We have had lots of struggles and challenges in our lives, but we've had even more blessings!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

'Cozy Country Cottage' Guest Bedroom -

       When our friends bought their cottage a few years ago, they had decorated it with items picked up here and there, stuff out of her dad's storage unit, etc.. Time passed, and after getting a feel for their cottage, what they do there, looking through magazines, visiting cottage shows, etc., Julie had decided what theme she's like to go with and how she'd like to do her cottage. One time, while we were sitting out on it's deck, she shared that she'd decided to let me handle the re-do of the guest bedroom.
      I was both honored and THRILLED!  I LOVE decorating!!!  She gave me 'X' amount of dollars towards the project and I started spouting off ideas. She asked if I wanted to paint the room. I shrugged and said I didn't know.  We decided that I was to take my time with the project, thus being able to scout for "finds".  What fun I had doing just exactly that!
    Time passed. One day, as we were again sitting on her deck, this time discussing some of the treasures I'd found, she again asked if I was going to paint the room.  "That's the second time you've asked me that, I take it you want me to paint the room?"  "I've hated what they did with that room since the first time we walked through this cottage!!!"
    You know how when you have an overall idea for something, there is always a big gamble involved with how close to your concept the finished thing will actually turn out?  It's that way with cooking, baking, customizing cars, sewing, crocheting, and decorating, among-st many other things. I am so-o-o happy to report that the bedroom turned out exactly as I had envisioned!!!  I wanted to create a 'cozy cottage themed bedroom', incorporate some of the colors she'd chosen for her decorating, as well as some of the wood tones from the cottage itself, and some relaxing and encouraging touches.

     I so-o wanted a particular type of bed frame. I looked and I looked and I looked.... had started debating if I should change my goal, when it showed up while we were out shopping together. I was ecstatic!! Another shopper was quite befuddled why I would want that bed frame.  I explained the theme I was going for. With quite the expression on her face, she questioned if I was going to strip and redo it then.  "Nope, I'll just get a dark brown colored paint and paint very thin lines between each of the balls, which will change the whole appearance and make the whole frame really "pop". She wasn't convinced, but another shopper whom had been listening in, exclaimed that was a brilliant idea.
      Before -

   After - (I had brought along several small sized (even kid type) paint brushes... ended up wiping each one off and using a tooth pick... yes, a tooth pick.

    I wanted several wood shelves... but had troubles finding enough that weren't painted over or that fit the size and styles I wanted.... so I ended up picking up a couple which had been painted over and painting over them again.
     Before -

     After - (besides just paining the shelf, I also painted thin lines to make the trim part "pop".)
         (reminder, you can click on picture to see them larger / clearer)

     Julie had wanted the room repainted for two reasons. One, was how poorly of a job they had done applying the white paint, the other was how bad the corners of the room looked.
     Before -

    After - (It had taken Brian quite a bit of time and effort, applying filler/spackle.. wait for it to dry, add another layer.... but once the two coats of paint were applied and dried, it showed how worth it his efforts had been!!! )

  This is what catches your eye when you first open the door -

    Close up of the frame - (At first I had printed off what we had come up with... didn't like the effect hanging in the room, so re-did it using colored pencils)
              [Reminder - you can click on pictures to see them clearer/closer up]

    Close up of the little shelf - (the gate is bolted to the frame seeings how it sits above where they sit up the port-a-crib ;->)

This is what you see when you look down upon entering the room -
        The wicker hamper holds sheets and blankets for the port-a-crib and works as a night stand. The rug feels good on your feet in the morning.

       Placed four (4) pillows on the bed, 'soft', 'medium', 'firm' and 'extra firm'.  It's a guest room, thus it's used by lots of different people.  Marked the pillows so it's easy to figure out which one you might prefer (also cut off all of those huge annoying tags they come with)  -

    I was again ecstatic when I stumbled across the quilt. It had the blue and white with touches of red of Julie's main theme, it totally fit the "cozy cottage" style I was going for, and the price was perfect!!
    Julie had thought I should make one of my wreaths for the room, I was again honored. It hangs above the bed -
      (PLEASE click on the above picture to see it clearer/better)

     A larger sized wicker hamper is the night stand on the other side of the bed. Brian made the lamp for me out of a large Ball canning jar. Picked up the shade at Menard's. Plan to fill the jar with acorns out of the yard this fall.  The jar didn't like to sit balanced on the hamper, so found the solution in this wooden board from a mission store. It had a wire attachment on it that Brian said had been used for .. unscrewed the screws, the ring came right off, turned it over, and wa-la, love the look!  The book under the tissues is a four version Bible. There is also a blue rug on the floor on that side of the bed. 

    While this picture is included above, here is what is above the bed in that corner of the room -
 The candle on the side wall is a battery operated one.
     The wicker look container on the bottom shelf holds hand lotion.
     The second shelf up holds favorite books from my youth. Books that would now be easy to read through on a rainy weekend. From right to left - 'Farmer Boy', 'The Boxcar Children', 'Little Men', 'Little Women', 'Anne of Green Gables', 'Heidi', 'Pippi Longstocking', 'The Trumpet Swan' and a Hymn Book (because old hymns can ease a down spirit wonderfully!)  Found all but the Hymn Book via Abe books on line.
    The wicker look trunk on the top shelf is currently full of whatever your imagination deems to be in there... ;-]

    The wall on the bathroom side of the room had not gone all of the way to the ceiling. It does now.
      Brian also replaced the outlets and the outlet covers in the room.

    The other outside wall of the room -
         If you pull the curtains tight to both ends, your get the black out effect. Seeings how it's a east facing room, that's a bonus when you have young ones in the port-a-crib!  (the little white nob hanging down in the picture is connected to the ceiling fan/light)
   Close up of the two (2) quotes (also made using colored pencils) -

     Julie had picked up the frames the quotes are in... we had both really liked the frames... here is what they looked like before -

    The mirror is actually a gold colored plastic framed mirror, sanded down and painted with some of Kayla's 'shiny bronze' finger nail polish. Then inserted into a picture frame after the picture had been removed and the frame had been painted and fine lined.

    Julie, THANK-YOU for allowing me the privilege of re-doing your guest room for you!  I had so-o much fun doing the 'hunt' for the re-do and 'planning' everything.  :-D !
   Brian, thank-you so-o-o much for all of your labor in helping me actually re-do the room! ;-} !

Monday, August 1, 2016

Elliot and his tools

   Last Christmas, a few of the items Brian and I gave Elliot were tool related. Items such as, his size  leather work gloves, a leather pouch tool belt, an adult sized plastic tool box with tray, a few tools and three (3) child size hard hats (so he could share). 

           Here is his adorableness with the hard hats

            (reminder, click on the pictures to see them larger and clearer)

      His favorite, was the battery powered screw driver. He got so excited helping any and everybody open their gifts using it.

      We celebrated the July B-days in our 'little' family during our mini vacation this past weekend. Yet again, God had gone before us, so that when Brian and I went to Toys 'R Us last week to pick out a gift for the now five (5) year old Mr. Elliot,  we found they had their 74 piece tool set on sale for half price.  :-D.  (Thank-you Lord!!)
      At one point after dinner, when all of the kids had been dismissed to play, I pointed out to Brian that all of the other kids were playing with Elliot's tools (the hard hats and tool box had been brought along), but it seemed that they weren't letting Elliot play with them. Brian got the biggest, proudest smirk on his face, while he leaned close to share that he had thought so too, so had started watching closer. In actuality, all of the kids had hit Elliot up to play with his tools, Elliot had then assigned each of them different tools/equipment along with a task. This child had been assigned to fix this part of the fooseball table using this tool and wearing a hard hat, that one the wood part of that couch using the hammer, etc.. Elliot himself was their supervisor, watching and then wandering over to instruct anyone whom wasn't doing their task the way they should be. Together, we watched for a couple minutes and were sharing a quiet chuckle over it, when Analyse walked up to Mr. Elliot and in her ever so dramatic way, totally confirmed the whole thing. "Boss, may I p-l-e-a-s-e take a break?!?!!!  I'm so-o-o tried. I've been working so-o-o hard. Isn't it break time y-e-t?" 
    We couldn't help it, our chuckles exploded into laughter. Our adult children then wanted clued in. Brian explained. Our GRAND children then further confirmed the whole thing, by loudly interrupting one another to share what task they had been assigned and how good of a job they were doing on it. :-]  
    Later, Elliot came over wanting Benson and I to do such and such with these cards he was holding. I got the part about his name on them, told him that later I would fill the info out, but for now, used my pencil and wrote a 'E'  on the back indicating they were his. His puzzled face told me I hadn't gotten all of it right. He tried explaining again. Finally I understood, we were suppose to take his picture and attach it to his little ID cards. Had to explain we couldn't do that directly from the camera, but that we could later via our computer and printer at home. Benson then took this picture to use....
   I wonder if I'm suppose to write Elliot B___ or Mr. Elliot, Boss Man.  ;-b

  [ Linked to http://brazierchildren.blogspot.com/ ]

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Two (2) multiple thumbs up Salads

   My brother BL and his wife host a yearly summer party at their house, for both sides of their family.  Laughter, good food, swimming, boating and a campfire are the main activities of the event. This year, instead of making something from my recipe box, I decided to try things from one of my Pinterest boards.  To be honest, I had tried the pea salad one on Father's Day, and my husband raved over it, so I made that one again and another new one I thought he would like. He did!  In-fact, I got lots of thumbs up on both recipes and promised to post them. Here they are then ;-]

     (Reminder, you can click on the pictures to see them in larger (clearer) version) 
    It was hot 'round here on Saturday!!! Hot and muggy and what some consider as 'summer at it's finest' and others consider as 'summer at it's worst'. It was the kind of heat that I knew would do damage to these salads in no time flat! But how to help them on a buffet? The above picture shows the remedy I came up with.

    Now for the recipes... I haven't yet figured out how to post them, so that you can print off just the recipe.. Byron was going to help by walking me through the process... but 'life' hasn't cooperated for two days now... seeings how I have promised a couple of people that I would post them, here goes the only way I currently know.... Sorry!

~ Creamy Pea Salad 
   Adapted from the version posted by Jamie on 'Love Bakes Good Cakes'
     (http://www.lovebakesgoodcakes.com/2012/08/creamy-pea-salad.html )
  ~ 2 pkg.'s (16 oz. each) frozen peas, thawed and drained
  ~ 2 to 3 cups Colby Cheddar Cheese, diced med. size
  ~ 2 to 3 cups diced Mozzarella cheese
  ~ Half of 1 fist size Red Onion
  ~ 1 cup each of both Miracle Whip AND Mayonnaise
  ~ Salt and Pepper, to taste
  ~ 8 oz. Real Bacon Crumbles

    Dump the drained peas and both cheeses into a large bowl.
    Slice the red onion quite thinly, then dice up the slices.  Add to bowl.
    Use your hands to mix everything thourally.
    In another bowl, blend together the Miracle Whip, Mayonnaise, Salt and Pepper. Scrape this mixture out onto the contents of the big bowl. Use a large wooden spoon to thourally blend everything together. Take a sample bite. If necessary, add more Miracle Whip and/or Mayonnaise.
    Chill for an hour or two.

~ Bacon Tomato Cucumber Salad
    Adapted from the version posted by Jessica on 'Simply Healthy Home'
     ( http://simplyhealthyhome.com/bacon-tomato-cucumber-salad/ )
  ~ 3 extra large seedless Cucumbers
  ~ 16 oz. container of grape size Tomatoes
  ~ 8 oz. Real Bacon Crumbles
  ~ 1/2 to 3/4ths cups each of both Miracle Whip AND Mayonnaise
  ~ 1 1/2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
  ~ 1 1/2 teaspoons Sea Salt
  ~ 3/4 teaspoon black Pepper

   Slice your Cucumbers in half lengthwise. Slice each half into 3 sections lengthwise. Now chop them into rather small chunks. Dump them into a large bowl as you go.
   Cut each Tomato in half lengthwise, then in half width wise. Dump on top of the cucumbers as you go.
   Add the Real Bacon Crumbles to the bowl.
   Use your hands to mix everything thourally.
    In another bowl, blend together the Miracle Whip, Mayonnaise, Garlic Powder, Sea Salt and Black pepper. Scrape this mixture out onto the contents of the big bowl. Use a large wooden spoon to thourally blend everything together. Take a sample bite. If necessary, add more Miracle Whip and/or Mayonnaise.
  Chill for an hour or two.
  [due to the natural wateriness of cucumbers, this salad does not have a long shelf life]

I hope you, your family and friends enjoy them as much as mine have!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

a smile producing memory

     Facebook asked me if I wanted to share a memory, something I had posted on July 14, 2015.  I do, just not on there.  I'll share it on here.
    "I had gone up to bed very early last evening. While coming back down an hour and a half later, just turned 4 year old Mr. Elliot questioned why I was up. "Oh, cause my body told me I need to use the bathroom" (read while hearing a totally in awe young voice) "Really grandma? Your body talks to you?!?" While trying to camouflage my chuckle I replied, "yes, some times it does" (add more awe and wonderment to the young voice) "Cool! Can I listen to it with you sometime grandma?" Oh the delight young ones add to our lives!"

Friday, July 8, 2016

Last week Wed.

   Our 'back yard neighbors' moved out last Wed. evening.  Yes, you read that right.  See, Brent and Kayla found a house in time to put a bid in on it before it was already off the market (that happened a LOT!). Their bid was accepted. :-].  The very next day, they received notification from the company they had been renting from, that they had to be out by the end of the month. The company was going to take advantage of the current housing market and put the house up for sale. It could have worked out just fine, seeings how the people they were buying from had already put an offer in on another house and wanted a quick flip.
    But you know how 'could have's' and 'should have's' go. Especially when your dealing with any branch of the government. While Brent had been pre-approved for a mortgage, it was a government backed one... sigh. While he had been super careful to cross every 'T' and dot every 'i', it seemed that the line on the 'T' must have gotten too close to the dot on the 'i' or something. (Insert eye roll). It was one delay after another.  Crazy things. Such as, even though all of the money for his down payment was in one (1) account, the proof of where every dollar of it had come from wasn't in the proper order of deposits for them. Such as, the guy from the county who did the lot survey, didn't fill out his paper work to their (the governments) satisfaction. This ended up having to be redone more than twice. Like I said, crazy things!
    In the meantime, or should that be 'in reality', time had passed and they had gotten to the end of when they could live in the rental house. The cost of living in a hotel for an extended time was either too high, or at a location you wouldn't want to do so at.
   Seeings how they DID have a new house lined up and even if the deal on that place didn't go through, they were going to be buying a house; and it is summer, we said "yes" to their request of moving into our back yard. They came inside to get water for dishes or to use the bathroom, but other wise, by their own choice, mainly stayed outside.
    It worked out just fine. We'd had concerns about their dogs and barking, due to where they were set up and neighborhood traffic, etc., but were very pleasantly impressed with how well they have trained and controlled their dogs! :->
    They ended up living out back longer than they had hoped, but not as long as they had feared.  Last Wed. we helped them load up, and move their stuff to their own new house. With 17 acres. And a garage. And a barn. And tons of wild life. A perfect 'Brent'  and 'Kayla' location!
    I snapped this picture early Wed. morning.   The picture of their dogs in yesterday's posting was taken then too.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

"Family Day", June 2016

    Last week was such a busy week!  Perhaps I'll post more about all of it later (o:-b ). For now, I want to share a brief glimpse at our "Family Day".  I had gone through our 'little families' calendar via the Cozi app. and picked a day that everybody was at least available. If they chose to participate or not, was then up to them. I'm seriously thankful they all did!
Scheduled to have all of our GRAND children here for the entire day. Kayla and Brandon were going to be here too.
     Here is a picture I took that day of all 7 of our GRAND children, lined up in order of age.

             (Reminder, if you click on the picture you can see it in larger form)

 Currently, Marcus is 8 1/2, Mikaedam 8, Analyse 7, Marlie and Kadriel are both 6 1/2, Elliot is 4 9/10, Rylee is 3. While the names of our GRAND dogs are listed, we chose not to put them up there* for the picture. The reasoning was that it would probably scare and scar one and over encourage the other. (;-b).
    But here is a picture I took of the two dogs the next morning. Daisy is the white one, Aria the black one.

    Up there* = part of the 30 foot long play center our adult kids built out of mainly scrap materials (less than $100.00 was spent on the build) and gave to our GRAND children for Christmas one year. That thing was climbed on, ran on, swings swung till occupants hit the tree branches, etc., to the max that Grandma would allow that day. (to the disappointment of many, I would not let them go out on the section of board that goes over the swings... experience not fear was my reasoning). Our kids did an awesome job in designing and building it and the GRAND kids are ever so grateful they did!!!

      The GRAND kids are now questioning when the next "cousins" day is.... this GRAND ma is scheming on that....

 Blog about our GRAND children

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


   A song came on the satellite kids radio station we were listening to while traveling with 3 of our GRAND kids this past weekend, that Brian and I rated "JUST GREAT!!!".  I had pulled out my notebook and scribbled down the name of the singer and the song.  I was sure I could find it on YouTube or something and share it with all of my facebook 'friends' that I know are Harry Potter fans.
   I searched and I searched, but could not find one good link to share ;-\  However, through persistence, I did come up with a way for you to get the overall just of it.  [for the record, I am not techie enough to know if you can do this on your smart phones, or if you will have to get to a full computer to do so, but I think it will be worth your effort to do whichever way it takes ;->]
   First, open up a screen/tab for this web address - http://www.stevegoodie.com/kids/lyrics02.html  Scroll down quite a ways to the section with the dark blue back ground. The lyrics for the first song in that section is "Quidditch Ball Wizard". Don't start reading the words quite yet...
   Second, open up an additional screen/tab for this web address -  http://www.madmusic.com/song_details.aspx?SongID=508 in the gold square on the left, click to 'play sample'. Then QUICKLY switch back to the first screen/tab you had opened and read the lyrics while the music plays. Seeings how it's only a sample, the whole song does not play, but it plays enough for you to get a feel for the song and have it keep playing in your head while you finish reading the lyrics.
  "That magically inclined kid, sure plays a mean quidditch ball!" 

   PLEASE let us know if you too enjoyed (and even laughed) at it.

For purposes of giving credit where credit is due, the name of the song is "Mean Quidditch Ball" and it was written and performed by Steve Goodie. It is a Parody of "Pinball Wizard" by The Who.