Friday, October 29, 2010

My first baby is now 22 years old!

My little girl has grown up!  She still lives at home while she is attending Art College, but is rarely here.  She works, has school, has a social life and occasionally she is able to spend time with the family.  I can remember when she was born like it was yesterday!  Such a great experience, after the labor part of course, which was horrible!  Somehow, back in 1988 I was convinced, along with many other suckers, er women, that I should have a "natural" birth.  Holy mother of God!  I think I went to another plane of existence to try and get through that!  Has anyone had a good "natural" birth where they didn't feel like they were dying? 

Sarah was born "sunny side up" as the doctors called it.  I guess maybe that is why the back pain was so bad.  Her head was pressing on the spinal nerves.  As soon as I saw her little face though, it was all worth while.  She seemed like an angel!  Our first night together was amazing, and being able to walk out of the hospital the next day with her felt like I was stealing!  How could I be entrusted with this new person?  How would we ever manage? 

We managed the best we could and even had our son who recently turned 14!  He is  a blessing we waited a long time for!  I hope they will be able to be ok with just a year or so of therapy and counseling when they leave home and we didn't scar them too much!  lol

Having kids has been one the best and the most challenging things I have ever done.  It has opened up new worlds of experience, new emotions, more love, and self exploration than I ever dreamed!  Though I thoroughly loved being a mom when my kids were babies, I am so glad they are older now.  I no longer have that amount of energy! 

I do look forward to grandbabies in the future, though not being called grandma!  yikes!  There is nothing like snuzzling a baby's soft little head, or kissing their little hands and toes... I cry when I look at old pictures sometimes, but I am also understanding how God gets us ready for the empty nest to come...

Hug your babies, no matter their ages....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My Dog is Neurotic! Help!

I think we are cat people.  I know I am.  I understand cats, have been raised with cats.  A close friend calls me The Cat Whisperer.   We have had several dogs over the coarse of our marriage, some for protection, some just for fun.  We've had problems of one type of another with all of them.  Check out this list!

Sarge - our first dog, was very sweet, but we had to find a new home for him when he was still a puppy because the neighbor complained about his barking when we were gone. 

P.J. was next, a rescue from the Dog Pound.  He absolutely HATED dog catchers and would go crazy barking and growling when ever he saw the truck go by!  PJ also barked alot and we found a home for him but he came back a month later!  We decided to keep him and try to make it work with the neighbor, and then PJ decided to leave! 

Missy was a free pup that was a Newfoundland/Collie mix.   We got her when we moved to the country.  Lots of room to run, didn't have to worry about keeping her confined to a small space, fresh air, a pasture and creek to play in.  Well,  it turned out that she hated small kids!  This was before we had our own kids but she would chase a child and act like she was going to bite it, but then just circle around and return to us.  You can imagine our surprise and horror the first time this happened!  She was just a big ole happy dog who would lick you to death, and then out of nowhere this behavior!  Weird huh?

After the kid hater we got Raleigh, our first purebred dog.  Raleigh was a Golden Retreiver, my husband's choice and the breed is known  to be great family dogs.  Well, Raleigh was a huge Golden, about 70 pounds by 6 months.  He had alot of energy and needed ALOT of attention and I was working full time.  So Raleigh found ways to entertain himself while we were away.  He chewed our new trees down to stubs, he dug holes, he chewed  just one shoe of every pair of heels I owned.  I once used a sharpie to color in the teeth marks on one heel that wasn't too bad so I had a pair to wear to church that day!  He ate the back seat of the car while we were driving, and then started eating the siding on the house.  Found him a new home with someone who had more time for him.

Next came Roz, my daughter's choice and another purebred.  A mini dapple Dachshund.  Very cute, seemed sweet, but this dog had so many issues!  OMG!  Barking, peeing, biting, peeling out on your lap with her toe nails when she wanted down.  To top it all off, she didn't even seem to like us!  Or care to come when called, be petted etc.  She was more like a cat that way!  She bit my son a couple times when he was a toddler, just out of the blue, and she went to a home with another dachshund.  I remember thinking, "Are these people crazy to want more than one of these?"  I have since seen others of this breed that are very loving and sweet and nothing like Roz, so I am not sure why we were so lucky!

Sydney was a rescue dog, a German Shephard, my choice.  I thought, if dogs had all these issues to put up with then I would get one with a purpose (she could protect the house and kids).  Syd was a great, loving, sweet, part of the family, but she had a problem too; Dog Aggression!  She slipped her choke collar on a walk once and attacked an elderly lady walking her dog.  Guess what kind of dog it was?  Yep, a Dachshund!  The lady threw her body over her dog, and though neither the dog or lady was hurt (it was just alot of barking, growling and posturing that looked horrible) I ended up footing the bill for a vet check, some antibiotics, (just in case) and a trip to the urgent care to inspect a scrape on the lady's finger.  She came out with a bandaid, and a prescription for, you guessed it, antibiotics!  

So, I guess, in the larger scheme of things, Max isn't so bad.  But this is where I need your help.

Max is our dog now.  He is a mutt.  We think possibly lab and shephard mix. We got him as a puppy about 5 years ago.  A girl had a box of puppies for free out in front of Safeway and they were just these cute wiggly creatures.  The pups were all grunting happily like a box of piglets.  I was no longer working, and had time for a pup, and the kids were ready since Syd had passed away about 8 months before of old age.  

We are experiencing a whole new, set of strange behaviors with Max.  He is very sweet, very sensitive, still looks like a big puppy.   I would say Max is extremely sensitive.  You don't have to even raise your voice to him for correction.  He is energetic, likes everyone, and loves to play.  Does well with kids, cats, other dogs, he is a great dog.  The only typical issue we have with Max is his barking.  Every single time he goes outside!  But that isn't the issue. 

Max has alot of fears, he is a very anxious dog.  (He is also camera shy) Random fears develop out of nowhere.  Some come and go, and some stay around.  Max will sometimes get on the bed and is afraid to get down.  He literally has to be pulled off when coaxing, and pleading and leaving him there doesn't work.  He knows he isn't supposed to be on the bed, but the only thing that happens is he is told to get down.  He has a thing with the floors.  We installed Pergo in several rooms a few years ago and he occasionally slips on the floor.  We keep his toenails really short so he doesn't slip (and so we don't have to listen to the constant click, click, click!). 

He went through a two week period where he would get "stuck" downstairs!  We live in a tri-level house so 'downstairs' is the family room and is only four steps down.. But the steps up and the living room/dining room are Pergo.  Now, he navigated this successfully for a couple of years, when, for no apparent reason, this happened !  He would stand at the bottom of the stairs looking pitiful.  He wouldn't even come up for food!  We ignored, we coaxed, we tried positive reinforcement and basically we had to leave him there, or get behind him and push him up!  Thankfully, that ended as suddenly as it began.

He recently acts scared to come to his food bowl when the cats are near.  He isn't afraid of the cats, they have always been here.  They move away when he comes in.  But now, if they are near, he will stare at his bowl and act as though there is an invisible barrier that he can't get through.  We give him a small bit of table scraps with his regular food everynight, and he waits for that, so this is really bizarre for him. 

 I think the one that bugs me the most, and has been the most long lasting, is the fact that he refuses to drink water from his water bowl.  He drank from it for a couple of years and then out of the blue, no more!  No matter how clean, fresh, etc.  He will NOT drink from it.  He drinks from the toilet when he thinks he can get away with it, or waits til he goes outside and drinks from the birdbath, a puddle, anything other than his bowl.  He has a huge automatic waterer now, but we have switched to a bowl, a kettle, everything we can think of and he WILL NOT DRINK!  I hate waking up to the sound of him drinking out of the toilet if someone forgets to close the lid!  HELP!!!!  What do I do???

I think after Max I will stick to cats...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Vintage Arm Chair Modern Update

My latest update is this vintage arm chair.  I saw it sitting on a broad shelf in a thrift store a few months ago and fell in love with it.  To me it looks both vintage and modern at the same time.  It was in good shape structurally, only a few dents and dings from its previous life. 

I knew I didn't need another chair.  I shouldn't spend money on this.  I could get chairs cheaper at a yard sale or estate sale.  I should just wait.  Something better would come along. 

I circled the store a few times, and kept ending up in front of the chair.  Staring at it.  I figured it must be fate telling me to bring it home with me.  So, into the van it went. 

I took my chair outside, took the seat off and sanded it down really good.  The varnish was old and dry and it came off easily.  A couple of coats of spray primer to get it ready for the paint and then several coats of matte black were applied over a couple of days time.  Even doing it in the bright sun, I kept finding places that needed just a bit more here or there, and so I would take it back out and touch it up. 

I love the feet on this too!

The seat was pretty easy.  I found a modern fabric I love in a black and ivory floral and some new 1" foam.  I didn't want a thick chair pad as it would cover the ornate look of the back.  New cotton batting and my trusty staple gun and it was finished.  I sat in it for a minute or two.  I admired it.  Did a photo shoot.  Then I wrapped it up and listed it in the shop.  I hope someone has a home for this great chair.  I think I will seal it with some rub-on polycrylic.  I haven't used it before but have heard it works very well. 

The seat is really nice and wide for comfort (some of you know what I am saying right?) and the back is tall so you can really relax into it.  With an ottoman this would make a great reading chair in my bedroom.  If I had any room for it.  Maybe I just need a new house.  Bigger bedroom, bigger kitchen, bigger everything?  Funny how when we moved in here it seemed SO big and we couldn't fill all the rooms!

I call it Vintage Modern.  What do you think?

Linking up at Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays
The DIY Showoff Project Parade -
Between Naps on the Porch-
Power of Paint -
Show and Tell -
Funky Junk Interior Home Decor -
Sunday Showcase Party at Under The Table and Dreaming

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pumpkin Patch Tradition

Every year since our kids were little, we have made the annual trek to the pumpkin patch to pick out pumpkins.  The "kids", now 21 and 14 yrs, insist that this continue and I really don't mind it.  It gives us a chance to get outside and be together as a family.  We try to choose different fields every couple of years and this year chose a new one out in  the countryside.  We went to a working farm, rode on haybales pulled by a tractor out to the pumpkin fields where we pecked around looking for just the right ones!  Of course we must search the entire field first!  The rule: You have to be able to carry your own pumpkin!  Hot apple cider fresh from the apple press was the perfect ending to the adventure~  nothing like fresh cider with a hint of cinnamon!   WARNING: picture heavy post! 

I made them go in the "kiddie maze" so I could get this picture!

Our tractor driver seemed to be enjoying the sunshine

Since it was one of the rare sunny weekends we get in the fall, everyone AND their dog came out to get pumpkins too!  The pickins were gettin slim!  I don't know if there will be anything left for this coming weekend! 

One of the things I noticed as we walked around on the farm was that these people had everything they needed for food right on their farm!  They had grapes vines, berry bushes, a small orchard, several patches of veggies, cows, a couple of pigs and chickens!  Totally self-sustained.  I was impressed. 

 There was even a covered wagon to take people out to the patches for their pumpkins!  A very nice place, lots to do for the little ones too. 

What are your fall family traditions? 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Old School Friends

Yesterday I drove back to the small town where I was raised to meet a couple of old friends from junior high school.  We hadn't seen each other in about 35 years and had found each other again on Facebook.  I was really excited to see them and thankfully via Facebook we knew what each other looked like.  We certainly weren't 15 anymore and things had shifted around a bit for all of us!

It was really weird at first to be with these gals who I had spent so much time with, got into trouble with, shared secrets with, and see them now as middle age ladies.  Just like me!  OMG!~  Where did the time go??  We talked  about our lives, remenisced about old memories and fun times, and laughed at all the craziness. 

There was a really nice sense of "coming home" and being very comfortable together.  An instant connection from our shared past.  We made plans to get together again soon.  I hope time doesn't come between us again; these gals are my forever friends. 

Funny how as you get older you hang on to precious friendships a little tighter, and rekindle old ones from your past.  Maybe it takes that long to figure it all out.  To figure out that friends, and family, relationships with people, are what it is all about.  What is important in this life are your connections with other people. 

I know a number of people in their 30's who seem to become very close with others quickly, but after a few months or a couple years just drift apart and move on.   Maybe it is the times, we are a much more mobile society now.  Maybe it is the age, they have experienced people coming and going, divorces, moves, new jobs much more than my generation did as children.  Maybe I am just "old school."

I am so glad I found my friends again.  Even though we may look like middle age ladies, inside we are still just 15 years old.   The sparkle in our eyes are the memories of fun times in the past, and the fun times yet to come!  I can't wait!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fun Halloween Project for Kids

It was time  for some new Halloween decorations for the porch this year.  It had to be cheap, and it had to be something that would interest my 14 year old who would be the "decorator."  So I hit the dollar store, and the thrift store.

Our local Goodwill store has two sales every Monday; a certain color tag is 50% off, and another color is 99 cents!  The colors change each week.  I made it a point to be there early on Monday, and I was able to get 3 cheap brass lamps for 99 cents each.  I also scored a solid brass vintage lamp for 99 cents!  These cheapies were fairly light weight, and had some interesting shapes.  No before picture as it wasn't long until my son tore into them! 

Once I told my son that I bought these for him to take apart and make something for halloween, he could not believe it.  He kept asking me if he could take them all apart and what he had to do with them.  I told him, take them all apart, assemble them however you want, and paint them with black, orange or any other color you can find in the garage.  This is YOUR project.   He was thrilled and began quickly taking everything apart.  I stayed out of the room but heard the clanking, squeeking, and banging that was going on. 

The lamps come apart into individual pieces that can then be reassembled in various ways.  There is a long steel rod inside that you can stack the pieces on but he decided to just glue them together with super glue.  So, after trying different arrangements, he settled on one that looks like an urn.  He then glued it and painted it black.  The good thing is that you don't even have to be careful of the glue, just paint right over any drips, it just looks more spooky! 

Dollar store raven

Black glittery rose walmart (or spray paint one)

I got the iron table at Goodwill for $10, and it will hold our pumpkins when we get them ( if it stops raining long enough to go to the pumpkin patch).  Afterwards, I  plan to paint it and put some winter cabbage or flowers on it. 

 Dollar Tree Skulls

Dollar Tree mummies and signs

Total Cost for Porch Decor?  $22.00 incl. the $10 for the table!

We still need to add the spider webs but I wanted to get this posted today.  It was so nice to have the porch decorated all without me lifting a finger...

The great thing about this project is that kids can do it and use their imagination.  It is cheap, and fun for them to learn about how the lamps go together.  You can repurpose the left over parts for another craft.  Other blogs have made really cute skull candle holders, and even a large candleabra.  Lots of possibilities.  Have fun! 

Linking up at Make it For Monday at Cottage Instincts

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Saving Money with Coupons

Today is the day.  The day I get back to using coupons for groceries and gifts.  Last year I started using coupons to save money and discovered that you never really have to pay full price for the stuff you buy.  I learned a ton from several moms who have turned this into a science!  I saved so much money.  I even got things for free and got "paid" for buying an item!  Do you know what I am talking about? 

Well, it  worked really well for us, and even helped pay for Christmas gifts.  I got several gifts using coupons, sales, and the money saved in other areas.  The downside to all this?  Well, for me at least, it takes quite alot of time to organize your coupons.  You have to clip new ones, discard old ones, and organize by type so you can find them again.   You can also load coupons on your cell phone or store savings card too.  To really make couponing pay off you need to combine your coupons with sales, promotions, and other deals.  Anyway, a lot of time is involved, at least at first. 

When I started my online Etsy shop, and this blog, and my Facebook Fan page, I needed that time to devote to learning how to do all the business related stuff.  I still have a LONG way to go in that area.  I am not very techie, and to do online stuff, that is definately something I need to learn.  I still don't know how to make this blog "wider" since I am using a template and don't want to mess up everything by changing! 

So, I haven't used coupons since February or March.  We have gone back to paying full price again.  Christmas is coming up, and I am ready to jump back in to it.  Yesterday my daughter cleaned out all the expired coupons in my notebook which was most of them!  So today, I need to organize, find out where the sales are, locate the coupons, and go forth and conquer! 

Fortunately, there are several great sites out there that help with this.  These wonderful moms seek out the sales, tell you where to find the coupons, and how much the product will cost you in the end.  They even provide scenarios for you to follow for the best deal! 

If you haven't tried this before and are interested in learning.  Here are some excellant sites to begin your journey:

Hip2Save -
The Coupon Project -

These ladies will teach you everything you need to know to save tons of money!  You can also find other sites to check out on their blogs. 

Ok, I can't put this off any longer!  First step - find coupons! 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Can you tell me about this?

I picked up this lamp table at an estate sale.  This sale had so much stuff and it was the second weekend of the sale by the time my friend and I arrived.  I was told that of the 4 people who used to live there, the parents were collectors and the daughter was a hoarder!  Well, that certainly explained the vast amount of stuff available!  It looked like many things had just basically been stored, neglected and not really used much by the owners. 
At least this seemed the case with this little 'charlie brown' looking table! 

Something about it's uniqueness pulled at me.  My friend, took a look and had "eewww" written all over her face.  She probably thought I was a bit crazy to even think about this dirty, peeling, icky looking table!  The lamp did not work, the pole was wobbling and crooked, the wood varnish was mostly gone, and it was filthy dirty.  Sometimes it is the challenge for me, and sometimes the style.  This time it was both. 

I brought it home and took the lamp apart so I could work on the wood.  I sanded, primered and painted it several coats of heirloom white.  Then I wanted to give it definition so I used a burnt umber glaze over the top.  I put it on and rubbed it off, several times.  It wasn't what I had hoped for but I just didn't want to redo it again and it wasn't that bad.  Certainly better than before.  I don't seem to be too good with glazing projects.  Easy to do, but somehow I don't get the results I had hoped for?  Maybe I pick the wrong pieces?  wrong color?  I don't know.  As it sat in my house it grew on me.  Sorta a beige-y brownish that fits in with the fall decor. 

I sprayed the solid brass lamp parts with a hammered metal brown and tried to put it back together.  Well, even if there are only a few parts, they have to go in a certain order, and if you know me.....well, my husband ended up doing it for me.  My son figured out that the reason the lamp didn't work was because the wire had detached inside the plug.  He fixed that for me.  My husband put it back together the right way and the lamp pole was no longer wobbly or crooked.  We discovered that it can use a 3-way bulb, and it has a swivel to position the shade!  It is a cool piece overall. 

I think I bought it for the shade.  I really like it.  I don't know what it is made of, it almost looks like a fiberglass type material.  I think these were from the 40's or 50's but not really sure on that either.  I have called it a Lamp Table.  Does it have another name?  Was it used for telephones?  Does anyone know?

Linking up to
Power of Paint at Domestically Speaking
Hookin Up with HOH at House of Hepworths
Remodelholic Friday party
Make it for Monday at Cottage Instincts


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