Saturday, May 31, 2014

Gathering in May

I can hardly believe that May has come to a close.  The beginning of the month flew by as we were anticipating a trip to Arkansas for Amelia's graduation from college.  The trip itself took us through the middle of the month, and the remainder has been a little fuzzy.  I always have a time of let-down after a vacation/big event during which things are disjointed.  Stewart and I also started another cycle of Whole30 immediately upon arriving home from our trip, so I've been throwing most of my energies into keeping things interesting in the kitchen.

Thanks to Cheryl at Thinking About Home for hosting this link-up to help me think ahead AND reflect on the moments that might otherwise be forgotten.

Making clarified butter with my aunt.  Good stuff!
Finally got our wind chime hung outside.
Babysitting for the grands while Mommy is at school and Daddy is at work. 
Thinking of friends while I'm pulling weeds in the flower bed.
Wondering if I would get to see my peonies bloom since they were just about to as we were leaving for vacation.
Putting my mad drawing skills to good use to keep the twins amused on our long car ride.  You can read all about that HERE.

They waited to bloom so that I could see them in their full glory!
Attempting to root a new African violet after the plant got some sort of nasty infestation. 
The one and only strawberry we got from our garden.  Hubby and I shared it.  It was so sweet that it left us hoping for a bumper crop next year!


 Well, that's about it, friends.  I'm ready for June now.  And now for a shameless plug...
Join me on the first Monday of each month for MAKE IT NEW MONDAY when I host a linky party.  What's that about?  Find out HERE!  Search my blog for other Make It New Monday posts.  Hope to see you back here on Monday, June 2, 2014 for a solution for limited storage space in the bathroom!

Thinking About Home

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Only Thing Grandparents Really Need to Know About Traveling Halfway Across Country with 2-year-old Twins

Sorry about that super-long title, but I wanted to make sure you knew what you were getting when you opened this blog post.  I am a fan of truth in advertising!

We wanted to surprise our daughter for graduation by bringing our son's family with us for the festivities but because of scheduling, they would have to drive straight through the 20-or-so hour drive.  Since we knew from experience that toddlers appreciate lots of travel breaks, we offered to take the boys with us.  We were planning to spread the trip over 3 days and wouldn't be in a hurry, so we thought it would be the perfect solution.

As travel time approached I recalled more vivid details of our travels with our own children... and I got nervous.  I asked my husband many, many times "Will it be okay?"  He always answered "Yes, we will be fine."  My follow-up statement was "But I want to do it well."

The day before we were to take off I was worrying about contemplating our schedule.  I hadn't yet gone into panic mode (can you say travel anxiety?) but decided that it was a good time to have a conversation with God.  As usual, I did most of the talking.

I blabbered on for a few minutes, and when I finally took a breath to listen, the only thing that I heard was "ENJOY!!!!"  Funny how God uses so few words to respond to my barrage. 

So my theme for the trip was ENJOY! 

We picked up the boys a bit before scheduled but all of us were ready so that was fine with everyone.  Their parents had told them that they were going to Arkansas with Grandma and Grandpa.  They were so excited about "Aw-saw!"  So excited, in fact, that they said "Aw-saw!" about 50 times in the 15 minutes it took them to fall asleep in the car.

Liam saying "Aw-saw".  Levi realizing that there was a television screen in front of him.  That DVD player came in handy on the trip.  "Bickey" (aka Mickey Mouse) was requested... over and over!
When they awoke from their brief nap, they both asked "Aw-saw?"  No, not yet, guys.  We still have another, oh, 19 hours or so to go.
We brought their polka-dot puppies for comfort.  These are not their "babies" that they sleep with in bed, but they do in a pinch.


After driving around the dreaded Washington, D.C. beltway, we drove a couple more hours and stayed overnight in a hotel.  This was still not Arkansas, but the boys were thrilled that the trees right outside our window were "HO-HO" trees, meaning they were wrapped in colorful Christmas tree lights.
Grandpa, Levi, and Liam all slept quite well.  Grandma... not so much.  But I made up for it by napping several times the next day!
The boys were quite glad to have their favorite DVDs to watch (Finding Nemo is NOT one.  They preferred reading.  I'm good with that!)


Now just so you don't get the idea that everything was happy and la-dee-dah, I want to assure you that it was not.  There were a few meltdowns moments of distress along the way.  When they occurred we would stop as soon as we safely could and get out for a run-around and something to eat.  A few minutes out of the car seat and they were ready for the next leg of the trip.


We heard "Aw-saw!" much less frequently as time passed.  I can't say that I blame them.  It isn't the most fun drive.  Nor is it the most exciting destination.  If they could have articulated it I think they would have said "WE WERE MISLEAD!"
Just to help you recover from those sad little faces above...

After a long day of driving, we finally arrived in Arkansas (the boys were totally unimpressed when I told them) and stayed the night at a hotel in the town of our destination.  We had a large room with a good amount space for us all to spread out and play, but the lack of HO-HO trees was kind of a bummer.
The next day, Mommy and Daddy finally arrived and their little family was back together.  We were all quite ready for it.
And, our mission was accomplished. We ENJOYED!!! 
Oh, yeah, and our daughter was completely surprised .

Monday, May 5, 2014

Make It New Monday 05/05/14... Spruced Up Mirror

It's that time again!  Yup!  Make It New Monday.  I don't have many months left of projects already done so this series may end at any moment.  So if this is something you've thought about joining in with, you'd better do it quick!   Just about any project will do as long as it starts out like "this" and ends up like "that".  Refashion a t-shirt into a headband?  Link up!  Re-work a recipe to better meet your family's dietary needs?  Link up!  Turn a closet into a reading nook (or vice versa)?  Link up!  Make wall art out of drinking straws?  Link up!

This month's project started out as someone elses' Make It New project that I picked up at a thrift store.  They had taken a mirror and turned it into a planter for an artificial flower arrangement.  The pictures don't do their "after" justice, and it wasn't hideous.  It just wasn't what I wanted!

I disassembled the whole thing...

Maggie, my 15 year old Chihuahua, supervised...

I tried several methods to clean the paint off of the metalwork...
(brute force won out)

A couple coats of white spray paint (using push pins to keep the frame from sticking to the cardboard while it dried) and some judicious sanding...

Check out the paint booth Hubby made for me...

Put the parts I liked back together and voila!  

Okay, now it is your turn to show us what you've been up to...

My Not-So-Empty Nest

Friday, May 2, 2014

Lilacs at Sunrise... a Photo Link Up

I took this photo a little over a week ago and this is the fourth time I'm using it for something.  I think it is one of my favorite non-child/grandchild picture I've taken. 
Lilacs at Sunrise

Linking up with Kati's Little Corner of the World...

Kati's Little Corner of the World