life is always about the journey...

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving.....

For those celebrating the holiday, I hope you enjoy every minute of your family, friends, football watching, food & dessert eating, holiday shopping and whatever else you may do the next few days!

We are headed to the Gaylord Resort at National Harbor for the holiday.  Thanksgiving is my least favorite holiday (gasp..I know) so I prefer to spend it somewhere and just relax and be with my family.  We are having dinner in Alexandria and then movies back at the resort...Friday we will see the ICE "Frosty the Snowman" show before we come home.  

And on Saturday we will be hunting our family room Christmas tree at our local tree farm, decorating, drinking homemade hot cocoa, and watching ELF :)
Good times.....

This girly got back on Tuesday night and we are thankful we flew her home early because of the weather and snow issues.  First thing she did was come in and snuggle with all the cats...and of course Winston was first!  Its her first time home in 4 that was way too long. She flies home Sunday morning and then she will be back Dec 11th for a month...yay!

Tuesday night I made Alexa's favorite dinner and there was lots of rowdiness during and after dinner....just like ole' times LOL!

Wednesday we woke up to this white stuff...yeah can you feel how thrilled I am? NOT!
Thankfully it started raining a bit and most of it is gone today but still pretty chilly.

And Wednesday Alexa's BFF Grace came over for the night.  Lots of pizza eating, watching Home Alone and playing Cards Against was lots of fun!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Dean Family!

I hope you enjoy your holiday!  I will be back on Monday with more Holiday projects for you...stay tuned. But for rest of week & weekend I will be enjoying spending time with my family!

Hugs & Love!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Painted Snowy Mason Jars....

Over the weekend while the boys were away & I had the house to myself I worked on 7 different holiday projects...yes 7..and all but 1 are actually completed hahaha!  Sometimes its easier to do a lot at once when you already have a good mess going right?  And I watched "Sleepless In Seattle" and "When Harry Met Sally" while crafting....two of my most favorite movies so it was all good.  I think my dogs might've gone to bed with glittery fur that night too...hmmmmm ;)

So first on my project list to share with you today are my Painted Christmas Mason Jars.  I've seen these painted mason jars ALL over the web and I've been biding my time to make my own version. I had everything in my craft supplies for this project except for the paint so the total for this cost me a nice $4...can't beat that!


Jars (cleaned & dry)
Paint (any acrylic or chalk paint works)
Glue Gun & Glue Sticks
Sand paper or block, emory board
White Glitter (I used Diamond Dust)
Clear Glitter (I used Tim Holtz Distress Glitter)
Modge Podge or other thick glue
Chipboard Letters
Snowflake punches, thick white cardstock, or pre-made snowflakes
Paper Dimensionals

Mine aren't even mason jars...they are spaghetti jars I've saved and washed out...I cannot throw out a perfectly good jar like these ya know.  I used Martha Stewart's paint in Cloud (satin finish) and just painted it all over the clean jars making sure to paint from top to bottom each swishing it in every direction. (Chalk Paint would work great too) 
Let first coat dry and then add second coat..then let them dry overnight.

After they are thoroughly dried, then you can sand them to your heart's desire.  I used an emory board to get in the letters a bit more and then the sanding block for the larger areas.

I wanted the tops of my jars to have a fun, glittery & snowy look.  So I used a heavy modge podge glue and dabbed it along the top and dipped each jar into some of the Diamond Dust (which is a thicker white/clear glitter).  After dipping I patted it on to make sure it was coated well.

Then I used my snowflake punches and punched a variety of sizes out of some thick, white cardstock.
Then each snowflake got a coating of glue and both kinds of glitter as well.
The chipboard letters I painted white and then added glitter to them as well...this time I only used the Tim Holtz Distress Glitter in Clear Rock Candy.

I hot glued the snowflakes in layers and then glued them directly on my jars.  But I wanted my letters to POP out a bit more from the jars & really stand out.  So I used these dimensional stickies (if you are a papercrafter they look familiar)...only I hot glued them on the letters and then the jar so they'd stay stuck really well.  Otherwise they would probably fall off easily on the painted jar since they are meant more for paper.

I added some twine just to the first jar and tied in a bow...I liked the contrast.
You could also punch snowflakes out of kraft paper and have a variety of colored snowflakes.
Lots of fun options....

And this is what you end up with...I just love how they turned out and the pretty soft gray-aqua color.  They will look beautiful in my finished basement rec-room (its all choc brown, black, white & aqua).
I put flameless battery operated candles in each so they will glow softly when the lights are dimmed.

I would NOT recommend using real candles due to saftey burning stuff down folks!!



Friday, November 21, 2014

Getcha In The Mood......

GET in the Christmas mood my sillies....hahahaha!
I think I'm ready...I wasn't at all last week but definitely feeling the pull of the Christmas fun now.  The hub's birthday is tomorrow and both he and our son left for South Carolina Thursday night.  They are heading to see Alexa at UofSC, go to the last Gamecocks football game and do "guy stuff".  Guy stuff for them means trips to Sonic, Cracker Barrel, Waffle House, Cabela's and Bass Pro shops...whatever floats their boat right? LOL!

I'm staying home because I wanted them to have some guy time...Riley will be off to college in another year and I felt it was important for them to have some bonding time.  Plus I have a million & one projects I want to work on with NO distractions.  And did I mention girlie movies and easy dinners in the evenings ;)  Plus Alexa flies in on Tuesday for the holiday so I want to get a few things ready before she gets here.

So to help you get in the mood for Christmas I'm going to leave you with two holiday songs by Pentatonix....I friggin love them.  They sing a cappella and have a beautiful Christmas album out now.  So bring forth the Christmas trees, boxes of decorations, cranberry-fir candles and more. 

Oh and enjoy your weekend!! TGIF!

IT'S SOOO COLD HERE so I will be doing this a lot while out with the doggies.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Crazy Cat Lady.....

I am the crazy cat lady...I mean c'mon...I have 6 cats and I'm slightly nuts right?? hahahaha!
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you know I post pics of them regularly...they make humorous subjects most days.
How did we get 6 cats when I really was more of a "dog" person?
Well I'm gonna tell you today....settle on in with some tea & a snack my friends......

The ONLY picture I have of all 6 cats...of course its dinner time so they all appear in a flash meowing and following me around.  If you don't like cats don't come to my house at mealtime.


Ten years ago the kid's gold fish that they won at the FAIR and lived for FOUR years ughhh...died.
So I took them both to PetSmart to get new fish and walked out the door with 2 know because 2+2 = 10 in my house..LOL!  However both kitties came from the local cat rescue so we were doing a good deed even if I knew NOTHNG much about cats.

Those two kitties are named Poncho & Millie and they are siblings.
Poncho is all gray and Millie is pure black...both with beautiful green eyes.
They are now 10 years old and our 2 quietest cats and the two most likely to be bullied by the babies.

Mimi the alien cat...hahaha!

I don't have a lot of pictures of Poncho & Millie.  I tried to take some pics but she was very uncooperative the lil shadow she is.  We call Millie the cave dweller because she only emerges in the evening from her dungeon in the back basement.  Which shouldn't be surprising because when we brought her home she hid under a dresser for 3 days. She's the sweetest of all the cats, extremely quiet but she doesn't like to be around lots of people or noise...she also goes by the name "Mimi" or "Princess". (we have alternate names for everyone)

I took this picture of Poncho while I was holding him because he's very shifty...its like he knows I'm coming at him to get a picture...he smells the camera LOL!  He's Riley's cat but he's also pretty much my cat.  He used to be a real diva until he had surgery 5 years ago and then he became more laid back...he might've thought we would take him back to the hospital if he kept on with the diva-ish-ness!  He sleeps under my side of the bed at night and goes by the name "Poncho-Pants" or "Mr. Bear-Bear"...don't ask..that's just what I call him.


Then we have the babies...not really babies anymore at 5 years old but they will forever be known as babies in our house.  Tinkerbell and Tucker are our second set of sibling cats and they also came from a local rescue.  I had just lost my other cat Windy (its a long story about Windy, but she basically adopted us and became my cat and was a beautiful siamese...then she passed away due to cancer) and my miniature schnauzer of 13 years had passed away as well.  I decided to work with the local cat/dog rescue after I lost Windy as a way to give back and help all those other kitties that were suffering.  So I went to PetSmart (do you see a theme here) to get some more cat supplies and the head of the rescue was there with a new batch of kitties.  Now this was after I had fostered about 10 other cats in the meantime.  Well one of those kitties looked so much like my Windy that I told her I'd foster him...well HE came with a sister...and ummm...they never really left the house for foster events because I kept them.  I kept assuring the hubs that I would but they kinda stayed...yeah that's another theme in this house.

This is Tinkerbell...aka Tink or SmellyBella...again don't ask.  The babies like to have their pictures taken...they also love people..they know no strangers.  They also are the most mischievous of all the cats I have.  "If it FITS, it SITS" is a good title for them because they squish into anything...baskets, drawers, bins, etc. Tink is tiny but mighty...she is the QUEEN of the house...she is the bully and she dominates everyone including her brother.  I might also mention that she is my "buddy" when I'm working or crafting...I use that term very loosely.  She wants to be hugging me, near me, on my head, on whatever I'm working on...basically just wanting attention at the least opportune time.

Yes that is Tucker in the kitty treat door...he knows how to open it the rotten cat.
And NO he never learned to NOT get on the counters like the other 5..sheesh!

Then we have Tucker...aka TROUBLE or "Kitty Boy"..he's nothing but trouble so its a good thing he's so cute.  He is the most personable of the cats (also my mom's fave) and he's pretty much James' cat when he's cat when he's not.  He's the cat you can dress up, haul around, and take 100 pictures of and he doesn't care.  He also doesn't listen, never cares if he's in trouble and thinks he's part dog.  Both him and his sister were dropped off at the rescue in 95 deg heat, taped up in a box...can you believe that?  Their other sibling died from the heat and Tucker had a damaged voice box from being so dehydrated and he uhhhh BARKS, yeah he has a weird dolphin squeak and then a bark.  Both him and Tink took to my dogs like they were their mommas...they will still lay right next to them and clean them up when they allow it LOL.  

And then we have Snowbell...she weighs about 4 lbs but is a fluffball of white hair that regularly rolls around the floor.  She answers to Snowbella and the cracking of food cans.  She followed the hubs and kids home about 4 Halloweens ago and we took her in...she was malnutritioned, she had sticks and mud in her paws and ears..she was a mess.  I remember the vet saying she probably would've survived another week and then died because she was so sickly.  I bathed her that night and she never moved, she just seemed so calm and quiet I thought she might pass away that night.  She had been declawed so she was someone's cat although no one never claimed her in our neighborhood.  I was supposed to nurse her back to good health before I put her up for adoption...and well...yeah she never left either (see that theme I was speakin' of).  But for all that I did to revitalize her and get her healthy she PREFERS James...he is the King to her I swear.  She comes to no one else but him unless they are the bearers of basically she puts up with me until he gets home LOL.  I don't have a ton of pictures of her either unless its on James' lap (like this one).  We think she's about 6-7 years old by the vet's best guess.

And last but not least is Winston...yes another rescue. Two years ago before Thanksgiving I got a call from the head of the local rescue asking if I could "possibly" take in a cat for the holiday...just for 5 days Suzanne that's it.  UH HUH...well I'm a sucker so I went & picked him up and he came home.  We put all new or foster kitties in the study on the first floor for a few days to get them used to the house, noises and for my cats to look at them through the glass french doors and hiss basically LOL.
Well he strolled on in this house like he owned it...might I also say he was tubby when we got him and he was only 2 years old.  PS..the top picture was him watching me do yoga...he lounges while I do all the work...its so cat-like of him..HA!

And yup you guessed it...he's now been with us for 2 years because he never left.  He is such a laid-back cat, he's playful and he could care less about the other's WINSTON'S WORLD and they are all just living in it.  And Alexa thinks he's hers but he pretty much loves everyone in the family.  Although he did sleep in Alexa's room and he's definitely been missing her since she left for college. Well in 6 more days he will get his "Alexa Fix" hahahaha!

So there you go...the story of how we got our 6 cats.  
I don't foster cats or kitties anymore because I had such issues letting them go.
And the hubs said I would be in BIG trouble if I got any I don't tempt myself but volunteer for the rescue in other ways LOL!

With 8 animals in the house I feel like I'm just the human caretaker and living in their world...they are the kings & queens.  And they frustrate me on a lot of days...but I can't imagine our lives without each personality...truly!

Now I'm off to vacuum some furballs, clean up some cat mess and let my dogs outside......

And remember local no-kill animal shelters are always looking for volunteers and donations all year long but especially in the winter months. 


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Just Steal It......

Do you like a steal?  A great bargain?  
I know I sure do. I thought I'd share a few of my favorite buys from the site Decor Steals.  Its a flash sale site that emails you the "steal" each day and they are usually a good bargain compared to what you will find them in the stores for.  I don't buy every steal...sheesh my husband would kill me lol. However I have bought quite a few this year that are some of my most fave things.  I like the unique finds they offer.

My one tip would be:  if you really love it, don't hesitate. I've done that a few times and lost out because they've sold out of the item. So I check right away for my email each day and if I can't live without it or will regret not having it I put it in my cart.  Lots of popular items like the holiday pillows sold out within the first few hours.

If you'd like to join you can click the LINK HERE and once you sign up for an account you will get $5 off your first order.  There is no obligation to buy a steal EVER...if you like it you buy it, if you don't then just delete the email LOL!  But if you like unique finds for your home then I would suggest you try it out.

I just received these pillows this week and I ADORE them.  They look like vintage feed sacks but are super soft.  The backside of the Reindeer pillow has the song lyrics to Rudolph so both sides are pretty.

The blue-grayish lanterns were bought from them as well...they sit on top of my media center.

And I love my little hobby horse...they offered it in different sizes. This one is sitting near my fireplace right now, but once I get my foyer Christmas tree up it will sit with the other vintage toys in front of it.

Love these whitewashed metal baskets...the smaller one holds fruit in my kitchen, the med one will be ready for holiday greenery and the large holds magazines in my bedroom.

And I love this will be filled with greenery & twinkle lights in a few weeks.

Those are just a few of my faves I've gotten from them this year.  I have others including more holiday items that I will share as I start decorating for Christmas.

Enjoy your is COLD here in Virgina!!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Take A Load Off.....

A load of carbs off your daily diet that is.  I've really been watching my carbs & sugars the past month and trying to be better about substituting while cooking.  And you know how you feel weighted down after a huge pasta meal?  Yeah, you won't feel that way with a plate of veggie noodles that's for sure.

 Which led me to purchase this handy, dandy machine.....may I present the Spiralizer! There are lots of different models & types out there but I read reviews diligently and this one seemed to suit me best. I liked the different blades, ease of use and easy clean up.  You can use it for fruits AND mix it up and try new things I say :)

Which led to me getting it, washing it & putting it right to use because I was super excited! 
(it doesn't take much folks, trust me)

I decided to use zucchini & yellow squash to make spaghetti noodles first. I snapped in the right blade, cut the ends off of my veggies and spiraled away...its pretty fun to twirl that handle. Reminded me of the Play-Doh Hair Salon I had as a kid hahaha!  The spiralizer has suction cups on each leg to keep it in place while you are twirling away...don't get too excited now..hehehe. AND keep the skins on for extra source of fiber too (after you've washed them all really well).

And I ended up with a blow of these yummy veggie noodles.  I used 1 each of the zucchini & yellow squash to make enough for two servings (my veggies were med sized).

Cook or Raw?
Now you can eat them raw if you like or to soften them a bit you can cook them up quickly.
I put a TBS of Olive Oil in my pan along with 2 diced cloves of garlic and sauteed them for about 2-3 minutes.  Easy peasy.  (I also drained them on paper towels because I wanted less oil on them)

Don't have a Spiralizer or don't want to buy one? 
 Use a julienne slicer or peeler and make long, thin strips may take a bit longer but results will be similar.

I also had some homemade marinara meat sauce simmering and ready on the stove.  Mine has onions, mushrooms & ground turkey in it...yummmm!

And direct from a Healthy Eating Website here is the low-down on zucchini spaghetti:
Each medium zucchini provides 33 calories, 6.1 grams of total carbohydrates and 2.0 grams of fiber, which works out to only 4.1 grams of net carbs.
A typical plate of spaghetti can easily provides 100 to 150 grams of carbohydrate, and that is before you even consider the garlic bread and soft drink that might go with it. Most low-carb diet plans recommend limiting your daily carb intake to fewer than 100 grams a day.
How is that for a comparison huh?  I think this girl will be sticking to her veggie noodles and feel much better after enjoying it too!

And all these pics were with my iPhone..sorry..I didn't realize that BOTH my 
camera's batteries were dead until I of course needed them lol!

And that turned into a yummilicious dinner...I swear it was so good I could've eaten 2 bowls.  The veggie noodles were softer and took on the flavor of the'd never know if you weren't told what they were.  Definitely a winner!  I served it up with a field greens salad & balsamic dressing..nummers.

I will be using this Spiralizer a lot me thinks!

I also pinned quite a few recipes using a Spiralizer on my LOSE WEIGHT RECIPES board on Pinterest if you are interested.
Oh and there is a blog dedicated to only Spiralizer recipes..check it out too!

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