November 6, 2012

Thankfull in 2012

1 SNOW!!

2 - smooth visits to the vet (i took all 3 animals at the same time. the dog only peed on the floor twice.... :/ )
3 - making it safe through the storm
4 - internet
5 - heat
6 - when micah comes home early
7 - jobs and the ability to work.
8 - weekends off
9 - nail polish
10 - nail polish remover
11 - traditions
12 - new things.
13 - being able to help my sister
14 - Our Homegroup
15 - naps
16 - Our Sunday School class
17 - my mother
18 - whipped cream in a can
19 - The time i've been able to spend with Micah's grandma the past 2 years.

**this lists is not in any order whatsoever.....i'm going the whole way to 100, so don't worry if I haven't been thankful for you yet. It's probably coming and it doesn't mean I am more thankful for nail polish remover than you, just stream of consciousness thanksgiving up in here....

June 8, 2012

S.O.S. - Save Our Strawberries

I have a full garden update in the works, and I need to post about my trip west and my haircut and this hilarious video of Micah and his brother trying mark an angle to cut off a fence post and the giant tomato grandma Henry bought us again this year (you can't argue with that lady) as well as June's wallpaper....but first I need help!  I have a problem (more than one probably but this is the one I'm seeking assistance on).

My strawberry pants are lush green and healthy. But I am not getting to eat any of the fruit!! Seriously, I have harvested SIX berries. They are delicious. I want more but....Something is eating holes in all my berries!  What am i doing wrong? How can I fix this!!?!

May 29, 2012


The Cliff Notes Version....

Floated four avocado "boats" down the river with my 6"1' baby brother

Took my mom's garden flamingos to story time

Ate honeycomb

helped my dad clean carpets

made (and helped eat) a double batch of no-bakes

drank tea and read a book or two

experimented with painting my nails (photos of the finished product to come...)

just wait till I blog about THIS: coolest project ever!

Hung out with my MOM!!

found a rock for the rock collection that Micah denies that we have 

rode in the back seat with Al

Climbed a buffalo....

I still have 2 days left......

May 17, 2012

Yard Sales!!

I love yard sales. I have good memories of going to Grandma's house early on Saturday mornings with a marked newspaper and planning our route.

Fortunately for me, I married a man who also loves yard sales. MICAH is usually the one pushing me out of bed bright and early on Saturday mornings. Unfortunately, we have a difference of opinion about what constitutes a "good" yard sale. His criteria include the presence of tools and the absence of large racks of clothing....I like ones with household goods and vintage glassware. Community sales are the real way to go for us. Last weekend we drove 2 hours to go to a "good" one in Ohio with his parents...

Some of the REALLY GOOD Things We Found Already This Season....
  • Cool Vintage Apron - pink and green argyle! Could it be any more me? No. $1
  • Cross country skis... With awesome retro boots in our respective sizes!! It was meant to be. $10 for both sets
  • Set of 4 vintage Pyrex mixing bowls - $35! (Micah was not sure they were worth it....the next guy had them for $55!)
  • Screwdrivers & needle-nosed pliers (soon to be spray-painted pink so that even if Micah "borrows" them I'll be able to tell which are mine) $1 for the 5 screwdrivers, the pliers were part of a batch deal...
  • Set of Copper measuring spoons - same $2 batch as the pliers and 2 mini C clamps for Micah...ha, formica....Married 5 years this summer and i still giggle inside when I say this....
  • Serving platter that matches my favorite vintage pyrex!  - Micah was nervous when I told him I was buying this platter after his sticker shock over the bowls - you should have heard his sigh of relief when I told him it was only 25 cents! :)

Things I'm Still On the Lookout for This Summer:
  • Blender (I'd pay $5 for a good solid one)
  • Craftsman socket wrenches (OK, this is more for Micah....giggle)
  • 12 oz (or smaller) hammer of solid quality
  • pliers, the regular kind, I already have needle-nosed ones
  • tool bag or solid yet small tool box I can paint pink are you seeing a theme?
  • Any other useful hand tools for my collection
  • a Weed Whacker (we may have to give in and buy a cheap one new if we don't find one soon)
  • Vintage-y Tablecloths for $2 or less
  • Pieces that match my china (Noritake Crest) especially bowls and platters....I'd pay just about whatever they're asking quite honestly

So, what find are you hoping to find at a Yard Sale this summer? I'll keep an eye out for ya....But you'll have to arrange to meet for pick-up.
Consequently, I still have a full-length mirror in the summer kitchen that I found for my sister LAST summer. They've been here a few times and simply need a bigger car or less kids.

May 1, 2012

May Day!!

I made this about April 13th. I have been dying to share it ever since.
To download the calendar to use as your desktop wallpaper, just click the image to load it in a new window.
Then, right click and choose "set as desktop background."

Well here we are: Welcome to May.  I'm kind of in a state of disbelief. Only one month left until the year is half gone...

My goals for May
  • Memorize Psalm 46
  • Read Bible every day.
  • Wake up with Micah and stay up. (this will start tomorrow :)
  • Make masks for the Mother's Day picnic.
  • Mend 4 things from that big pile
  • Starch the Angel already!
  • Spring Clean the WHOLE house
  • Do SOME THING with the flower beds 
  • Finish Mulberry Hat and Cowl

Ooooh, that list got longer than I was planning on. Looks like I'll be busy. Lets see how it goes... What do you hope to accomplish in May? 

April 20, 2012

Garden update....

So, here I am again with another photo-loaded update on my garden that no one but me really cares about.

In the interest of keeping it real, I took this one photo of what's just to the east of my lovely beds. This is the last time I will take let alone post a photo of this, I don't want to talk about the fact that I'm gardening inches from a scrap heap (it's one of those things I barely notice anymore)....

Back inside the house our sprouts are growing gangbusters. We are supposed to put out the cabbage and broccoli this weekend, but it's going to be so cold at night that I think we'll just pamper them inside another week.

Look at my cute little salad cucumber. He's like Nemo with his "special fin" :)

I'd hate to appear too proud so I'll just tell you that NONE, not a single ONE, of my cherry tomato plants sprouted. I'm giving them another week and then I'm re-planting.
I have hit a new low, posting photos of dirt.

Did I mention last time that Micah has big plans that involve starting corn inside? "you won't be laughing when we have fresh corn on the cob a full month before anyone else" :) It's doing really well. It may be getting too big for it's pots though.

Outside I actually have some things in the ground! Not that you can really tell from this picture.
We've mowed the yard since this shot was taken.

The strawberries have little blossoms. I'm so looking forward to berries.

This is my spinach!! The first seeds I started a few weeks ago when I was dying to plant something. It is this year's first thing I planted in the ground outside to actually sprout. I guess it's more impressive in person.

By contrast, my garlic is looking really impressive, even in photos. I think the frost we had the last week got its poor little leaves but it is soldiering on..

I also have peas and onions in the ground. And a dog who I can't keep out of the beds.  Poor dear, he steps in the beds, I yell at him, and he hunkers down all submissive-like...still in the garden beds of course. How do you teach a dog that this particular patch of empty dirt is special?

Micah is planning to build a fence this weekend and maybe dig up a little more space. Ever the optimist, I'm going to put up trellises for the peas and tomatoes. Which WILL grow this year. and trim the grass around the beds.

Come visit, I promise all of this is more impressive in person. Plus, I'll probably send you home with a sprout or two. I started way more than I plan to plant. We're talking 8 extra tomato plants, 5 spare eggplant plants, and up to 9 spare peppers......

April 18, 2012


This is part of my 2012 non-resolution progress posts.

Is there something in your life that you just don't see anymore just because you have lived with it for so long?

You know, like a CHRISTMAS WREATH hanging on the trellis in front of your house in APRIL!

I actually crossed off "undecorate" on my non-resolution progress page with a WREATH hanging at eye level in front of my house. We're not talking about a little wooden snowman out of sight on top of a cupboard or a decorative hand towel tucked in a guest bedroom here. I literally walked past this wreath every time I came into my house.

Oh Well. It's down now. 

April 13, 2012

Randomness of me. (or Link-Happy)

Miss Brenda and the Dog jumping. Circa 2008

You have GOT to check out my mom's latest post it has the cutest video ever of the SLD (Silly Little Dog). Once upon a time That dog fit in my purse. Also, I talked her through uploading a video to YouTube and posting it to her blog. Go me. Thinking of starting a business helping people do this kind of stuff. Refer people to me.

Ami got new shoes too. I do not have new shoes. I might need to go shopping.

Here is a good deal on reusable bags 5+a pouch for $22 shipped.

I like Hummus. I am eating it by dipping my finger in it. I ran out of pita bread and the pretzels are all downstairs. Hummus and pita bread are not a good snack while you're driving. Not that I tried it yesterday or anything.

Keep your eyes here for an update about the plants we started for the garden, and the some that have actually sprouted in the ground since last time!!

Mowing the yard this afternoon. Left my "mowing shoes" (which are also my hiking shoes and my walking in mud or snow shoes) in the trunk of the car and they went to work with Micah. I will have to wear a different pair. Strongly tempted to use this as an excuse not to mow. Also, Procrastinating by blogging randomness and trying to decide if I should start where the grass is longest in the back or in the front where all 3.5 people who drive past will see.

April 11, 2012


People have viewed my post about Micah's wood fired hot tub FIVE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SIX times. That's is a full 420 times more than my second most popular post ever about my laundry.   76 of those page views were this month!

These are the things we'll be remembered for. I'm sure Micah will be thrilled. Sigh...I don't think I'll tell him.

April 9, 2012

4 shirt

I love Pinterest (click here to see what kind of stuff I'm pinning). I waste a lot of time there. But sometimes I actually make something that I pinned. This is one of those times. Here's the original image.
2 year old twins wearing shirts with the number two on them are double cute! I don't know any 2 year old twins in need of shirts. But I did have a nephew who was turning 4.

These are SOO easy. The picture I pinned doesn't have a tutorial so I'm making one.

You'll need:
a t-shirt, two contrasting t-shirt scraps (mine are left over from the lowercase c capes) pins parchment paper, a sewing machine and thread. (the sewing machine is optional I guess if you have a needle and thread and a lot more patience than me)

Trace/draw your number (or letter or other symbol you want on the shirt) onto a piece of parchment paper (or any thin paper I guess even notebook paper would work, but I used what I had). Layer the paper, fabric scrap #1 (main color-red), and scrap #2 (outline-blue) on your shirt and pin.

Sew around the number (or letter or other symbol) right on the outline through the paper. I used a contrasting thread because I already had a bright green bobbin.

Remove the paper...just rip it off

Trim the first layer of fabric around the sewn outline

Trim around the second layer slightly bigger to create the outline. And you're done!!

If you want to be really impressive, remember to take a picture of the birthday boy wearing his shirt.....

April 6, 2012

Do Your Best, Respect Your Teammates, Have Fun (and always take a travel buddy)

This post is really to keep from leaving a mile long comment on my sister's blog - 16 days from a trip to Europe and she's freaking out. It's what we do best :)

Keep in mind that we were moving internationally in this photo. Don't pack like this for a 10 day trip. 
Whatever happened to that blue suitcase?

Having traveled and lived internationally, one might expect that I will bless my little sister with extraordinary wisdom and insight that I've gleaned from my experiences as an expert traveler. Ironically, Micah and I travel poorly. Forget international travel, even a weekend trip turns into an ordeal. We get over-tired, we are cranky, we get lost, and we say things to each other that we have to apologize for later.  But we have learned a lot along the way and maybe if you're planning a big trip you can learn not to do it like us :)

A lot of these things are precautions that I have never had to use. (But that's what precautions are, things you prepare for (that you hope you never have to deal with) but you don't have to worry about anymore because you are prepared.) Some are little hacks that work for me, and if they don't work for you that's ok too.

The important thing is to embrace the journey. If you get on and off the plane in the right places, experience something new and have fun: Travel success!! If you spend the whole trip worrying about all the things you "Should" do and stressing about everything that could go wrong: Vacation Fail.

Anyway, here's the sum of all my travel wisdom. Take it with a grain of salt:

Before you leave
  • Make 2 copies of your Passports. Leave one with someone who is NOT traveling. Tuck another in your suitcase. When you're out and about in-country, carry the copy and leave the real thing locked in your suitcase.
  • Pay all the bills that will be due while you're gone.
  • Set a timer on a lamp and leave a radio playing at your house.
  • Get someone to check on your house.
  • Put a hold on your mail and newspaper, or have someone get it every day.
  • Warn your bank and your credit card companies that you will be accessing your money from some really cool places.
  • Write down your bank and CC contact info and tuck it somewhere (other than your wallet, duh) where you will hopefully not need to use it.
  • Call your health insurance and find out what to do in case of Emergency. Write down the instructions and phone numbers, don't worry about it any more.
  • Learn to say: where is the bathroom, please, thank you, you're welcome, I don't speak...., yes and no, help, and water. Anything else is nice but not necessary, this is just a short trip. Ice Cream is another good one to know if you have room in your brain. Make yourself a cheat sheet.
  • Start taking Vitamin C now, keep it up through your trip. Very little is worse than being sick on vacation.
  • Gradually start to shift your bedtime and the time you wake up an hour or two in the direction of your jet lag. (I have only managed to do this once, but it was a big help)


  • Make a packing list - ONE. single. list. - before you start packing. Do not put things in your bag that are not on the list. (if you get an attack of last-minute-but-what-if-I-need-this, explain your reasoning and ask Mark to put it in his bag. If he won't, you probably don't NEED it.)
  • Put something bright and unique on your suitcase handle. Put the same bright thing on your carry-on.
  • Put a note with your name and contact info INSIDE your suitcase, right on top. 
  • Only put your initial, last name and e-mail on the outside tag.
  • Take everything you won't need out of your wallet. (SS Card, extra credit cards, bank cards, etc.) Or pack yourself a "travel" wallet  with the bare minimum. I use a little over the shoulder purse/wallet. Put your passport, ID, tickets, money, cards, & iPod in it. This is good through the airport so you have everything you need right at hand and don't have to worry about setting it down and losing it. (I wear a jacket over it so it's extra hard to snatch). You can always drop it into a bigger bag or backpack later.
  • Leave your cell phones in the car glovebox. Unless you are paying for an international plan, they will not work overseas and will just be another thing to worry about. If you use them for your alarm, go to Walmart and buy a $5 travel clock, much less of a big deal if it breaks or you forget it in a hotel.
  • Put one car and one house key in your suitcase. Leave the rest of your keys at home or in the glove box. Same as with the cell phones, just another thing to worry about.
  • Pack a first aid kit. If you have a headache, you don't want to be trying to figure out the French word for Pharmacy or Asprin.
  • I like to pack a sleep aid it helps me doze on the plane and a lower dose soothes jangled nerves. (I use Hyland's Calms Forte. It's Homeopathic and 100% natural, non-addicting, and no "hangover").
  • Two words. Hand sanitizer. (99 cents for travel sized peace of mind)
  • Two more words. Shout wipes. (so you can wear that shirt another day)
  • Pack your carry-on with whatever you will need in case your luggage takes a side trip.
  • A backpack makes a GREAT carry on and frees up your hands.
  • Plan to dress in layers and pack things you can Mix & Match. Jewelry and scarves are little but can really make an outfit look different. You don't need a different shirt for each day, and certainly not more than one option.
  • Ami, cute shoes will not be your friend, they will give you blisters and tired feet. Pack a limited number of sensible comfortable shoes. Mark already loves you and you do not need to impress a bunch of high-schoolers and people you will never see again.
  • If you pack it you will have to carry it, take some things out.
  • Check your airline's restrictions and weigh your bags before you leave the house. Remember to leave room for all those cool souvenirs you are bringing me :)
  • Pick up your packed bag and carry-on. Walk around the house, up and down stairs for 15 minutes without stopping or putting anything down. Is there anything else you'd like to take out?

On your way

  • Pack a pair of warm fuzzy socks for the plane. I have no clue why airlines try and freeze your toes off, but they DO.
  • A pashmina can do double duty as a light blanket or balled up as a pillow on the plane and as a cool accessory on the ground,
  • Carry an empty water bottle through airport security - fill it at the water fountain (or ask for a free cup of water at a restaurant) once you're in.
  • HYDRATE - like it is your job. The Whole Trip, but especially on the airplane.
  • The second you step on the plane, adopt your new time zone. If you don't power through it at the start you spend much longer in a fog.
  • Wear slip on shoes through security and PLEASE for the love of all that's good, use the time you're standing in line to take off your jewelry and empty your pockets into your purse/carry on, take off your jacket and belt, unzip your laptop case, and get your ticket and Photo ID in your hand.
  • Pack granola bars, nuts & cracker sandwiches.  They're good for the flight and if you need a boost to get though a long morning of sightseeing. Once you're on the ground, duck into a grocery store and get some fruit.

On the ground

  • DO NOT BE AN UGLY AMERICAN! Speak softly, be polite, listen, and follow instructions. You are a guest and you do not know the best and truest way to do everything, try it their way.
  • You might look like a nerd if you carry a notebook and take notes on tours. The trade off is that two weeks later you will not be the one saying "what castle was this? Why did I take a picture of this chair?" You will not remember, don't fool yourself. 
  • At least journal a little each night. (
  • Don't carry a huge day bag. A small bag with your wallet, water bottle, granola bar, piece of fruit, camera, notebook and pen will be enough. A big bag full of what-if-I-needs will make your shoulder sore.
  • Write down the address of your hotel and your itinerary for the day, tuck it in your pocket, just in case.
  • Do not put yourself in dangerous situations.
  • Do not be to proud to say, "I need help"
  • Do. not. panic.
  • You might have to pay to use the toilet. Just be aware.
  • Go with the flow. Enjoy the moment you're in.
  • Eat all the Gelato you can. Every chance you get.
  • Buy postcards even if you never send them.
  • Get dessert, you will walk it off.
  • Resist the urge to put artifacts in your mouth. (Seriously, I had this urge in Prague. I did not act on it. You should not either.)
  • Take lots of pictures. If you can, empty your camera card each night (can your iPad do this?) You will have a fresh start each day and not have to worry about running out of room or losing all your photos if something happens to your camera.
  • Get pictures of you and Mark in front of stuff as well as just stuff.

In Conclusion, Dad's rules always apply: Do your best, respect your teammates, have fun (and always take a travel buddy).

Some links

April 2, 2012

Adventures with Rit Dye

Recently Micah came home from the thrift store with a pair of black jeans. Can you imagine Micah in black jeans? There's a reason for that, he won't wear them. But they were Carhart so he figured I could bleach and dye them and he could wear them to work. He is such an optimist.

So we bought dye (note: he picked the color, lighter than I thought we wanted. Just saying) I boiled a huge pot of water and we bleached his jeans.

There is no before picture of black jeans but here they are bleached. Use your imagination.

We poured the boiling water dye and jeans in the wringer washer and let it agitate. for a long time. and things were looking good and blue.

Side note: Do not attempt this process while making rice, it will boil over and then burn while you are distracted and you will have to throw it out and make noodles for dinner.

We drained the dye and washed the jeans to get out the extra dye...they came out kind of pale (i told you so) and with inexplicable spots along the one side. I'm pretty sure we should have used two packets anyway. But i only had very slightly blue fingers so success there anyway.

Wanna know the kicker? They don't fit. They are too tight. Micah will not wear them. And he wonders why I get so frustrated when he refuses to try things on.

April 1, 2012

April Desktop Walpaper

Just something new I'm trying. Let me know what you think.

To download the calendar to use as your desktop wallpaper, simply click the image. Then, right click and choose "Set as desktop background".

Just when you thought I couldn't be any weirder...

I know you all have been dying to see the inside of my toilet. 

Prior to residing with us, this toilet was in the barn of my in-laws' neighbor who is a retired dentist (I could not make this stuff up).  It is the toilet closest to our bedroom and it has not been fully functional for awhile - the flapper leaked so the toilet ran all the time. We worked around that by turning the water off to the toilet so the well didn't run dry and turning the valve back on and waiting for the tank to fill up in order to flush. This "fix" worked well enough for a few months (yes, months). And then last week the valve stopped working, and we (read: Micah) found ourselves properly motivated to buy replacement parts and fix the toilet. A trip to Rhea lumber later and we had a tab at Rhea, a valve that ended up not being right (I have been told that it was for CPVC & we needed PVC...whatever that means) and a flapper that in spite of being labeled "universal" did not fit properly and needed to be manually closed or it leaked!  The "solution" was to place a small towel under the valve and reach into the tank to readjust the flapper after you flush. We (read: I) returned the valve (and payed off the tab), but the flapper had already been installed and was therefore ours to keep.
I spent a few hours this afternoon trying to figure out how to get my toilet to flush all by itself. After attempts including supplies such as razors, nails heated over the stove, pen caps and curling ribbon - Paper clips saved the day.  YAY office supplies!! So I thought I'd share. 

To further bizare-ize this post, I decided to start watermarking images posted here and have chosen this photo of the inside of my toilet tank to be the first.

Oddly enough, this is not an April Fools Day joke post... Seriously, this is how I spent the better part of my Sunday afternoon. 

March 30, 2012


I ordered seeds from a catalog this year! It makes me feel like a serious gardener who knows what she's doing :) (Ha that's a joke.) But it was fun to look through the catalog and actually read about the different varieties of each veggie and take my time to decide rather than just staring blankly at seed packets in the store and playing eenie-meanie-miney-moe while Micah paces behind me. Plus planting heirloom, non-GMO seeds makes me feel good about what I'll be growing and subsequently eating. With prices comparable to the local farm supply store, and a super positive customer service  experience  I'm happy to recommend Comstock, Ferre & Co. to anyone.  (Some of my seeds were back-ordered and misplaced, but it only took one call to get it ironed out and I didn't peak to a single machine!)

Last Thursday, Micah and I planted all of our indoor starts. It felt good to put things into dirt. I was dying to plant since we had those few 80 degree days here but I restrained myself from putting anything but a little spinach in the ground. This weekend I'll plant the peas and onions right on schedule, like a good little gardener.

I openly admit that I ran down the next mornign to check if anythign had sprouted. Starting plants inside is like Christmas! Nothing had sprouted. but 2 days later, this marigold came up!! I actually harvested the marigold seeds from last year's plants. Look at me go. (I'm actually starting to be suspicious of it now though, like maybe it's a weed or volunteer tomato sprout. But I'm nurturing the heck out of it anyway!)
These tomatoes are also seeds from last year's tomato plants that took over the garden. This year, if they continue to grow, I will prune and trellis them. I am so unreasonably proud of them and me that they actually sprouted. If they bear tomatoes, I might dance.

Here is another gratuitous shot of our seedlings, Danish Ballhead cabbage and a Boston Pickling Cucumber peeking up behind them. This is another advantage of ordering seeds from a catalog. They all have fancy names...Straight 8, Early Snowball, Little Marvel, Delicious 51, California Wonder, Contender, Russian Mammoth. So cool. I am so easily amused.

Admit it, you are dying to know what Micah planted here :) 
(really unhelpful hint: Their given name is "Long Island improved 100 Days." No wonder we shortened it.)