Posts Tagged With: Our Family

S’more Monday

Our dresser turned sideboard has been rearranged more times than I care to mention since we – and by we I mean the hubs moved it to the entry room on Wednesday. I loved it as a place to store my reusable shopping bags to grab on my way out the door

Turns out that once I got them all in one place they didn’t fit in the shallow drawer anymore. Sad face. Fortunately, I was able to just move them to the second drawer…that was a close one. The bottom drawer was the perfect place to organize the plates and bowls and cups and silverware for when the nieces and nephews come visit. Look at how many of them there are!

Yay for Ikea (hallelujah) plastic stuff and yay for these not taking up a ton of room in our cabinets

Wanna guess what I filled the top drawer with? It’s two things I have a completely unnatural obsession with (here’s one and the other). While you’re thinking about that, I’ll show you something that made it to the top of the sideboard. I was at Pier 1 (you know I love it) looking for some ramekins and happened across a bowl that matches the green in the kitchen and entry room (the kitchen cabinets, the curtains and the state pride canvases). Let’s hear it for cohesive design!!! I also filled it with some candy hearts so it would be all holiday-ish and go with my subway art. You might notice that there are no yellow ones and very few green ones (those are my faves).

Wanna hear a little story about convo hearts? Ten years ago I wasn’t celebrating Valentine’s Day, I was celebrating Single Person’s Awareness Day. Michael and I were part of a single’s group at our church and I decided to have my single friends over for dinner and a movie. I remember sitting on the floor and reading conversation hearts. We were all picking out ones for other people (corny, I know). Michael gave me one that said “you rock” and mine to him said “clueless”. That’s when he knew that I wanted to be more than just friends with him. In reality, it was three weeks later, but oh well.

Now that I’ve bored you with that story, have you guessed what I put in the top drawer? The two things I love? Coupons and s’mores

This way I can grab my coupon binder on my way out the door when I also grab my reusable shopping bags. I moved the s’more fixins to this drawer because they were starting overflow the basket in the kitchen cabinets. My friend Allison got me a s’more cheesecake mix for Christmas and my mom and McDad got me a box of s’more stuff and that doesn’t include the stuff that I’ve gotten for s’mores. I have so many s’more things I want to make. Like this s’more pie that my mom made for my birthday in lieu of a birthday cake

Plus a recent trip to Goodwill yielded this little treasure

I’m in the process of planning our annual family dinner and I’ve decided to give myself a cooking challenge. I’m going to make the whole dinner without turning on the oven. No, I’m not having it catered. It’s going to be crock pots for most everything (and bread in the bread machine). I think I have the menu pretty much finalized. I just have to try my hand at making a couple things dairy free and since one of my brothers requested cheesecake, Ima going to try individual cheesecakes in in the crock pot (that’s why I was looking for ramekins at Pier 1).

What are your favorite slow cooker recipes? How about s’mores? What about organizing? Any tips?

Categories: 2012 Simplify Challenge, Decorating, Everyone Loves a Party | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

…And we’re back

Did you even know we were gone? We went out of town for Christmas this year to see Michael’s fam and had a grand ol’ time with them, but we had to get home sometime and yesterday was the day. The day before we left, both kids got baths so they would be fresh and clean for Christmas. Bristol hates bathtime, but he loves cuddle time with his mommy while he dries off…and so do I

Bella was helping pack our suitcases

We had to take down our Christmas tree before we left too. It was getting dry (I think because we use wood to heat our house) and we decided that we would rather take our tree down before Christmas than to come home to no house. So down it came. I was so sad. But, again, I’m glad we still have a house. After what seemed like forever to get packed, we were off. We packed up the the kids and headed south. Bella and Bristol sure did enjoy having a van to explore while we were traveling

Bella is completely fascinated by tractor trailers/semi trucks/18 wheelers. She would walk from the front to the back as we passed them, just watching. She loved it!

Nine hours later, we arrived. Our nephew Ranger was pretty jazzed to see us. I think he’s figured out that when Auntie Amy comes to visit, he gets treats. Even our canine nephew and feline niece get spoiled!

I know that’s a blurry picture, but most of the pictures I get of Ranger look more like this one so I called the above picture a win.

Bristol got to meet his cousin Cleo and they became the bestest of friends. Bristol would whine when we would take him away from Cleo at night to go to bed or if it was time for her to eat. I think Bella got a little jealous too. Cleo tends to stay in one room at Michael’s parents house aka her safe zone. Bristol was able to coax her out one day to do a little exploring. He stayed right by her side the whole time. What a good cousin!

We didn’t have a “Bella crawling in the vent on Christmas Eve” adventure this year!

Christmas Eve 2009

But my SIL did blow a tire on Christmas Eve and our nephew Ranger ended up sick on Christmas day. Sad face. But he’s better now and Meagan’s truck is fixed and no one had to crawl under the house. I call that a win. Christmas Day, Bella and Bristol decided to dress up and wish everyone a special Merry Christmas.

That was not an easy picture to get because my use of “Bella and Bristol decided” was maybe not the most accurate statement ever. You’re thinking I’ve totally lost it aren’t you? Let me plead my case…

Nope, you’re right. I have totally lost it. You win.

We actually got snow while we were down south and Bella and Bristol just sat on their Grandaddy’s desk and watched it fall outside

It was a good time visiting with family and we’re so glad we were able to go! The trip home was pretty uneventful. Bristol sacked out on Michael’s lap

We hit rush hour traffic in St. Louis which gave me plenty of time to snap a skyline picture that goes with my Starbucks mug from our trip in October.

We arrived home to a Baby Bickley in our yard…almost hit it pulling into the driveway. Some elves had brought us a load of wood and stacked it in our back yard (elves aka Mom and McDad). We also had Christmas cookies waiting by our back door from one of our neighbors. Cookies that proved to be a great breakfast food today! Ahhh, road trips. Anyone else travel over the holidays? How about snow? Any snow? Cause we have nothing but rain today.

I have a couple more Christmas posts for you. My goal – get them posted by the end of the year. Yeah, that’s tomorrow. Back to writing and picture taking I go!

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Merry Christmas to You

Michael, Bella Bristol and I would like to wish you and your family a very merry Christmas.

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins

-Matthew 1:21


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2,478 Miles Revisited

In yesterday’s post I told you about our trip down south to see Michael’s sister and brother-in-law. I also (perhaps cruelly) made you wait until today to find out some of the great treasures we got. Well, here’s the first thing I got for Michael

You guessed it. It was sitting outside our hotel so I snapped a picture for the hubs. Wait, you didn’t think I got him the actual car did you? Y’all know me better than that…I’d rather buy paint…and this cute car we saw one day (minus the Tink decals on the window)

Don’t worry, I’d buy Michael his 1970 Chevelle that he really wants too. Seriously? How did this turn into a post about cars. Let’s get back to the important things.

Like I said yesterday, we were living out of a hotel for a week that was 10 minutes from the hospital where Michele was at. The hospital had visiting hours (didn’t know that still happened) that were an hour long three times a day and 90 minutes for the last one of the day. In between were 2-3 hour breaks for us to sit and watch tv, eat or just plain worry and be bored. A few times when I couldn’t stand it anymore I went shopping and sometimes I drug Meagan with me. Michele knows I love a good deal, so it gave me something to talk to her about too…that and Bella getting stuck in walls…and drawers. Meagan and I took a little trip to Marshall’s one afternoon and spent about an hour there. She got some clothes and walking sticks for when her and Dennis go Geo-caching. I found a great deal for Ashley in the form of chevron

A full set of queen sheets for $5! I think she might try a little bit of Rit dye on them so they aren’t so peachy, but they are chevron! I got a bottle of water which doesn’t sound great, but it came in a blue bottle! One more for the tree! I also got some great little boxes that are going to go in our entry room. There are three of them, so smaller and one larger. Sorry, this is the best picture I have of them right now. Once they are in their permanent home, I promise a better picture

One day, I took a trip to Pier 1 – oh I love that place! I have some great inspiration for at least one project.

Looks a lot like some wreaths I’ve see on Pinterest. It’s circles of felt that have been folded and rolled and hot glued. I can do that!

Another night, between the 5pm-6pm visiting hour and the 8-9:30 visiting 90 minutes we found an Applebees to eat at. Turns out they were remodeling and selling pretty much everything in the place! The money went to St. Jude’s so it was really a win-win. Jeremi and Meagan bought pictures off the wall which was way cool. Michael and I didn’t want a picture, but we did have our eye on something else. Everything was being sold as “make an offer” so we bought a light. Do you know which ones I’m talking about? The Tiffany ones that hang over the tables! We bought one to haul all the way back to Iowa with us.

Who buys a big light in Alabama just to haul it back to Iowa? People who pay $10 for said light, that’s who. You read that right – I didn’t forget a 0. This light set us back only $10! I know it’s not some people’s jive, but we kinda love it. Our house is a traditional folk Victorian and we mix a little bit of classic style in with it and I can’t wait to get this hung in our dining room and get a little bit of Amy touch in that room. It was on a track so now the big dilemma is how we’re going to hang it in our house. Enter, stage left, my electronic guru husband.

After a week in Alabama, we had to make the decision to leave there and come home. With Michele still in the hospital, the decision was not an easy one. We went back to Mississippi for a night to pick up some stuff we had left there. Early the next morning while Bella and Bristol spent some quality time on the three seasons porch, I packed the car. Any champion packers out there? I was totally worried about not having enough room for the light and all of our stuff, but I tackled it like a puzzle. I love puzzles (Michael – not so much) so I’m the packer in our family. Here is the back seat. What you can find here:

  1. the glass part of our Tiffany light
  2. the snack bag
  3. my jacket
  4. my coupon binder -never leave home without it and never let it be too far away
  5. my purse
  6. bed for one of the kids to lay in
  7. lunch bag with an icepack
  8. my laptop

You’ll notice the back seat is down and that’s because it has to be. When we travel with the kids, we don’t put them in carriers and don’t want to stop for them to go to the bathroom. Instead we put their bathroom in the trunk and put the seat down so they can easily get to it if need be. It’s usually not a problem, but with Bristol, well I have no idea how so much stink comes out of such a sweet little boy so we did find ourselves pulling over a couple times to…well, you know. If you kids are not of the feline variety, I recommend that you not try this at home.

Then there is the trunk…are you ready for this list?

  1. cat’s bathroom
  2. my suitcase (it’s the pink one)
  3. Michael’s suitcase
  4. snack bag
  5. 9 picture frames from the garage sale Michele and I went to
  6. gift wrap bows and curly ribbons that I found for 18 cents
  7. pillow
  8. bathroom bag
  9. the other cat bed
  10. scratching post
  11. cat carrier – just in case we needed it
  12. kitty crinkle tunnel
  13. the structure of the Tiffany light – this part was wrought iron and barely fit
  14. our Halloween s’more treats – worked on those in downtime
  15. three bottles of Listerine because I got them for 65 cents each
  16. Ashley’s chevron sheets
  17. my blue bottle of water
  18. Michael’s bag o’ tools…just in case
  19. a little bitty air pump….just in case
  20. the three green boxes for the entry room
  21. two pairs of cute shoes
  22. Michael’s laptop
  23. an Amy’s coffee mug that I got at Caribou on the way down (how cute is this?)
  24. other stuff I know I’m forgetting!

That’s how you get the car packed. Gotta say, I felt like a superstar. One last picture and we said goodbye to Mississippi. There’s just something about pictures of the flag and I love this one because it’s on the house of our favorite military family

We decided to break up the trip home into two days so we stopped at Michael’s parents house. We stayed the night and took off the next morning but not before getting some BBQ to bring home with us. Bristol slept most of the way home…occasionally something like this

He makes us laugh, that’s for sure. Whenever we are traveling home, I love timing the trip so we are in Iowa when the sun sets. I have been a lot of places, but I completely adore an Iowa sunset. When I see the sky painted orange, yellow, blue and purple, I know I’m home. I’m an Iowa girl (forgive the blurred trees – it’s a Blackberry picture taken at 70 miles an hour)

Someday I will do a post for you all about Iowa sunsets. Trust me, it will be worth it!

Categories: It's Our Life, Let's shop!, Living Frugal | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Happenings – part 2

On Saturday I told you that my Beau Beau was in the hospital. Saturday he was pretty happy to see his daddy

Sunday he looked like Beau again. He wanted to sit in the window and look outside

Even though he looks great here, unfortunately he is still in kidney failure and short of a kidney transplant, we’ll be saying goodbye to him soon. Yesterday we talked to doctors and took Bella and Bristol to see him and take some pictures of us as a family. We took two cameras with us just in case one of them failed…and wouldn’t you know it,neither of our cameras had the memory cards in them. Seriously? Fortunately we weren’t far from a Staples so I went for a drive to get a card for one of the cameras (which BTW was on sale). While I was gone Michael stayed in the visiting room with all three kids. Beau was sitting on a table, Bella on a bench and Bristol in the window. Evidently Beau wanted to be closer to his sister and this very sick kitty jumped from the table to the floor and then onto the bench to see Bella. Miss Bella can be quite snarky sometimes, but she just let Beau sit there.

Bristol decided that he needed to get in on the fun too and Mr. Never-sits-still jumped out of the window to sit with his brother and sister

Then we made the decision that was right for our family. Against the advice of the doctors, we decided to bring Beau home for a night. They sent us home with pain medication that he gets every eight hours. We didn’t want him climbing stairs or doing anything that could hurt him so I slept on the floor in the living room with him. Every time Beau got up to go to the bathroom or move around, I woke up. But evidently I did not wake up when Michael decided to snap this picture

Still can’t believe I’m putting that one out there on the whole entire internet. I know it’s one that I’m going to cherish forever.

We haven’t given up praying for our miracle but we’re truly happy to have him home with us for the now. The miracle – finding someone with an extra $15,000 who wants to give it to us for a kidney transplant. Anyone? Anyone at all? Even if we don’t get that miracle, we’re so grateful for the last three years we’ve had with Beau. He’s taught us how to fight, how to love, how to comfort and how to be patient. What a blessing he has been to our family and I’ll be the first to admit that I can’t believe a cat has taught me so much. Love you Beau Beau!

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The last two days have been tough ones in our house. As I write this, one of my “kids” is in the hospital. I took Beau to the doctor yesterday, who sent us to the specialty vet clinic in town. When I went to see him this morning, he was looking better but not better enough. He is currently in kidney failure and today will be the day that decides if they can continue treatment of if they need to stop and we have to bring him home. Michael, Beau, Bella, Bristol and I aren’t your traditional family, but when one of us isn’t here, the rest of us feel a void. Bella keeps going to the kitchen door that leads out to the three seasons porch where Beau is usually at. I have officially turned to my comfort food of mashed potatoes and gravy and biscuits (I may not have been born Southern, but I think I was born in the wrong place).

While we wait to talk to the doctor about Beau, if you don’t mind, please say a prayer for my Beau Beau…and one for his mommy wouldn’t hurt either. Tomorrow will be four months since we lost our little Brady to feline leukemia so I might be a bit of a mess right now.

Depending on what happens in the next day or so, my blog posts may be a little scarce this week, but I promise to make it up to you when things calm down. I have some truly great projects in the works…it’s just a matter of when I can get back to working on them. Thanks for understanding and for being a great part of our internet family!

Categories: It's Our Life | Tags: | 3 Comments

The Independent One, That’s Me

Go on a mission trip to Europe with 95 other people that I’ve never met for a whole summer? Sure, why not? Move to North Carolina to go to college when I’ve never been there or even visited? No problem. Move to Switzerland to be a nanny for a year(ish) and live with a family I don’t know? Bring it on. I’m an independent kind of gal. I mean really independent. Like, it’s-a-wonder-I-ever-got-married-because-I-didn’t-want-to-be-tied-down  independent. So can you imagine what one of my favorite holidays is? Independence Day!

Our holiday was quite low key this year. On Sunday night, we took Beau & Bella to watch the fireworks in a nearby small town. Crazy I know because they’re cats, but Beau loved Christmas lights when we took him, Bella & Brady around to look at them last year, so we thought he might like fireworks. Turns out that fireworks are Bella’s thing. She sat and stared at them for the entire show…Bella usually doesn’t sit still for any length of time, it’s not how she rolls. But evidently, she takes after me (yes, I still know she’s a cat) in her love for fireworks. Michael says that Bella and I watch fireworks with the same look on our faces.

Since I can’t take a weekend off without a DIY project or two, my mom came for a visit and to bring me a new hosta on Monday. One hosta closer to filling in a part of our yard with a garden! We also tackled a project that her and McDad had also tackled last year. Those trees just came back again

Behind those trees that keep popping up are some peonies and a few cone flowers too.

Obviously, we’re going to have to do a little planting there, but what to plant? All that work called for another one of my favorite summer traditions – sun tea

I’m starting to think that this is a Midwest thing to do. So my dear readers from anywhere else, do you make sun tea or is it really a Midwest thing? If you’ve never done it, you should definitely try it. Take 10 bags of tea and put them in a gallon of water and set it out in the sun for a few hours. It’s just that simple. Of course in our house, we also heat a couple cups of water on the stove, dissolve a cup of sugar in it and then add it to the tea once it’s done. We’re a sweet tea household ya’ll!

We broke in the new grillagain. Michael is trying his hand at a blog post tutorial on the grill for ya. I tried to eat my first hot dog in over 15 years. Yeah, I still can’t do it, but I gave it a try. My dad, Cora & my niece Mikayla came for a visit. Well, a visit and for Mikayla to feed Beau & Bella some treats

and for Dad and Michael to climb up on the roof and do some measuring

I so can’t wait to get started on that project and share with you the step by step of how to do your own roof…yikes.

But until then, I’ll share some of my other favorite scenes of summer and Independence day. My hydrangea all bloomed and pretty (see the before here)

My lilies that I planted last year waited to bloom until Independence Day – gorgeous!

My hosta called Patriot

Monday night we went to another small town and sat in the car and watched more fireworks. Actually, Bella and I watched the fireworks, Beau looked out the window at the lightning bugs flying around and Michael tried cleaning the the bugs off the windshield with napkins and sweet tea. Disclaimer: These fireworks pictures are not from this year. I just love these ones!

Most importantly the biggest and best symbol of our Independence

Hope ya’ll had a fabulous Independence Day, I know we did!

Categories: It's Our Life | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

summer = BBQ

About a month ago,  Michael opened the door to our three seasons porch and looked at me and said “It smells like lilacs.” I had to break the news to him gently but our lilacs were not blooming yet thanks to a very cold spring here in Iowa. To which he responded “When I say lilacs, I mean any flower.” I love him because he makes me laugh folks…among other reasons. To me, the first sign of spring is blooming lilacs. When I was little, we had a row of lilac bushes at the back of our yard and the smell of that flower takes me back to my childhood. I can’t wait to figure out what we are going to do in our yard so I can put up a bunch of lilac bushes. Right now, we just have this little bitty one that I’m trying to get to grow.

Once the lilacs are blooming it’s time to plant. I don’t know if that’s actual and true, but I guess I just don’t feel like playing in the dirt until I smell those fresh lilacs. It also means that it’s time for me to start planning our summer BBQs. We grill from spring to fall (and occasionally in the winter). Last year our first BBQ of the summer was on Memorial Day and you know I had to do some decorating. Of course there was this big change (post here)

But there were a couple other decorating things that had to be done. This sign went up on the three seasons porch

This lantern helped to keep some of the bugs away

This year we’ll be breaking out the lawn chairs and sparklers to have a great time with some of our family again. But as we BBQ we’ll remember the reason for the holiday. Not only to remember those who have given their lives for the freedom that we are able to enjoy, but to thank those who have protected that freedom. Michael and I have so many family members and friends who have given and continue to give part of their lives for the country that they love. This Memorial Day, don’t forget to thank a veteran.

The most important thing we added before last Memorial Day

Thank you to our brother-in-law Jeremi, my cousin Mike, my cousin Brent, my uncle Bill, my uncle Jim, my grandpa Bill, my grandpa Herb, my grandpa Dale and all of our friends who have served. May God richly bless you for all you have given.

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