Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Daffodils. Snow. Sheesh.




I shouldn't complain. I won't complain. I've lived in central Ohio all my life. It's a big valley with weird weather patterns. Inexplicable really. I was in my yard in shorts ten days ago. Our saying around here is "if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes..."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Anticipation

I turn 39 in a few days.

Not really looking forward to a big splash or anything. The furnace will be repaired that day. I may stop at Starbucks for a treat. My men will probably either make me something or take me out to eat. My aunt already gave me a gorgeous pair of earrings in my birthstone (aquamarine) and my sis got me a mini rosebush with pale peach blooms.

However, my mother in law left this with me and it's so pretty, like a bag full of bon bons, that I don't want to open it until my real birthday. Who knows what little treats and treasures lie within? I mean there could be a book or cd from my amazon list, a gift card for a spa day, dark chocolate, French milled lavender soap, a sparkly vintage brooch...I could go on and on.

Usually I'm a dive-right-in kinda girl, but I'm feeling the urge to savor things lately.



Monday, March 28, 2011

Weekending

My nephew Blaze.

Zack, looking a bit disappointed. However, he got his first strike ever this day!

Nathan was reluctant at first

My sister and I celebrating our birthday together, she turned 29 last week, I turn 39 this week.

Very much missing my parents, wishing they could see their grandsons having so much fun together.

A visit to COSI.

Laser harp.

Checking the cross section of an 800 year old tree.

They had a gecko exhibit.

A fun and busy weekend was had by all!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thrifted Thursday: Baby Come Back...

This is a sweet little bowl I found at a resale shop for $2. I sat on it all last fall, and in a flurry of selling in January, resold it for $18 or so.

Then I started thinking about it. About how beautiful it was. How it will totally go with our planned decor changes here in the house (we're putting in wood floors and painting everything white for a Scandinavian look.) I realized I had made a mistake.

I waited patiently until I found the very same bowl for sale at a reasonable price on Etsy. Finally found one from Nesstiques and only suffered a net loss of $1.40 to get my bowl back.

One thing I'm feeling a little glad about is that I've put the brakes on buying objects just to resell. I think it was encouraging me to buy lots more than I needed, and to give in to my impulses which if left unchecked will lead me straight to a future episode of "Hoarders." I've pretty much decided to be choosier about the things I buy in the future, which means spending some time and thought before bringing something home.

(from Ebay)

I'm also realizing that if I want a certain thing, it might actually benefit me to buy from one of my awesome fellow vendors on Etsy, rather than spending endless hours haunting the thrifts, buying a bunch of things I don't need, in search of the one thing I wanted. For example, I've always wanted a set of these nesting dolls, but never see these things in the thrifts around here. I figure by spending the $10 on my dolls, I probably saved the $50 I would have spent on one day at the thrift stores.

It's been liberating keeping out of them. I imagine my favorite Goodwill longingly singing "Baby Come Back" as I drive by in my car. I will always use second hand shops as resources for the things we need, but maybe spend a little more time and thought on the things I want. That is real thrift.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring break, useful thrift, and other miscellany




First of, of course like everyone, I've got Japan on my mind. We took the boys to a steakhouse the other day and there was a group of Japanese-Americans collecting donations, and the kids were making all these little origami things to give away. When I saw all of these people, thinking that no doubt at least some of them have maybe family or friends affected by the devastation, I wanted to cry. I could even look at them really. Just stuffed some money into a box like a good American and took my paper crane thingy. The thing with globalization is that we now can feel the pain of people across the world, but have absolutely no way to help. I mean, if my neighbors were displaced because of a tornado (disaster of choice here in the Middle West) I could be of use---take them in, feed them, clothe them, shelter them. All I can do for Japan is send money and pray, and that feels like it's not nearly enough.


In other news, I've managed somehow to mess something up in my lower back (probably in the garden, of course.) All my plans to take the boys on fun close-to-home adventures reduced to nil. The good thing is my husband was off yesterday and took them for an afternoon of biking and hiking, so that was something.

Here's a fun thing I've been meaning to share. I'm going to start posting useful things I find at the thrifts, which I sometimes don't because I'm so focused on vintage items. You know those fancy coffee cups Starbuck's sells for $20 ? I got mine at Goodwill for $3.

It appears they messed up the spelling of a local school...Jonathan Alder, not Adler. Whoo hoo! Their mistake got me a really nice travel mug, so now I can enjoy tasty coffee on the go without using those plastic or metal things.


Fondue pot, Volunteers of America, $6. The husband and I like to have fondue and wine sometimes, but really can't afford the pricey menu at The Melting Pot, who wants to pay $50 to cook their own food? (Yeah, we've been there once, and okay it was super nice, but not something we could do all the time, lol.)


This was the awesomest find evah, also at Goodwill. For $1.99 I got this Discovery butterfly kit, and it came with a postcard to mail in to get your live caterpillars. Now, the package was from 1994 so I really had low hopes that it would work, but guess what? Our caterpillars came just before the boys went on spring break, so we've been watching the them grow.

Now I head for the couch, to rest and maybe catch up on some reading. Hopefully I'll be able to post again soon!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Padraig's Day!



Feel free to use this image, it is a postcard I own and you are welcome to share it!

For fun, read up on my favorite Irish pirate, Grace O'Malley. I think she was my kind of woman!

Ireland, wishing I was there now...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A preschooler's happiness is...

Mommy making jelly samwiches for snack leader day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Focus


Some days it is hard to just focus on one thing at a time. Some days, like today, are cold and rainy and boring. I finally have a scrap of time to myself, and I feel like I don't even know what to do with it. When I get like this, it is too easy to fall into a bad attitude. It is best, I think, to bring the focus back to basic things...breathing, nourishment, quiet, a pretty picture, a second cup of coffee, a nap. Some days are just that way.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spring, Lent and Renewal


Was reading my friend Susan's Lenten Meditation blog today, and it really helped me to focus on a few things that have been nagging at me. She talks about discipline, which was one of my areas of focus for 2011. Discipline is a positive thing, not a negative thing, that should help you grow.

Some issues I've identified with myself that keep me from living my best life are things like trolling on the computer, especially facebook, for hours on end, eating crappy food to soothe myself when I'm frustrated, drinking a bit more than I ought (especially in the winter months,) and running out to the thrift stores to buy stuff out of boredom, not need. For me these issues all represent a lack of discipline on my part. They represent the fact that I am ignoring some of my real issues with distractions. The great irony being, with all the time I'm wasting on distractions I am not making time to do things that I really want to do.

Spring is a great and sensible time to start new routines and to dive into self improvement. Way more sensible than New Year's when you think about it. I know I don't have all the answers to my problems, but the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the winds are blowing the stink of winter away. Things are new and green. Time to turn off the computer for a while and head out into the yard for the restorative powers of digging in the dirt, which lately seems to be the best starting point for me.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thrifty Thursday, Mennonite Edition

Went for a drive in the country, on my last thrift store trip until Easter. Found this crazy beautiful little Mennonite shop that I'd been eyeing for a while. I kept telling my husband "I'll bet there are beautiful things there." I was right! I got all these little lovelies---fabric, notions, buttons, a pillowcase and a stash of cheesecloth for $7.23. Wow!

Down the road, I stopped at the farmer's market and bought local brown eggs, fresh from the farm ham and beef (1 1/2 pounds) yogurt cheese, bananas, local jam, house made pickles, local popcorn, and chips (just plain old chips) for about $23. And the meat and cheese is to die for! (Try to get that price at Whole Foods, lol...)

I really needed this break after being home with the boys and their strep all week!

Monday, March 7, 2011

My happiness project :-)

A little something I started working on earlier this year. I'm keeping a journal to specifically chronicle things that make me happy, things that prevent my happiness, and thoughts on happiness in general, inspired by The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. There are a lot of different thoughts on this book out there, but personally I loved it. If for no other reason than it made me realize that seeking our one's happiness is purely personal.

Often I just write, sometimes I cut and paste pictures, whatever I want, but in each entry I try to stick to one topic. It's pretty personal, but I'll highlight some topics I've meandered onto are:
  • Meeting basic human needs (moms are notorious for not doing this.)
  • Not being too hard on myself when things go wrong
  • It's okay to feel blue sometimes
  • The need to believe in the possibility of happiness
  • The power of FLOW
  • Making time for things I like to do, like swimming, writing and scrapbooking
  • Trying crazy things---for me it was writing a novel
  • Appreciating the little things, like moments with kids, or a grouping of colorful items.
I could go on, and I might do future posts on this. At any rate, I highly recommend getting a simple notebook and trying this out for yourself.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Trade me up week one

Trying something new! I am inspired by Apron Thrift Girl to join her Trade Me Up project. Basically it is inspired by the guy who traded one red paperclip, and through a series of trades, ended up with a house.

The way it works is simple. I'll be listing a few things I'm interested in trading. If you like something, make me an offer. Don't limit yourself to my wishlist or "dream list" but do be sure to check it. Anything you have to offer may help me work my way up and vice versa!

Here are Apron Thrift Girl's Guidelines:

  • Get creative and think outside the box about what you are offering.
  • Trade Up means offering something of higher value to the person that you are trading with.
  • Once you make an offer please don't retract it. Honor your commitment.
  • Follow through with your offer and send it off quickly in the mail.
  • Try not to take it personal if the person you want to trade with says "no thanks."

THINGS I HAVE FOR TRADE:

Pictured assortment of creative books and magazines.

Retro wingtip pumps, brown, size 7 1/2 M. Only worn once owing to my inability to put them in an outfit that goes. Your luck might be better!

Set of Asian stampers for crafting. (Sorry about the wax spilled on the box.)

Box of art supplies which includes 5 canvases, all the acrylic paint that you see (about half are never used,) nice watercolor set, used once, and a large set of pastels, also used only a few times.

Vintage Pin-the-tail-in-the-Donkey game.

Pretty set of four vintage bottles.


MY WISHLIST:

-A vintage 60's sunburst clock

-A pink peony bush

-Fiesta Ware, old or new, mainly plates, salad plates and soup bowls, in red, turquoise or lime green.

-A nice, working pressure canner.

-A truckload of mulch delivered to my driveway.

-A weekend for two at a B&B or country inn somewhere in Ohio.

-An original piece of modern artwork.

-a modern dining room light fixture

---A beautiful, retro enamel bowl like this one that I sold not long ago, or similar:



MY "DREAM BIG" TRADE UP LIST

-Wood flooring for my downstairs
-Built in bookshelves for my family room
-A trip for four to Austria so the kids can meet their relatives
-A heavy bag, stand and boxing gloves
-A drum kit for my son
-An electric piano for my other son
-A Les Paul sunburst guitar for my husband
-Pergola, awning or similar partial enclosure for my deck
-5 acre lot or farm near my area (west-central Ohio)
-A lighthouse for us to restore and retire in :-)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Play date Friday

Happy Friday! My new plan for me and my little guy who has Fridays off of preschool is to make those Fridays as special as possible. Starting in the fall, the big Kindergartner will be gone every day! Since they are calling for rain, it's time to get our creative mojo working, courtesy of big brother's allowing us to borrow his sweet and beloved art kit that his uncle got him for Christmas.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Welcoming spring, with diorama and drama

We welcomed the meteorological first day of spring today (why not?) by making a new diorama to replace the winter scene Nathan and I made together.

I love doing things like this with Nathan, because like me he is very tactile. He is often reluctant to paint or draw because his older brother's art is so fantastic it makes him self conscious. He doesn't understand that big brother didn't always draw like that.

Also like me, Nathan likes to do things where he is in charge.

So I shouldn't have been so surprised when he tried to take over my little project too. I was simply looking for Another Use for the Globes from My Sister's Wedding, when he sidled up and wanted to forcefully interject his opinions.

Screaming and pumping fists that "it needs a bird Mommy!" will only land you in time out, son. But I'm nice and won't snap pictures of you screaming to share with Blogland.

We made up and all is well. I mention all of this because sometimes when we take the time to do a project with children, we expect, that like a pretty blog post, it will be so very perfect, nurturing and blissful. Not always so. Sometimes we have to jump right back into the routine of the day, and now hugs and kisses and a story have soothed the temporary hurts. He'll remember the time we spent, not the time out nor the angry words.