Thursday, August 27, 2015

Looking Forward To . . .

. . . Learning Something New Every Day in September!

Having participated in Shimelle’s Learn Something NewEveryday project since 2006, it is now a tradition to “learn something new” each day in September.  Once again this year I will be keeping a notebook with me to jot down a few things, of course, the date and then the weather, and then anything that happens out of the ordinary (and not so ordinary).  
I’m super excited this year as Elliot is now 28 mos. and he is teaching us something new every day!  Take yesterday for instance.  He re-enacted his own version of the Harold and the Purple Crayon book.  There was Elliot and the Red Crayon in the kitchen.  Elliot and the Blue Crayon all over the flat screen t.v. and Elliot and the Green Crayon on mirror.  He was EVERYWHERE!  Did we scream and cry? No, we had a good laugh.  But not until after we told him that drawing on anything other than the paper and especially the TV is not such a good thing.  Then we wiped all the crayoned areas off and put away the crayons.  We'll just color with the Thomas the Train app for now.

C'est la vie! 
What will YOU learn in September??

Peace and happiness!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Speaking of a Healthy Lifestyle…

… I just finished up with Chalene Johnson’s 30 Day Challenge to master organization

and achieve your goals.  Loved the series!  “Got it” by Day 4.  The 30 Day Challenge changes the way you think about how you create your daily and master to do lists and it’s a total kickstart to working towards your goal/goals.  In making over my life, organization and routines have taken the front burner as I attempt to find a happy work/life balance.  Before the Challenge I felt like I was on the hamster wheel, work, clean the same rooms every day (this is a super sore point with me, but I’ve come up with a system that is slowly being incorporated with the people in my house), make dinner, bath, bed, repeat.  Now, I am feeling more in control.  It’s a good feeling.  Don’t get me wrong, I still have A LOT more work to do, but I’ll take it one step at a time.  But for now, I need to make a list…

Have a great day (the weather here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is AMAZING!!!!!)! 

Peace and happiness!

Monday, August 24, 2015


Week In The Life.  I always look forward to this project and it never fails, I do not take pictures.  Or not enough pictures.  Anyway, my weekdays really are pretty much repeats of the day before.  Alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m.  I change the baby’s diaper, get him a fresh bottle and put him in with Kayla.  I shower (unless I did the night before), dress, morning hygiene, the whole shebang.  Grab my lunch, my purse and out the door by 6:25 a.m.  I am super lucky wherein the bus stops at the end of our street and it lets me off at my office building.  If I get to town too early (we are talking 7:00, I’ll stop at the Starbucks located in the Omni William Penn Hotel and have a coffee.  I try to get to work before 7:30 before my attorneys arrive.  That little bit of quiet time helps me focus, catch up on projects, check their calendars for the upcoming week and just get prepared.
Elliot's First Game of Mini Golf 8-20-15
I try to leave the office by 5:00 p.m., though I will stay if needed.  At home, I am greeted by a shout, “GiGi,” and out comes tumbling my 28 month old great-grandson, Elliot.  Followed by my Granddaughter, Kayla.  Once settled, we make dinner, eat, clean up the kitchen.  Next, comes the chart.  We each choose at least three chores and then set about cleaning that day’s designated room.  It’s been so nice out, we will either go for a walk around the block or to one of the playgrounds that are so close.  Take Elliot for an ice cream cone.  Water the garden or just sit on the glider going through the days mail, or reading a magazine while Elliot plays with his yard toys.  Bath time for baby is next, p.j.’s, bottle, bed.
Elliot's Second Game of Mini Golf 8-21-15 (drive in)
Thursday evening, Doug and Kayla wanted to go on a date (they do this every week), but neither drive.  Soooooo, they chose miniature golfing at the Putt Putt in Monroeville.  This was perfect as I was not going to drive back home and pick them up 90 minutes later, so Elliot and I golfed, too.  He cheats.  I did get a hole in one but there was no one there to appreciate it.  Super fun and Elliot was a riot.
Friday Night at The Dependable Drive-In 08-21-15
When I got home from work Friday, we loaded the car with the lawn chairs, filled the cooler with ice, pop and water. Grabbed Kayla’s bff, Kai, stopped at a Starbucks for green tea, organic milk for the babe, and drove out to The Dependable Drive-In.  We arrived early so they could mini-golf before the movies.  Watched Minions (again) and Pixel.  The evenings are getting cooler.  Good thing we packed blankets.  Back home, before climbing into bed, I put a pork roast and onions into the slow cooker for pulled pork barbecue.  We were going on a picnic the next day.
Picnic at Crooked Creek State Park 8-22-15
Saturday, another gorgeous blue sky, sun shiny day.  Loaded the cooler again with drinks and the pulled pork.  Packed slider buns, utensils, paper plates, drink boxes, blankets, towels, swimsuits, lawn chairs and toys.  Loaded the car, drove to Mom’s, repacked her car and off to Crooked Creek State Park we went.  My son Jayme, his wife Tina, three of their brood, my daughter Amanda, her two sons, myself, K and Doug and Elliot and my Mom spent a glorious fun filled Saturday together. 

Elliot at Crooked Creek 8-22-15
Cooling off 8-22-15
Sunday, Elliot awoke at 7:30 a.m.  We started the laundry.  I baked cookies for my Mom which she stopped in to pick up.  We put-zed, sat outside, did more laundry, watched tv.  I thawed a loaf of bread dough, made a flatbread chicken and artichoke pizza and iced chai tea.  It was a lazy, it was restful, it was needed.  And that was my WITL.  HOW WAS YOURS????

Peace and happiness!

Friday, August 14, 2015


Elsie Larsen of A Beautiful Mess wrote on a very heartfelt post on Cyber Bullying.  There is no place for bullying in our society.  It's tough enough in our world today as it is without children being put down, blacklisted, teased and hurt by their peers.  It's bad enough that there are so many children not even safe in their own homes, from their own parents.  
Let me tell you what I tell my kids: Be kind.  You do not know what a person's life is like once they leave the [school] [office] [wherever].  

If you are looking for more information on how to help stop bullying, is an excellent site to start with. 

Have a wonderful, bully-free Friday!

Peace and happiness!


Thursday, August 13, 2015


  •  Project Runway tonight!
    E waiting for a real train to come by.
    Something we do often!
  • Turtle Creek, Pa's Fire Department's Fair.
  • A low key weekend (joke). Seriously, Kayla and Doug are going white water rafting for the weekend.  Soooooo, it will be just me and E and periodically my Mom. Should be low key.
  • Preparing my album for WITL.  Hooray!
  • Setting up the dining room again.  Kids move back home.  Kids move back out.  Rooms get changed, too often.
  • Picking up K's contacts.
  • Stocking up on paper products at Sam's Club.
  • Laundry and cleaning cellar.
  • Yard work
Anything special YOU are looking forward to this weekend? 

 Peace and happiness!


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Now for the To-Do List

Last week I talked about my Master To-Do List.  The Grandmaster of them all!  On that list, I have put EVERYTHING I would like to get done.  It includes major projects, like wall-to-wall carpet in most of the rooms, paint jobs, explore if there really are pocket doors between the living room/dining room wall, just all sorts of things.
This week, I thought we could talk about the Daily To-Do List.  I have two.  The first one is crafted based on the fabulous cleaning lists found at The Flylady.  I “discovered” her site years ago and am thankful I did.  I’ve assigned a room to each day of the week.  For instance, Monday we clean the living room, Tuesday, the bathrooms, Wednesday is for the bedrooms, Thursday, because the trash needs to go out the next morning, is for the Kitchen, Friday is the Dining Room, Saturday is for the Entry and Laundry and Sunday is for seasonal outside work, i.e., hose porches, cut grass in summer, shovel walks in winter.
These lists are printed out in bulk and kept in a folder.  The corresponding day’s list is hung on a kitchen cabinet for all to see.  I only ask that one thing be done before I get home from the office.  Check it off and we will deal with the rest in the evening.
Sample List:
Monday’s To Do List
Living Room

Date ______________

Dust furniture
Clean windows
Clean mirrors
Dust knick knacks, picture frames
Organize bookshelf
Declutter magazine rack
Launder cushion covers
Wipe fingerprints
Pick up shoes, dishes, toys, or other rooms into a basket for depositing into other rooms
Gather garbage

I like this method of cleaning as something is getting done everyday and there’s more “weekend” in the weekend.
Now, the second list, is for tasks that I’ve put on the Master To Do List.  Like, rearranging furniture, fixing something, purchasing a blanket, setting up a home office, etc.  I limit the number of items moved to this list to 2 or 3.  As I cross one off, I will add another.
And that’s it! It all fulfills my love of lists and we get stuff done, too.
What about you? What's your modus operandi for getting housework/lifework done?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Weekend Reviewed

The weekend, for me, was fantastic! The weather - lovely, mostly in the upper 70's. Felt more like October weather.  I wanted to go to the drive-in Friday, but all the exits coming back home were closed for weekend construction.  So, we just hung around the house.
Uncle Joey and Elliot
Elliot- The Guitar Man

A little visit
Saturday, Mom and Elliot and I took a computer chair that I was going to get rid of, out to my eldest son, Joey's, new place.  The house is darling and the grounds are fabulous!  He hasn't much furniture yet, but we are working on it.  Which brings me to ...

A little thrifting
On our way to have lunch, we stopped at the Goodwill in Monroeville.  Now, this was not a part of our morning plan, but talk about being in the right place at the right time.  There were two couch beds sans the mattresses for $15.00 each.  One was in much better shape than the other.  Joey really needs a couch so now he has a couch.  I am going to search on line for decent priced mattresses.  Elliot got a Thomas the Train toy (with battery - it works!) and I got this fab chair ($9.99) to replace the one whose bottom was sitting on the floor.  These kids are rough on furniture! The best is that Mom used her Senior Discount and we got the couch for $13 and the chair for $8.

The Urban Garden
Elliot loves to water the garden.  This time we were able to start picking veggies.  The tomatoes are yum!  Doug and I snack on those.  Think I'll make cheesy nachos and use a few of the jalapeno peppers.

A late night ride
So, it's been a great day and I am trying to watch Birdman (maybe I was too tired or it was too boring) but I kept nodding off until my phone rang.  Calls after 10:00 p.m. are rare and I'm always a bit afraid it's bad news.  It was actually my daughter needing a ride.  To my house. She went home later the next day.  Kids!

Beautiful day!!!! I got right up and started the laundry, cleaned the hall, the living room. Started cleaning what will once again be the dining room (kids moving in, kids moving out).  Doug's (K's boyfriend) gave us two dressers which Mom and Doug picked up.  Hallelujah! These dressers are so badly needed.  Now, K has no excuse for having her clothes EVERYWHERE!!!  Elliot off to visit with his Dad. Doug to visit with his Mom.  Amanda home to work things out.  The Mister and I spend a little quiet time together.  And then everyone came back home.  

I love my life.  That's not said with sarcasm.  I really do love my life. The ups, the downs, all of it. I'm just happy to be here.

How was YOUR weekend?

Peace and happiness!


Friday, August 7, 2015

Elliot Takes Kennywood Amusement Park by Storm!

Sunday was my firm's picnic at Kennywood Amusement Park.  What an absolutely gorgeous, blue sky, sun shiny day it was!  We were a little worried about how Elliot would react to the rides - worry wasted! He LOVED it!!!!! He was so much fun to watch.  His first ride on the motorcycles and when it started! The smile on his face! Priceless!!!!!  He was such a joy to watch.  Later in the day, my niece, her hubby and two children joined us.  Dylan and Elliot are just a week apart in age.  They rode a few more, you could see Elliot losing steam and when he voluntarily crawled into his stroller, well, then we knew it was over.  With Elliot sound asleep we ventured over to Lost Kennywood where Mom and Melissa rode the Pittsburgh Plumge.  Shortly after, Mom and I left.  Once home, I laid Elliot on the couch, curled up next to him and it was off to slumber land.

Elliot's First Ride on the Cycles

New driver...beware!

A hug for Kenny the Kangeroo

Dylan and Elliot - future bikers
I love these little guys!

Well, that's another memory made and documented.  What fun event have you been to lately??

Peace and happiness!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Looking Forward To...

... a whole lot of housecleaning and laundering and grass cutting.  At least, that's what is on my to-do list.  This is the first weekend that we have nothing planned and I would like to keep it that way. There is so much I would like to get crossed off my list.  However, I am sure that will change.  Stay tuned...

Enjoy your day.  The weekend is almost here!

Peace and happiness!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Master To-Do List (the grandmaster list of them all!).

A few years ago, I created a Master To-Do List for EVERYTHING that needs fixed, moved (from one room to another), painted, donated, trashed and/or bought for each room in the house.  This List gets added to OFTEN and surprisingly, a few things get crossed off sooner than later.  I first created the list by walking through each room, and with a critical eye, took careful note of everything that needed done or that I’d like to change.  When my initial list was done, I typed it into a word doc, using a label template, Avery 5366 file folder labels.  I decided to print on labels so that when I completed a task/project, I could peel off the sticker and add it to my calendar under the month/date completed. 
I didn’t create firm deadlines for a few of the tasks as some, like “Have 40 foot pine tree in front yard removed,” are going to take time.  Mostly because I have to save for this expense and then find a reputable and not too costly company to cut it down. 
However, from the Master List, at the beginning of each month, I choose a few tasks to put on a To-Do list.  I rewrite them ONE more time, only with each task broken down into little steps, and from that I write out my monthly to-do list.  I keep the list in my current notebook where I can see it every single day.  This keeps me motivated and aware of what needs done.
Here is a peek at my latest version of the Master To-Do List.  It’s quite the list.

One more thing, it’s kind of cool to look back at the calendar and see how much was accomplished.  For example, I have this little round yellow table and a glance at my 2013 calendar shows it was in the corner of the kitchen at one time and later (in 2014) moved to the family/play room as a little brunch area.  This year, I have it slated to be moved to the downstairs non-working kitchen.  That little table sure gets around!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Our Urban Garden

I have always wanted a garden.  
The problem is I can barely keep a houseplant alive.  Except for Emma. Emma is a houseplant named for and saved from my Gram's funeral. She's beautiful and thriving.  She's the only one. Currently.
The Backyard. 
I actually have a decent sized backyard so I do have the capabilities to grow a garden – flower or veggie.  My neighbor has both and grows both very well.  My yard is wild with overgrowth that I attempt to cut back, oh, maybe thrice a summer season.  The ivy really runs rampant and I am forever having to pull it off the back of my house.  Yes, I would love to let it go and cover the house like an English cottage, however, the insurance companies have no sense of quaint and will cite the ivy as a reason to terminate your homeowner’s policy if it’s growing up the outside walls of your house.  It’s true . . .  Allstate. . . Farmer's. . .

Enter Son.
My eldest son, Joey, like my other two children and my Mom, have the greenest of thumbs.  He dug up a corner of the yard, then lined the plot with cinderblocks (he took a lot of ribbing from his friends for that), and wire, bought starter plants and WAALAH, we have a garden and although we got start a late start and it RAINED here SO MUCH, our garden is producing. Hooray!!  Thank you Eldest Son!

It's  Family Affair.
Now that the rains have gone away and the days are hot and sunny, watering the gardening in the evening has become a highlight of our days.  Maybe because the plants aren't the only things being watered???

Next Up.

My next adventure: container gardening. I've always dreamt of cute little pots lining my windowsills growing sweet smelling herbs, little cherry tomatoes and butter lettuce. The back of my house has wide windowsills and gets the morning and afternoon sun. On my list of what to get: pots, potting soil and seeds.  This weekend, Elliot and are going shopping!

What about you? How does your garden grow?

 Peace and happiness!

Monday, August 3, 2015

10 Fun Things to do in the month of August

Welcome August! This is the last full month of summer (Autumn begins September 23), so it's time to kick it in full gear and ENJOY!  I've compiled a list of fun things to do this month.

1.         Go to a drive-in movie: fill a cooler with drinks and snacks, take folding chairs and blankets and watch a movie under the stars;
2.         Go on a picnic in the park: choose a new park you’ve never been to before;
3.        Go to the zoo;
4.        Go white water rafting;
5.        Make a meal using veggies from your garden;
6.        Make S’mores and root beer floats;
7.         Go miniature golfing;
8.        Go to an amusement park;
9.        Take a ride on a boat; and (drumroll, please…)
10.      Get ready to go back to school!

Whatever you choose, HAVE FUN!

Peace and happiness!


Saturday, August 1, 2015


Watching:  TrueDetective, Season 2.  Looking forward to: Project Runway.  I adore this show, it’s one of my very favorites.

Eating:  Dinners made in the slow cooker as it’s too hot to be standing over the stove, such as stuffed peppers, meatloaf, barbecue ribs.

Drinking:   Sun tea, Pepsi (or coke), lots of water.

Playing:   Covet, still. 

Looking Forward to:   This upcoming weekend.   I will be moving Joey into his new rental house (it’s cute), taking Elliot to the drive-in (he did so well the last time), going to Kennywood.

Reading: The Vacationers by Emma Straub.

Enjoying: Frick Park.  We take Elliot at least three times a week.  We’ve hiked a trail with Amanda’s boys.   

Participating in: Chalene Johnson’s 30 Day Push Challenge.  I am really enjoying this challenge (we are only on Day 5, however, on Day 4, I got it).

 Peace and happiness!