Monday, May 6, 2013


I was walking through a local store the other day. {Okay, make that a few weeks ago, but it just popped back into my brain.} I was randomly meandering around the store when I discovered something that threw me and just HAD to share the oddity of it.

A closer shot.......

Okay, I know that I'm a lot bit out of the loop since we've now lived in Europe for 8 years, but really?!?! Since when do we need a "Console French Fry Holder"? Ummmmm don't most American vehicles already have a cup holder? And last time we were actually in America, fries fit into said cup holders.  Apparently I'm not the only one that thinks has been marked down. Although, there were only a handful left....unless they only sent a box and only a few fit in a box. Hmmmmm Okay...head hurts from contemplating all of the possibilities.

And what's your opinion on fry holders? Do you have one? Or think they're a useless piece of hard plastic?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

God is So Loving

I did quite a few things yesterday...a LOT of running around. It wasn't that hot, boy it was humid. I got waaaay to hot from the high humidity. I sprayed my pony tail with cool water, rubbed the back of my neck with cool water, and rinsed my face off thoroughly with cool water (all wonderful remedies for excess heat). I finished my day with a Bible study at Home Group at our pastor's house. Busy, but no more than a normal "errand day."

Then today. Woke up with my left foot swollen and the top part red (it still is). It hurt off and on (not too bad until the evening). I was mentally complaining...."really?!?! Why me..Again! It's not fair. *pout" Okay...more whining I guess. The gracious God in Heaven I serve didn't "zap" me or slap me on the back of the head (both I deserve). Nope. He listened.
He reminded me of a previous lesson (give thanks in all things).
He urged me and have me the strength to do dishes (one of my nightly goals I'm trying to turn into a habit).
And the most humbling? This was my devotion that I normally read in the morning, but hadn't until a few minutes ago.

God is so amazing and so loving. Even in my whining He loves me.

Monday, April 29, 2013

37 Things for 37 Years

In honor? of turning 37..... Wait a minute. Ummmm....huh? How did that happen? Where did the last, oh decade go? I just turned 30 right? Nope. Guess not. *sigh

Where was I? Oh yeah. In honor (still not sure if that's the right word) of turning 37, this post will be in the vein of others I've read. Some are things I've learned in my X years. Me? I learn something new daily, which is something I think we should all strive for. Learn something new. Even if that is something as complex as a new skill or a new word or a random fact. Your mind should continue to expand. And no, not the head expansion from too many compliments. This will be about 37 things I've seen. From the random to the "bucket list."

Sooooo, here's my list of things for the recent anniversary of my birth.

1. Many sunrises

2. Many more sunsets

3. The Leaning Tower of Pisa

4. A soft rain shower in the midst of a beautiful, bright sunny day

5. The Pantheon in Rome

6. A double rainbow

7. The canals of Venice, Italy

8. A lunar eclipse

9. The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France

10.  A rocket taking off (from about 2 miles away)

11. The Passion Play at Eureka Springs, Arkansas {Info found here}

12. Verona...where there actually was a Capulet family and a Montague family, although there is no record of the "star-crossed lovers" bit per Shakespeare

13. Rain coming down sideways. Happens in the Acores. We lived on Terceira for 3 years. Reason for the rain? The storms can move so fast that the rain doesn't have time to come down...straight

14. The Rosetta Stone at the British Museum in London, England

15. A dust storm in Saudi Arabia

16. The Louvre in Paris, France

17. A mountain whose top was covered in snow on a hot day in June (seen from a few miles away)

18. The Roman Forum

19. A wave of dust from cars flying down a dirt road

20. The Trevi Fountain in Rome

21. The first buds of flowers awakening in spring

22. Trajan's Column

23. Strangers of both sexes holding a door open for someone they didn't know

24. Tower of London

25. A circus with clowns and performers

26. Tower Bridge (the London Bridge from the song is actually not even in England although there are quite a few bridges in London that cross the Thames River)

27. A child's smile when they see their parent for the first time in 6 months

28. Arc de Triomphe

29. A spouse tear up when their military member gets off the bus after being deployed and in harm's way for months

30. Notre Dame

31. A mother and son reunited because of a wedding ceremony

32. Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida

33. Too many funerals (and not done by any means....the hardest ones are still to come)

34. EuroDisney in Paris, France

35. Leaves turning shades of red, yellow, orange, and brown

36. Circumstances and lives changed through prayer to Jesus Christ

37. The smile on my guy's face when we said our vows almost 14 years ago

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Menu for the Week...8 days instead of 7

We used to meal plan for the week on Friday evening or sometime Saturday for the following Sunday through Saturday. The problem was that Sunday night was either up-in-the-air or we had to get the stuff for it on Sunday. Not working. Sooooo we decided to switch it up to meal planning for Monday through Sunday. I will get the majority of Tuesday (errand day....Monday is DIY for now) and the "weekend" bits on  Thursday or Friday. Since we just decided that mid-week last week, we had to alter things a bit.....

For the week of 21st through 28th::

For the week of the 21st through the 28th:::

Sunday: Frito Pies

Monday: DIY

Tuesday: Asparagus with Chicken and Bow Tie Pasta (recipe found in a mag)

Wednesday: Baked Steak with Mashed Potatoes (hubby's grandma's recipe :-) )
Thursday: the pantry meal was--Cheesy Chicken Pasta from Velveeta with {boxed}Au Gratin potatoes and  sauteed broccoli
Note: We're trying to stop eating so much boxed and processed foods (other than some of the soups that I won't make from scratch) and the best way is a "Use it use" mentality. Not quite done, but getting there. :-)

Friday: Grill Night. This one was Cheeseburgers. We got one of the packages from the store, added hamburger seasoning and cheese from the deli. Put on wheat buns with Miracle Whip Hamburger Sauce (it's orange)....can't stand Miracle Whip, but LOVE this sauce. :-P and Orida (sp?) Crispers baked in the oven

Saturday: Pizza. We did a Relay for Life earlier that day. It was a long day and pop in a pizza was perfect for a nasty, rainy, thunderstormy night.

Sunday: A new (to us) restaurant.  We're currently in Europe, moving back to America soon, so we're working our way through restaurants we've heard of or seen or been told about before we have to leave. We're hoping to do a new one every week if we can.

What was your dinners like this week?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Weaver

My life is just a weaving
Between my Lord and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaves so skillfully.

Sometimes He weaveth sorrow
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.

Not ‘til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And explain the reasons why-

The dark threads are as needful,
In The Weaver’s skillful hands
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

--by B.M. Franklin (1882-1965)

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Bible Stands

This is a hymn by Harald Lillonas:::

The Bible stands like a rock undaunted
'mid the raging storms of time;
It's pages burn with he truth eternal,
And they glow with a light sublime.

The Bible stands like a mountain tow'ring
far above the works of men;
It's truth by none ever was refuted,
And destroy it they never can.

The Bible stands and it will forever,
when the world has passed away;
By inspiration it has been given,
All it's precepts I will obey.

The Bible stands ev'ry test we give it,
for its author is divine;
By grace alone I expect to live it,
And to prove it and make it mine.

The Bible stands tho' the hills may tumble,
it will firmly stand when the earth shall crumble;
I will plant my feet on its firm foundation,
For the Bible stands.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Meal Plans? Why We Won't Go Back

About a year ago, I had started reading in blogs where the writer(s) would mention about making a weekly meal plan. Some went so far as to make a monthly one. I thought that they were....well, odd. How on earth can I plan a week's worth of meals when hubby can't decide from day to day what he wants. I started thinking about it though. Okay, the Lord kept nudging me.

Sooooo I tried it. It worked. For about 3 weeks. Then hubby went on a 4-month long business trip. I tried to keep it going for just me. I did. I could not do it for just lil' ole me. I did make casseroles and eat on them for a few days. But the weekly thing? Nope. Not after the first two weeks. Didn't happen.

Hubby returned; holidays came and went; the new year arrived. I was nudged again to start them back. So I brought the idea to hubby again. He remembered us doing the plans last year and liked the idea of not having to decide and shopping on an almost daily basis. Sooooo we started again. It has worked so far....for the most part. We have a large board on our freezer that is half cork and half white board. The right half of the white board is our meal plan with the dates on top. We try to meal plan on Friday or Saturday for the following Sunday through Saturday.

I've just been thinking that that has not really been working. Why? We figure out through Saturday. Sunday is church. Then we try to figure out on. the. day. what to do for that night. BAD idea. Well, live and learn. Hmmmmm....Time to change for this coming week.

Anywho. What was I.....? Oh yeah. We currently plan for the week on Friday or Saturday when we're scheduled to be home (Friday is grilling night :-) ). We plan the following week's menu and I'll do the shopping on Tuesday. It was Monday, but can't buy cold stuff perishables when you're not going to be going home (to a fridge) for 3-4 hours because of a Bible class. Sooooo that leaves Tuesday for now.

Our plan is that we have certain things we prefer on different days. Sunday is usually up in the air or something easy like nachos or breakfast. Monday I'm gone, so hubby's on his own for that day (it's our DIY night). Tuesday is an Easy Day (it's errand day for me). Wednesday or Thursday is New Recipe Night (I have TONS of recipes pinned on Pinterest. We also have a recipe binder, about a dozen recipe books (we got rid of over half of our books), and a stack of loose recipes. Oh! We also have a drawer that was once a part of the old card catalog (bought at a bazaar about 2-3 years ago) that holds index card size recipes. So we have plenty of inspiration. The other night is either a pantry meal or something I've done before that we like. Friday is Grilling Night. Saturday is New Restaurant Night. We have tons of restaurants around the area we haven't tried and we're running out of time, so this is our way to remedy that. {More info: We're moving from where we are now back to America somewhere (hubby's work will tell us next month sometime) in either September or October}

Here's our Meal Plan for last week (April 14-20th)::::

Sunday: Steak 'n Eggs (I had a steak leftover from the night before that we finished cooking all of the way through (it was half raw) and used it as a side for eggs and toast)

Monday: DIY

Tuesday: Loaded Taters (quick, easy, and toppings made to your own specs)

Wednesday: Chicken Marsala over white Rice (found on

Thursday: Leftovers (change from what we were planning b/c of the excess in the fridge)

Friday: Chicken Fried Rice (fried rice with chicken grilled by hubby, broccoli, and mushrooms)

Saturday: Friend's BBQ

--I take a picture of the menu each week, so that if we're stumped we can look back at previous weeks and get an idea.
--We write the menu in dry erase because well, life happens. We'll plan a week and then mid-week we have someone's going away that we choose to go to or a friend's BBQ they decided (or announced) at the last minute.
--I never take a picture of the week's menu until after the week is over.
--Having Pinterest and Allrecipes makes it a bit easier to keep the menu from the same-ole-cookbook that we have to flip through

I love the meal plan idea. We're rarely undecided on what to make because we've already figured it out. PLUS it's a whole lot cheaper buying food twice a week (we get the "weekend" stuff on Thursday so it won't go bad) as opposed to like before. And saving money is always a good thing :-)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Five Random Facts

I have been trying to catch up on a new {to me} blog. In the post I just read, she talked about five random facts about herself. I thought I'd do the same :-)

1. My favorite drink has changed over the years. Growing up it was Mt. Dew until I was about 24-ish. Then I got hooked on Diet Mt. Dew for the next 3-4 years. Then Diet Coke. That lasted until about 1 1/2 years ago when I learned about the dangers of fake sugar. Now it's a toss up between Coca-Cola and water.

2. By the time I finish my bachelor's degree, I will have had three different declared majors (Computer Science, Business, and Accounting). I decided on Accounting with a Business Minor.

3. It's taken me 19 years (with one class left) to get my first bachelor's degree. I did a semester at Winthrop University, decided I was tired of school, and took....13 years off.

4. For my bachelor's, it has taken three schools in order to complete it. Winthrop University, Community College of the Air Force, and now University of Maryland University College (mainly on-line if overseas like I am at the moment).

5. I was in the military (Air Force) for 4 years, which is where I met my husband. :-) It was his first base and my  second. 

What are 5 random facts about you?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spring Here? Maybe

The calendar says it's been spring for a while. Right? Well, apparently the country where we live hasn't caught up to that. According to the locals that have lived here for years, this year has been the coldest spring in decades. Nice. It's also one of the oddest. One day it's nice and warm (as in maybe short sleeves, but a wind breaker), but the next it's chilly and you're grabbing sweatshirts. It is the typical spring weather in some ways: lots of rain followed by sunshine.

Either way, winter is past (no snow in our futures this or past season). That means time to put up the winter coats. I'm the type of person that doesn't like hanging something in a wardrobe (no closets here) that has been worn for weeks and will sit enclosed for months at a time. Ewwww. So, I've slowly been washing the coats that I can (the cloth-type ones) in preparation for their warm, toasty months of hibernation. Not all of them are done, but the most are. I just washed and dried three that I will be donating to aid those less fortunate. You'd think our coat/jacket closet wardrobe was empty, but not even close. Oh well! Looks like more purging for me. It is spring after all. :-)

Oh, you want proof of Spring? Okay :-)

These are flowers I brought home from the local outdoor, once-a-week market

Monday, April 15, 2013

I'm a Brownie Kinda Girl

Just found this on a blog today. It's cute and fun.

If all of the eight desserts listed below were sitting in front of you,
which would you choose (sorry, you can only pick one)! Trust me...this is
very accurate Pick your dessert, and then look to see what psychiatrists
think about you.

REMEMBER - No Cheating. Make your choice before you check the meaning.

Here are your choices:

1. Angel Food Cake

2. Brownies

3. Lemon Meringue Pie

4. Vanilla Cake With Chocolate Icing

5. Strawberry Short Cake

6. Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Icing

7. Ice Cream

8. Carrot Cake

No, you can't change your mind once you scroll down, so think carefully
about what your choice will be.

OK - Now that you've made your choice, this is what the

researchers say about you... SCROLL DOWN---No Cheating

1. ANGEL FOOD CAKE -- Sweet, loving, cuddly. You love all warm and fuzzy
items. A little nutty at times. Sometimes you need an ice cream cone at
the end of the day Others perceive you as being childlike and immature at

2. BROWNIES -- You are adventurous, love new ideas, and are a champion of
underdogs and a slayer of dragons. When tempers flare up you whip out your
saber. You are always the oddball with a unique sense of humor and
direction. You tend to be very loyal.

3. LEMON MERINGUE -- Smooth & articulate with your hands, you are
an excellent caregiver and a good teacher. But don't try to walk and chew
gum at the same time. A bit of a diva at times, you set your own style
because you do your own thing. You shine when it comes to helping others
and have many friends.

4. VANILLA CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE ICING -- Fun-loving, sassy, humorous, not
very grounded in life; very indecisive and lacking motivation. Everyone
enjoys being around you, but you are a practical joker. Others should be
cautious in making you mad. However, you are a friend for life.

5. STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE -- Romantic, warm, loving. You care about other
people, can be counted on in a pinch and expect the same in return.
Intuitively keen. You can be very emotional at times but a true person in
every way. You like to do things for yourself and help others learn about

6. CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE ICING -- Always ready to give and
receive. Very creative, adventurous, ambitious, and passionate. You can
appear to have a cold exterior but
are warm on the inside. Not afraid to take chances. Will not settle for
anything average in life. Love to laugh.

7. ICE CREAM -- You like sports, whether it is baseball, football,
basketball, or soccer. If you could, you would like to participate, but
you enjoy watching sports. You don't like to give up the remote control.
You tend to be self-centered and high maintenance.

8. CARROT CAKE -- You are a very fun loving person, who likes to laugh.
You are fun to be with. People like to hang out with you. You are a very
warm hearted person and a little quirky at times. You have many loyal
friends. You were meant to lead and teach others. A wonderful role model.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Search Engines

Everyone who is on-line has used a search engine at one time or another. And everyone has their favorites. My sister uses one called DogpileMost folks I know use Google. 
Google has become so popular that instead of saying "I'm going to search the internet for that info", it's "I'm going to Google that info." Yep, Google has become a noun and a verb. That topic is for another post.

The reason for this one is yet another blog I found. She created two search engines using this page to do so. The first one is Christian Homemaking/Womanhood Search Engine. That one she created "with results from [her] favorite websites such as Biblical Womanhood, Tammy's Recipes, Keeping the Home, The Sparrow's Nest and many others."

The other one is Frugal Search Engine. This one "searches [her] favorite deal websites and frugal blogs." And how many of us don't want to save money? Yeah, I have a feeling I'll be using this one a bit.

So, now you have two (three?) search engines in case Google is not exactly what you're hoping for. :-)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Peace Out from Protein Bar Willow

I found this on a new blog I've working my way through and thought I'd share.
1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car):
Gumdrop Fiat
2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie):
Sweet Cream Peanut Butter
3. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal):
Blue Dog
4. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born):
Marie Trenton
5. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink):
The Blue Coke
6. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers):
Romee Bufford
7. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ):
Marie Hoyt
8. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter):
Simon Singapore (don't remember teacher, so picked one I did)
9. SPY NAME: (your favorite season/holiday, flower):
Spring Daffodil
10. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”):
Strawberry Shirty
11. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree):
Protein Bar Willow
12. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”):
The Reading Breeze Tour

Odd, but fun. What are yours?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Made That Pin

In the last post, I talked about Pinterest. If you're on the bandwagon, you're probably like most and have pinned and pinned and pinned and....well, you get the idea. Ummmm....oh yeah! You've probably pinned a lot of stuff, but that's it. I know I've pinned tons of stuff all over the net and it....well, it's pretty looking and organized, but that's mainly it.

Months back, one of the blogs I read instituted a Pinterest Challenge. The first such challenge can be found here. I found it interesting, but hadn't personally discovered pinterest (I was stubborn). I had refused, got curious, and then fell myself. I'm not on the site as much as some of my friends, but I do tend to pin a lot given that I downloaded that cool little "Pin It" button for my toolbar. Anywho.....I too pinned and pinned, but never really did anything.

Then, a few months ago hubby & I decided to do a meal plan each week. We got tired of eating junk or grabbing take-away because we couldn't decide what to have. Our meal plan solves that. One thing that we instituted after a couple weeks was a Try-a-New-Recipe night. The night itself varies, but given the stack of recipes we own and the thousands (millions?) on-line, we figured we would try a new dish and see how it went. We've learned that some are definite keepers while others are....well, the gravy is a keeper, but not the meat.

I found three new blogs that I'm still working my way from the beginning through. One day I came across a recipe that looked soooooo yummy. Soooo I did what any respecting follower would do and pinned it for future reference (lol right?). Guess what? I actually made it. And it. was. yummy!!!!!!!

Here's the pin. The blog I got it from (Goodlifeblog) is great too :-)

So, how did it come out? I'll let you judge from the pictures.

There's enough left in the pot for hubby's lunch tomorrow. I call that a winner :-)


A lot of folks that I know (mainly women) found and fell head-over-heals for a little site called Pintrest. For those that don't know what the obsession is (there are those out there), here's a Gen-version of what it is (that's my version....Gen being me :-) ).....

Old-school version is a cork board surrounded by a wooden frame. Thumb tacks or push pins were used to attach those ripped-out-of-magazines-pictures of clothes/food/hairstyles/rooms that we just had to have.
Then, crafty ladies attacked these ugly boards in order to make them prettier....or to "go with" the room they were to be in. And then came the fabric stapled ones wrapped in ribbon. You could still use pins, but most wouldn't since that would mar the fabric.

Fast forward to the digital age where everyone's on-line. Both of those are still around to be sold and used (and redecorated to your taste). However, what about when you find something on some random website and just love or have-to-have-it!!!? Fortunately, Firefox and Google Chrome (along with IE?) have a "favorites" or a "bookmark" to keep those. That was/is all well and good, but what happens if (oh no!) your computer crashes? Then what? ALL of those favorites/bookmarks are stuck on a hard drive that isn't going to cough up that precious data (trust me! I lost lots of pics that way *sob!).

Soooooo along came a nifty-digital age idea...Pinterest. It is a digital pinboard where everything is digital. The boards are digital, the "pins" are digital, and the users are all on-line. The pins on Pinterest are the web pages that you want to keep (similar to bookmarking) showing an image on that particular page. The sight is free and you can make as many boards as you want (from what I've found so far). So if there's recipes you want to try eventually or a room you want to redo and get ideas for, you can make boards for it and pin to your heart's content. Oh! A nice little trick I found was a Search bar. If you want to look for DIY totes, just type it in and Pinterest will show all of the pins from users that have anything remotely to do with DIY or totes or both.
Tip: I've tried and Pinterest won't "pin" a page unless there's a picture to go along with it....even if that pic is just the cover photo and has nothing to do with the mouth-watering recipe you found.

My goal for this post was actually going to be a "I pinned it and did it", but after the explanation above, I'll save that for the next post.

Disclaimer: This is a post of my own. I was not asked to or paid by anyone including pinterest for writing it.

Friday, March 22, 2013


Found this list on another blog and thought I'd share my thoughts :-)

4 Jobs You've Had in Your Life:
1. Babysitter (didn't most girls?)
2. Waitress
3. Cashier
4. Bookkeeper

4 Movies You Could Watch Over and Over:
This one is hard because I rarely watch them more than once....I know how they end.
1. Twister (no clue why, but if I'm watching TV (rarely these days) and it's on, I will watch it from wherever it is to the end).

2. Most of the Christmas movies
3. Some of the Disney movies
4. Most of the 80s movies

4 Things You Want to Do:
1. Re-learn how to sew so I can buy cheap clothes and alter them to fit me
2. Walk a 5K
3. Finish a Master's degree (almost done with my bachelor's)
4. Get us completely out of debt

4 Songs You Could Listen to Again and Again:
Can't narrow this down to just four, so here's all I listen to:
My iPod (which is nothing but Gospel and Christian music)
K-Love :-)

4 Website You Visit Daily:
1. Hotmail
2. Facebook
3. Google Reader
4. Random blogs that I can't finish reading in reader

4 Clothing Items You Could Not Live Without:
1. Trainers
2. Comfy pants (what hubby & I call the PJ pants you can get in a mix of designs and colors)
3. T-Shirts
4. Reebok shorts in the warmer months

4 Places You Want to Go:
1. Greece
2. Japan
3. Grand Canyon
4. Follow the old Route 66 from end to end

What are your Fours?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Canvas Art Class Project

About a month or so ago, I signed up for a class through a local Arts & Crafts Center. The class was on how to make Vintage Canvas Art. This past Monday the class finally happened.

This post is rather picture heavy. :-)

This is our instructor with all of the papers we got to choose from.
The hardest part was picking just seven. I found 12. Yeah....
So, I narrowed it down. The papers on the left were going to be: the top 3 were going to be embellishments; the bottom one was to be the middle. We had to find the 7; place them; and then fold them down around the canvas using Popsicle sticks (or as I called them Tongue Depressors)

As you can probably tell, it changed. Out went the clocks and in came the one on the bottom right. Why? My theme was vintage travel. Clocks fit okay, but not as well as the replacement one. Also, the "baggage" one got top right instead. This is the placement of all of them (minus the middle one) after they were folded down.

Once we had it placed how we wanted it, then came the gluing. We glued (using Modge Podge) from the bottom one going up in layers. The "map" was first; then the top left one. The middle right had to be placed, then I used a pencil mark to mark on the canvas where it was to stop.

All glued minus the top one.

I missed a picture. Sorry.
The middle one ("stamps" from around the world) glued on next.

While the whole thing dried (I glued down the corners which left glue on other bits as well), we chose embellishments. Those embellishments are the balloon (top left); camera (middle left); "Cherish the Moments" (under the camera); and the olden bicycle (bottom right). We used more Mod Podge to glue them down.

Then came the antiquing. Since the instructor didn't have any Antique Mod Podge, I used Distress Ink in Walnut Stain to brown the white bits to "age" the art.

Better, no? If you can't tell the difference, compare the picture above the bike on this picture and the one above the ink. Also, if you look closely, I added something "extra" to the Telegram. Can you guess what?

After the ink dried a bit, we sealed it with a sealer. This time it was Satin finish Mod Podge. I chose that one since I didn't want it is vintage after all right?

This is the canvas just a few minutes ago....after 1 1/2 days of drying. I love it! I just gotta find a spot to put it.

Now that the class is over and I've learned how to do this, I have a feeling I'll be doing more of these. They're the perfect "scrapbook page"-type art to show off special occasions or unforgettable events.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Brush with 112--Part I

While my injury story started on a Saturday morning, the reason why I was where I was happened about a month prior.

Every year, a Bible conference is held at Interlaken in Switzerland. It's not cheap, but from everyone who has went has said that it is worth it. It's a yearly event that occurs not long after July 4th. Hubby was on a 6-month business trip and our pastor's wife convinced me to go. I found a great deal on a room and a friend, that was already going, wanted to tag along with me and pay half the gas. Yeah! Reservation made, room booked, bags packed, a house/dog sitter booked, dog food bags made up, and lists made. Everything was going perfect except for one little detail:
Going from the north-eastern part of Italy where we live to Interlaken meant one of two ways....1) Go through the mountain via a 5 (or 10..don't remember now) mile tunnel OR 2) go over the mountain where you could glance out your passenger window and see straight drops. Oh goody! Sounds like something that would make me either hurl or pass out. Since I hated both ideas, but the thought of plunging to my death (slowly) off a steep mountain was worse, I chose through the looooooong tunnel. Dear Adele (above said pastor's wife) asked to ride along when we got to that point. Yea, a God-fearing lady who has been to the conference for at least the past 9 years chooses the tunnel over the over-pass if she has the option...."Although the tunnel's not ideal." Ummmm....WHAT?!?!

The closer to the day, the more nervous I got. I was so nervous (butterflies and all) the night before that I barely slept...not a good thing given that I was about to embark on a 9 to 10-hour drive....part of the way through a looooong tunnel. Oh! And Interlaken is snug in a mountain valley, so more mountain driving. {See why I was a tad nervous?}

I woke up the morning of July 9th, 2011 with a tummy-full of butterflies and a pit of dread in my gut. I prayed starting almost from the moment I opened my eyes. I got up at 4:30am. I took a shower and finished the last bit of prep. I had packed a suitcase for staying in a dorm-type room....I had enough clothes and toiletries for the week along with dish washing stuff and a few things to keep me entertained during downtimes. I had packed the Jeep the night before and had parked it downstairs in the attached garage (originally built as a ground-floor house with its' own entrance, but work stopped when the son changed his mind....the vehicles are normally parked underneath the bedroom/half-bath/office) so that it was safe as well as enclosed for the last few items. I shut the dogs behind the hallway door that led to the bedrooms and grabbed the first of 2 loads I had left to take. In my arms were: my handbag (that had my phone and a bottle of water for the drive), pillow (I take it with me when I travel as a sense of home), and a bag of recycling that needed to go (as a last prep for the dog/housesitters).

This first pic is looking down the stairs from our "livable floor."
 This pic shows the height of the stairs. Taken from the ground floor looking towards the back. Around the corner is where we can park our vehicles out of the elements.

Now that you know what I was carrying, visualize that......

Arms full.

Italian steps (higher than American ones).

A bottom step that has an extra inch-ish because it doesn't quite touch the concrete floor.

Oh! And slippy sandals. The type that when you take a wrong step, your feet tend to slide in them.
This is not the offending shoe. That one was tossed by a dear friend of mine. Hopefully with Oomph! lol

Now that you know the background, the stage is set for what happened next.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Resolutions for 2012 and 2013

At the end of Summary for December 2012, I mentioned New Year's and how the house got a bit emptier. For the New Years Eve post, I talked about what we did and a few Italian traditions. I still didn't talk about the rest.....emptiness.

Resolutions. They are theory. A lot of times in practice, not so much.

Most of the times those "resolutions" end by the time the Super Bowl kicks off. To change that habit in myself, I altered the name to "Goals" for 2012. I'll post just how I wrote them back on January 1, 2012. They were:

1. Toss at least 1 item per day of excess.

2. De-Clutter!!! & Purge!

3. Have a cleaner, emptier (of junk), & more organized house.

4. Be a healthier & skinnier me. did I do? Let's see....
1. This,.....altered. About half way through January, I found a post somewhere on Facebook that mentioned they did (in 2010 or 2011)....hard to remember how they explained it, but suffice it to say that I did the same with 2012. My new goal was to get rid of SIX items each day January through June and then FIVE items each day July through December. The total result (the hard to explain part above) was 2, 012 items gotten rid of in the year of 2012. Cool, huh? And............
I succeeded!!! Now, not all of the items, hand-held. Some of those items were electronic. Electronic clutter is still clutter. I was keeping "CDs" on iTunes that I NEVER listened to. Why? Gone! Those must-keep-these-efiles-to-read-sometime-in-the-future? Gone! However, the majority of the items were physical. Toss, donate, sell, shred.....gone. Because I did it over the course of a year, it's hard to tell "yes, it's emptier". But looking at some earlier house pics.....totally can tell. Some though are easy to notice, like the furniture we sold.

2. Obviously did rather well on this one. Is the house completely de-cluttered? Not a chance. At first, finding things to get rid of was really easy....that easy type of clutter always is. You know? The ripped/stained/holey clothes that you should have tossed ages ago. The read-it-one-day stuff you know you're never going to get around to....5 years after you kept it. As time went on, it got a little harder. Fortunately it was something I wanted to do as opposed to something I was forced to do. The more sentimental stuff does get harder....especially for us women. Women tend to be more sentimental/emotional/etc. about items that men are. Not all, just for the most part. Hubby? Rarely sentimental. Me? I can find sentiment in things from paper to fabric from metal to digital. Fortunately I had some "prep work" behind me. A switch had been flipped (literally I think) after reading a book then a blog. Something about it just....clicked. The author is Brooks Palmer. His approach was like the flip of a switch. Want the book? Found here to buy. The blog found here to read.

3. Cleaner? Well, depends on the day. It is emptier thanks to De-Cluttering Fest 2012.

4. Half and half. Skinnier? No. Healthier? Yes. In July, I was bitten by....who-knows-what-kind-of-bug and had an allergic reaction. Me and a guy are the two people on the whole base that had been seen. TWO. Period. Oy! Allergic reactions to three medicines later, I was better, but still trying to figure out why the reaction wasn't gone. Fast forward to August. My base doc had sent me for test upon test upon test to rule out all of the "biggies." One of the things he had me do was get a bone scan. In an upcoming post, I'll tell why the worry, but long story short: nasty break in left leg; surgery to install 2 plates and 16 screws; 1 1/2 years later. Did the infection enter into the bone and/or metal? Only the bone scan would tell. Have you ever had one? No? Well, they inject a radioactive dye into your arm (yeah, in.....glowy bits) to travel throughout your body to take pics (for lack of a better word) to see the inside of the bones.

After going through that, I got to thinking about chemicals. OK.....I had already been thinking it since I had been reading on blog after blog about going greener. And a friend mentioned getting back to the basics (including natural stuff...not a nudist stuff). Soooo the foundation was laid when I had this day-spent-at-the-Pordenone-Hospital. Over the next few months, I changed a LOT about the products I use. The items swapped out:

Dish Soap (no machine dishwasher....only me)
Shampoo (realized my hair does better without conditioner...go figure)
Face Astringent (have you read some of those labels?! Perfume?!?!?! No wonder we break out. Geesh!)
Shower Gel
Clothes Soap
Dryer Stuff (use woolen dryer balls....cheaper and healthier)
Napkins and Paper Towels (both now linen....haven't bought paper versions in about a year!!!)
Cleaning Supplies
Canned Dog Food (for Belle....Natural or for Seniors {she is 13 after all})

Along with the above, I've also swapped out linen or glass or wood or metal for a lot of plastic items around the house.
Am I where I want to be? No. I have gotten rid of a lot of chemicals and my body is still trying to adjust to the lack of. I started breaking out on my forehead. First time since....teens? A friend whose into natural remedies for ailments said it's my body's way of helping me. One way to get rid of toxins is through the skin (largest organ after all) and that removal can cause an overabundance of oil. There for a while I could cover a tissue twice (or more?) a day in oil from my forehead. It's slowed down recently. Good thing.

For 2013, my goals are:
1. Get rid of 1 item (or group) per day
2. Be healthier and skinnier
3. Finish Bachelor's Degree

What about you? How did you do? What are your goals for this year?

Disclaimer: Nothing I've mentioned have I been paid to promote...I just approve of the products on my own.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What's Not to Like?

I know this post should have be the end of the year post, but I'm putting that off until later.

I read a post from one of the blogs on my list and thought it sounded like an interesting topic. She was talking about foods that others love, but she just can't stand for one reason or another. Sooooo here's my turn at it. :-)

Five foods that I just cannot eat.

1. Cooked Carrots and/or Onions.

Can't do it. For me, it's mainly a texture thing. Carrots should crunch. Onions, well, I can eat them cooked on a pizza or on a burger/wrap. When onions are in a sauce, can't do it. When it's chew, chew, crunch my stomach turns. *shudder

2. Cute Animals

I can't eat a piece of meat knowing that this cute, innocent little animal is behind it. Cows? Ugly. Baby cows (calfs)? Adorable. Sheep? Cute. Deer? Cute and I think of Bambi. Chicken? Ugly and mean.

3. Seafood

A lot of folks, including hubby, would look at the above picture and drool. Me? Not so much. First off, it doesn't help that I'm allergic to the smell as well as the taste of fish...and pretty much the rest too. Fortunately for seafood-loving-hubby I have a strong stomach. He can order/eat his seafood and I eat my chicken or salad. I accidently got a tuna and mayo sandwich (it wasn't labeled and I don't understand a lot of Italian). About half-way through my stomach reminded me of why I don't eat seafood. Period. I kept it down, but just barely. I felt ill for a good hour after. Oh well. such is life.

4. Iced Coffee

On this one, I did try. I love coffee. Italian espresso is my favorite. Some is strong enough to give a nice little jolt to a caffeine-addict like me. So, when a friend handed me her iced coffee to try, I thought Why not? I had to force my throat to swallow. Nope. Coffee has to be hot apparently. When things are outside their norm, apparently my taste buds reject them. Oh well, guess I'll have to drink it the Italian way: Hot and straight.

5. Mushrooms

This one is a mix of three reasons. One, there's no real taste to them....they take on the flavor of whatever you're mixing them with. Two, the texture thing...yeah, no. And the biggie: I know how they're grown. Just like hotdogs and bologna, I can't do it. Knowledge is power, but can also remind you how that item came to be. I won't go into it, but.....No. All I think of when I see a 'shroom isn't the trip the 60s teens took but how they're grown. Hotdogs and flattened hotdogs (or bologna).....same thing. Once I know how it's grown or made, the willingness to eat it goes plunging out the window.

What about you? What are your "EWWWW" foods?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Year's Eve

At the end of the last post I mentioned this post. When I started typing it, I realized that it was going to be a long one if I crammed both together, so it'll be two posts instead of 1. Since New Year's Eve comes before the 1st of January, that's up first. :-)

If you've followed along, you've gathered somewhere along the way that we currently live in Italy. Italians are rather obsessed fond of fireworks. As is seriously fond of. They tend to go off for random reasons along with holiday ones. If a favored football (that's soccer to Americans) team won a sought after game, fireworks are shot off. Sometimes hubby and I wonder if they even know. ;-)  The typical times are from New Year's Eve pretty much through the night before Epiphany. Epiphany is the 6th of January. The night before is La Befana. I'll get to that when I get caught up with these posts.

Setting off lots of fireworks is a beloved tradition. Last, for the end of 2011, fireworks were set off constantly over the course of 30 minutes....from the stroke of Midnight on. Yeah, they love 'em. This past year, they.......

Wait.....I'm getting ahead of myself. Back up a few hours.

On Sunday (the 30th of December), after church a bunch of us went out for lunch. After it was over, a few of us stayed a bit longer and chatted. Ms. Adele (our lovely pastor's wife...a second mama/my Italian mom) has her birthday on December 31st. One thing she loves is seafood. Well, long story shorter hubby and I made plans to meet up with them around 11 on the 31st to go on a day trip. We did. It was: Pastor Sam, Adele, their grown son, their grandson, hubby, and I. We met and followed them (they knew how to get there, we didn't) to Caorle and then onto Jesolo....both in Italy. Caorle is on the water....the Adriatic and is highly favored by Pastor and Adele for their seafood.

I guess if you want good, fresh seafood, it's better if you go to the sea as opposed to it coming to you. Their son, their grandson, & I ordered other stuff (they got pizza, I got a steak-type dish and salad). The rest got plates of seafood. After a yummy lunch, we walked around the town

and then along the beach for a bit.

It was beautiful and not as cold as I thought it would be given that it was on the water. They too have a leaning tower, but obviously not as famous as another one.

We didn't stay too much longer because we wanted to go to Jesolo.

They have a sand nativity scene set up that was only running for a few more days. We all wanted to go, so off we went.


These aren't all the pics or all of the sand sculptures. It was housed in a HUGE tent. There is a group of artists that take mounds of sand and transform it into works of art.

We stopped by a restaurant on the way home to get take away. We chose to take it home and spend the evening alone together. While waiting for our food, we looked up Italian traditions. Interesting. Some are food related, others are....superstitious at best.

One of those is fireworks. Now, back to the beginning where I left off. As stated earlier, at the end of 2011 fireworks were set off constantly over the course of 30 minutes....from the stroke of Midnight on. Yeah, they love 'em. This past year, they didn't let them off continuously as before. But, by the time we heard the last firework go off, it had been well over an hour. Yep, a bit past 1 AM. The best part is that where our house is, we can stand on our outside landing and see fireworks on three sides...the house is blocking the fourth side. The best picture would have been to our left. You can see the church steeple and they were shooting off fireworks that hit just to the left of it. Apparently about a week earlier (maybe for a test run), they were shooting off fireworks and hubby stated they were hitting just over and around the steeple. Either way...a beautiful sight. Ringing in the New Year with my little family of me, hubby, and our dog Belle was perfect for us.