Saturday, October 8

Ducks in a Pond

Well, HEEELLLLLOOOOO! Long time, no talk.

Let me start by apologizing for my extra long, super-extended, unintentional sabbatical. Last March, I promised myself I'd take a two week break from blogging.


If I've learned anything in this new season, time gets away from me. Rather, it scampers like a cat with its tail on fire.

Let me take a moment to catch you up.

Super Hunk keeps getting hunkier...not fair.

Little Man is no longer all that little. He keeps stretching upwards, getting longer and leaner while eating every available calorie in the house...not fair.

I'm now wearing age-defying cosmetics and no amount of push-ups can keep my arm from continuing to wave after I've stopped...all together now...not fair!

Little Man started school and I went back to work, which was always the plan. I'm thoroughly enjoying my new role as Editor of a lifestyle publication but I'm beginning to think I should use the description "planner" loosely when describing myself.  It's a harsh reality for this control freak.

My friend Lana always says, "My ducks aren't even remotely in a row but they're in the same pond, so I've got that going for me." This perfectly sums up my current "planned" season. In a frenzy, my ducks are circling. They're tired, hungry and have a hot mess of ruffled feathers. Not planned.

Having said that, here's what I'm learning. God is the perfect mathematician. He knows that adding blessings will force you to subtract distractions, things in your life that don't add up. All the madness, the things that cause these designer bags under my eyes are a beautiful equation! I'm allowing Him to stretch me, subtract things, and guide me to the busy that leads to abundance.

No matter how many ducks you have or how many directions they're swimming (planned or unplanned), let God place you in the right pond. The view is like no other!

Monday, March 21

Sowing Good Seeds

Oh, how I love Super Hunk...let me count the ways. He truly is the handiest man I know and can conquer any project with ease. I'm not sure how he does it but I constantly marvel at his mad skills (and his super hunky biceps).
Another thing I adore about him is he keeps things forever. I mean, FOR-EVER.
Tools remain in their original cases. Ladders, spotted with paint, still stand proudly. Paintbrushes are a reminder of the many houses he's purchased sad and sold happy. Things are impeccable because when you take pride in your possessions, they remain. In many cases, FOR-EVER!
His beloved wheelbarrow is a perfect example. A DECADE and countless tasks later, it finally caved under the weight of an everyday chore and reluctantly conceded.
With a significant crack in the bucket and little TLC, Old Faithful remains...slightly worse for wear, a bit fatigued, and doubling as a little boy's light load hauler. Life is good!
Knowing Dad's soft spot for his old pal, Little Man suggested we paint it to add a little cheer and here's the result. (He also insisted "Dad will love this!" He was right!)
Our upcoming summer trip inspired this beach scene. Can you see it? Channel your inner little person...or just squint.
How about now?
Enough said!

Little Man was extremely proud of the wheels, they rival Picasso.  

The first thing he said when I asked what we should paint was "a truck". Hand to the forehead moment. This was my attempt at bringing his request to life. Do you see it? Resume squinting.

This wheelbarrow has been guided by two very important guys in my life. One that makes my heart beat faster, makes my world significantly more beautiful, and makes me thankful to be chosen. The other makes birds chirp a little louder, flowers smell a little sweeter, and hugs last a little longer.

They are continually sowing good seeds in my life. 

Now we have a FOR-EVER colorful reminder. Its next chapter will be light duties and a bucket full of cars, balls and the occasional reluctant K-9.

So long...until we graffiti again!

Thursday, March 10

Ranch Kid Counting Printable

A is for Apple.

B is for Boat.

C is for Cat.

Since the beginning of time, this is how children have learned their ABC's.

Until now.

Until my son.

Children learn by doing, correct? Around our house,  A is for Auger, B is for Barn, C is for Cow, D is for Dirt, E is for Eating dirt, F is for Feedyard full of get my drift.

Then, we count...
(1) trailer, (2) trailers, (3) trailers, (4).

To make Little Man's learning a bit more relatable, I created these Counting Clip Cards.

A big "WOO HOO" from ranch kids everywhere!

Little Man was quiet for a solid forty-five minutes...a beautiful, wonderful, blissful forty-five minutes! Success!

I hope your squirt enjoys them as much. Stay tuned for the Agriculture ABC's flashcards.

For your free printable, click here. (Right click and select Print.)

Friday, March 4

Happy National Grammar Day, from me and my twitch!

Today is National Grammar Day and my insides are giddy. All over the planet, my fellow lovers of words are rejoicing...breaking it down with a little comma shuffle.

I feel as if the mother ship has arrived and she's carrying all of my people Where have you guys been?

Instead of making this a post about all things correct, I thought I'd share with you the inner spaces of my brain...the irony I find in the language I love...and the places it goes when I'm silently correcting your grammar.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I realize that I occasionally incorrectly use the ellipsis. I'm not perfect. There, I said it.

Are you sitting down?

Here goes.

- When people type "Your welcome", I envision a person handing a lost welcome sign to its recently located owner. Thank you for returning it.

- There's always "To funny" where I see a man, waving his fist in the air, declaring a journey to funny. Where is funny and how do I get there?

- Why does the word non-hyphenated have a hyphen?

- Every time someone uses an apostrophe to make something plural, I'm certain an angel loses its wings.

- When I see the word alot, I think about aporkchop.

- "Yes, I defiantly will." There's no need to be so aggressive, it was just a question.

- "Outrunning errands" does not mean you're out, making multiple stops. It means that your angry errands are chasing you and you're just barely getting away.

- "Be pacific." Seriously? I can't, it's an ocean.

- Lastly, my personal favorite...Superheroes do good, I'm doing well.

Do you see why I have a twitch? I can't turn it off. It's my mother's fault...HI, MOM! She and my English teachers have forever made me perpetually mortified when reading the internet.

Happy National Grammar Day!

Friday, February 26

I tackled a quilt!

The title above may lead you to believe I forcefully body-checked a big fluffy piece of bedding. Let me clarify, I figuratively tackled my first the sewing sense.

Everything I know, I learned from my mother. In fact, I currently sew on the machine she used when I was born.

Permission granted for an "Awwwwwwwwwwwwww".

When it comes to stitching pillows or hemming a skirt, I'm fearless. Sewing a quilt? Completely outside of my wheelhouse.

However, with a friend's baby girl on the way, I was determined to conquer my fear...and absolutely prepared to fail.

If you don't expect anything, you're not disappointed...right?

With hours of due diligence (meaning, I was sucked into the Pinterest vortex), I finally settled on this pattern from Thirty Handmade Days.

It proved to be the exact level of "easy" for this quilting beginner.

Here's a peek at the final product.

Nursery colors are coral, navy and gold. Little Man and I had a great time picking out the various fabrics. It was definitely a "spread them all out on the floor" type of experience. We were both allowed one veto and I think we used them wisely. How about you?

While the overall project went pretty smoothly, I learned a few lessons the hard way. Including the tip to stay away from patterns that repeat in a line if you can't actually sew a straight line...or draw a straight line...or even walk a straight line.

Pardon the wrinkles, I folded before photographing. Another lesson learned!
I'm not sure I'll make my second quilt any time soon but I thoroughly enjoyed this pattern. Most of all, I love the thought of a sweet baby girl growing up with it.

No expectations turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Thanks, Mom!

Accomplishment starts with the decision to try.

(Click here for the pattern link.)

Monday, February 22

Light Fixture Facelift

When we purchased our fixer upper, home improvement stores (aka: boy malls) were similar to traveling to Mars for me. I was familiar with approximately 10% of the inventory (plants and paint) that stocked the shelves...the many, many, MANY shelves.

Six months later...
("You wanna go where people know, people are all the same, you wanna go where everybody knows your name. Norm...err, Courtney!")

I can now operate a caulk gun...without making a catastrophic mess.

I am surprisingly intrigued by spray texture in a can.

And I'm constantly mortified by the prices of light fixtures.

Hence, today's DIY post.

My front porch had these poor, pitiful, wretched light fixtures that were seriously pleading for a facelift. So, armed with an arsenal of cleaning products and a can of spray paint, they were brought back to life! Here's a quick step-by-step.

Step 1: Disassemble light fixture completely. (I think it had 15 years of dirt and dead bugs inside.) I've also seen these at thrift stores and garage sales so keep your eyes open, you never know when you'll find a bargain!

Step 2: Insert paper towel inside where the bulb threads to keep paint out. (Step 2.2: Moisturize my working man hands while scheduling a manicure. Eek!)

Step 3: Use a small brush to remove loose dirt and plethora of insect carcasses...carci...hmmmmm...
Step 4: Spray with metal outdoor paint. I decided to go with a flat finish. Apply as many coats as needed to cover, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next.

Step 5: After giving the glass a warm bubble bath and finishing off with a spritz of Windex, place back in fixture.

Finish assembling fixture, while trying not to lose your mind because you can't remember which screws went in which holes. Oops!

All done and ready to be hung. I recruited Super Hunk to help because...well...he's super hunky when he's being handy (and every other time)!

Tada! I added a vintage Edison bulb to give a little extra charm.

She's now ready for her close-up!
I took these photos back in the Fall so pardon the pumpkins!
Another project done on a dime. You don't have to spend a fortune to look like a million bucks. Am I right?

Sunday, February 14

Do we share too much?

Do you ever wonder if we share too much on Facebook?

We post pics of our kids to keep the long distance family in the loop. We check in at our new favorite restaurant to help spread the word, while photographing our food to add that final stamp of approval. We even share our online shopping selections with the motivation to score a $20 friend referral credit on our next order.

Again I we share too much?

Today, LOVE DAY, I ask myself this question once more.

As my Facebok news feed is flooded with pictures of flowers from hubbies and sweets from sweeties, I can't help but notice silence from others.

The single people who long for true love but have yet to find it.

The widowers who long for the one that always made this day special but now feel a void like never before.

The newly divorced who wonder if the pain will ever go away and if this day will ever be a happy one again.

The parents who recently lost a child and now cling to the finger-painted card from the year past.

I'm thankful for this day. I melt when my husband brings home flowers. My heart leaps when my son delivers a card full of crayon scratches. But I'll think twice before posting them for the world to see.

Because for all of us with hearts overflowing, there's that many more with hearts hurting.

Happy Valentine's Day, sweet friends. I celebrate LOVE with you and genuinely hope your day is full of unspeakable amounts. I'm simply challenging you, on behalf of heavy hearts everywhere, to think about the possibility that we occasionally share too much.