Monthly Archives: May 2012


I’ve been drooling over the mantels I’ve seen on Pinterest. I just love the options they give for decorating. There are so many cute ideas and I wanted one of my own. We have a fire-place in the family room that I love, but we really don’t hang out there very often. I needed a place for seasonal decor in my dining room. Two needs (ok, wants); one solution. I thought about searching flea markets for the perfect one – an old one to repurpose. But, then graduation was fast approaching and I wanted it done before that. I knew who to call.

I sent 3 pictures and some dimensions to my dad along with a request from his only daughter. Please, Dad, can you make me one of these…before graduation?

He had a few questions.

And then when they came to visit, I had a mantel! I just needed to do the finish paint. Dad had put a base coat of flat latex in dark brown over the whole mantel. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of it in process or painted brown. I was, after all, trying to complete a ridiculously long to-do-before-graduation list. I didn’t even take any pictures in the process. I did the painting between finishing the concrete patio and laying the sod. I had a narrow window of time to get it done. I painted it on Thursday and the party was Saturday! Thank goodness, the technique I found on Pinterest worked BEAUTIFULLY!

Thanks to Ann at Make the Best of Things for the great information and ideas on painting with Elmer’s glue. It was so fun to do! I tried it out first on a stool I had base painted forever ago. I laid the glue on thick, really thick, then painted over it. I’m glad I tried it out on this first, because I didn’t like the effect I got. It was more streaky than crackled. I read through Ann’s notes again and decided to water the glue down for a second try. That was the key!

For my finished product I watered the glue down – about 2 parts glue to 1 part water – and brushed that on the mantel a section at a time. I did the top, then the crown moulding, then the straight parts, then the bottom. I was working outside and it was a pretty windy day. I pretty much put the paint over the glue as soon as I finished the glue coat. Then I watched it work. And it worked great! As the paint and glue dry, it crackles and looks aged.

I couldn’t be happier with the finished product! It is exactly what I pictured. How often does that happen!! And it was hung on the wall and decorated before the graduation party! Yay!



Filed under Creativity, Decor, Home Improvement

Summer List

We used to do a summer list. Not as fancy as some, like Meg over at Whatever. She is so inspiring! But we did a summer list none-the-less. This summer I was thinking maybe we would skip it. Afterall, I work full-time and the boys are 14, 16 and 18. Does a summer list even make sense? Then, on the way home from a workout at the school track we started talking about things we wanted to do this summer. And that sealed the deal! We NEED a summer list. If we don’t write it down the summer will pass and we won’t have done half the things we wanted to do. Our list will just look a little different than others’. Things we can do in the evening and on weekends. Things that teenagers would want to do with their family. So here it is, our summer list.

What’s on your summer list?

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Filed under Family, Legacy

We Survived Graduation!

We did it! I mean he did it! Actually, we all survived. We made it through graduation and all the festivities that ensued. And more importantly, or maybe the question you’ve all been thinking, I survived my Oldest Sons graduation without a meltdown. If you are new to my blog, please know, I’m not a crazy lady. I’m just a pretty emotional Mama. I try to live in the moment and savor each milestone, which sometimes leads to tears of joy, sadness, or frustration. But mostly joy!

Oldest Son’s graduation was a week ago yesterday and a few tears were shed. But the entire week was a joy! It was such a pleasure to watch him participate in all the celebrations. Watching him visit with adults wishing him well, planning a party with his friends, and fitting in time to go to all the celebrations made me proud.

We had a beautiful night for graduation! It was held outside in the football stadium- a relief since tickets are limited if weather forces the ceremony inside.

The ceremony was nicely done – kudos to the administration!

His name was even pronounced correctly! Not a small feat with our last name:).

One set of grandparents were able to join our family at the ceremony. My parents came the weekend before and we put them to work! More on that later. Between that and the amount of walking required, they were both exhausted by the end of the evening. But we’re so glad they could be there!

As we sat in the stands waiting for the ceremony to start, I turned to Hubby and asked, “How did we get here?”

It really did go by in the blink of an eye. It seems such a short time ago we moved to Kansas and were trying to figure out where he would go to elementary school. I remember thinking that was a long ways off. And now, here we are. Parents of a high school graduate! Soon to be parents of a college student. I feel like someone is going to tap me on the shoulder and say – excuse me, you are not qualified for this role. And I will have to say, “I KNOW!”

I guess that is how it always is as parents. You do the best you can, with the information you have. And quite often that information feels very inadequate. I think it’s a miracle really that so many kids turn out to be such great young adults! I know we are beyond proud of the man Oldest Son has become. He continues to amaze us with his integrity, his kindness and his generous spirit. I really can’t wait to see where he goes and who he becomes! Great things are ahead for him.

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Filed under School, Senior Year


A very long time ago, when he was probably 8 years old or maybe a little younger, Oldest Son was laying on the floor in the kitchen with his legs up against the cabinets. He was looking out the window and in the most nonchalant voice told me, “When I grow up I’m going to be  a squirrel.”

It made me giggle. I kind of didn’t want to tell him he couldn’t be a squirrel. I mean, why crush a child’s dreams. What could it hurt?

Except if he were to go to school and tell kids he wanted to be  a squirrel…well that could be awkward.

Fast forward to last week. It was Thursday morning and Oldest Son would be graduating from high school that evening. I looked out the kitchen window as I’ve done hundreds of times. But on this morning I saw something that made me grab my camera.

There was the cutest little squirrel. And it stood there so patiently waiting for me to get my camera and capture the shot. It was almost as though it was posing for me.

Maybe it was a reminder for me of who that little boy was. Of the dreams he had of growing up. Maybe that squirrel was there to give me a moment of pause and reflection on how far he has come. Being my first to graduate I was feeling a little sentimental. Could it be a divine message to be present in the moment and enjoy the events of the day?



It was just a squirrel in the backyard.

But that’s not nearly as deep!


Filed under Goals, Senior Year

Be Content

I put these words on the shelf in my dining room a couple months ago. I was playing with some scrabble letters for another craft project and this just struck me. Content is where I want to be. It’s comfortable. Not elated, not overjoyed, but content.

To me it says satisfied. Not wanting or lacking.

Having enough.

Enough joy, enough love, enough stuff, enough status, enough challenge, enough.

It’s about being ok with where I am in my life.

Not settling, but being ok.

That is where I continue to gravitate. To contentment. It’s what I seek, what I need.

And most days, it’s what I have.

I could have more stuff, more status, more joy. But I am content.

And when I came home from work today, and read those words. I am reminded to Be Content.

I have enough.

All will be ok.


Filed under Lifestyle


I can’t stop laughing. And I really shouldn’t be laughing at all.

It’s that whole I’m deliriously tired so I laugh thing.

One of my kids is trying to finish an assignment that is do tomorrow. It’s midnight. There’s no way he’s gonna get it done. Just isn’t gonna happen. He’s reading the directions  on the assignment and realizing he really picked the wrong book.

My response? To laugh hysterically and say, “your screwed!”

What kind of Mom does that? I mean really. Clearly, no one will accuse me of being a helicopter parent. Maybe that’s the blessing of being completely overwhelmed. No swooping in to fix things for the kids.

I’m about to start my own personal hell week. Remember those from college? The week before finals. It’s the right time of year, but a whole different kind of hell.

I leave at 8 am for a work trip. It’s midnight and my clothes are in the dryer. Nothing is packed. The house is a wreck. There is half-finished bunting strung between furniture in the living room.


The graduation invitations are done and waiting to be addressed and mailed tomorrow by the guys. I know they will get it done (yes, I’m crossing my fingers I’m right!).

Oldest Son’s wallet pics came in the mail today and they look awesome!

Hubby hauled 8 tons of gravel one wheelbarrow full at a time from the driveway to the back yard under the deck and where the new patio will go. I gave him pain pills and sleeping pills when he went to bed tonight. I hope he can walk tomorrow. He did get some help from the boys – I bet they’ll be sore too!

I’ve developed a sty or something in my eye. I’m waiting to wake up with my eye swollen shut. Kind of like Hitch. Wouldn’t that be awesome!

I got a fun email today asking me to take more pictures. That makes me happy.

We looked at the calendar tonight and I don’t think we can take a vacation this year. Sad. Very Sad. Usually it’s looking at the checkbook that makes me think we can’t take a vacation. But no, we have more money than time now. Only because we have no time at all! Ha!

Clearly, it’s time for me to hit the hay. 

So that’s my current chaos. I’ll keep you posted on the awesome grade he’s earning!

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Filed under Randomness

Right Now

I’ve seen a few of these posts and thought it would be fun to try. Here goes!
Right now i am…..
watching: our dog Gracie pace around the front yard barking at us
drinking: nothing, had some wine earlier and thinking about heading to bed before midnight for a change
wearing: my pjs – outside- cause that’s how I roll
eating: nothing, had some cheese and crackers earlier to go with my wine. Not to be confused with my whine:)
listening: to Middle Son talk about the book he’s reading The God Gene; how faith is hardwired into our genes by Dean Hamer. Sounds like a good book.
avoiding: straightening up my house. I really don’t want to. Which means someone will stop by at any minute. That’s how it always happens!
wishing: I could relax and be in the moment right now. Lots of fun things happening. It’s all good, but it’s a lot of stuff. I want to enjoy it all, absorb it all. I know I will look back and wish I had smelled the new cedar (yes, I’m on my new half-finished deck).
feeling:  blessed. overwhelmed. excited. anxious. confident. nervous. lucky. melancholy. deep. behind. lonely.
missing:  my Mom! I need her to come visit me. And move closer so we can have lunch together. And she can give me decorating advice. And remind me to water my flowers. And other Mom stuff.
thankful: I can pick up the phone and call my mom.
craving: time on the beach in the Outer Banks
wondering: how I’m going to get it all done. How I will feel in a month. How on earth I got to this point – close to having a high school graduate. What it will be like when Oldest Son goes off to college.
praying: for peace. for calm and the ability to let it go. For patience. For my boys and all they have to do in the next couple weeks.
needing:  help in the prayer department. A few extra hours in the day – or maybe just a cleaning lady. To go to bed.
Good night!

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Filed under Randomness