life is always about the journey...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Dorm Life Y'all!

The Dorm Life

Next year my daughter will be off to college....sighhhhhh!  But I am a mom that is preparing wayyyyy ahead of time.  I already have her page ready for the senior yearbook...I'm doing a full page spread of baby pics and commentary, heehee!  And I've been starting to think out her graduation party as well...I like to have my ideas in order, planned out and prepared...what can I say.  I'm starting a Graduation Party board on Pinterest to keep my ideas in one place.  Not that I'm ready to get rid of her or anything LOL...but I'm a forward planner type of gal.

So I will be busy documenting each of her last events in high school this year WHILE planning for her to go to college LOL.  She's already telling me what she wants in her "care packages" when she's away.  She will do early acceptance to her #1 school University of SC in August and this summer she will be researching and getting ready to apply for scholarships as well.  Her other schools she's applying to are:  Stanford, Auburn, and Florida State and she wants to major in Marine Sciences.  Keeping my fingers crossed for her...she has a 4.1 GPA so I'm hoping that she gets in where she really wants to go.

And my friend (BFF, 1 of the 3 musketeers) Pat sells Thirty-One bags...they are super durable and come in fabulous styles and patterns.  I won't say how many I may or may not have ;)  But I use them a lot and they can take a beating and still look nice AND keep their shape, love that.  And we use them a lot for beach bags in the Large Utility, Keep It Caddy and the Organizing Utility Tote sizes.
I got this one for Alexa because it has her fave colors...I got her name embroidered on it too.
This month's special is: for each $35 you spend you can get the Large Utility Tote for just $10....that is a HUGE DEAL FOLKS!  
 It is the largest tote bag (approx. 11.75"H x 21.5"W x 10"D) you can buy and it can hold everything AND the kitchen sink.  They are great for so many things.  I use mine to haul my craft stuff, one in the truck to hold groceries, we take them on vacation, we use them as beach totes, etc.
This is another pattern I got for one of her friends!

So I decided to buy some more items that I wanted needed...LOL..its a slight addiction!  But I needed some other bags (sure I did, no really I did) and decided I'd get a Large Utility Tote for Alexa and her 3 BFFs as graduation presents and fill them with things they may need/use in college.  Course Alexa's will have a lot more in it but I thought it would be a great present for all the girls.  And I was able to get the 4 totes for $10 each...awesome!

I'm going to collect items over the year for the bags and some ideas I have had so far are below.  Creature comforts from home, fun presents, useful items and some gag gifts LOL!  They will be instructed that they CANNOT open the gifts inside till they are at they have something to make them smile if they are homesick or lonely or just need a pick-me-up.

College Gifts:
-electric kettles
-fuzzy socks
-Ramen noodles
 (as a joke but they all love them)
-iTunes cards
-mini sewing kits
-picture frames to fill
-portable chargers for smartphones
-pepper spray keyrings
(yes safety is #1 on this mom's mind)
-fun pencils & pens
-Disney items 
(for my Disney obsessed daughter)
-small journals/scrapbooks
-nail polishes & lip glosses
-pretty lanyards for their college ids
-luggage tags
-Bath & Body Works products

I also ordered this cosmetic bag set for Alexa with her name embroidered in navy to match the other bag (pattern is Best Buds).  It will be nice for keeping her cosmetics organized while she's in the dorm (I hope LOL)!  And just to use for any travel really.

I'm a total sucker for fun patterns and flip-flops...and this is a new summer pattern "Fun Flops" for Thirty-One so I had to snatch a few things with this pattern before it goes away KWIM?  I got this Keep-It-Caddy and the Large Utility Tote in this fun pattern for the cute is it?  Even though I may have a couple...errrr few.... of these I use them ALL the time for just about everything.

  And happily my order came this week so I'm all ready for my Florida Keys vacation :)


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Dad's Day!

To all the Dads, Grandpas, and Uncles out there doing a great job!  And to my dad as well!

My husband is the BEST dad I know...I couldn't ask for a better father than the one my kids have.
He's always willing to help them, do anything for them, is involved in their lives, is happy to be with them and loves them more than life itself.  He's been 100% involved since the day both kids were born and he loves nothing better than hanging out and being with his family!  He's top-notch in my book as BOTH a husband and father....we are lucky to have him!

 So Happy Father's Day to my husband....thank you for being a "dad" and making it a 
priority every day!  I love you!


Friday, June 14, 2013

Spray Fresh Out There!

Hahahahaha that's my pun on Stay Fresh...get know I'm so lame :)  This is another quick and fun project I did a bit ago and just getting to post it.  My family thinks I'm totally nuts but I like to COVER things to make them if I want it to match the room or the bottle is ugly I will cover that baby up.  Quick, easy and simple to do....lemme show ya!

So I do believe in using natural products as much as I can....I use tiny bowls of baking soda in some rooms when needed.  But I'm sorry...I have a teen boy...and said teen boy has teen boy friends...and when they get in a bathroom.......well I don't have to go into details.  Let's just say its NOT fresh LOL!  And nothing helps in the moment other than these Glade Sprays.  BUT I'm not a huge fan of the bottle as they don't always match my color scheme in my bathrooms.  Hey I'm an artist, I like colors that GO well with each other...I cannot help it...shoot me :)

Side Note:  I also have these Poo-pourri Sprays in the bathrooms...the names are HYSTERICAL (this one is Doody Free, my personal fave is Call of the Wild though).  They are made with Essential Oils and smell really good.  My good friend Pat introduced us a few years ago...after some poo talk...don't ask, LOL!  And I'm a BIG believe in them lemme tell ya...I even have the travel ones cuz they DO work!  You spritz a few squirts in the toilet bowl BEFORE you go LOL and ta-da...reduced stinkage!   I have "Trap-a-Crap" which is in a camo wrapping in Riley's bathroom...hey I didn't name it...but it does make me giggle.  But he and his friends don't always use it...ugh!  Hence the need for the Glade Sprays in ALL the bathrooms just in case...nothing worse than a stinky bathroom.

How To:
Seriously simple, took me about 3-5 mins for each spray bottle and I used all things from my studio that I had on hand.  Cost: $0...gotta love that eh?

I'm a I have LOTS of supplies on hand for these kinda things.  And I have a ton of older 12x12 scrapbook paper that I don't use and it was perfect for this project.  I picked paper that matched each of my bathrooms.   Just set the can on the paper, measure and cut to size.  I love & use regularly Scor-Tape (no need to cut it, and it doesn't gunk your scissors like other brands) just rip it to size and its double stick AND super strong.  Add a strip to each end of the paper you cut and peel off the backing on each one when you are ready..  Match up the bottle on the paper and wrap well.

Also in my stash are lots of Martha Stewart border punches.  I decided the paper was a little plain and needed a bit of decoration.  So I punched some trims for each one in two sizes and added it with more Scor-Tape.

So this is what I did to those Glade Spray bottles...aren't they pretty?  And they match my bathrooms now...I made more don't worry.  We have 5 bathrooms and EVERY bathroom has one now :)

Here is one all pretty on the commode tank in my powder room on the first floor.  Along with some fresh flowers from my garden, this little room is all set!

And if I did nothing but give you a few giggles with this posting...then I'm ok with that...that's how I ROLL :)


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Snack Time!!

 Snack Drawers

Just a quick, short post for you today....this project below KICKED off a much larger project in my kitchen that I promise to share later this week with you.  I gotta edit a bunch of pictures for it first!

I have always kept a large snack drawer in the kitchen for the kids.  Most of their friends know where the "drawer" is and come right in and take a looksie and a grabsie.  And when the teens need to pack a lunch or grab a snack they can get something pretty easily from here.  We have a collection of Luna bars, granola bars, cookies, crackers and snack packs.  

 The BEFORE "Snack Drawer"...aka...MESS!
(Note: the Milano cookies are MINE...I have 1 a day as my sweet treat)

But after this past "Hellacious" school year (I had a freshman & junior in high school...the 2 hardest years in high school...yeah both at the SAME time, oy vey lol) the drawer kinda got out of control.  I wasn't sure what was good and what wasn't!

So that meant a nice PARING down of the goodies and more BINS 
to reorganize the drawer into this:


So all it took was 3 bins ( 97 cents each at Walmart) and 2 storage canisters ($2 each)...I actually got 5 canisters for future storage issues LOL!  I like to be prepared...I WAS a girl scout ya know ;)
All the granola & snack bars got sorted into a bin, the cookies into another, and the crackers & snack packs into the third bin.  Nothing fancy or labels...everything is easily seen and able to be grabbed quickly.   I slipped some micro-wave popcorn in between the bins...I have a large box out in the garage on my "Costco Pantry Shelves" and I just pull a few to put in the drawer every time they are used.

Total Price for Snack Drawer:  $7....not bad at all!

Our Oreo Canisters!

I love these snack sized canisters...great for crackers, chips, cookies, etc!  I put the Oreos in them to stay fresh because NO ONE ever replaces the cookies in the package like they should and they just go stale.  I figure the teens can handle this system right????

Well time will tell....I am happy with it now and I think its pretty easy to keep up!
I'm working thru the kitchen slowly but surely......

What are your TROUBLE AREAS in the kitchen???


Monday, June 10, 2013

My Best BBQ Sauce!

 Suzanne's Cherry Cola BBQ Sauce

I love, love a good BBQ sauce and I love most barbecued foods.  And a lot of the bottled BBQ sauce at the stores are pretty good too BUT I prefer making my own.  That way I know exactly what is in it and I can make up the size batch I need and I've found its MUCH cheaper!  I cook up a big batch to use right then and put the rest in a squirty bottle to use during the week.  Or if I make a huge batch I will put it in a jar and keep in fridge for another batch of wings, chicken, fish, etc.  This is my personal recipe and it takes bits and pieces of recipes collected over the years...things I've tried and liked and eliminated things that just didn't work.  Its not a secret recipe, I don't lord over it but its just a culmination of many taste testings in my own kitchen.  I'm big on flavor...I know what I can add to certain dishes to get the flavor I'm looking for but sometimes you gotta just try a bit more, a bit less or none at all in each recipe until you "perfect" it.  This is my version of perfection but then again it may need more or less of "sumpin' good" for your own tastebuds.  So try it and change it and make it your own if you wish!

**The Maille Old Style Grained Dijon is what I use in this recipe (its sold at most stores including Walmart) and it has a really great flavor for using in recipes...a little goes a long way with this one because of the intensity of its flavor **

I love to make pulled chicken sandwiches especially in the summer.  I put 4 good sized organic chicken breasts in my crock pot along with 2 1/2 cups of my BBQ sauce and some sliced onions.  I put it on high heat for 4 hours to cook and it doesn't heat the kitchen up and its easy to make.  After its cooked I pull the chicken out of the pot and put it into a large bowl...then I use a fork to shred it while its still warm which makes it easier to do.  Then I put it all back in the crock pot along with any extra BBQ sauce it may need (usually it doesn't) and let it simmer on low until I'm ready to serve it.  It makes enough for four adults PLUS leftovers for lunches during the week.
Great for parties as well...put about 6-8 chicken breasts in to cook and you have enough for a fairly large crowd.

I serve mine up with special cole slaw recipe and roasted garlic potatoes.  Perfect summer or anytime dinner!  (cole slaw dressing recipe and potato recipes soon to come)

I'm entering this into the following Link Parties:

 A Bowl Full of Lemons Linky Party

Not Just a Housewife


Saturday, June 8, 2013

A few...!

A Few of My Faves

These are some of my FAVORITE fashion items this summer....things I've been continually reaching for in my closet and some things that are just my FAVE period! 

If you like wedges in the meself...I swear these may be the most comfortable I've ever worn.  I bought the white ones, then I went and bought the aqua ones & I'm contemplating getting the black ones (Shhhhhh don't tell hubster lol)!  But I've worn these ALL day, I've worn them in the concert pit for 11 hours, worn them to parties and I have to say they are super cushy & comfy.  Now if you don't like wedges...well these aren't for you LOL! 
They are available at Nordstroms but I got them for a bit cheaper on Amazon, plus Amazon had more colors and FREE shipping was offered...whoot! BONUS!

I have been searching for a good pair of jean shorts.  Most were WAY TOO SHORT, too tight, too distressed or had weird stuff on them.  Then I found these...whoot...I love them.  I went and bought another pair. I wear them most days I'm at home, they are soft, worn in, not too tight but not too baggy either AND the perfect length (for me).


I am OBSESSED with this stuff...well I am obsessed with skin care period LOL!  I use it once or twice a week and it smells good (big plus) and it leaves little dots on your face where it clears out the pores.  So you know exactly what's coming out & is getting cleaned...I must say its a bit satisfying!  And your face will feel so silky smooth and look so refreshed afterwards you will be addicted too. (its at Sephora too)

Clean in Cotton T-Shirt
I have worn this (warm cotton) for years and years and I love it...the T-shirt one I got last year and I love that almost as much!  My daughter calls it my "mom smell" and says its just "ME" and I can never ever stop wearing it LOL!   I'm not so big on perfumes, I'm fairly sensitive to certain smells and if I can smell it on myself all day it will make me SICK to my stomach and give me a bad headache.  And I hate cloying, floral, musky smells or anything that smells like food on myself LOL.  This smells shower fresh, no strong smells...just nice and clean.  Now don't get me wrong I love flowers, food and such and I burn candles but I don't want to smell it on myself.  I have a few of the other Clean perfumes too that I wear on occasion in Shower Fresh, Outdoor Shower Fresh and the newest one Clean Summer Escape.  So if you like light and fresh perfumes I HIGHLY recommend these. (I get mine at Amazon but Sephora, most dept stores and Ulta carry them too)

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Gifts of Summertime!

Summertime Gifts

I thought it would be fun for Alexa to get her 3 best end of school gift since they would all be coming over the last day of school for a sleepover (that is today lol).  A gift to celebrate their NEW *Senior* status in high school.  WOW..still can't believe these girls that I've known since they were 10 will be proud of them all!

But we chose nothing too fancy or expensive but something they'd all like and enjoy.  Just some FUN summertime gifts!  So here is what we came up with:

* Insulated Cups from Walmart - $4-5 each
(Alexa & I are OBSESSED with these cups as they don't sweat and stay nice & cool)
*Essie Nail Polishes in fun colors - $4 each on Amazon
(they are $3-4 cheaper on Amazon than at stores)
*Toe Dividers in fun patterns - 99 cents at Walmart
*Gum - 95 cents
*Flip-Flops in fun colors - $5 each ($10 for 2 pairs at Old Navy)
Total for each girl:  $15
Not too bad me thinks!

 Fun & summery colors...perfect for girls of ANY age!
For older girls (like meself) you could even include a fun drink mix like lemonade or margarita mix..ummm yeahhhhh margarita...mixes sound good LOL!

These smaller goodies all fit neatly into the cups and then we packaged them up in pretty gift bags and tissue paper ($5 for 3 bags and tissue paper).

 I didn't get a pic of the flip-flops before they all paraded off in them so here 
is a selection of the ones at Old Navy LOL!  Cute for only $5 each, great for summertime!

Are you ready for summertime fun??
I know I sure am....


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Freshness Rules!

Let me count the ways that I LOVE fresh produce...fresh from the farmer's market is great...BUT fresh from MY garden is even better! The taste is 1000x better than what's bought at the stores that's for sure.  When we went to Maui a couple of years ago we were AMAZED at the different flavor bananas and pineapple had because they were off the tree fresh and soooo yummy!  I've always had a garden since I've been married, sometimes it was a container garden (when we lived in a condo) and sometimes it was a DEAD garden LOL due to lack of rain and us away on vacation.  But I've always tried to have a garden and shop at the farmer's markets during the summer as much as I can.

You could say my mom was farm-2-table-hippy-cool before it was "in style".  Growing up we had a HUGE garden and most of what we ate in the summer came from the garden.  My mom canned most things (pickles, corn, tomatoes, jams, etc) and made her own bread, yogurt...pretty much everything except meat/poultry/seafood.  Although we did live on an inlet of the Chesapeake Bay so fresh fish/crabs/oysters were...are...a way of life here thank goodness because seafood rules SUPREME in my book.  My mom still cooks like that...makes bread most days, is the most amazing baker in the whole wide world and has been going to the local Amish market for veggies & fruits since before I was born.  I was the girl in elementary school BEGGING my friends to bring me bags of Doritos or Oreos because I never got that in my lunchbox.  It was more likely to be pita sandwich with bean sprouts and something homemade like soup LOL.  I didn't appreciate it then but I DO appreciate it now...I never had all that processed junk entering my body at a young age.  And yeah I do keep some junk in my house nowadays but I'm careful most of the time about what I feed myself and my family.  But I learned if you totally forbid the junk your kids (and meself lol) will go searching it out more.  I just offer MORE healthy choices at meal times!

So this is my garden currently...its 16 feet by 5.5 ft and it gets sunlight for most of the day which all my plants seem to love.  I love having raised beds and I use organic soil and compost fertilizer on it (I will have more on my DIY compost container, hee).  I don't use any pesticides or chemicals in my garden, no sirreeee!  I have a plastic wire fence surrounding the garden that hubby created with an easy opening for me to get inside to weed, plant and harvest.  We have lots of bunnies, groundhogs and deer that like to nibble so I gotta protect it as much as I can...not to mention 2 doggies that like to dig in it oy!  So in the top garden I have only tomato plants with a few pepper plants and cilantro (and marigolds surround it to keep away bad buggies & deer).  I plant a variety of heirloom, large tomato and cherry tomato plants...peppers are green and jalepeno.  Then in the lower garden I have zucchini, cucumbers, different gourmet lettuces, radishes, onions, peas, wax beans and green beans.   As I go thru the lettuce I plant new seedlings, it grows quick and ensures that I will have lettuce thru the summer!  I'd really like to add one more bed to the garden for things like cabbage, cauliflower and larger veggies...shhhh don't tell the hubby because he's my builder and I know he will GROAN LOL...but I will plan it for NEXT year!!
**our neighbor's sprinkler system sprays in my garden most evenings so it gets watered for free hahahaha...thanks neighbors, I shall share some veggies with them**

I totally plan to can some things this year...I grew up watching my mom and I figure I can do it too.  So I bought all the "stuff" I needed and I have plans to do pickles, tomatoes and some jams with fruit from local farms.  So when I do that I will keep you in the loop...I'm sure it will be a series of mishaps and successes!!

These were some of the lettuces I pulled from the garden the other night...its a mix of different lettuces.  Fresh lettuce is soooo good, sweet and I could just sit and eat it plain...but what fun would that be right?  LOL!

So I decided to make a lettuce (from my garden), tomato (from farmer's market), mozzerella (from local farm) and balsamic dressing salad.  OMGeee it was so good we were fighting over it LOL.  I served it with roast chicken, parmesan risotta and semolina bread.  Our farmers market has a bunch of local farms at it and they sell everything from farm made honey, mushrooms, veggies to cheeses, dairy and meats.  I have to CONTROL myself to not over buy LOL because I want it ALL!  And best part is we know EXACTLY where it comes from and how it was made/grown/ much better that way.

So the balsamic dressing is a Suzanne've tweaked different recipes over the years to come up with my own version.  I've put it below for you if you want to try it along with some measurements are as close as I can approximate because you know I don't measure when I cook!  Enjoy!


EDITED:  Here are a few pics of my DIY fence LOL...its cheap, it works and it was easy to create...well easy for my hubby to make ;)  Its plastic fencing from Lowes that comes in a large roll and is pretty inexpensive.  Then he bought bamboo poles and cut them all to a uniform  size and used plastic ties to attach the fencing to the rods tightly (you could of course use any dowels or wood poles for it too, we just like bamboo and its light).  We just stick them in the soil around the garden.  For the opening/gate he created a permanent hole in the ground using a plastic screw anchor in a large the rod goes in neatly in the ground and is easy to pull out and put back when I want to get in with just a bit of overlapping on the fence.  He also nailed fencing to the wooden fence alongside the garden because those buggars will crawl right through the pickets into my garden and eat a good meal LOL!  So that's the fencing we use, its easy to install and inexpensive and we can add to it if we make the garden bigger at some point!


(I have a few more links to put up but both blogger & my Mac aren't cooperating...arghhh...will try in the morn)

I'm linking this up at A Bowl Full of Lemons Linky Party!


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Weekend Bliss!


What did I do this weekend....well I spent some time in the sun...waiting in be the first in the pit at the stage for TIM MCGRAW....whoot whoot!  I'm just a sucker for those country boys that can sing lemme tell ya....NUTTIN' BETTER!!!  Country till the day I die!

I was at stage with my daughter for the concerts by Love-n-Theft, Brantley Gilbert & Tim McGraw on Saturday night in Virginia.  Hotter than Hades, I had nothing to eat that day but a sno-cone but it was BLISS...utter of the BEST NIGHTS of my life.  Not only did I get a couple hand slaps, fist bumps and touches from Mr. McGraw (my fave singer along with Luke Bryan for forever & ever) but I got his guitar pik too....whooohoooooooo!  My heart was in my throat was a moment to never forget.  A full slideshow of pics will be on my ScrapBitz blog on Tuesday...but for a now a few to entice you LOL!

Yes, he is THAT hot....better as he gets older that's for sure!

Yes, Tim "YOU" are hot!

Both the pics above were taken with my phone....that REALLY was my view...he was right over me OMGeeeee!  I about DIED LOL!

Yes, his shirt was see thru!

Yes, he has the cutest smile ever!

Not only is the man FINE but he puts on the best show, his voice is amazing and I'd see
this concert a billion times before I'd ever get sick of him.  Lucky Faith...sighhhhhh!

Disclaimer:  Hubby knows my Tim obsession...I've had one for him since the early 90's...he gets it and he's ok with it LOL!   Hey he likes Heidi Klum and lord knows I'm not HER nor will he ever really see her hee hee!

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