictures to put up around the room.  It's coming right along, I feel accomplished!!  Let me know what you think!
I think I am going with English Country Cottage theme in this room - it feels very "Pride and Prejudice" and I have a lot of shabby chic type of decor from my old apartment.  It feels so "old" time proper english when I sit and sew:)  Just like Elizabeth Bennett!

Oh if you havent seen what this room USED to look like, you can see that here - it's come a long way!!

February 21, 2011

Subway Art!!!

I have been looking at all these awesome blogs and so many people do this cute thing called, "Subway Art".  It can be anything that looks subway-ish, that I can tell.  A lot of people do this with a machine called Silhouette, which I reeeeeeeally want but it costs $300.  I'd settle for a Cricut....siiiiiigggggghhhh....but those are almost just as expensive.  Anyways, I figured I could do this art, on the computer, and just frame it instead of putting it on a pretty piece of wood or something.  I can do this!!!  And I did - its so cute!  I did this for our NYC dining room.  I did this on Power Point because you can stretch the text box past the borders of the page which make it look cool.  I used the Gothic type font, and put each word in a different font size.  What do you think???

I tried to put all my favorite places in NYC, plus the main spots.  Then I mounted some really cute fabric onto the back of the board that came with this frame, and then I stuck the Subway Art to that! So tell me what you think?!?  Not bad for not having the right equipment, right??  With this I can only do a 8x11 - unless I print on separate paper and use Modge Podge - that's a good idea.  I'm going to do this in a few places in the house.  Oh man, I love doing new things, that work out nice!!  YAY!!

Onto literary things, I am halfway through my Julia Child book, and I've started putting together the pattern for my project out of the Martha Stewart book!  I'm doing an apron, since I'm addicting to cooking!  So I'll post pictures of that hopefully tomorrow, plus give my review of the book AND post my craft room pictures - its done!!  Well, not DONE done, but the things I worked on this weekend are done.  ITS SO CUTE!  Come back soon:)

Linking up with a bunch of places with this one, including one of my faves: Tatertots and Jello she does a link party every week!

February 20, 2011

Under the kitchen sink...

Inspired, once again by A bowl full of lemons (I love the way Toni organizes and cleans!) I decided to tackle under our kitchen sink.  It was a DISASTER!  See:

Gross!!!  It's tough because I have to share most of the space right in the middle with that pipe - but this cabinet actually has a lot of space it in on the left and right side of the stupid pipe.  Anyways, see how we just toss the grocery bags in without a care?  The cleaning supplies are tossed in there after Ashley does her weekly chores - its just a mess.  Then we have a little drawer right above it that I throw random stuff in, and that needs to be delivered from chaos as well!

So I stopped my the dollar store on my way home from cutting the wood for the craft room desk at my parents (still working on that, big reveal hopefully this week) and picked up some organizing stuff:

 Two big baskets, $1 each, and two small baskets, $1 for the pair.  So $3 for this little project.  Plus we had some of this left, that I put on the bottom of the cabinet to help it look better:
Anyways, I cleaned and organized.  I threw away a lot of those grocery bags (who needs 100 of them?!) and save some to keep down in the basement for cleaning Frodo's litter box.  I must say I am proud of how much more organized we are now!  See:
 All cleaning supplies in one place, so we can actually take this basket with us to whichever room we are cleaning - so nice!
 I put all the bags in the other basket, I actually took more bags out after taking this pic, as well as added the red protector thing to the cabinet - it looks even better than this!
 The little heart baskets hold sponges in one and candles/batteries in the other.
 I love my little door organizer too - keeps me from keeping junk on top of the counter top & sink.  Now look!!!!   I have a whole little drawer that is EMPTY!!!  More space!!  Woooo!!  Our kitch is kinda little, so more space is always fun.  I have two smaller cabinets that need serious help with organizing...so I have big plans for filling this drawer. 
So that was part of my productive day.  I've done much more, and I'll tell you about that later!

Oh here are pics of the cab with the red stuff done at the bottom:

Moving right along...

Yay I am onto book 7!  I finished Breaking Free yesterday.  I kind of already talked about how I feel about this book - I did learn a lot from it, even though it's not the type of Bible Study I like to do.  She talks about the ways we live in Christ, the obstacles that parallel those truths, and breaking free from any bonds that hold us back.  Essentially it is a great topic to talk about, but like I said - I am not interested in reading about it from a broken, sad place.  Maybe it's because I'm not in a broken, sad place in my life?  I've had times like that, for sure - and I'm really not sure that I'd like the way this book is written even in those times.  I'm such a tough love type of person.  Suck it up, pray about it, give it to God, get over it.  But then, even though I have tragedy in life, but maybe not to the caliber that some people have where they could get a lot out of Beth Moore.

I am moving on to Backstage with Julia: My Years with Julia Child by Nancy Verde Barr.  It is a memoir of Julia Child from a friend she worked with organizing cooking demonstrations.  Julia's life fascinates me, because she basically taught herself how to cook, with help from classes here and there, and she traveled and live all over (including my FAVORITE FAVORITE city, Paris!!!), and is just generally a fascinating person.  I'll let you know how it is!  I found this book for $4 at Barnes and Noble, randomly.

To kick off this book, I am making Boeuf Bourguignon (fancy beef stew) from Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume 1.  This is one of Julia's best recipes in the cookbook.  Dave loves it.  I love it.  I can get Ashley to eat mushrooms with this dish - they taste just like the beef!!  It's delicious!!

I only have 1 week and 1 day to finish 4 books - Feb is a short month!!!  Can I do it?!?

Craft room is coming right along, I am custom making a desk today and tomorrow!  Can't wait to post pics;)  Have a happy Sunday!

February 19, 2011

They have got some issues!

I finished reading Wuthering Heights last night.  Wow, Catherine and Heathcliff have got some problems!!  The story is told primarily through the view of Ellen, she is/was a servant on the Wuthering Heights property.  She tells the story to a new tenant at the Grange on the property.  Ellen was born on Wuthering Heights, around the same time as Catherine, and has witnessed this tragic story from infancy.

Catherine is the master's daughter.  Heathcliff, well the master found him as an abandoned orphan on the road on a trip to town.  Catherine and Heathcliff then grow up together and are a wicked pair.  As children they were constantly running wild all over the moors and countryside of England.  As teens, it is safe to say they are in love, although Catherine ends up accepting an offer of marriage from a rich neighbor.  Her plan was to marry rich and help Heathcliff in society.  It all goes terribly wrong.  Heathcliff runs away, and when he returns he ends up marrying the sister of the man Catherine married.  They are all miserable, Catherine and Heathcliff pretty much tell their spouses they are in love with each other.  There is a moment in the book where they are together, crying and holding each other lamenting on how awful their lives are.  It's so....tragic!

I'll leave it at that.  It's a really great story.  You can really feel the pain and angst of these characters, that's great writing!  You do have to push through the language, but I found that the more I read, the easier it was and by the end I was flying through it.  I give this book a 3 out of 5.  A really good classic story, but hard to read!  Try it!

Emily Bronte wrote this book in her 20s?! Can you believe that?  Her & her sisters were sort of early day feminists, but I'm not sure it worked out well since women really had no place in the early 1800's.  She died when she was 30, from a cold - she refused medical treatment.  That is just stupid...that is where be over zealous about something can kill you!  Anyways, she originally wrote this book under and male pen name, Ellis Belle, because she feared the book would not be well-received if it where written by a woman.  Hmmmm...such a different world that what we live in!

That's that one!  I'm still on Beth Moore but I'll prob finish that today.  I'm also working on the craft room - wait until you see what I am doing;)  Happy Saturday - enjoy your weekend!

February 18, 2011

Blogging, in general...

I just have to say that I am just so INSPIRED when I read all these blogs.  If you look at the left part of my blog page, I have a list of the blogs I read the most.  Wow!  I love reading about crafts and home decor and people just journeying through life, good times & bad.  It motivates me.  I get so MANY great ideas from all these amazing women and families, I hope they know what an inspiration and blessing they are to me! 

Later I'll be making a "button" column for the blogs I love.  Most people create and post a "button" on their sites that you can grab and put onto yours.  It's better then that list I have on the left, because it's a teeny little design that let's you know the blog's "style".  I hope that you read them and are loving them as much as me.  There is SO SO much creativity in the world, I want to channel it and become even more creative myself, I have a long way to go to match up with these amazing bloggers.

To them, I say, THANK YOU!

February 17, 2011

Books 5 & 6

Good evening!!

So, right now, I am reading TWO books at once!  WHOA! 

Breaking Free is a bible study type book - so it's hard to sit down and read it straight through in a day or two.  So I also started Wuthering Heights as well (PS - I always want to say WURthering Heights, so forgive if it comes out that way, its hard to change my ways, lol!!) I can switch between them.  It's nice being able to multi-task, isn't it?

Breaking Free is ok, I feel like my generation of Followers is less touchy-feely, more lets-get-to-it in our Christianity.  I don't mean to be disrespectful at all, I'm just trying to find the words to define who I am in Christ.  I feel like Beth Moore takes a long, touchy-feely way of saying: you need to give up what binds you, and find peace and freedom in Christ.  The way I am, its cut-and-dry for me....just tell me, "Tina, get over yourself and your crap, give it to God and be free!"  Also, breaking free of some stuff (like worry and anxiety about money or a job, or having a family, etc) may be a lifelong journey for me.  Something I am always praying about, always seeking God's will in, it's never ending.  I'm ok with that, I want freedom from it and hopefully one day I will have it.  I'm trying to put it all into words.  Some of those bible study books are geared towards certain Followers, and I don't think this one is for me.  I am going to finish it though.  I love all the scripture in the book - who wouldn't?  I do like the journey of the study, it does help me look at my life and apply some things - I just wish it wasn't as flowery, that's not quite the right word but hopefully you get my meaning!

On to the next, Wuthering Heights.  This one takes some getting used to - the language is so different.  Emily Bronte wrote this book in the 1800's so you can imagine the way they spoke and conversed in England back then - it's a tad harder to comprehend than the language we know today!! I'm sticking through to the end with this one, I've always wanted to read it, this is one of those Classics I MUST read, must;)  Plus I have this really cool, very very old edition of the book, maybe a second edition, its so lovely!  I can imagine by grandfather and his sister reading it back in the mid-1900s, and maybe their mother reading it before them, so cool.  The pages are all yellow and smelly, is it weird that I like that?  I'm only a few chapters into it, so I have no real opinion yet.  Stay tuned for that!

Tomorrow I am working on my craft room more - wait until you see what I am going to do, I am so excited!!!  More on that later:)

Oh and I got a job!  YAY!!  I am donig another school counseling sub position, starting in March, good experience in a school in Harford County, about 10 mins away.  I couldn't be happier!  Hopefully this will give me a GOOD GOOD chance of getting a permanent job next year, Lord willing!  This position will go until the end of the school year.  Good times, it'll be nice to have extra money again, lol!


February 16, 2011

Recipe Binder!

In the ever-going quest to be organized, I joined up with A Bowl Full of Lemons for the Weekly Challenge to make a recipe binder!  This is helpful because I am always getting recipes off the internet (i.e. Food Network or All Recipes, etc) and never want to print them out because I have no where to put them and I was just too lazy to make something like this.  Then I forget about where I found that GREAT recipe when I want to make it again, sad:( Not anymore!!  I've been inspired!  So I took an hour or so last night while Dave & Ashley were playing Disney Sing it Party Hits (yes, it WAS hilarious!) to make this:

 My chic home-made cover, I don't have photo shop (oh I miss my Mac, I need to get it fixed!) but I find that I can make stuff just as well in PowerPoint. 
 A view from the side, I wanted to make something cute for the spine, but this is a skinny binder (my mom likes to use these for recipes) and the spine is so skinny it's hard to fit anything in there, lucky I have a label maker that I looooove:)
 Once again, like the Home Management Binder I made my own dividers out of sturdy scrapbook paper.  It just makes it look prettier, doesn't it?
With my label maker I labeled the sections I think we will use the most in our family:
Soup &Salad
Main Dishes
So now I can surf the net and try to find all my favorite recipes and fill them into this cute binder.  And any time I find a new one I won't hesitate to print it out!  YAY!  Thanks for the inspiration, Toni:)

February 15, 2011

I LOVE this!!!

For the Silhouette-less - this is really cute artwork that I am dying to copy;)

Life, Love and Book 5:)

Good (EARLY) morning friends!

Have I mentioned lately that I have trouble sleeping?  I dont know what it is, maybe an over active mind these days, but I wake up at a good time every am (8 or 9) and I hardly ever nap anymore, especially on week days, and even though I'm exhausted by 10pm every night I never get in bed at that time and then I think I miss my window!  And then...well, I blog...late at night....when no one is up to read it;)

I hope everyone enjoyed their Valentine's Day!  I know I did, we had such a great day.  I'm excited for our "just us" night on Friday night but it was really sweet sharing Valentine's Day with Dave and Ashley, as a family.  Good times!  My husband really is the best man alive, I love him so much!  He is such a great hubby and father and he takes care of us and is so supportive of me and whatever I choose to do, job wise.  I've been so stressed about it lately and he just makes it all better by just being him.  He is special, he is a blessing, he is my soul mate:)  Ok ok....enough gooshy romance....on with it, Tina!

Ahem....I realized that I never mentioned my replacement book for the one I tossed (Postmortem).  I got a called from the library saying one of my requests was in, so this one is book 10:

How to bake a perfect life by Barbara O'Neal.  It looked cute.  Anything about baking is good times.  I love dreaming about being a baker and opening up a cupcakery someday (I never will.  Had I acted on the idea when I first had it about 3 years ago I would've beaten the TWO that have sprung up in our town in the last year, lol!!!). 

So that brings my final February reading list to:
1.  The Lucky One by Sparks
2.  Mysterious Benedict Society by Stewart
3.  Heart of the Matter by Griffin
4.  Dead in Dallas by Harris
5.  Breaking Free by Moore
6.  Total Money Makeover by Ramsey
7. Encyclopedia of Frabric Crafts by Stewart
8.  Wurthering Heights by Bronte
9.  Backstage with Julia by Barr
10.  How to bake a perfect life by O'Neal

I'm done 1,2,3, & 4...I just finished Dead in Dallas today (oops I mean yesterday).  It was ok.  I get sucked into the story but Harris' writing is a little dark for me.  It's so....vampire adult dark.  I'm not sure I like it.  I may wait a while to read her next one, if I read it at all.  There is some element of mystery and a few twists but this one...eh it was just ok.  I think if you reeeeeeally love the vamp lit genre, you would love love love this.  I only like Twilight, lol, other than that I don't think I'm a vamp lit girl.  So..I give this book a 2.  Only read it if you have read the first one and like that!  Then, give this a chance and it will help you decide if you want to continue the series.  Sookie travels to Dallas in this one to work with another sector of vampires, with her beloved Bill (although I'm thinking their relationship is more...physical and addictive that anything?) and drama happens, blah blah blah....I won't ruin it because I know there are some people who love this stuff.  I'm just not into it anymore!  I can't love them all, right!?!

Tomorrow I will start Breaking Free by Beth Moore.  This is definitely a spiritual book, a journey if you will, and I am excited about it.  It's been a while since I've had a good soul searching read - I'm excited for it!  I love Jesus and I love going to church and being with Christian friends but there is something so special to me about reading a book and finding Jesus in it waiting to teach me some new lessons in life.  In a good way! 

I'm really enjoying the variety of books I am reading!!  In the past month I've read mysteries, history, love stories and kids stories and books about cooking and food - it's just so much fun! 

Also I'm making some changes here and there to my blog!  Right now I'm torn between the nice neat white background or a really cute vintagey lovely background.  I like how it looks now...so I'll keep it like this until I get bored.  I made that cool banner up there, isn't it cute?  I wasn't kidding about the graphic designing thing...I may teach myself!

Ok, that's all, goodnight!

February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Corner

I just put Ashley's gift together and all our Valentine's goodies all in one place - it looks so sweet sitting there together, I love Valentine's Day!  Next year I am making a promise to myself to decorate more for this holiday, and also making a note to be more crafty and decorative for every holiday this year from now on - there are so many crafty possibilities!! 

I made that little sign, its a poor mans version of a beautiful Pottery Barn ring plate that everyone in the blogs is recreating at home with a ceramic plate and their Cricut machines....but as I do not have a Cricut I created this on my computer, printed it out and framed it - it's a beautiful quote from my favorite movie Pride & Prejudice...which I watched yesterday by the way (the 6 hour original one!)

The flowers are from this am, the one's Dave bought me, and the pretty box houses my Valentine silverware that I posted this am....it's such a cute set.  We are going to La Tolteca for dinner tonight, me Ash & Dave, because Ashley and I are crazy about Mexican food!  Then we are coming back here for fondue dessert!How is everyone else celebrating their night?

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

I wake up to....

 Flowers and breakfast from Dave, who just got off work and hurried home NOT to sleep but to make his Valentine a nice breakfast!  How sweet!!
 Our first Valentine's Day married!!  I look rough here, sorry, I just got out of bed, didn't know where to look at the camera and whoa....just whoa....brush your hair Tina!!
We got these utensils as a wedding gift, they are really cute - see the hearts at the bottom?!?!

I'm still in the middle of trying to customize my blog!  I am having a hard time getting my awesome made-by-me header/banner to be centered on my page.  It's really cute, I hope I can make it work....it's really a pain in the but, I need to take a graphics design class to learn this stuff!

I'm realllllly behind in my reading this month.  I've been busy looking for jobs, helping my mom renovate her house so they can sell it this year, and hanging out with friends!  I'm halfway through Dead in Dallas by Charlene Harris...the True Blood books.  It's good!  But it's only my 3rd book!!  Yikes!!  It's halfway through the month, I should be done 5 by now!!!  But I'm not worried because the Martha Stewart sewing book and the Dave Ramsey book will be easy, one-day reads!

I already have a list of at least 10 more books that I was told about or saw in a store, I'm excited to pick out my new ones - Feb is just flying by.  The library called with another book I picked out, so that's 11 for this month but I'm not officially adding it unless I have time!  If I don't it'll go on Marchs list.  March!  Already!!

Anyways, I hope you all enjoy your Valentine's Day.  I know I will!!  Dave just made me a lovely breakfast, my sweet Valentine, and now I may  go help mom, and later after picking up Ash we are all going to dinner together and then making fondue!  Dave & I are celebrating our Vday on Friday, when Ash is with her mom and he has off.  We make it work around here:)  Have a great week!

I know I promised house pictures, I will get them up this week.  Oh and I'm also doing the Weekly Challenge over at A Bowl Full of Lemons to make a recipe binder!!  I'm so excited!  Check out her blog, it's awesome!

February 11, 2011


I'm learning the wide world of custom blog designing...so thats why it looks so...BLAND...right now.  I really want to make my own graphics and backgrounds, so hang in there with me as I learn this stuff!!

February 10, 2011

On to the next one!

Good evening!!

I just finished reading Heart of the Matter by Emily Griffin.  It was good!  Her books are what we like to call, Chick Lit, a girly book.  No no no, its not a crazy romance novel or anything, just a girly book.  E Griffins writing is a little unconventional...she writes a lot about betrayal in relationships.  But she writes about it in a very real way.  Like....if your best friend's husband had an affair, how real and painful and terrible it is....that is how she writes.  The first books I read of hers were Something Borrowed and Something Blue.  The two books were about best friends each book was from each girls' perspective, the one was engaged and her fiance ended up falling in love with her best friend.  It was terrible.  Yet, I couldn't stop reading it because it was good, not cheap like you would think that sort of book would be, but filled with real feelings and forgiveness and life-like situations.

This book that I just finished is about a married woman whose husband has an affair, and the "other woman" also has a part in this book - it flips between the two perspectives.  I should hate reading this stuff, but I think the counselor to me is interested in this.  I don't really know why other than I am interested in how people deal with situations such as these.

I would recommend this book.  It's a very easy read, I read it in just about a day and it is a really good book.  You learn to really love both women, which makes it strange because you really can't like both women!!  I was cheering for the wife the whole time, obviously because I think affairs and divorce are stupid and wish things like that didn't happen to people even though I know that they do.  I won't tell you how it ends or even how I feel about the ending because it would give it away.  Overall I give this book a 3.  Solid, neutral 3.  I think anything 3 and above is worth reading - just so you know how I gauge things. 

Ok, so it's February 10th and I still have a ways to go.  Which book am I reading next?  I'll tell you tomorrow!!! 

Something else on my agenda this weekend is to super clean our house and post up pictures of all our rooms.  I'd love to share our "around the world" sort of home...and maybe one day, when I have thousands of readers and followers (yeah right!), get ideas on how to make each room better!  Our home still needs a loooooot of work, but I want to share it with everyone.  I really love being a home owner and decorating and updating and knowing that the job will never be done, and being able to talk about with friends and family and get tons of ideas (another reason why I loooove blogging and looking at blogs, there are some great home re-do blogs out there!).  So be on the look out for that!! 

Thanks again for reading, whoever is reading this.  I love writing about anything and everything!

February 8, 2011

Not sure I can do this....

...I have to admit, I'm a total wimp about certain things.  I can not watch certain movies (i.e. paranormal stupidity) because I lie awake at night every night for 2 weeks after wards worrying about that crap in my own home.  I can't watch certain crime movies because I get way way too scared that something like that will happen in real life.  It DOES happen...and it scares me!  So I'm starting to read this P. Cornwell novel and I'm not sure I can do it!? This book is about a serial killer that targets young women.  Yikes.

I am overly sensitive to this kind of stuff - am I the only one?  My mom can watch hours about hours of real crime, unsolved crime, terrible things happening to people and I never understood it.  I see certain images or read things and I just CAN'T get those things out of my head.  and then I get terrified!!  For instance, we went and saw Sanctum last week, where all these people get stuck in a cave and have to dive further into the earth just to get out....people die and drown and it was so....graphic...I can't get those images out of my mind.  They are just stuck there forever...for me to work hard not to think about them ever.

I like happy things, like Disney and singing and dancing on Broadway and cozy, calming books and movies about love....all things that are also real in life, the good stuff about life.  I am not naive to think bad things never happen because they do...I just figure life has so much of it's own tragedy and heart ache and fear...what the heck should I willingly add to it??

I could totally handle the Alex Cross book I read, and I will try to read the next one.  I like his character because he has a psychology background and is a cop, so most of the focus is on the profile of the crime and criminal.  But this one...is a lot of description of the stuff I can't handle and the evidence...I think I need to switch it out.  I like her style of writing...I just really can't handle reading a book about a medical examiner dealing with female victims of violence - I can't stand blood and hospitals and bodies and stretchers and there have already been lots of references to all of that crap.  Sorry friends who suggested it to me...a few of you have!  It's just not my thing.  I was just talking to Dave about it and he was like, "sounds like something I'd like!!!", lol...nurse man and all - he probably would.  I'm just way too sensitive about it all.

So now I have to 1. figure out what book to read next and 2. find a book to replace this one.  Looks like it's back to the library for me!!  I know I have requested a few, maybe one of those will come in soon.  This is bound to happen, right?  I'm not going to like or be able to handle ALL types of books - that is why I am doing this challenge!  All I know is that I love a book that I am EXCITED to sit down, open up and read - and this just didn't do that for me.  Can't win em all...isn't that what I said last month when I tried to read Love in the Time of Cholera?  Urgh, just thinking about it makes me bored!

Ok, that's all for today, I just HAD to share that with my readers...whoever you are.  You know you can comment on here now...it'll just be "anonymous" if you don't have a google account!!   So leave me comments and tell me I'm not crazy!  Ha!!

Mysterious Benedict Society

So good!!  I give this book a 4 out of 5.  I loved it.  It's about 4 orphans who happen to catch an ad in a newspaper about joining a secret society - they are put through these funny, random tests that measure how smart, brave and curious they are.  100's of children apply, these four are the only who make it.  Mr Benedict - the founder of the society - is on a secret mission to stop an evil man from transmitting secret messages to the public through TV and eventually, right in to the brain, these messages cause war and unrest - this man does this all under the pretense of a school of "gifted" children.  The 4 hero's have to become agent spies in his school and figure out a way to stop the evil man from taking over the world.  It's a really fun book, I giggled a lot...kids will love it!  The kids in the book are about 11 years old, but a younger student could read this if they have the motivation, it is kinda long.  Anyways, I highly recommend it...its a great story.

Now I am on to Postmortem by P Cornwell...quite the change of pace!  Have a good day!

February 7, 2011

10th book!!!

Alright, I've chosen my 10th book!!!  It's Dave Ramseys Total Money Makeover!!  The whole point of this challenge is to help myself be a better person, to expand my knowledge and to just learn so why not try to be better, financially?  I've read parts of Dave Ramseys TMM before...but this time I plan to LEARN it and APPLY it to our lives - Dave (my husband) and I both want to. 

We've been trying to figure out what is the best thing, financially, for our family.  With me not working and trying to pick a job (I've been on 5+ interviews...have potentially accepted one job that I'm not sure I really want, have hopefully landed one that I def want but haven't been offered yet...) and trying to figure out where we want our life to go...we need help figuring it all out.  We want to be in control of our money, super control over it!! We've been very blessed lately, with borrowing cars and help with some major expenses that we weren't expecting...we've been making it work but that is not to say it hasn't been hard, we really appreciate all the blessings!  Anyways, Dave Ramseys TMM will help us on our way to "financial freedom" and hopefully shed some light on where we want to go from here.

It's been nice being a housewife, both in the summer and over the past two months, and I can definitely SEE myself doing this...maybe when I have a baby...which we don't know when we want that either.   But on the other hand, I just got done my Master's degree, and I do NOT want to waste it!!  Why did I put myself through school?  To be a school counselor.  That is what I really want.  Really!  I know I may have to make sacrifices or take a different job until the right one comes along...I loved my time at Bo Manor in the fall, and maybe I have a chance at another job like that in the spring...but only God knows. 

The point of all this rambling is that we need to get our life together...not completely but at least thinking and praying about what we want and what is the best thing for us right now.  I think reading Dave R TMM will help that a little.  Unfortunately, money is what makes the world go round...I wish it didn't, I hate money!  But, we've got to figure out the best way to use the resources that God has blessed us with!!  Dave has a great job...I may or may not get a great job...and with that comes the responsibility of what to DO with our money:)  So let's sort it all out!!

So Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover is Book 10....yay!  Month 2 is well under way:)  I'm more than halfway done with The Mysterious Benedict Society...I love it.  It's so cute.  If you have a young reader...maybe 11 or up that likes to read (Ashley is 11 but the book is 480 pages long...it's a little much for her since she doesn't like to read books that big...) they will absolutely love it.  I'll rate it tomorrow and also give you a brief synopsis of the story.  I'm really enjoying it.  I'm really enjoying the Challenge over all.  It's so fun!!

Oh by the way, do you think Frodo feels that he isn't getting enough attention now that I am reading so much???  He is laying over top the book I'm reading right now....you decide???  LOL!

February 5, 2011

one of those days...

Today was just one of those days....you know...days that really stink!!  It was a whole slew of reasons, it was raining all day...I have the sinus infection from H-E double....unfair life crap...you know...the whole she-bang.  I'm trying to brush it all off but I think I need a really good night sleep.  So after this post I'm going to take a nice long hot bubble bath, read my book, take a Tylenol pm and go to bed.  Church in the am should make all things better, at least brighten my perspective on life, right?!?!  Right!

Anyways I wanted to post the books I have so far...I'm up to 9 books and I'm waiting on the last one.  I forget which one it is, but I have a few on hold at the library so whichever one comes first!  LOL!

Here they are:
1. The Lucky One Nicholas Sparks
2.  Dead in Dallas Charlaine Harris
3.  Postmortem Patricia Cornwell
4.  Wurthering Heights Emily Bronte <- my classic for the month
5.  Mysterious Benedict Society Trenton Lee Stewart
6.  Breaking Free Beth Moore <- Spiritual reading for the month
7.  Heart of the Matter Emily Griffin
8.  Backstage with Julia <- Bio for the month
9.  Encyclopedia of sewing and fabric crafts <- my how-to for the month with the challenge that I have to make at least one item from this book (since its such an easy read!)
10.  Remains to be named.....lol

One reason I love reading?  When you have a really crappy day, you can escape into a book and forget about life for a while:)  Guess what I'm off to do!!

Goodnight dear friends!

February 4, 2011

Book 6: A lesson in sewing....

I am re-teaching myself how to sew.  I used to know, but I forgot!  Mom gave me her back-up sewing machine and I am learning how to use it again!!  I keep looking at all these blogs where they make bags and aprons and checkbook covers and Ipad covers and I think....whoa...I could DO that...they are adorable!  So...I got sewing books from the library...this one is going to be awesome:

This will be my 6th book for this month.  It teaches me how to sew plus gives me tons of ideas.  Part of the challenge with this book is that after I read it...I have to MAKE one item outta here.  I'm scared!  But very excited too!  When I embark on that adventure I'll be sure to blog allll about it.  See what reading does to me...it gets me hyped up about all this stuff.  Blogging does too...I'm outta control with ideas!!  Maybe one day I'll be a lil miss sewing priss:
I love that idea!!!

I've got all 10 books!  I'll post the official list with pictures tomorrow.  Happy Weekend!

February 3, 2011

Book 1 done....Book 2 already started!

Good evening dear friends!

I'm done my first book already, the Nicholas Sparks book: The Lucky One.  NS is losing his tragic touch and I must say I don't miss it!!  His earlier books all made me want to throw myself off a cliff they were so sad!!!  Honestly, read his first 5 earliest books and I swear you will cry during all of them.  Anyways, The Lucky One was pretty good.  His books are a little predictable to me now that I have read so many...don't get me wrong it is a good book!  It's about a man who is in the marines and finds a photo of a girl and because of certain circumstances, after his is discharged he walks cross country to find this girl - and of course they end up falling in love.  The end is a little stressful!  I give this book a 3 out of 5.  Good read, easy read, but I've read better;)

That reminds me, I need to figure out how to get a permanent rating system up on this site!!

I've moved on to book 2 which is the Mysterious Benedict Society but Trenton Lee Stewart.  This is a "young adult" book but my friend Christine told me it's a must read....so I must read it!!  I'm only a chapter in so far, its about an orphan boy who sees an ad in the paper about joining this Mysterious Society and is going through the "tests" to join.  Cute, so far!!  I'll write more about it tomorrow.

I got a call from the Harford Library telling me they have two of the books I requested ready for pick up!!  That only took 3 days, not bad at all:)

Alright, I need to get up and clean or do something else productive!  I'm on the internet too much:)

February 2, 2011

Home Management Binder - The Big Reveal!!!

Our lives are organized!!!  Well...almost;) I made a Home Management Binder, which is the Weekly Challenge on this site: A Bowl Full of Lemons :)  Her blog is really cool, and is very inspiring to those of us who have cluttered/crazy lives.

This took a total of probably 2 hours over a few days - it could be done all in one sitting but I spread it out - it can be overwhelming but when you are done - you have complete home organization!

First of all, I bought a cheap but cute binder from Target - gotta love Tar-jjjay!  It seems a lot of the women on this blog got the same binder....gotta hate mass produced items, lol;)  What an oxymoron!  Anyways, then I used durable, firm scrapbook paper to make really pretty dividers, even though I bought dividers - they weren't cute enough for me!!  I used my guillotine (my scrapbooking one, not my torture one...that only comes out when someone ticks me off, muahahahaha!).  A label maker is also a plus to have to make everything look neat.  So here are my starter pics....

 I didn't use those school-ish dividers, but I'll save them for another project...
 chop chop chop

The dividers were really easy to make...just measure and cut them to fit nicely in your binder and then cut the tabs using the divider you cut previously to line them up right.  Aren't they pretty?  Much better then those yucky Manila, yellow dividers.

Then I printed out the "Week at a Glance" freebie she has listed, which I'll post here - it's cute and has a nice, usable layout for us.  I put this page in the very front of our binder, so that it's the first thing you see when you open in - that works for us because we are always wondering what our week/school/work schedules look like.  See how pretty my homemade dividers are??

On her website she links to an Etsy shop where you can buy really nice planning printables, but I just couldn't bring myself to pay money for that stuff, no matter how cute they are.  So I searched the net and found this reeeeeally cool site - all FREE planner printables!!  There are a lot!!  I didn't use all of them, because some just weren't functional for us...but wow I was excited with the find.  I also made some myself in Excel, as well as printing our budgeting sheets from Dave Ramsey since we really love his financing advice.  Here are all the pages that are going in our binder...

So you see all the organizing that is going into this!!  We have a medical info list with Dr names and numbers, and ER sheet just in case, a list of who and where all our bills are going all in one place, calendars for months and the whole year at a glance, menu plans, recipes, to do lists & chores, contacts, and Ashley has a tab all to herself for a list of her chores and school stuff, etc.

I also use these handy dandy little guys, all from the $1 section at Target....

The little notepads are what I write my shopping lists on.  The pink and purple plastic things are where my coupons are organized, I'll do a whole post on those another day!  These things help me keep my life straight, and will always be kept with our Home Management Binder!

Now I have to fill it with all of our info, which is the next part of the battle but of course I didn't want to post it full of our info all up on the internet;)  I'm really excited!!!  I hope this inspires you to organize a little too - if you aren't already!  I know this is going to be great for us, and will eliminate a lot of crappy paperwork that piles up because we don't want to throw/shred anything out with numbers or addresses that we may need, or school papers that fly around everywhere, etc.

The final product!!!

annnnnnnd done! ;)