Thursday, March 27, 2014

Color Me Sad

Remember me posting about how I was taking part in the 100 Days Challenge? You know the one where the objective was to take a photo every day of what made/makes you happy and share it through your favorite media with the public hashtag #100happydays.  Well, I failed. Not even a week into the challenge when I got a nasty cold, totally forgot to post a photo until the wee hours of the next morning (which means I would miss a day).  I was so bummed.  
That’s a capital L for LOSER. Pooh.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Perfect Getaway

On March 14, myself, my daughter Amanda and her children: Kayla (15), Brendan (6), Jake (4), Kayla’s son, Elliot (10 mos.) and Kayla’s lifelong friend, Kaileen (15), drove to Sandusky, Ohio to spend the weekend at Castaway Bay.  The cold weather outside was a perfect excuse for wanting to stay inside.  The waterpark area of Castaway boasts a tropical 82 degrees.  Heaven!  We had a lovely room, bayside and the boys were thrilled with the bunk beds.  At the front desk we got a copy of The Island Times which lists fun activities for the kiddies throughout the day.  We joined Lucy (of Peanuts fame) for dancing, then changed into p.j.s to watch a Peanuts film and have a bedtime story with Snoopy.  The girls “dressed” for dinner at TGIF’s (its at one end of the hotel and there is a passageway directly to it so you do not have to go outside), so we let them get their own table.  They had so much fun, we suggested they do it the second evening, too.  If you are looking for a (not pricey) weekend getaway, seriously consider booking with Castaway.  They even have a “payment plan.”  How’s that for awesome!  This trip was such a success that we are currently planning next “getaway”.
Jake tests out the bunk beds

Brendan and Jake - ready to swim

Baby's ready, too

The Waterpark
Elliot finds a fish
Photo op with Lucy

Hugs from Snoopy

Monday, March 24, 2014

We are already heading into April.  As I get older, the time flies by much, much faster.  I've been thinking about my OLW (Learn) and in my need to do something (ever feel like that?), I’ve made a list of what my current interests are.  I’ve taken a look through prior blog posts, the blogs I read most, and the magazines I buy the most.  They all have to do with being a homemaker, being a DIYourselfer, being a parent, and creating.  Now that K and Elliot are staying at the house more, I feel we need structure, or a map, if you will, of day to day-ness.  Also, K is going to be on her own one day and it won’t hurt her to learn to keep house, pay bills and cook (that might be tougher, she got a nasty burn on the inside of her arm last week taking dinner out of the oven). At the end of the day though, I see so much that didn’t get done, and so much that I want to teach her, and I think if we collaborate on a plan and a schedule and follow it, our days will run much more smoothly.
I am so totally excited that she and E are staying here more.  It’s so much better going home to a house that’s lit, warm and filled with laughter than going to a home that sits cold, dark and being alone.

Anyway, at this time of my life, I find that my main interests, besides my blog, which I totally love, are (not in order of importance):

1.         Having a container garden. Flowers, herbs and vegetables.
2.         Learning how to use the herbs in cooking and how to dry them for winter months.
3.         DIY at-home spas.
4.         Learning to sew.
5.         Crocheting wearables, dishcloths, afghans, rugs, etc.
6.         Creating and maintaining a budget.
7.         Organization.
8.         Housekeeping.
9.         Going green.
10.       Being healthy/exercise.
11.       Cooking.
12.       Travelling.

The above are what I want to dive into, learn about, cultivate, do right now.  I want to sit down with K and have her make a list of what her current interests are (besides watching videos on her iphone).  
And, while I am still loving Springpad, I cannot give up my Mary Englebreit notebooks to map out my ideas.  I purchased three this weekend and they are ready to be filled. And I am ready to be writing, learning, doing and crossing off my lists.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Springpad: Everyday life, done better.

Getting organized, and I mean completely organized from A to Z and everything in between and staying organized is always a challenge for me.  I have good intentions, I really do, but actually putting those intentions to work, well, let’s just say that I have good intentions.  Having recently missed a cable bill and having it partially shut off (hard to home school without the internet), I went searching for an app that I would 1) be excited to use; 2) that was easy to use; and 3) that would actually work with my lifestyle and keep me organized.  AND I found it.  The app is “Springpad: Everyday life, done better.”  Since I am passionate about lists and writing in notebooks, this app is totally over the top.  It is ALL ABOUT lists and notebooks.  You create these notebooks, as many as you want, or you “shop” for already made notebooks and add them to your account.  And you make checklists, reminders, notes.  You create a notebook and lists for whatever! So far my notebooks include a master household project notebook, a slow cooker/crockpot recipe notebook, a daily to do notebook, and I’ve only just begun!  I’ve also added Gretchen Rubin's Happier At Home Notebook and Jill Pollack's Five Day Organizer, and there are also tons of other notebooks that you can add and/or  follow.  So far, this app, is really working for me both on my iphone and on my pc.  I encourage you, if you are in the market for a new organizational app to give it a try.  P.S.  It’s free!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

An Iliad

Mom was given tickets to this one man show.
The venue is The O'Reilly Theater, one of my favorites.
We will be seeing it tonight.
Looking forward to it.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Daylight Savings Time - Will YOU Be Losing Sleep?

Daylight Savings Time begins 2:00 a.m., Sunday March 9, 2014
You will if you already sleep less than 7-8 hours a day.  You will if you are already sleep deprived and you will if you decide to “party” and consume a little too much of the grain.  Hmmm, you can do that last one on a non “turn your clock forward’ evening, too.  I do not anticipate getting to bed an hour earlier than normal to be a problem in this household, Elliot keeps us on the go from sunrise to sunset.  However, if K and I do find ourselves fairly awake around 10:00 p.m., our drink of choice will be a cup of warm milk laced with a little spice.

Good Old Fashioned Warm Milk
Serves 2

16 oz milk (low fat, whole milk, skim – the choice is yours)
2 tsps. Vanilla extract
2 Tbs. white sugar
½ tsp. ground nutmeg or cinnamon (OPTIONAL)

Heat first 3 ingredients in saucepan over medium heat, stirring until desired temperature.  OR in a mug, stir first 3 ingredients, put in microwave for a 1.5 mins on high. 
Stir in nutmeg or cinnamon.

Serve, sip, sleep.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ash Wednesday - The Beginning of Lent

In February, on the 16th to be exact, when it was announced in our Church bulletin the date of Ash Wednesday (beginning of the Lenten season), I knew right away that I didn’t want to give up something as much as I wanted to give.  I knew I wanted to give more to our Church and more to our Community’s food pantry and more by really digging through my home for unused articles (and there is still quite a bit) and donating to the VA/Goodwill Industries. 

On a health related level, I knew I wanted to walk a mile (or more) every day the forty days of Lent.  That same day, well evening, I expressed these thoughts to Kai and K.  Kai immediately asked to join in on the walks.  It’s harder for K to walk long distances, so we told her if she made it the two miles to Starbucks, not only could she have a treat, we’d put her on a bus and meet her back home. 

On a spiritual level, I want to read more, pray more, mediate more.

I will tell you that as I get older, I can see me changing. My views, the way I want to live, the way I want to relate to the people in my life.  I don’t know if it’s because I am older or maybe am maturing (what?!) or what, but I want to surround myself with good things and live my life good.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

100 Days of Happy

A challenge issued, a question asked and 71% of failure.  100 Happy Days wants to know, "Can you be happy for 100 days in a row?  
I love this challenge.  I don't know how many times I have told my kids they have a choice: to be happy (and surrounded by happy) or be grumpy (and be surrounded by negativity).  

I choose happy and sometimes that just ain't easy (read obstinate children and some co-workers, traffic jams, long lines and just plain rudeness) .  At the end of the day though, I go to bed tired and happy.  I love the life I have made for myself, and the people that are a part of that life and although there are roadblocks (oh, there are roadblocks!) I am happy.  

Anyway, back to the challenge..  The object is to take a photo every day for 100 days of what makes you happy.  Share it through your favorite media with the public hashtag #100happydays.  That's it. Easy Peasy. I began today.  You can find my 100 days here.  

Will you be taking the challenge??

Monday, March 3, 2014

What to do in March

Welcome March!  You have come in like a lion, therefore you should go out like a lamb. With spring just a few weeks away, now is a good time to get a jump start on the cleaning.  Looking for a spring cleaning checklist?  Martha Stewart has one here.

March Events:

March 4 – Mardi Gras - Throw a party.  Throw on a costume.  Wear (or throw) colorful beads and eat King Cake.  You could bake your own or (like me) order a yummy cake (baby doll included) from your favorite bakery.
March 5 – Ash Wednesday – Lent Begins.  Do you celebrate Lent? Check here for 40 Ideas for 40 Days.
March 9 – Daylight Savings Time. Turn your clocks forward one hour.
March 14 – Off for our Staycation at the Castaway Bay in Sandusky, Ohio.
March 15 – St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Pittsburgh, PA. Begins at 9:00 a.m.
March 17 – St. Paddy’s Day
March 20 – First day of Spring.