Tuesday, August 9, 2011

growing up

Today started off pleasantly cool, thanks to the bit of rain we got last night. I decided to take advantage of the weather and take Baby Girl to the playground. We've been cooped up in the house for the past month (because of the scorching hot temps) needed of a change of scenery. So we set out to a local playground. Baby Girl LOVED it. Swinging, climbing, running, sliding. I loved seeing her enjoy and discover so many new things. She didn't want to leave. I see more trips in our future...

I love this stage of her life. Every day brings something new. A new word, learning a new body part or how to use a new toy... She chatters constantly. Can't wait til I know everything she is saying! My little girl makes me smile. :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

on grace & recovery

There's a brand new website (just launched today!) that I'm a fan of... Recovering Grace. Take some time to check it out. The info is definitely worth pondering.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

laundry soap:: a tutorial

On occasion, I make my own laundry soap. It started last summer when my cousin brought me a jar that she had made, along with the instructions. The process seemed easy enough, and very inexpensive so I gave it a try. And I was hooked! It has become a staple in our household. One thing I like about it is that it is virtually unscented and dye-free. Since my daughter has sensitive skin and anything with perfumes or dyes makes her skin break out, this is important to me.

Yesterday I made a fresh batch, and I took pictures so I could share the process with you. Maybe it will inspire you to try it out yourself! One batch makes a 5 gallon bucket of detergent, which is double concentrated. It will last for a looooooooong time!

You should be able to find all the ingredients at your local grocery store, in the laundry aisle. The cost to buy them should be around $5.

You will need:
1 C of washing soda (NOT baking soda)
1/2 C borax powder
1 bar of Fels-Naptha soap (zote, ivory, or other soaps can be used here as well)
Hot tap water
Empty 5 gallon bucket

Step 1) Grate the bar of soap into a pot.

Step 2) Add 4 cups of hot tap water to pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring regularly until all the soap is dissolved.

Step 3) Pour the soap mixture into the 5 gallon bucket and fill halfway with hot water.

Step 4) Add borax and washing soda and stir well.

Step 5) Fill bucket to the top with hot water, cover, and let it sit overnight. (it will gel)

To use: fill a container 1/2 full with laundry detergent. (Old, empty laundry detergent containers work great!) Fill the rest of the way with water and shake to mix. You will need to shake it before each use, because it settles. Use 1/4 - 1/2 c of this mixture per load.

And that's it! Let me know how it works for you.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

blessed rain

It rained yesterday morning. What bliss! We are in the midst of a heat-streak and the relief was so very welcome. Husby and I awoke to a dark room and faint rumblings of thunder. I made coffee. He got ready to leave for work. Baby Girl (who really is not a baby anymore, but a real toddler!) was still asleep. And she's always awake by 7am. I poured a cup of coffee and sat on the porch, relishing the quiet, listening to the pitter-patter of raindrops and watching the distant streaks of lightning. What a refreshing way to start the morning! A few solid days of this kind of weather would not bother me in the least.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

piano... my old love

I played the piano last week. It was the 4th of July, and we were at my in-laws. My MIL knows that I (used to) play, and she made me promise that if she ever got a piano, that I would play for them. Even though I agreed, I hoped I would get out of it somehow because I'm somewhat reserved. That and I haven't touched a keyboard in years. She got a piano. And it is beautiful. She wasted no time in finding me a book of familiar choruses and there I sat. "Just suck it up and play", I told myself. "No one will care if you stumble a bit." So I did. They keys are new and shiny and smooth. The instrument has a beautiful tone. Everything came flooding back with each note I played. Memories of practicing for hours, and finding solace in music when nothing around me made sense filled my mind. And the more I played, I didn't want to stop. I spent years practicing, taking lessons, even teaching little kids the basics of music. If I had gone to college I would have studied piano in some form. It was a love of mine.

After that afternoon, I came home and dug the few music books out that I brought with me when I moved across the country a few years ago. They're out where I can see them now. They are my inspiration to find an old piano somewhere and bring it home. I want to play again.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Feather giveaway

Are you all crazy about the trendy feather extensions that are so hot right now? Check out this giveaway at the vintage pearl and you could win your choice from a hot new etsy shop.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Another Vintage Pearl Giveaway

The Vintage Pearl is having another giveaway. Go here to enter. You can blog it, share on facebook, and tweet it for extra entries. LOVE love LOVE their things!

Friday, July 1, 2011


A conversation with my sister the other night brought back the memory of this story. I searched my old blog til I found it. Hope it makes you laugh!

The Saturday was a beautiful autumn day – a few clouds, a slight breeze, and a temperature just cool enough to make your toes cold if you were wearing sandals. Not only was the weather beautiful, but the day was following the pattern of a perfect Saturday. I slept in ‘til I couldn’t sleep any more, lounged around my room in my favorite pj’s, drank coffee leisurely as I had my quiet time (not the usual hurried gulping down a mug before chapel), lazily got ready to appear in public, and then headed out of my room fully awake and ready for whatever the day brought my way. My task for the day (Yes, I did have a job to do, even though it was a Saturday.) was to fill one of the vans with gas, and then head to a nearby small town to scout it out, and hopefully to talk the manager of the ice cream shop into a bargain for the group we were planning on bringing the following Monday. (That’s another story for another day…) It would be a nice afternoon out with no planned schedule.

Now, I’m absolutely fine with pumping my own gas – girls do it themselves all the time. I just like be sure that the gas station isn’t scary looking and is in an ok part of town. I managed to get through the construction and detours, pulled into a safe looking station, and began the ordeal of processing a fuel card. The so-called buttons on this pump kept registering two numbers and I swear I only pushed it once! As I was getting the card to work, a guy walked up to the other side of the pump with a gas can and began to fill it. He was a little scruffy looking, but not too scary or anything. A few thoughts ran through my mind, wondering why he needed gas in a gas can, and why he didn’t come in a car. Did he run out of gas somewhere? Had he walked far? Or maybe it’s for his lawn mower... Finally, the fuel card was accepted, and as I began filling the van I forgot about the guy.

Remembering that I needed to find out whether I should take the van to Holly, or if I needed to go back to the Inn and get a car, I got my cell phone out, and called one of the Trans guys while I waited for the tank to fill. As I was talking, I heard a voice behind me. Turning around, I saw the gas can guy. He had his head poked around the pump and was saying something very strongly and insistently. At first I wasn’t going to listen. Why? First, because I was already talking on the phone, and second, because I thought he was some old grungy man with a gas can being weird, trying to act all charming or something. Then what he was saying registered. “You’re gonna blow up!” What in the world? I thought. “You’re not supposed to be talking on a phone while you’re pumping gas! You’re going to explode and blow us all up!” Is this guy for real? Is he crazy? Drunk? High? (In Flint, you never know…) He kept muttering and exclaiming about how I was dangerous and he had to get out of there fast. I just looked at him like “Whatever…”, turned around, and finished my conversation. I could hear the man calling to another person who happened to be pumping gas across the station “She’s gonna blow us up! I’ve got to get out of here! You should leave – fast!” etc, etc. I could barely keep from laughing. He seemed to be dead serious! I think the guy ran away with his full gas can.

Now, I know there are warnings about using your cell phone while pumping gas, but is that for real? Is it really dangerous? Has anyone ever really blown up because they were talking on a cell at a gas pump? For some reason, I don’t think so. (But if you happen to know anything to the contrary, and have proof, please do let me know.) I think it’s just a (very) rare possibility. A warning that has to be out up to avoid stupid lawsuits. The “gas can guy” incident did give me a lasting memory. Every time I think of it, I’ll smile and remember how earnestly that guy believed that he was about to die. I wonder if I’ll ever go to pump gas and not hear in my mind his insistent exclamations of “You’re gonna explode!”
(originally posted on xanga, 9/29/04)

Thursday, June 16, 2011


I've added a few new items to my Etsy shop... go here to check it out!

Currently I am focusing on baby and children's items... Hope you find something you like!


More items to come soon.

Custom requests are always welcome!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Vintage Pearl Bird Giveaway

The Vintage Pearl is hosting another giveaway here. They are giving away your choice of their bird or nest pieces. I absolutely LOVE the Vintage Pearl! (like you couldn't tell...) I had a chance to visit their new store today and I fell in love all over again. It's one thing to see the pieces online and think they look pretty, but it's a whole 'nother thing to see and touch them in real life. Oh. My. Word. I must have more of them!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Epson Wireless Printer Giveaway

Check out this awesome giveaway from FunSavingMoney... An Epson All-In-One Wireless Printer! Be sure to keep an eye on her blog... she has new giveaways almost every day. :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

just ducky

This week I've been working on not letting things get to me. Things that are mostly little things, and things that are beyond my control. Things like... the actions of others, whether purposely directed at me or not. It's very easy for me to let myself become offended when those around me do things that violate what I perceive as "my" space, or do or plan something that infringes on the way my mind had planned how my day was supposed to go. But something I have come to realize in recent weeks is that when I get all upset and worked up about those things it only hurts me. Well, it hurts me and then in turn, my turmoil affects my husband and daughter (in a not good way). One day in the middle of this week, I felt as if I had had a revelation about all this and I spent the day making a conscious effort to let any situation that arose (whether real or only perceived) roll off me like water off a duck's back. The effects of this attitude were incredible. So many opportunities for me to inwardly fume presented themselves to me that I wanted to laugh. But I didn't take the bait. It was one of the best days I've had in a long time. And at the end of the day, when my husband came home, I was not cranky and frustrated, but was able to greet him cheerfully and happily. (at least, I think I did.) ;) Now if only I can remember to have that attitude more often...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

New Vintage Pearl GIveaway!!

Check out this new giveaway from the Vintage Pearl. A gift for someone special, and a gift for you, too!

Monday, January 24, 2011


Today I join a group of people in a ten-day diet consisting basically of fruits, veggies, nuts, and whole grains. No meat, no dairy, no sugar, no yeast. It's also supposed to be no caffeine, but I am caving and keeping my coffee... Giving up sugar, bread, and dairy is going to be traumatic enough. Today wasn't too bad. Here's to hoping that tomorrow follows likewise!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

sitting , waiting, watching, wishing...

Do you ever feel like you're being tested? As if your inner person and strength of character is being stretched and pulled and prodded to see how you will withstand the stress? That's how I've felt recently. It's nothing huge, really... Just several small things that add up over time. I'm working on finding creative outlets to balance myself... such as projects I've long procrastinated about doing or trying new crafty things. It's kind of cool how redirecting your focus helps your mind settle. And, seeing the progress I make on little things provides a wonderful sense of accomplishment, and I momentarily forget about my frustrations and just relax.

The baby is teething... a few days of happiness, followed by a few days of clinginess and a child that is almost impossible to please. Those are rough days. Today I settled my mind of comfort for her and instead of being frustrated that she needed to be in my arms or on my lap 80% of her awake time, I chose to cherish it. We snuggled on the couch and watched Sesame Street, and my mommy heart started to overflow. Her giggles at Elmo and the other Muppets and the feel of her chubby warm cheeks on my chest are priceless. My daughter is precious beyond words. And baby? Why do I say my baby? She will be ONE YEAR OLD next week! What the..... How on earth did this first year fly by so incredibly quickly?

Our search for a house continues. We've looked at too many to count, offered on one, almost offered on another, and are planning to offer on yet another this week. Eventually we will find (and actually get!) the right one, I know, but I'm a little frustrated. I don't think we are terribly picky. There just seems to be a strange lack of houses in our price range at the moment. I wish I knew the end of this part of our journey... it would make this limbo stage so much easier.

These things, among others, have been testing my patience and strength. But God, in His infinite knowledge, knows that I continually need to trust Him more. Even though I know He is faithful and has proven that to me countless times, my trust-bank-account needs to grow more.

...Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
...How I've proved Him o'er and o'er....
...Oh for grace to trust Him more....

Oh for the grace to trust Him more. And more. And more.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

surprise handmade giveaway... any takers?


Here's a little giveaway that I am continuing from Facebook. All you have to do is leave me a comment, and I will send you something handmade. (I had thought this would be a hot idea! Oddly enough I only had three comments, so I'm looking for two more. I mean, I could send you freshly baked chocolate chip cookies...) On facebook, the twist is that you then have to post the little blurb in your status and continue the sharing of handmade love, but I'll skip that requirement here. (unless you want to, then please do!) That's it. Easy peasy.


Monday, January 10, 2011

snow day

I woke up to a dusting of snow covering the outside world. Flurries are supposed to continue all day. Not exactly the huge snowstorm I was hoping for, but it's enough to help me feel like it's really winter. Can't take the Michigan out of the girl... I have no plans to go anywhere today, so I'll stay in my cozy little home and watch the snow fall as I clean the bathroom (ugh), plan the rest of my week, and start a photo project that's long overdue. I'll add some hot beverages... tea or cocoa or coffee (trying to cut back on the coffee!!) and the day should be quite lovely.

We've discovered the wonderful world of Skype, thanks to a webcam Christmas gift from my sister. It's been a blast to have visual conversations with family and friends.

My mom told me the other day that I should start an advice column of sorts or be a lifecoach via skype. The idea kind of made me laugh. Then it made me think... how do you even get started in something like that if you're not professionally trained? Not that I'm terribly interested, but it does intrigue me a little. I guess I've become the default advice-giver for my family. Someone have a problem? Ask Sis, she'll know. It's funny... All I really do is listen.

And the best part of today? It's our two-year anniversary. Incredible, isn't it.... the speed at which life travels? Two years ago, I married the man of my dreams, who also happens to be my very best friend. It's been pretty much blissful. *grin* He took two days off last week, and we spent a lovely FOUR DAY WEEKEND together. We didn't go anywhere spectacular, but instead took a staycation.... SO nice! It was relaxful and fun and I spent the better part of my days grinning and acting like a teenager in love. I would like to order another month of staycation, please! Two years and a baby later, and I fall more in love each day. Here's to a hundred more anniversaries!