Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Have you heard of the K.I.S.S. principle?  Of course you probably have.  When we were kids, we used to say, "Keep It Simple, Stupid!"  Of course, I always taught my kids not to say "stupid" to people -- so let's change it up and say, "Keep It Simple, Sweetie!"

Read on...

Jen posted a thought-provoking post HERE -- which, I'm not afraid to say, stopped me dead in my tracks. Me.  The one wishing for bigger and better and more well-known.  The one who contemplates pushing the "monetize" button, but so far hasn't been able to muster it because I'm such a visual person, that it will mess with my head to see ads when I look at my blog.

I read Jen's post, and I heard brakes screeeeeech in my head.

Slow down.
Stay simple.
Stop looking at numbers.
Enjoy the people who come regularly to chat and share.
Speak to the people who can hear what it is I have to say.
Be true to myself.
Make this something I will always feel proud to look back on.
Journal life.

You get the idea.

So, I did the only thing I knew to do... I dropped the bigger is better notion, and "cleaned house" a little -- meaning I tidied up my blog.  Moved some things UP the sidebar.  Moved some things DOWN the sidebar. Removed some things that were sort of a duplication of themselves.  Moved some more things around a little bit.  Removed my button... because, really?  It's not like there's a really a purpose for ME to have one.  ("Wow, Sally, thanks for that button.  I really NEEDED that" -- said nobody EVER - LOL.  Of course, as a new blogger, I thought everyone had to have one.  Now I see... they are handy for people to use to link to a party on your blog... but other than that, not so much.)

In my "housecleaning", you'll never guess what I noticed?  My little twitter button over in my sidebar no longer linked to my twitter.  (gasp!)  That happens sometimes when I change things around, and don't follow a breadcrumb trail all the way to the end.  So, my best tip to you?  If you have various social media buttons on your sidebar, click on them from time to time to make sure that they still lead where you want them to lead. Blog-tidying 101.  You're welcome.

Also, in the spirit of sharing my favorite beautifully uncomplicated blogs, I have added a blog-roll.  I purposely did not automatically add all of the blogs that I read.  Instead, the list is a work in progress.  I'll add new blogs as I go, remembering how they speak to me, and helping to promote some of my absolute favorite places to curl up.  I hope you'll find some new spots to curl up too -- and tell 'em Sally sent you!

And don't forget, Keep It Simple... SWEETIE!

'13 Gratefulness
* grateful for a co-worker traveling with my hubby to share the driving on a long trip -- and for safe arrival
* grateful that my girl is feeling better today, and back to school

Feel free to chime in with a comment!  What are you grateful for today?

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Party's Over...

Well, this was Halloween weekend in our neck of the woods, and in true Kelly-fashion, we turned the lights out at our house, and drove north to my sister-in-laws for a nice chili-and-so-much-more dinner before the kids headed out to trick-or-treat in her neighborhood.  Eight of the twelve cousins were there, some even coming from Pennsylvania for the occasion!  They all had a blast together, and you never saw so much candy-trading going on!  Good times.

Our son had a party to go to this weekend too, and he decided to dress as Billy Mays -- you know, the guy most noted for promoting OxyClean?  We couldn't stop laughing at the wig and beard that he found.  Every time he opened his mouth, the mustache snapped down in line with the beard, leaving no room for his mouth.  The rest of the costume was easy: khakis, a blue button down shirt with the OxyClean logo on it, and a round-necked undershirt.  Check out Billy Mays images on-line, and you'll see he was spot-on!  I even had a little bottle of Oxy-Clean to send with him as a prop!  We are not huge on costuming around here.  This may have been one of our prouder moments - LOL!!  [For real, people!]

Anyways, we are partied out, and over-candied... ready for another week!

Happy Monday!!

'13 Gratefulness
* grateful for safety for our son when his car broke down
* grateful for loaner tools (to fix the car)from a brother-in-law who is always so much help to us
* grateful for a wonderful weekend with family and lots of new memories made
* grateful for sweet sisters-in-law who mean so much to me
* grateful for Thanksgiving plans beginning to form

Feel free to chime in with a comment!  What are you grateful for today?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Magnetic Memo Board

Surprise!  I didn't think I'd have time to pull this post together for you by today -- but, I confess, I was kind of excited to share it with you.  My inspiration came from THIS PHOTO. [source]

And this [below] was what I came home with.  For $2 (a flea market find), I was willing to take the risk in trying to fix this tray up for a magnetic memo board.  The best part?  I didn't have to do any fancy magnetic painting -- just a few little touch-ups, and I was good to go.

Let me share the process.

I knew that I wanted to try to camouflage some of the bad scratches around the edges of the tray.  But how? After some conversations on Facebook, I decided to try black shoe polish.  (Thanks Jill!)  Here's what I found out.  Shoe polish worked great on the straight sides around the border.  I could "paint" nice straight and continuous "lines" of polish, and it really did do the trick.  You can see here in the before/after picture that there was quite a difference.

HOWEVER, I decided to take it a step further and use the polish around the floral design.  Not a good idea. Using the polish in random swipes tended to make the tray look blotchy.  Before it could dry, I ran to the sink & did a good washing!  Problem averted.  Changing tactics, I lightly dabbed at some of the worst spots around the floral design, wiping excess away with a wet cloth -- and called it a day.  My goal was not perfection (as we'll prove later in this discussion) -- or to make this tray look brand new, but just to give some little touch-ups, as I mentioned.

The shoe polish dried pretty quickly, and then it was on to the next step.  EVERYONE advised me to seal the tray, protecting the design.  [Thanks everyone!]  I ended up buying a product at Ace Hardware called Ace Premium Enamel (clear gloss).  Here's what the front label says: "Very Fast Drying :: Interior/Exterior :: For Wood or Metal :: Durable, Smooth Finish."  This sprayed on very easily (I did it in my empty garage with the side door open for ventilation), and was fast drying.  However, I had two small issues -- probably due to my impatience -- even though I read the directions.  The finish, though lovely, was slight textured, or pebbly. Also, there were a couple random bursts of spray that I didn't notice until the tray was dry.  (Remember when I said I would prove that perfection was not my goal?  *wink)

But seriously.  Check out the difference!

When the enamel was dry, I brought the tray back inside to think about hanging hardware.  I decided to use a saw-tooth hanger and some instant adhesive.  Ultimately, this worked great... but um, who knew that instant adhesive would dissolve the paint on the tray before it could adhere?  Well, obviously, I didn't know.  Needless to say, the adhesion was NOT instant.  More like 16 hours (otherwise known as "I went to bed, and remembered about it the next day").

By the next morning, we were good to go.

Two more things you should know:
1. In searching for supplies, I found some double-sided tape squares.  I decided to use those on the bottom corners of the tray, just to cushion the tray from hitting the wall.

2. I must confess that I never thought of the balance issue by the time you add magnets -- and, you'd be surprised what happens when you have more magnets on one side than the other.  So, a little DISCLAIMER:  if you try this at home, either re-think my hanging system -- or be prepared to be occasionally off-balance -- and that pretty much just makes me laugh.  (Go for off-balance.  It keeps life interesting!)

My next mission: to look for cute & strong magnets.

I am tickled with this perfectly imperfect piece, and it does a lot to spruce up a corner of our kitchen that was previously bare.

So what do you think?
Have you completed any perfectly imperfect projects lately?

'13 Gratefulness
* grateful for successful projects
* grateful for a little part-time job
* grateful for sweet friends who encourage us
* grateful for successful surgery for a friend

Feel free to chime in with a comment!  What are you grateful for today?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Be Afraid...

Be very afraid.

I am about to show you the entirety of my Halloween decorations -- and in broad daylight, no less!  As of yesterday, this fellow came out of storage to grace our kitchen table.  Over the top, right?  He was even lit with a candle by night-fall!  And that, my friends, is the extent of my Halloween decorating.

In my humble opinion, there are too many pretty fall decorations to spend time on the Halloween ones.  But that's just me.  Halloween's never really been "my thing."

I'm off (today and tomorrow) to rock babies at church in the morning, so I probably won't have time to post more than this.  If you saw my posts on Facebook yesterday, I DID have some success with the tole-painted tray!  More to come on that!

'13 Gratefulness
* grateful for pumpkin waffles
* grateful for early bedtimes and chilly sleeping weather
* grateful for sweet babies to cuddle

Feel free to chime in with a comment!  What are you grateful for today?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Tidbits of Life

I've kind of been running on EMPTY where blogging is concerned lately.  I think of little things to share, but nothing that seems worthy of a post, so I wait....

Today, I'll combine a few things, and we'll call it a post - mmmkay?

A few weeks ago, JILL and I went to our local flea market.  At the top of my list?  A bench to put at the foot of our bed.  I know - that's pretty specific.  But, believe it or not, we had only been to a handful of booths when I spotted it... a bench... with a heart cut-out, that would match the heart cut-out on the quilt rack in our bedroom (not that that was a must).  I asked the lady how much she wanted for it -- fully expecting it to be much more than I wanted to spend.  But her answer was $5.  How could I resist?  I can play around with it, and totally mess it up, and for $5?  Who cares.  So, the plan is to sand and paint it.  I want it to be a more neutral creamy color so that it sort of disappears into our carpet, rather than making the room seem more crowded.  More details later -- much later.  I don't think I'm going to be tackling any big painting projects any time soon.


On Saturday, my hubby and daughter and I went to the same flea market, and I grabbed up a tole-painted tray for $2.  [I totally talked her down from $3!]  I've seen them on Etsy for anywhere from $15-$25.  My inspiration was this idea from Serena -- a magnetic note center.  I'm still trying to figure out the best way to camouflage some of those scratches -- or if I even should.  If you follow me on Facebook, I started a chat the other night to get people's opinions.  Jill suggested black shoe polish, so I'll hunt around here today.  I'm pretty sure we have some black shoe polish somewhere.  Many suggested sealing it to protect the painted area -- and that's a great idea, but I want to think about handling those scratches first.  Another project.  Stay tuned.


My new favorite line is:

"Falling under the heading of..."
I know.  It's random.  And yet -- it's been applying to so many things in life lately.

Like this:
Falling under the heading of "I NEVER should have tried this..."

Pepperidge Farms pumpkin spice bread!  What a delightful seasonal surprise.  PF didn't ask me to tell you about it.  I just like sharing favorite things.

You might remember the whole goldfish bread incident.  A sad story for sure.  I finally contacted PF via their webpage, asking about the goldfish bread.  Zero response.  But then, I happened to spot their Facebook page, and wrote them a note there.  Alas, a response.  (Turns out they are social-media conscious at PF!)  Anyways, the nice person that responded said that they were NOT thinking of baking more goldfish bread anytime soon, and reminded me about their swirl breads.  Yes, yes, I had tried them, and they weren't the same -- but I decided to give 'em another go.  And... either they reformulated their recipe, or... my brain got
reformulated and was ready to accept the deliciousness.  Before the pumpkin spice variety arrived on shelves, I was enjoying the cinnamon -- lightly toasted, no toppings.  Delicious.  And only $1.19 at my local thrift grocery store.  Cha-ching.


Also regarding my new phrase "falling under the heading of..."  -- I have a new Pinterest board called "Falling Under the Heading of BRILLIANT."  I only have one project (two pictures) there so far... but check it out.  It's a great entry-way project from Carmel @ Our Fifth House, using some really resourceful ideas.  (HINT: There's more than one way to use an entry closet!)  You will be inspired.  I was!  I even started a Pinterest board because of it!

Okay, that's all I've got.  Do you just love the randomness?

Did you have a great weekend?
Do anything great?
Any autumn adventures?
Any random tidbits?  Do tell.

'13 Gratefulness
* grateful for a good Homecoming weekend (even though they lost the game)
* grateful for a quick flea market adventure in the rain
* grateful for friendships that come in all shapes and sizes
* grateful for hot soup on a chilly evening
* grateful for this song, which I'm still humming since church yesterday

Feel free to chime in with a comment!  What are you grateful for today?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Note Card Party ~ 10.16

Well, I missed last month, and I confess -- I'm excited to be linking up again with Vee's Note Card Party!  I was happy to have taken enough "fall" photos already this year, that I had some to share!  We've had some beautiful country drives, and a great morning at the apple orchard.  As always, all photos are linked to their original posts -- the last three being from the same post.

I look forward to seeing what all of my "note card friends" have been up to!

'13 Gratefulness
* grateful for an evening with girlfriends
grateful for evening of cookie baking
* grateful for our "daily bread" and the lessons that go along with waiting for God's perfect timing

Feel free to chime in with a comment!  What are you grateful for today?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Second Sunday: We Could Start a Revolution

You've read what I've written about it in these posts.

Jill wrote about it HERE.

Second Sunday.

In a world where many families barely eat meals together any more, we could start a revolution, you know? Second Sunday.  Gather your family up, and celebrate how much you love each other.  Make a meal.  Have other family members bring food to complete it.  Make sure there is dessert.  Share in the duties.  Tell stories. Play games.  Spend time.  Invest in one another.  Laugh.

Yesterday, we met at our house.  Mom is still recovering from her knee-replacement, and glad to hand off the hostessing temporarily, so Jill and I have been glad to share the duties.

On the menu this month?  Subs.  A family favorite.  They're a make'em-yourself meal.  Jill brought buns, lettuce, and tomato.  I prepared plates of ham, salami, cheese, and onion -- and there's always Italian dressing on hand.

It's the way we learned to make subs back in Buffalo, when we bought them at a little sub shop at the corner of my Gram's street.  Mom used to send Jill and I a few blocks over to the sub shop with her order.  We were out of her hair for a little while, had our own adventure, and came home with a yummy meal. Usually, there was Frosty root beer waiting at home to go with the subs!

Mom (who is quickly on the mend) had whipped up and frozen a Delicious Pumpkin-Spice Cake for this weekend, and had it ready to bring and share.

We set up a buffet this time - though that is not our usually M.O.  Kids went through the line first, and were seated at their table just feet away in the living room.  As the adults made their way through the line (and before the kids could take their first bite), I asked everyone to pause for a prayer.  Usually my sweet hubby takes the lead on this, but he was busily helping the last kiddo to build their sub -- so I stepped in and prayed... and... it's such an emotional thing for me to pray over my dear family -- each of whom I love clear through to their core.

We are a normal family, having seen our share of hard times, unemployment, sickness, and general life frustrations.  But, the bottom line is: we are family.  Always.  Forever.  And no matter what.

You would think I'd have a million pictures -- but no.  We were too busy eating and talking!

And now... do you need to start your Christmas shopping?
It's never too early to plan ahead, so...
While I'm on the subject of supporting family, I thought I would share a link to my daughter's recent sophomore fundraiser.  They are selling YANKEE CANDLES and other goodies.  She has her own fundraiser page on-line where you can order and pay directly, giving credit to her sophomore class, and to her specifically as well. If you choose to order this way, your items will ship directly to you!  Thank you for considering.  {Just so you know, I'm not doing all the work for her.  She's been a good little salesperson -- but when they offered this techie web-page option... well, it was just too hard to resist!}

'13 Gratefulness
* grateful for time to gather with family -- all 11 of us
* grateful for our commitment to Second Sunday through the years, and all of the great memories
* grateful for a wonderful church family
* grateful for successful "homecoming" shopping over the weekend

Feel free to chime in with a comment!  What are you grateful for today?

Friday, October 11, 2013

HOO Was I Kidding?

It was only a matter of time until I fell prey to the owl craze.

I've been eyeing all of your decorative owls, and just biding my time.

I knew I wanted one of these guys, and I've looked high and low for just the right one.  I wanted one that didn't tie me to any particular season.  And just so you know, I've already spotted glittered owls for Christmas.  Hoo knew?

But back to my owl... I wanted him (because you do know they're all BOYS, right?) to be plain, and without adornment or even... color.

So, imagine my delight when, on someone's blog, I spotted a beautiful white ceramic owl!  The blogger (and oh, how I wish I could remember who you were!) said they found their owl at Michael's.  Aah, Michael's.  The one place I hadn't yet looked.  Michael's.  Where all things fall are already discounted to make room for that glittered Christmas owl.  Ya gotta love Michael's!

Also, I don't feel so bad about falling prey to a "craze" -- when I haven't also fallen prey to... FULL PRICE!  I was ready with coupon in hand in case there was any question, but alas, the price had swooped down -- oh, um... I mean DROPPED to clearance, Clarence!

Okay, enough of this crazy bird talk.
What are you grateful for today?

'13 Gratefulness
* grateful for a morning of snuggling babies at church
* grateful for a new day with no commitments
* grateful for time to catch up on things at home
* grateful for good sales timed perfectly
* grateful for good organizational tips that work well
* grateful for peppermint tea and other seasonal things that we start to enjoy all over again as the weather changes

Feel free to chime in with a comment!  What are you grateful for today?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Hunting and Gathering

Lately, my crafting tendency (if you can even call it that) has been to gather up bits and pieces of things I love, and bring them home to see what I can create out of them -- which may sound like any other crafter, except... often, I don't have a very definite picture in my mind of the end result.

Case in point:  Just the other day between Walmart, and JoAnn's, I came home with the four items you see below -- all little bargains in their own right.  I knew if I didn't use them together, that I would use them all somehow individually -- so it wasn't a huge risk.

I don't know about you, but I am crazy about these chicken-wire baskets, and love them in every shape and size.  The black and white checked fabric is a quilt square, and I added a pouf-factor to it by wrapping it around a plastic grocery bag.

I then added the nest of bittersweet berries...

... and nestled the sweet green pumpkin on top.  TaaDaa!  Easy Peasy.  And it was done "on the cheap" too.

And the part I like about it most?  Every part of it can be used in a different way another time!  If you think this particular project doesn't even qualify as crafting, well, that's okay.  We'll just call it "hunting and gathering!"  *wink

Have you done any hunting and gathering of craft supplies lately?

Linking up with Cozy Little House for Tweak it Tuesday

'13 Gratefulness
* grateful for cooler days
* grateful that I have always been (and so far continue to be) a stay-at-home mom.  I know I am old-fashioned, but there is nothing that brings me more joy in a day than taking care of my family's needs, keeping their clothes clean and their stomachs full, and all of the other things that keep this household and this family moving through life smoothly.  It is a tremendous privilege.

Feel free to chime in with a comment!  What are you grateful for today?

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Visit to Bauman Orchards

One of the things we love to do in the fall is visit nearby orchards and pumpkin patches.  My hubby was up early on Saturday morning, and scouring the morning newspaper as well as the internet.  Somewhere along the way, he found out about Bauman Orchards -- and away we went on our Saturday adventure.

After getting off the highway, we drove through mostly residential streets, and were amazed to practically dead-end into Bauman's!  As we got closer, we could tell that something big was going on.  Cars lined both sides of the street, and wound back into the neighborhood -- and the people just kept coming.  We were lucky to catch the last weekend of their "Fall Festival 2013" -- a great family atmosphere!

One of the first tents that greeted us was the donut-making tent.  These are little cinnamon-sugar dusted gems that shouldn't be missed!  They were offered individually, or boxed by the dozen.


We decided to pick our own apples, not sure how much reaching and climbing we'd have to do.  We were given a bag, and a map that guided us to the rows of apples that were ready for picking.

We found out that many of the Bauman trees are of the dwarf or semi-dwarf variety.  They make for some family-friendly pickin'!

It started to sprinkle just a bit as we were finishing up our apple picking, and by the time we paid for our apples and our $1 hotdog/cider combos, we were running for the car.

We'll definitely be going back to Bauman's!

Did you have any big "fall adventures" this weekend?

'13 Gratefulness
* grateful for a great Saturday morning adventure at the orchard
* grateful for the smell of home-made applesauce on the stove, and home-made apple-cinnamon bread in the oven
* grateful for rain
* grateful for a cozy home

Feel free to chime in with a comment!  What are you grateful for today?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Box Tops for Education

Recently, as I waded through my various social media hang-outs, I spotted a note on Shannan's Facebook wall, which led me back to her blog.  It had to do with Box Tops for Education -- which caught my eye, because I had just received a special check-out coupon at the grocery store for $5.00 towards Box Tops for Education!  I'm sure you're familiar with the box tops program. Perhaps some of you even save box tops, waiting for the day when you will find out who needs them.  Lots of schools do.  If you already give to your local schools, then "GO YOU!"

But, if you're one of those people who has always wondered, or has always saved them with no place to send them... here you go.  This school needs them.  They're saving up for a new playground.  Just trim up your box tops, and mail them off to:

428 North 5th Street
Goshen, IN  46528

I guarantee, they will know exactly what to do with them.  Turns out they've already been receiving envelopes from outside the Goshen area!

Did you have something nice happen to you today?  Pass it on!

'13 Gratefulness
* grateful for the sunshine pouring into my kitchen
* grateful for dinner for four at our kitchen table
* grateful for friendship and accountability
* grateful for good health

Feel free to chime in with a comment!  What are you grateful for today?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Recently, I won a giveaway over at The Enchanted Home -- and a set of lovely "Paris" boxes was sent off to me. Sadly, they never arrived, having been damaged along the way -- and so, I was graciously given some new choices.  I chose this planter sight unseen.  Tina said it was creamy white, and could be used as a planter -- or even a utensil holder.  I was intrigued!

It arrived a couple of days ago -- but not in my mailbox... and not on my covered front porch.  It was a dark and gloomy afternoon, and the clouds were lying low, making you believe it could storm hard at any moment. Our super-thoughtful mailman brought it around the back of our house, and into our garage, leaving it outside my kitchen door.  When I pulled into the garage that afternoon, there was my package and all of the mail waiting for me, safe and dry.  Awesomeness.

And speaking of awesomeness... I really like this sight-unseen planter.  Look what I planted!

So far, I've changed my fall decorations around a little every day, I think.  I like to keep my sweet hubby guessing!  

'13 Gratefulness
* grateful for mom's good (and continued) recovery after her knee-replacement surgery
* grateful for $1 clearance mums
* grateful for a great mailman, who goes the extra mile
* grateful for a sweet gift on my doorstep
* grateful for the safety that God provides for our son at his job

Feel free to chime in with a comment!  What are you grateful for today?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Change of Plans

So our anniversary (Thursday) didn't exactly pan out like we thought it would.  By the time we got to Saturday, I was feeling a little better, and we hoped that on Sunday (when our daughter had plans, and our son would be working) that we would head out to a favorite restaurant.

Instead, our son's work schedule got changed, and our daughter came home earlier than expected.  What? Everyone home at the same time at 1:30 on a Sunday?  We've learned to take advantage of opportunities like these!  Hail, hail!  The gang's all here -  WooHoo -- Let's party!  We ended up doing dinner and a $1.75 movie, and laughing A LOT.  I heard myself saying, "We have way too much fun together!"  and the kids rolled their eyes [I heard them], but they couldn't deny that Mom was right.

I'm loving this picture that our daughter snapped on her iPod this weekend!

'13 Gratefulness
* grateful for my amazing hubby of 21 years
* grateful for two "BEST" kids
* grateful for strawberries, peaches, pineapple, watermelon, sweet potatoes, green bell peppers, mini sweet peppers, bananas, and celery -- awesome produce from the flea market and the Penn-Dutch market
* grateful for the first pot of chili of the season
* grateful for an impromptu family night out

Feel free to chime in with a comment!  What are you grateful for today?

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