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Entries from July 2011

So Much For That.

I'm going to make a long story short:

The kids all went to camp this past week. Chloë was gone from Sunday thru Friday, while the Littles were gone only Wednesday to Friday night. I planned to use the time to deep-clean my disaster of a house. I was highly motivated. It needs it badly, and I intended to get down on my hands and knees and scrub every square inch.

Well, that didn't happen.

Oh, they went to camp all right. I have no pictures, because I suck, but they all seemed to have had a great experience this year. There's not much to tell: they did camp stuff, like swimming and field games, arts and crafts, and learning new songs. What you would expect to hear, that's what I'd probably tell you.

But I didn't get to clean this monstrosity. I didn't lift even the tiniest pinky.


Because I got freakin' sick instead. The kids were all sick for the prior couple of weeks, so it was inevitable, but that didn't make the timing any less sucktastic. Indeed, they're still getting over their various colds, while I am still in the no-voice, nose-running-like-a-faucet, clogged ears thick of it. I've been quite miserable, and I haven't hesitated to let anyone who wanted to listen know it.

Not many people wanted to listen, so I'm telling you.

Of course, when I'm sick, the house gets even worse than usual. So right now, it's probably the worst, most icky I've ever seen it, and I would like to torch it right down to the ground and/or run away.

Barring that, which I can't do now that I've said that, I'm going to ride out this misery and then come back fighting, to get this house ship-shape. I have to say, though, that I'm disappointed the time when all three kids were gone for two whole days was wasted by me sleeping on the couch for about 27 hours straight. I needed it, but dang.

Aside from resting and more resting (and endless nose-blowing), I've been making stuff for my Etsy shop. I have been stash-busting through my scrapbooking supplies, since I've gone digital on our family books, making cards, tags, and other what-have-yous that you can check out here. If you're interested, use the coupon code "SCRAPPY" to get free shipping on any goods from the paper section of my shop.

I've made a few cards to send out to real people I know, too, like my friend Erin who's gone and gotten engaged, to my total and complete delight. She and her afianced man-friend received this one:

... Hm. I appear not to have taken pictures of it, or if I have, they are gone? Weird. I'm sure I did. Maybe she'll send me one of it to show you later. :D

Also, tomorrow my father will turn 69, and as I feel safe in that he won't be reading this post, I'll show you his card:

024 (5)

You might recognize it if you already peeked at my shop, since I listed it there as well. He's an enormous Elvis fan, so when I found this on a card website, I had to "scraplift" it, as we say in the scrapbooking world. I don't know what card makers say, since I'm a n00b, but I'm sure it's similar. Or maybe it's frowned upon and I'll get busted down a peg or two. Either way, it's already in the mail, and he will like it, so that is that.

There's another card winging its way to another person who reads this blog, maybe, so I can't show you that one just yet. I'm not claiming to be all good at this or anything - I'm just starting out in the card-making venture - but it sure is fun and addictive! I'm having a blast. And I sold a set of six cards this morning on Etsy, so I'm legit, right?

Welp, that's the gist of what's been going on this week. Camp. Sick. Cards. Oh, and endless litterbox cleaning. I've managed that, at least, because if I don't, the two kittens pee and poop wherever the hell they feel like it, and you know what? I can't have that. Groooo-ooooosssss.

So back to work for me. Check out my shop and "favorite" it if you haven't already, please. I check that stat frequently, obsessively, and the number rarely changes. You'd think I'd stop.

Have a great weekend, y'all!


P.S. I lied. I do have two pictures of freshly picked-up Sophia from camp:


"I'm hungry. I'm starving. I'm STARVING...," she whined.


Apparently not as much as she was tired, because this was her within five minutes. She slept more after the hour-long drive home, too. I should send her to camp more often! 


And here's an enormous grasshopper that I'm showing you just so I can file it away in July pictures. It jumped on my desk and gave me a start! I called Rob over to rescue me from it, or it from me, depending on your viewof things. Thing was HA-YUGE. He's going to use it as fish bait. 

Saturday 9: I'm Not In Love


Link up here if you're playing along today!

1. Have you ever been in love but tried to deny it?

Mm, no, not to myself anyway.

2. Someone throws a party in your honor. The only guests are your past lovers. Your current spouse is cool with this. They ask you to speak and say something good about those assembled. Would there be someone there you could not say something good about?

Yes, my last relationship before I got married was an awful one from start to finish. I can't think of anything good to say about him and am completely glad he's out of my life.

3. How long can you go without your cell phone? Do you own a so-called “smart phone”?

I can't stand to be without my iPhone! It's attached to me at all times, or I get a little panicky. It's a sickness.

4. Do you believe everyone deserves a second chance?

No, but most people do. Child rapists and those sort of people can go rot in hell after one offense, as far as I'm concerned.

5. Would you rather spend a whole day with your mom or your dad? (If either or both have passed, answer as if they're alive.)

My mom is gone, but I would have loved to have had the last 27 years back with her. I can't wait to spend forever with her. For the seven years I was lucky to know her, she was wonderful.

6. Tell us one thing about your first boyfriend or girlfriend.

He had the sexiest lips and was a great kisser! But he was an ass.

7. Has an ex ever written something about you on facebook or their blog that was nasty about you?

Not that I'm aware of! I'm on good terms with all but that one I mentioned above.

8. What was the last thing you borrowed and never returned?

Hmm... a Bible.

9. Who is someone famous that you've met?

Dave Barry. He's both as funny and nerdy in person as you would expect from his writing. I got to know him over time. He's a great guy.

Now back to my craftin' - psst, use coupon code "SCRAPPY" for free shipping on any paper goods in my Etsy shop through the end of Summer! Check it out, or ask for a custom item if you don't see something you like. ;)


Crafting Paella

Did I tell you that Chloë has opened her own Etsy shop? I think I have, but in case I haven't, it's called Crafting With Curls. I suggested the name, and she liked it right off, so we went with that. Simple and cute.

Set 11 

 It all started with the bottle caps.

I had hundreds of them, given to me by fellow local Freecyclers, supposedly for a craft that I was going to do with my Daisy troop. Well, that didn't pan out, so I've been staring at this huge bucket of bottle caps stored under my desk for, like, six months at least. They were driving me crazy.

So, finally, a trip to Michaels later, I had the resin and its hardening catalyst, all kinds of clearanced doo-dads, and other cute crafty things in hand. I got to work. The results, at first, SUCKED. I let Chloë list those gooey, tacky, non-hardened bottlecaps on her website, and guess what? They sold right off the bat. Crazy, but yay!

Then she wanted to get involved. I love doing crafts, she loves doing crafts, and I love doing things with her, so of course I let her go crazy. I gave her my Martha Stewart 1" circle punch, a whole crapload of scrap, uh, scrapping paper, and the myriad doodads I had collected.

She went to town.

Literally. We had to go to town, to Walmart, to get a bunch of button magnets and thumb tacks for her creations. She made lots and lots of sets, some random, some - to my mind - more coherent, and I dutifully mixed up the resin and set them in acrylic stone. I wouldn't let her touch that part; not at nine years old. Am I wrong? Anyway, she can't stand the smell - nor can anyone else in the fam-damily except for me - so she probably wouldn't.

Ashley (2) 

Then came the frogs. One of our newest friends, whom I'll call Posy, loves frogs of all kinds. We couldn't find ANYthing suitable at the stores to put in bottlecaps of a froggal nature, so we made our own with paper. Aren't they cute? I think Posy liked them, as she snapped them right up out of the shop.

And that got us started on making all sorts of sets with paper and clip-art, which you can check out in Chloë's shop. The only problem now is that we've actually run OUT of those bottle caps, which I thought would never happen in a million years (seriously, there were SO many), and now I need to source more. Because Curls has LOTS of ideas for more sets, and I would like to see them come to fruition.  She's become the little business-woman, putting her earnings in her 'save' section of the special piggy bank, toward her trip to the American Girl store in D.C. for her birthday coming up in Septiembre.


Meanwhile, the kids have been sick for the past couple of weeks, and it's been hotter'n blue blazes both inside the house and out, so I haven't done much myself besides crafting, too.



Ha, I forgot about the caption in some of the listing pictures in my shop, Smellyann's Stitches. I had a ton of felt to use up, mostly scraps, and I started sewing some tiny (and some less so) little pouches for fun. Then I got out my container of brads and eyelets and started hammering eyelets into all the pouches, and adorning them with all manner of ribbon and rick-rack and lace, or whatever. You can see them in my shop. I've made 15 or so, having hand-sewn at least 7 or 8 of those while we were in Charleston for a few days this past week! (Yes, I brought my hammer and everything to Charleston. I am admittedly nuts.)


Now that I'm done to the really itty-bitty felt scraps, I've moved on to making headbands with other things I've collected over the years. Scraps of tulle, silk and ceramic flowers, the elastic bands I used for my tutus back in the olden days, and lots and lots of ribbon. I've got four or five that I made tonight but haven't listed yet, in case you're checking them out and, you know, what to go "favoriting" my things.

Oh, and the exciting thing, besides selling six of her sets, was that Chloë was featured in her first Etsy treasury! I don't even think that I have had that honor, so I'm very proud of her. Once she understood what that meant, she was quite excited, as well.

Streamers 1 (5) 

Oh, I forgot. As well, Chloë commandeered some toilet paper rolls, lots of my ribbon, and my glue gun, to make these streamer thingies. I don't know if any of them will sell, but they're quite pretty, and I enjoy looking at them in her special "for sale" bin that I've set up.


She's making these too-cute personalized door hangers, too, though no one has ordered any of those from her yet, either. I love that she snipped up some yellow foam item or other to make the ë right in her name!

So, I think she and I will do some craft fairs together this fall, and earn her a little spending money to buy accessories for her American Girl that she'll be getting for her 10th birthday. (Ten! Oh, my word.) And maybe I'll sell a few things, too, to help pay the bills and stuff. That's why I'm so busy crafting. I need to contribute somehow; times are tough. Really tough. But that's a whole 'nother post; one I might bring you later on after I list these other headbands on Etsy.

Now if only I had a head to model them on... guess I'll have to use my globe. Ha!

Take care, and get your craft on, peeps!


Sunday Stealing: The 25er Meme

Sunday Stealing 

Link up here if you're playing along today!

1. Tell us about something that made you laugh last night.

Hm. We were driving home from South Carolina late last night, and it got a little tense financially, so not a lot. I probably DID laugh at a name my son Jack called his sister(s). He shouldn't call names, but he does come up with some pretty funny shit!

2. What were you doing at 8 PM last night?

Sleeping while Hubs drove us home. I slept almost the whole trip, which probably has a lot to do with why he's been sleeping almost the whole time ever since!

3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago?

Filling out the camper forms for my oldest, Chloë, who is headed back to Girl Scout camp tomorrow. It's her fourth time. She's meh, not terribly excited. I always worry whether she's having a good time. But you didn't ask all that.

4. What happened to you in 2006?

We took the family to Disney World and then went on a cruise to the Bahamas. Other than that I can't stand the Bahamas, it was a pretty fun family trip.

5. What was the last thing you said out loud?

"Chloë? Chloë?" She finally fell asleep, at midnight. Whew.

6. How many beverages did you have today?

About ten Super Big Gulp-size cups of generic sugar-free Crystal Light and water. Nope, no Diet Coke, if you can believe it. (Shocker!)

7. What color is your hairbrush?

Black and purple

8. What was the last thing you paid for?

Gas in the van, on the way home last night. So exciting, my life as represented here thus far!

9. Where were you last night?

Told you that story; it'll be all right. Uh-huh, it ain't no big thing.

10. What color is your front door?

Uh, white AND ivory. Yeah, it's looking good right now. Not. (Note to self: Get exterior white paint on next payday.)

11. Where do you keep your change?

In my wallet, like all sane people. Wait, did I just call myself "sane"? Baahahahahaha.

12. What’s the weather like today?

Freakin' hot, like 105º outside. It was 92º IN the house all day until the big thunderstorm. Now it's 91º. I know, like, thank God for that cool-down, right? :\

13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor?

Peanut butter and chocolate, but the PB chunks have to be BIG, and I do NOT mean PB cups, either. Larry's Ice Cream Shop on St. Pete Beach, if it's still there, has the BEST!! (Btw, I used to work there, until I got fired for getting accepted to graduate school. What a hoot, that reason, eh?? They were mad I had other plans for my life besides breaking my neck scooping gourmet ice cream, I guess.)

14. What excites you?

Crafting. New school and office supplies. Amusement parks. Traveling, especially OUTSIDE the USA. Getting a Diet Coke (hey, it's good stuff). My friends and loved ones (wait, that's kinda redundant IMO) having good things happen to them. Good things happening to ME. I could go on, but you've gone and fallen asleep, haven't you?

15. Do you want to cut your hair?

I chopped off almost ALL my hair recently. It's very short. So, um, no. I'd be bald. And I would make an ugly baldy.

16. Are you over the age of 35?

I will be 35 in September, and I'm kind of freaked out and excited about that at the same time. 35!! Me!! I swear I JUST graduated high school, people!

17. Do you talk a lot?

If I'm with the right person/folks, I never freakin' shut up. I'm very shy, but once I'm comfortable, uh, get the duct tape because I will talk your ears off.

18. Do you watch Franklin and Bash?

Say huh? No TV here.

19. Do you know anyone named Steven?

Yep, I know a few of them. Awesome question, very thought-provoking. :|

20. Do you make up your own words?

Hell yeah. I'm famous for it, amongst me, myself and my husband. I'm good at it, too. I speak Melanese.

21. Are you a jealous person?

Not too much, although the green-eyed monster occasionally strikes. It's usually temporary, though.

22. What does the last text message you received say?

"No prob," from my friend Jules, for sending me her link. Let me know if you're an iPhone user and want a referral. It's coo'.

23. Where’s the next place you’re going to?

I'm either taking my daughter to camp tomorrow, or I'm not, because I'm sick. If not, hell if I know.

24. Who’s the rudest person in your life?

Hmmm.... my dad. Probably. Unless you mean in a funny way, in which case it would be a tie between Hubs and myself!

25. Are you crushing on anyone that you shouldn't be?

Nah. Well, okay, there's this guy, D., down at the 7-11 who is a total cutie. But I would never, and even if I would, HE wouldn't. I do flirt with him, though. At Christmas, I brought down some mistletoe and made him kiss me on the cheek - totally with Hubs' knowledge and permission, before I get any nasty-grams. He was so embarrassed. It was hilarical.


P.S. I WILL be back later with a "real" blog post. Promise!


Saturday 9: White Wedding


Link up here if you're playing along with Crazy Sam and the gang today!

1. Tell us about the most recent wedding you attended.

Gosh. We don't get to go to a lot of weddings, because we're nowhere near our family and friends... so that would probably be my BFF Lisa and her hubs Faris, in July of 2002. He's Arabic, so there was lots of representation of that culture, and bellydancing, and just... so cool. It was awesome to be a part of it. I enjoyed myself immensely. (Except for the part where I was nursing my 9mo Chloë-baby and leaked through my bridesmaid dress a little bit. Not cool.)

2. Do you enjoy attending weddings, or do they bore you to tears?

I love it! I wish I could go to all the ones we've been invited to over the years. Y'all need to start holding your shindigs in our neck of the woods. :P

3. Does marriage in general make you feel confident and good inside, or skeptical?

I think marriage is a good thing, and I support it. I'm not a cynic when it comes to marriage, generally speaking.

4. Do you have a photo blog? (If so, feel free to share the link with us.)

I have THIS blog, and there are often fotos. Good enough? I think so.

5. Do you find yourself driving less due to the high gas prices?

Heck yeah. It sucks. We like to be on the go a lot.

6. What's the high temperature today where you are?

I don't know for sure, but I think it was about 105º or so. No joke. And our AC is down for the count, so inside it's not much cooler!  :(

7. "It's not the heat, it's the humidity." Agree, or no?

No. It's both. But the humidity sucks bullocks sometimes, yeah.

8. What's the hottest you've ever been in your life?

I lived in Guam, which is near the equator, while I was pregnant with twins, and we had a storm that knocked out the power for some 62 days. I was pretty hot then. Or is that not what you meant? ;)

9. Non-temperature related last question: In your opinion... who's hot?

Too many people to list, but I wouldn't throw Matt Damon out of bed. Mmm.


Sunday Stealing: The Honesty Meme

Sunday Stealing 

Link up here if you played along with the other thieves!

Right now I'm feeling...  Craftish. I really (REALLY) need to be doing laundry and cleaning my house, but I just want to do crafts. Love it!!! Right now I'm working on my oldest daughter's crafts and her new Etsy shop to get her things listed - check it out if you're interested!

When I'm alone I feel... great!!!! As the mama of three living children under 10, life is chaotic. I like my "me" time. Very, very much.

When I'm surrounded by people I feel... it depends on who they are. If I know them all well, I'm comfortable being "me" and am usually the funny one in the group. If I don't know them well, then I'm painfully shy and play the wallflower. I prefer the former, obviously.

One thing I hate is... people smoking around me, or in general. I really, really loathe smoking. It's disgusting. I could go on a pages-long diatribe about that, but I'll spare you. For now.

One thing I really like about myself is... my willingness to jump head-first into new things, whether I really know what I'm doing or what I need to know about it, or not. I'm spontaneous and, at times, fearless, when it comes to new experiences. I think that makes life fun!

When I'm feeling sad I... cry. A lot. I'm a big-time cryer. I'm keeping Kleenex and Puffs in business single-handedly.

When I daydream it's usually about... travel. crafting. my future. life. Oh, gosh, everything. I daydream a LOT.

I'm afraid of... losing another child.

I'm happiest when... my family is happy. When Hubs and the kids are smiling, having a good time, enjoying themselves, then I'm at my most content.

One thing that really worries me is... when I make a cake for You Take The Cake!, my dessert business, that it won't turn it out well or that the people won't like it. I love doing it, but it produces mucho anxiety on my part!

If I could change one thing about myself it would be... Physically, it would be the amount of excess skin I have after losing 200+ pounds. Personally, it would be lots of things, but according to my therapist, the number one thing I need to change is being way too damn hard on myself. I need to learn to give myself more credit, be gentler with myself, and, well, like me.

If I could be with anyone right now I would be with... the people I've lost. If I could go to Heaven for a day and see my baby boy, my mama, and my grandparents, that would be incredible. Time travel? Who cares. How 'bout "heaven travel"??

The family member I am closest to is... besides my immediate family who live with me, that would be my sister. I love her. She's one of my very best-est friends. I wish we lived close to each other. Sorry I haven't called in a while, Sis!!

If I was really honest with my father I would tell him... that he will never be alone with my daughters. He probably wouldn't even understand why, and then I'd have to go into the explanation, and that is what I am avoiding. I recently had to explain why to my oldest daughter, and that basically sucked big donkey balls.

One thing I regret about my life is... I can't think of anything. Sure, I've made mistakes - plenty of them - but you learn as you grow, grow as you learn, as my friend Michelle said on the Book of Face today!

If I only had one more day to live I would... Well, hopefully, I do. And I'll spend it at the jumpy-bouncy place with my kids. Can't wait!
If I was really honest with my mother i would tell her... That I miss her terribly and, while I'm not angry at her for dying so young (age 33; I was seven), I'm angry that she didn't go get medical help when she knew she was so sick. We needed her, growing up, and even now, and she should've gone to the doctor. *sigh*

One thing about me that nobody knows is... going to remain that way. Sorreh.

I hope that someday in the future... I'll get to live outside of the country again. Hopefully for longer than four months, this time. Adventure is out there!

When I think about my family I feel... the warm fuzzies. I love my husband dearly, and I love my babies like crazy. 'Nuff said!

Something I'm really embarrassed about is... my saggy, ugly boobs, and my saggy, ugly baby belly. I need plastic surgery baaaaaadly!

One thing about me I never want to change is... my ability to laugh at myself. If you can't do that, you're sunk.

One thing I feel really proud of is... Losing those 200+ pounds, man, whether I had to have surgery to do it or whatever. I look so different, I feel so much better, and it kicks butt to be able to shop at "regular" stores now!!!

Blogsville has helped me to... Get things off my chest that otherwise would weigh me down.

One thing I like about blogsville is... There is just so much out there! I get laughs, I get inspiration, and I've made some cool friends. Wait, that's like, three things. Oh well, kiss my butt. Hee.

Have a great week, kids!


Saturday 9: The Devil Went Down To Georgia


Link up here if you're playing along with Crazy Sam today!

1. Do you believe in the concept of the devil?

Honestly, I don't know what I believe about the devil. I guess I do; I mean, I'm "supposed" to... I believe that evil exists. I guess I do. Yes.

2. What's your favorite nickname that you're called?

Why, Smellyann, of course!

3. What would you do if someone cheated on you?

Try to understand and forgive.

4. Do you ever cry at a movie?

Of course I do. I am a girl, after all.

5. Have you got “a ball & chain” or are you single? Are you happy with your status?

Psht. I'm very happily married.

6. Whom do you got to for advice?

My friends, my sister, my husband, my MIL, my therapist... and sometimes, my dad.

7. When was the last time someone yelled at you?

LOL Earlier today. All three of my kids have yelled at me at some point today. They're getting it from somewhere... hm, I wonder where? Yes, I'm a yeller. We are a loud family.

8. When was the last time you spoke with someone that you met online?

Couple hours ago. I met my darling hubs online over a decade ago. That still blows my mind.

9. Where did you go on your honeymoon?

Well, it took us 7½ years to go on one, because we eloped and then had a baby 8 months later (she came early, hush), but we went on a Mediterranean cruise for two weeks. It was incredible. Wanna read about it? Go here.

Happy weekend, y'all!


Sunday Stealing: The Plaid Hat Meme

Sunday Stealing 
Link up here if you're playing along today!

1. When showering, do you start the water and then get in, or get in then start the water?

I start the water and wait for it to reach the temperature I'm seeking.

2. Have you ever showered with someone of the opposite sex?

Of course I have. My dad (as a young girl), various friends in college (heh heh), my husband, my son...

3. Were you ever been forced to shower with one of your siblings?

I wouldn't call it forced, but I have showered with my sister(s), yes.

4. Have you ever dropped your soap on your foot?

Yeah. And I've dropped full bottles of shampoo/conditioner/body wash on my foot as well. Not so fun.

5. How old do people say you look?

People say I look anywhere from 25 to 34, which is my age. Fortunately, no one has ever guessed that I'm OLDER than my true age. Although I have been asked if my kids were my grandchildren, once. WTF?!

6. How old do you act?

Twelve or so.

7. What’s the last song you sang?

"You Might Think" by The Cars. Good tune.

8. Have you recently become a member of anything?

Uh. You say "member" and all I think of is my husband's. But yes, I have recently rejoined the Christian Military Homeschool Co-op of Hampton Roads, and I'm excited about it!

9. What are your plans for next weekend?

Let me check for you nosy-kins... Church, the Mid-Summer Festival in Norfolk, VBS ends for the kiddos, and I have a graduation party cake to make. I'm sure more will be added in the week to follow.

10. Do you kiss with your eyes open or closed?


11. Whats the sexiest thing about Sarah Palin?

Psht. You must be joking. I can't stand that woman/idiot. 

12. Who’s the sexiest famous woman alive?

I'm torn between Jen Aniston and Parker Posey. I just love those chicks.

13. Who’s the sexiest famous man alive?

I'm torn among Matt Damon (yum), Eric Clapton, and Patrick Dempsey.

14. Does your family have a crazy uncle?

I plead the fifth.

15. Have you ever smuggled something into another country?

LOL No! What kind of quiz is this? From soap-dropping to this? I'm amused.

16. Do you live in a city with a good sports team?

I don't think so. No.

17. What is the most unusual?

Pfft. I'm pretty unusual. Wth word did you forget?!

18. How do feel about the Goth people?

To each their own. They don't bother me, I don't bother them.

19. Can you fix or your significant other your own car?

That was poorly phrased. I can not do car things, although a friend did once teach me to change the oil on my '81 Honda Civic Wagon, which has gone to the Junkyard in the Sky. I can fill the gas tank on my current Honda; otherwise, if a light goes on, you'll find me driving into the service bay at my dealership.

20. Would you want to kill Casey Anthony yourself if you were guaranteed to get away with it?

No, no, no, no, no. Emphatic no. I didn't follow the trial (no TV service) and don't know the facts of the case. I wasn't there when all the bad stuff went down, and I am not the ultimate Judge. Whatever is coming to her, it will come to her in time.


Saturday 9: Against All Odds


Link up here if you played along this weekend!

1. Have you ever tried to rekindle a past relationship against the odds?

Yes, yes I have. As well as current ones.

2. Do you like your job, or daily routine?

My job is "mom," generally speaking, and I love my job. As far as my daily routine, I'm working on changing it. I have a mixed-up sleeping schedule, and I'm heading to the sleep lab to find out what I can do to normalize it. If only my sleep schedule meshed with most of the rest of the world's - or even my family's - then yes, things would be pretty fantastic.

3. Do you find time to 'smell the flowers' so to speak?

I have to remind myself, but I do that much, yes. A previous therapist prescribed to me to get my daily dosage of "warm fuzzies," and I make sure that I do, to this day. I recommend it! It's good for the soul.

4. Do you have any problems thinking of things to write about in your blog?

No. If I don't have anything to write about, I don't. It's not like I have a humongous audience that's waiting on pins and needles for my next great post.

5. Do others consider you well organized?

Once upon a time, before I had my own family, yes. That has gone waaaaaay downhill, and I don't really like it! On the other hand, my husband commented the other day that my perfectionist tendencies have really been toned down substantially since we met, and that is good for HIM, which in turn is good for me. So, there it is.

6. Do you always have a “Plan B” just in case?

Not really. I usually go for Plan A with gusto, and if it's something I truly want, it usually works out just fine. When it fails, then I freak out, to varying degrees based on the situation, and then figure out a Plan B.

7. How do you find yourself adjusting to new situations?

I like change. I think I adjust fairly well. I like constant disruptions and moving to new places and having new experiences. I don't like things to be stagnant.

8. Are you happy with where you are in this point of your life?

Eh, well, yes, in a manner of speaking. Things can always be fixed, and I'm working on that, but I love what I have. I am truly blessed.

9. Do you find the aging process we all go through easy or difficult?

Well, I'll be 35 this year, so I haven't had all that much "aging" yet, I don't think. I have my share of aches and pains, but not too bad compared to Hubs'. I'm not gray yet, and I don't really have wrinkles, but there are other things... what I meant to say when I read this question, at first, was that I am amazed to be this age (never thought I'd live this long) and I am loving getting older. Absolutely loving it. Adore it.

Have a great week!


In Lieu Of Fireworks

We had severe thunderstorms all afternoon and evening, so our annual trek to the park for the Independence Day festivities and fireworks display was canceled, much to my dismay. It's my favorite holiday, so I was more than a little disappointed.

So instead, the boys did boy stuff, and the girls and I filled our Dia de Independence with crafts. To-wit:

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These were the quickly stapled-together allowance pouches I made for Sunday's family meeting. I've been making them something different out of paper each time, but I wanted something a bit more permanent. Yes, I stapled felt!


Today, the girls and I went back and rectified that situation. They don't have a great deal of sewing experience, so this was new to them. Stitching up the sides, trying to copy Mommy's small, more even lines, proved to be a bit of a challenge. I won't tell you which sister did what - but only because I can't even remember!


Chloë and I worked on this for the front door late last night, but it never ended up making it outside, because of the rain. So our star-spangled wreath hangs on the coat closet door in the hallway.


Sophia wanted to get in on the crafting fun, so I showed them how to make these toilet paper roll critters that I saw on the trilingual (!) El hada de papel blog a while back and filed away for a rainy day. Sophia's still tweaking hers, and I imagine we'll have plenty more of these in the future. I think I might have to do these with my Daisies sometime, too.


I ran out to Michaels and got some casting resin to make a bunch of these, which I'll turn into more magnets and thumbtacks for my Etsy shop. They may not sell, but I don't care, because I'm enjoying making them anyway. And I can always give them away. (There are lots more curing on my floor right now, but they're stuck to the paper and don't look pretty that way!)



After Rob marked off each square foot of the raised-bed garden and dumped in all the compost from this past year's collectings in the bin, Sophia and I went out in the morning's heat and planted this year's garden using the Square-Foot Gardening methodology. Unfortunately, I didn't realize my packet of carnival sweet peppers was empty, so I have four empty squares I'll have to fill. Thinking on that... hopefully this new set-up will yield far more than last year's paltry proceeds, especially now that I know how to can whatever we get!


I snipped off the beautiful lilies growing in the backyard, but they've closed up for the night, so I don't have a nice picture to show you. Maybe tomorrow when they reopen for business. Chloë fretted and fussed about them being dead and ruint, until I told her that's what they did. 



I don't know if these are bluebells or just what, but they're now hiding for the night, too. They're taking over the backyard, so I snipped a ton of them for a little color in the kitchen. I hope they reappear with the morning light, too.

So, if we can't say we saw any sparkling lights in the sky tonight, at least we can say we kept ourselves busy. 

And that was our Fourth. How was yours?


Sunday Stealing: The Faceless July 4th Meme

Sunday Stealing 

Link up here if ye be thievin' today!

1. Last movie you saw in a theater?

I think it was the fourth Shrek movie, but I could be wrong about that. Pretty sure tho.

2. What book are you reading?

I'm not. Sue me.

3. Favorite board game?

I have a love of all games, but I confess, I adore Monopoly.

4. Favorite magazine?

Martha Stewart Living, followed closely by Family Fun (Disney), followed closely by People

5. Favorite smells?

Anything citrus-y, I love.

6. Favorite sounds?

Waves crashing on the shore. The unbridled laughter of a child. Jets flying overhead. A really good drum solo.

7. Worst feeling in the world?

Unplugging your infant son from the machines supporting his life

8. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up?

"Are the kids up yet? NO? Good, I'm going back to sleep."

9. Favorite fast food place?

I like Subway. But I try to stay away from fast food on general principle.

10. What’s under your bed?

A bevy of child-sized hangers (my side) and a crapload of man stuff (his side)

11. Finish this statement. “If I had a lot of money I’d….?

... pay off our debts, invest the rest, and live off the interest.

12. Do you sleep with a stuffed animal?

Yes, my big ol' bear.

13. Storms – cool or scary?

Cool. Although we've been through some scary ones. But generally cool.

14. Favorite drink?

Coca Dieta

15. Finish this statement, “If I had the time I would….”?

I have the time, and I don't.

16. If you had to dye your hair another color, what would be your choice?

I'd dye my hair platinum blonde, with streaks of black and hot pink in it. One day, I might just do it.

17. Favorite place to relax?

Oceanside, preferably on a secluded beach.

18. Name all the different cities/towns you’ve lived in?

Why, are you researching me? I've lived all over, starting near NYC, then Central NY, then South Carolina, then all over Florida, followed by Guam, and finally here in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

19. Favorite sports to watch?

I don't really get into sports, with these two exceptions: the UM vs. FSU football game(s), and the Olympics. Other than that, leave me alone.

20. Would you like to be born as yourself again?

Now that is a difficult existential question for me! I've had a hard road to hoe. But I've had a bevy of blessings as well (I told Rob I'd use the word "bevy" a bevy of times on my next post), so... if I had to suffer through everything all over again so that I could have the joys and loves I've had in my life, I think I would. It's a very close call, though! ;)

To my fellow Americans, happy Independence Day on Monday!


As Thursdays Go...

...yesterday was a long one. But a very fun, thoroughly enjoyable one. I had a fantastic time.


Thursdays are the days that a few friends from the military co-op and I gather at one of their houses and learn all kinds of new (to us) and interesting gardening techniques. I love this class. C, the gardener, is amazingly zen and patient with all of us, and she is a veritable fountain of gardening knowledge. I am so impressed by her. Over the past several weeks, we have released butterflies into the garden...


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...learned all about composting,...

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... discussed the various bugs and other creatures that can be found in a garden and which are beneficial (or not), before going out on a hunt for as many different bugs as we could find in C's garden,...

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... had lessons on subjects from the importance of bees to gardening and the health of the planet as a whole, to square-foot and container gardening as it relates to "density," and so much more. C is an awesome teacher, and I'm so thankful we decided to join her in this endeavor.


We've learned about using egg shells and coffee grounds on plants, and rose hips, and acid-loving plants, and gosh, so much more than I can remember right now. Yesterday, we were taught about drip lines and sprinkling Espom salts there for roses, tomatoes, and other veggies, to help them grow bigger. I'd never have thought salt could be good for plants! Shows what I know.


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Sophia enjoying one of C's bran muffins, before going out hunting for sticks, so we could make swings for drying sprigs of herbs and what-have-you. 

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This is my amazing, incredible, awesome friend Jen, and young S., who is not her son but someone else's there, being so proud of the corn that she planted weeks earlier. It grew the tallest!


Would you like a not-quite-ripe blueberry? I think I did eat this one, and it was still fine.


Here, C was helping us make mason bee habitats, to attract these important critters to our own home gardens. So far, no one has gotten a mason bee to join their garden yet. Fingers are crossed!


After Gardening 101 is over for the day, we all get in C's beautiful pool for a swim, and at some point have a picnic lunch alongside the water before going in for a final dip. Sometimes the moms swim, and sometimes we just let the kids go in while we sit out to watch, chit-chat, and do our knitting. 

It's been a beautiful experience, really. I'm loving it.



Normally, that's it, and then we all go home. But yesterday, there was so much more. Jen's son, G, was turning five, so we had his Cars birthday party. I made the cake the night before at Jen's house, and he was SOOOOO excited. It was very cute. (Some parts got a little messy because G couldn't resist touching his cake. Hehe.)


I made him some cupcakes, too, which turned out to be great because so many people were there, the cake wouldn't have been enough. But don't look too closely at them, because they got a little oopsy during transport to C's house!


After that, Rob joined us, along with my friend T from Bunco, for a super-long canning session. I was picked as a host for a Ball House Party, and C agreed to hold it at her house for me. That was a HUGE gift.


We all had SO much fun, and tons of laughs, while making our strawberry and blueberry preserves, raspberry jam, peach preserves, and cherry syrup - 31 jars in all. A productive night, in many more ways than one.

I'm so blessed to be part of such a wonderful group, and I'm lucky they'll have me!

And of course, now I'm all gung-ho about canning and want to buy cases and cases of jars, hit the Farmer's Market for produce, and fill up our pantry.  I can't wait to get started!


The Inaugural Ride


So Rob took me for a ride on his motorcycle tonight. It was the first time for us to ride together, ever.

He didn't want to do it, because I was wearing a tank top, a skirt, and flip-flops, and, well, normally he's suited up to the nines in protective motorcycle gear.

"Cmon," I told him, "Let's just go up and down the street real quick."

He gave in pretty easily and handed me a helmet. He put his on, then helped me get strapped up in mine.

After wheeling the BMW out to the road and waving goodbye to the kids, who were instructed to sit on their respective bikes and Power Wheels an' sech until we returned a moment later, I climbed aboard and held on for dear life.

And away we went!!

It was fun. He didn't dump me into the street, and I didn't even scream, not even once. We whizzed around the corner, made a U-ie, and whizzed back home.

Lickety-split, just like that.

Now I'm ready for our first date night out on the bike. I've been told I'll be wearing a leather jacket (ick) and jeans on that trip. But I can deal with that.

I can't wait!


Saturday 9: Take Me Back


Link up here if you're playing along this weekend!

1. Think of all your exes. Would you take any of them back?

No way. They're my 'ex' for good reason!

2. If anyone came to your house on your "lazy days" what would you be wearing?

Probably just shorts and a t-shirt... from yesterday. :|

3. What's your favorite shirt?

I have two of the same, one green and one pink, that are sexy and a little naughty, and I don't ever wear them... but I think I look pretty hot in them just the same! ;)

4. Have you ever been on your school's track team?


5. Do you own a pair of Converse?

No, but Hubs has a pair or two. That makes me cool by association, right?

6. Where are you right now?

I'm home, at my desk, in the office... instead of working on the laundry like I said I was gonna do. It's just too freaking hot!

7. Do you eat raw cookie dough?

I don't anymore, because of the sugar, but heck yeah, I used to tear that up!

8. Don't you hate when the radio ruins good songs by playing them over and over?

I used to. Then I learned how to change stations.

9. Do you watch the news?

I make it a therapy-prescribed point to avoid watching the news.  I'm well aware that I'm blissfully unaware of what's going on right now in much of the world, and you know what? I like it this way. You tend to lose your sense of knowing when there's real, imminent threats when everything you watch is a potential deady something-or-other.  Read the book The Gift of Fear, by Gavin de Becker. It makes a lot of sense. That's probably more answer than you wanted from me, huh?


Aloha Friday


Link up here if you're playing along today!

My question for you this week is:

Do you like being on, in and around the water?

We do, we love it. My husband's in the US Navy, I'm a former marine biologist, and our three kiddos are turning into quite the little water babies themselves. We'd love to be houseboaters!

Have a great weekend and a safe and happy Independence Day!