Friday, May 25, 2012

A Little Fun with Five Question Friday

I haven't done this for a long, long time.  I was just looking around some of my favorite blogs, saw the questions and decided this was a good week to  jump back into the fray.  : )  

You can always join the fun, too!  Just click on the button, copy the questions and link up!  : )

1. Are you a napper?
I sure didn't used to be, but I am learning the joys of a sweet little afternoon visit with The Sandman from time to time.  I'm guessing it's mostly because I haven't been sleeping too well at night.  Whatever the reason, I even enjoy an occasional power nap on the front porch swing.  But please don't tell.  Passersby need to continue to believe I'm simply enjoying some great reading on my Kindle.  ; )

2. What was your favorite subject in school? Most hated?
English.  I don't remember any grade in school when I didn't enjoy English class.  Some years I enjoyed it much more than others, but it was always my favorite.  In ninth grade, I learned more from Mrs. Coon than any English teacher I'd ever had.  She was tough and expected you to pay attention and apply yourself.  In tenth grade I had Mr. Smith, who taught me to enjoy Shakespeare.  My junior year I had Mrs. Recco and I loved her class!  We read The Scarlet Letter and I never imagined I could enjoy that story, but she made sure we understood what we were reading and made it fun by including some of my favorite writing assignments of my high school career.   

During my seventh, eighth and ninth grade years I took Mechanical Drawing and I have to say I loved it, too.  : )  My teacher, Mr. Turley, was simply the best.  I dearly loved that man. 

The class I hated the most would have to be biology.  I liked all of my science classes through ninth grade, but Advanced Biology in tenth just about wore me out.  Mrs. K. and Mr. Rexroad were the best science teachers I ever had and my AB teacher just couldn't hold a candle to them. 
3. Did you have the something old, new, borrowed and blue at your wedding? What were they?
I did!  : )  I had two 'old' items.  One was a handkerchief that had belonged to my grandmother and the other a bride's Bible that had been given to me when I was born.  The 'new' were my earrings.  The 'borrowed' was a necklace, I believe. The 'blue' was the embroidery on the handkerchief.  
4. What one thing are you determined to do this summer?
Enjoy it!  We have a busy summer ahead of us, but I intend to enjoy every moment I possibly can.  Perri just finished her first year of high school and I can feel time slipping through my fingers like sifting sand.  It's going too quickly!
5. Ice cream or Popsicles?
I positively adore chocolate ice cream, but these days I have to find ice cream made with soy or coconut milk.  That is sometimes a tall order around these parts. I do, however, enjoy a great Popsicle!  My favorite flavor is banana, but I also enjoy a box of mixed melon from time to time.  A few watermelon, a few honeydew and a few cantaloupe.  Those are such fresh flavors for Popsicles!   

I'm not sure why my font is such a mess and the spacing is peculiar.  I do believe Blogger doesn't really like me much at all.  Whatever the problem is, I can't seem to correct it.  I apologize for the appearance of this blog.  Messy! 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Endings....and Beginnings!

The school year is ending and I couldn't be happier.  : )  We are so looking forward to summer!  And while I know that it is technically almost a month away, summer begins for us this weekend.  For the first time EVER, my kids get out of school before Memorial Day Weekend!  This is thanks to the mild winter we had this year and having no snow days. 

Looking forward to many days like this:
 (Think we need a bigger pool?  : ) )

Unfortunately, our school system is choosing to begin the new school year earlier and earlier each year.  When I was in school, the first day was always the Tuesday after Labor Day.  When my two older kids were in school, it began the week before Labor Day.  Now it is starting the middle of August, with the 16th being the start date for the upcoming school year.  Not gonna pretend to like that

But for now we're going to enjoy the warm summer days of softball tournaments, splashing in the pool (a larger one than what's pictured above!) and, later on this summer, a week of sand and surf.  We'll relax on the front porch swing, sipping iced tea, reading a good book (or two...or ten) and complaining that it's just too darn hot!  And summer evenings will find us sitting around the backyard fire ring, the kids' smiles rimmed in melty chocolate and marshmallows. 

Fireflies will be caught, Spotlight will be played and much stargazing will be enjoyed.  

Does it get any better?

I think not.

Life, my friends, is good.  : ) 

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Porch Project

I consider myself a southern girl at heart.  I like hot, buttery grits; tall glasses of ice cold tea; and I dearly love a slow, southern drawl.  Best of all, I adore a comfortable and inviting front porch.  Those southerners just know how to make you feel right at home, you know?  Don't you just love their deep porches loaded with rocking chairs, swings, lots of ferns and flowers and pretty things sitting around?  I know I do. 

Since we built this house in 1998, it has been my goal to create cozy outdoor spaces that make you want to sit down and visit for a little while.  Our outdoor season (the months when being outside is tolerable) typically runs from May through September.  By the beginning of October folks around here are usually taking down the front porch swing, dumping out the pots of annuals because that early frost got 'em, and beginning their winter hibernation.  Not us.  We tend to leave that swing hanging until we're sure there won't be another even semi-warm day, usually about the time we're ready to hang the Christmas lights.  ; )  And it's not unusual to catch us outside on those surprisingly warm and sunny days that tend to sneak into the early part of April, between the rain and the snow. 

Well, this year I'm determined to create an outdoor space worthy of one of those tall glasses of iced tea, a good book on my Kindle and maybe even a midday nap.  As I posted here the other day, I've already put out some flowers and begun the transformation from winter blandness to summer cheer.  Now I'm going to share with you my latest endeavor...pillows for the front porch swings.  : )

First of all, if you've priced pillows lately, you know they're outrageously expensive.  It just isn't in our budget to spend that kind of money on pretties for the porch. And frankly, I think these look just as nice as anything I might have gone out and bought, plus I like the fact that it's my own design.  : )  It's fun to come up with an idea and then make it come to life!

Here's a closeup of one of my creations:
And a shot of the detachable strip...I'm making several with different designs so I can change them out for a different look from time to time:
Sitting pretty on the swing:
I think you'll be amazed at how little I spent, too.  First of all, WalMart had standard bed pillows for $2.50 each.  I bought four (we have two front porch swings) and left the plastic casing on them so they won't get soaked if I happen to forget to take them in when it rains.  Then I picked up a 60"x102" tablecloth from the clearance aisle for $5.00.  Folks, that's a BUNCH of fabric for $5!  I also hit the clearance fabric for some small pieces in colors I wanted, as well as the buttons I used for the centers of the yoyo flowers.  Grand total for fabric and buttons:  $3 and change.  Last but not least, I bought Velcro for $ .88.  Less than $20 to create 4 LARGE porch pillows!  Plus I can change out the strips to suit my mood.  I am already making red, white and blue ones for the 4th of July.  : )

Now I think I'll head back to WalMart to see if there are more of those tablecloths left.  I'm thinking I'll make long cushions for the seats, too.  Plus I have a couple of rocking chairs that need pillows as well.

If I have time later, I'm going to figure out how to do a linky party so we can all link up and share our outdoor spaces.  : )  Hope you'll check back later and join in!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tipsy and Staggering....and haven't had a drop to drink! ; )

Beautiful weather and comfortable temps have made it the ultimate time to be outside working in the yard and getting things ready for porch-sitting season.  The siding has been pressure-washed, the porch floor got another coat of polyurethane and the swings and rocking chairs have been scrubbed. Now I'll share a few of the things I've done to pretty up the place.

First I got my tipsy pots planted. In years past I have used different types of plants in each pot, but this year I opted for the same flowers in different colors. Can't wait until it fills out and the colors really POP!
Next, I brought out my old RC Cola crates. I did this stagger-stacking once before and loved it, so I decided it was time to recreate the look once again. First I lined them with plastic so the wood wouldn't rot from all the watering.

This is one of my shepherd's hooks and I placed it to the right of the garage, where it can be seen by everyone who visits. Sometimes we don't think to decorate anywhere but the very front of the house and I'm doing my best to spread the love this year.
We still have some things to do in the flower beds, as well as some work around the hay rake I have as a focal point in the area between the barn and the road. I'm hoping to get some black-eyed Susans planted around it once again because I really miss my Susans. I'm about to make some pillows for the front porch swings, too. If they turn out the way I'm hoping, I'll be sure to post pics and instructions. : )

As soon as my sitting areas on the porch are all done, I hope to share some pics with you and I'd love to do a 'Front Porch Party' of some sort, where we can all link up and share pics of our favorite outdoor areas.  : )

Friday, May 11, 2012

I Find That Veddy, Veddy Pinteresting!

 *Said in my veddy best Colonel Klink accent! ; )*

So just how Pinterested are you these days?  I confess.  I'm ADDICTED!  At first I didn't get the appeal.  What's the big deal about sticking all those pictures in one place?  Why would you need to do such a thing?  And why subject myself to yet another online addiction? 

Ummm....yeah.  Well, I went and did it anyway.  And it's GREAT!

For those of you unfamiliar with it (HELLOOOO?  Spending much time under a rock lately?) Pinterest allows you to create boards (think collections) of pictures from all around the Internet and you group them by subject.  For instance, Food.  On your Food board you would pin pics of dishes you'd like to make, pretty desserts, healthy ingredient substitutions, etc.  Whatever it is you find that relates to food, you can pin on  your Food board.  This is being very general and I'll tell you right now you're gonna want to create boards that don't cover such a broad subject.  You're far better off (for organization's sake) to create a board for desserts, one for main dishes, one for casseroles, etc.

Well, if you're silly like me, you pin a couple of pics and then think "Now what?  I don't get it.  They're pictures and they're on MY board and I have no idea what to do with them!"  That's when I realized that I could click on that pic of those yummy looking enchiladas and it would take me to the website where the recipe was listed!  Now doesn't that make so much sense?  Instead of bookmarking a whole lot of pages and knowing full well you'll probably never remember to go through all those bookmarks to find the Christmas recipe or craft idea you discovered while surfing the web back in March, you just look at your Pinterest boards and click on a pic!  Cool, huh?  : )  And a very clever concept.

A few of the things I've pinned?  Well, here's a sampling.  A very small sampling.  ; )

On my board titled Craftiness:

How cute is that?  Buttons, beads and sawed-off silverware. 
A great little pin to give Mom on Mother's Day.

On my board titled Worth Reading:

On this board I've started pinning books I've read recently
(and some not so recently)
along with a little mini book review.
This particular book, BTW...

On my board titled A Girl Can Dream, Can't She?:
Isn't that perfect?
Just how inspired could a girl be in a place like that?
I can only imagine.  : )
Pretty, petite and private...a place to dream.

On my board titled Here's Your Sign:
There are so many of these cute clips
floating around out there in cyberspace!
I adore this one!  : )

And those are just a few of the things I've been pinning.  How about you?  Could I possibly Pinterest you in a new hobby? ; )  Just take a peek at the link below if you'd like to see some of the other things I've been pinning lately.  There are so many great ideas there!  And Pinterest is a terrific way to spread the love. <3

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I'll Tell You if You'll Tell Me

There is much to tell you about these weeks I've spent away from blogging.  I've taken a great deal of time to sort through all the thoughts in my head regarding what to tell, what to leave out, where to begin.  Talk about overwhelming!  Finally I have decided that there will be no recap of all that's transpired during my time away.  It would be long, tedious and mostly boring anyway.  If something special comes to mind, that is when I'll write about it.  Believe me when I tell you that many times during my hiatus things happened that made me think 'I need to blog about that someday!'  Of course when I sit down and try to force the matter, try to come up with something witty or inspiring about which to write, I draw a complete blank.  Isn't that the way it goes? 

So here I am, giving it another go, hoping to be able to 'pencil it in' and find my blogging groove yet again.  Strange how you can miss something so very much and yet find yourself completely incapable of doing it when you finally find the time.  Some days my fingers can't keep up with my thoughts.  Other days I can't even pry loose an opening sentence. 

But here are the things I can tell you:
Contrary to how this all might be coming across to you, I am in a good place right now!  : )  Life is busy, but not too busy.  Everyone is healthy and doing the things they love to do and anxiously awaiting that final school bell that will ring freedom in just a few days.  I think I am as excited about summer break as the kids are this year!  While I'm not crazy about temps over 80*, there are so many things about the summer months that I do love.  Evening fires in the backyard fire ring and lots of ooey-gooey s'mores.  Giggling kids running barefoot and jelly jars glowing with lightning bugs.  Cornhole and bocce ball, croquet and badminton.  And mowing.  Lots and lots of mowing.  (I really do love that, you know.  It's 'me time'.) 

We've already enjoyed some of all of those things, with the exceptions of croquet and bocce.  Haven't broken out the sets just yet, but I can assure you their day is coming. 

For now, with the kids in school and The Hubster at work, I am going to catch up the laundry and plan a quick dinner for this evening since Tucker has a baseball game.  I'm sure the vacuum will find its way out of the closet and into my hands at some point because the upstairs carpeting is begging for attention.  And later, if the yard is still too wet from recent rains for me to mow, I may just spend a little time in the kitchen baking.  However, I'm hoping for a dry enough yard.  Some great music on my iPhone and a couple of hours spent in the company of John Deere sounds like just what the doctor ordered.  ; )

Now, do tell.  When does your summer begin?  And what is it you're most looking forward to this year?  Special plans or just enjoying the laid back attitude that defines the season?