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Changing Views

25 Jun

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A little over a week ago I made the kids go outside, still in their pajamas, and run around in the back yard while I frantically snapped pictures.  They thought their dad and I had lost our minds, and I am sure they really thought we had gone off the deep end when Jason and I just stood behind our house, Jason shaking his head and me crying.

When Jason came home a few months ago and told me that all of the timber on the land adjoining ours had been sold, I didn’t think too much about it.  You know, it was one of those things that just wasn’t going to happen.  But two weeks ago, they moved the saw in, and the next morning we were awaked by the sounds of trees being cut down: a sharp squeal of a saw followed by a crash.

I know not everyone understands this, but losing these trees has been so sad for us.  We spend a lot of time outside, and the canopy of trees around us that has been forming for the past 100 years or so is one of the best things about living where we do.  It is hard to explain to the kids that even they, in their lifetimes, won’t see that view out of our kitchen window.

So, one by one the trees have been coming down, and every day there is another chunk of sky or torn-up ground visible through the thin line of trees left on our property line.  Jason and I joked about chaining ourselves to one of the trees in protest, but we both know that there is nothing to do but get over it.

So, in my effort to get over it, I am trying to cheer up my kitchen window.  I spend a lot (I mean, a ridiculous amount of time) looking out of this window, because it is where I stand when I cook or wash dishes.  I love to look out that window, but the view isn’t quite what it once was. Plus, I have really been neglecting the window and window sill.  It was really quite pitiful!

Brighten up a windowsill1

Bad, right?  My poor lipstick plant definitely needs to be repotted in a bigger pot, and Maddie’s rock that we brought her from Mexico (sounds ridiculous, but she loves that thing) needs to find a new home.  Plus, the window is just plain dirty.  Definitely neglected.

So, I moved the plant to the back deck (Don’t worry-I am going to save it!) and gave Maddie her rock to relocate (She’s been rolling it around in her stroller all afternoon), and got to cleaning.  That in itself made a huge difference.

Before we built our house, we had to tear down some really old houses that were here.  The people who lived here threw their trash out in the woods, so every time it rains now, glass and other things rise to the top.  We find all sorts of old glass bottles and keep most of them.

I got some of my favorite bottles that we have found and used them to hold some different plants from the yard.  Turned out really pretty, I think!

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Brighten up a windowsill2

 

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So, even though the view out my kitchen window is changing, I still plan to enjoy being at my sink and looking out of the window.  I do spend half of my life there, after all, so might as well do everything I can to make it pleasant!

 

 

Turning Christmas Trees into Summer Trees

24 Apr

I had to have Maddie in Cary for a dentist appointment at 8:00 this morning, which was totally CRAZY for us. I can’t remember the last time I was dressed and out and about that early in the morning, and I didn’t like it one bit! When my alarm went off before 6, Jason said, “Do you remember when you used to get up at 5:30 every morning to go to work?” I do, and I don’t miss it!

The pediatric dentist was amazing, and Maddie acted just as she predicted.  Yesterday, I asked her if she was going to be a good girl at the dentist.  She responded, “After I’m bad.”  I thought at the time that was pretty funny, but that is exactly what she did this morning!  At least she follows through….

One plus side to going to Cary this morning was that we got to go to Target.  We live a little ways from any good stores, so going to Target is pretty eventful for us.  I was finally able to buy some supplies to do something I have been wanting to do for awhile (since the beginning of January, actually).

When we took down our decorations after Christmas, Charlie got pretty depressed.  He was upset it was over, he missed Martin (our Elf on the Shelf), and he didn’t want me to take down our decorations.  I agreed to leave the little trees in his and Maddie’s rooms, and we decided after a few weeks that we would transform them into Valentine’s trees, then Easter trees, then summer trees.

Valentine’s Day and Easter are now over, and the kids still have Christmas trees in their rooms.

Christmas trees-minus some ornaments because the kids have been slowly been picking them off and playing with or breaking them.

Christmas trees-minus some ornaments because the kids have been slowly been picking them off and playing with or breaking them.

 

I found several bags of summer-themed foam stickers in the $1 section of Target.  I peeled the backs off of 2 matching stickers, then stuck them back-t0-back around a pipe cleaner.  They made really cute ornaments!

I found several bags of summer-themed foam stickers in the $1 section of Target. I peeled the backs off of 2 matching stickers, then stuck them back-to-back around a pipe cleaner. They made really cute ornaments!

 

This is the finished sunshine ornament.  I wrapped the pipe cleaner around a branch, then twisted the ends of the pipe cleaner into little curls.

This is the finished sunshine ornament. I wrapped the pipe cleaner around a branch, then twisted the ends of the pipe cleaner into little curls.

 

Charlie working on a snail for Maddie's tree.

Charlie working on a snail for Maddie’s tree.

 

...and his masterpiece!

…and his masterpiece!

 

We used pinwheels (also found in Target's $1 section) for our tree toppers.  I just removed the sticks and the wheels fit perfectly on the tops of the trees.

We used pinwheels (also found in Target’s $1 section) for our tree toppers. I just removed the sticks and the wheels fit perfectly on the tops of the trees.

 

A little frog ornament for Charlie's tree.

A little frog ornament for Charlie’s tree.

 

And a football ornament for Charlie's tree.  These were actually on his Christmas tree, but he wanted to keep them for his summer tree, too.

And a football ornament for Charlie’s tree. These were actually on his Christmas tree, but he wanted to keep them for his summer tree, too.

 

Maddie and her finished tree!  I found some great globe lights in Target, and we wrapped some yellow streamers around the tree as a finishing touch.

Maddie and her finished tree! I found some great globe lights in Target, and we wrapped some yellow streamers around the tree as a finishing touch.

 

...and here's Charlie with his tree.  A little burlap around the bottom covers the cords.

…and here’s Charlie with his tree. We hung some balls on his tree, too. A little burlap around the bottom covers the cords.

 

I am so glad we finally got this done.  The kids love them, and I can finally check “take down Christmas decorations” off my to-do list!

DIY Chevron Wreath

9 Jan

I have been working on cleaning out and selling all of my wreath-making supplies (decided to do away with the business) and found the gray chevron fabric that I used to make this wreath for my mom last fall.  At the time, I had intended to make one for myself, too, but I never got around to it.  Well, today I finally did!  And I love it!  It will be great until the spring, or even longer.

I decided to re-post the original blog for you in case anyone was interested in making one of their own.

 

 

Is anyone else obsessed with chevron like me?  I just love it.  I found some grey chevron scrapbook paper the other day that I just love, and my new yellow chevron pillows are being delivered tomorrow.  I can’t wait!

Mama asked me to make a gray chevron wreath to match her new paint colors, so we went to Hobby Lobby today and got the fabric, and I made it tonight after I put the kids to bed.  It turned out just beautifully and I thought I would give a quick DIY on it.

Gray Chevron Wreath with Flower Embellishment

Supplies Needed:

Glue Gun and Glue Sticks

Straw Wreath Form (I used a 15″ Form)

1 Yard of Gray Chevron Fabric 

Silk Flowers of Your Choice

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1. Cut the fabric into strips about 6 inches wide.  Make your cut in the direction of the arrows in the chevron pattern.

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2. Cut those strips into pieces that are 10 inches in length.

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3. Take each fabric strip and fold over one edge.  Secure it with the hot glue gun.

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4. Begin gluing the strips of fabric to the straw wreath form.  Secure one edge to the back of the form with the hot glue gun.

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5. Pull the fabric tightly around the form and secure the end of the fabric to the straw form using the hot glue gun.

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6. Continue adding strips of fabric, overlapping the side of the fabric that is folded over onto the fabric on the form so the frayed edge of the fabric isn’t showing.  For a more uniform look, line up the pattern of the chevron on the front of the wreath.

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You will need to fold over the fabric a bit to keep it tight around the form.
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Halfway there!

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7. For the last piece of fabric, fold over both sides so the frayed edges are not showing, then secure it to the wreath the same as the other pieces.

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All done!

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8. Use the hot glue gun to add the flowers of your choice.

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And all done!

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Isn’t it pretty?  I can’t wait until Mama sees it.  And luckily, I have enough fabric left to make one for myself!

Why I am Loving our Christmas Tree

10 Dec

My Christmas decorations have totally changed this year, for a couple of different reasons.  First of all, we had our house painted this summer.  Our walls went from browns and yellows to blues and grays, and our furniture went from reds, greens, and golds, to blue and white.  Secondly, I really wanted to make the decorations more kid-friendly, and the kids have been making a lot of ornaments that I wanted to put on the tree.

So, even though our tree is very different from what we have had in the past, I LOVE it!

Eddie, the kids' grandpa, found a train set that we put around the tree.

Eddie, the kids’ grandpa, found a train set that we put around the tree.

 

This is a snowman made out of an egg carton-we painted the carton white, added some buttons and sequin eyes, and a strip of fabric for the scarf.  I just sat them in the tree.

This is a snowman made out of an egg carton-we painted the carton white, added some buttons and sequin eyes, and a strip of fabric for the scarf. I just sat them in the tree.

 

This is one of my favorite ornaments.  The kids dipped their fingers in white paint then made snowmen with their fingertips.  I used paint pens to add the snowman's embellishments, then wrote the kids' names and the year on the bottom of the ornament.  We have made tons of these-what a great gift.  I got this idea from Pinterest, but can't get back to the original source, so if it is your's please let me know so I can give you credit for this awesome idea!

This is one of my favorite ornaments. The kids dipped their fingers in white paint then made snowmen with their fingertips. I used paint pens to add the snowman’s embellishments, then wrote the kids’ names and the year on the bottom of the ornament. We have made tons of these-what a great gift. I got this idea from Pinterest, but can’t get back to the original source, so if it is your’s please let me know so I can give you credit for this awesome idea!

 

I made a couple of ornaments myself by mod podging strips of fabric to a  glass ball.

I made a couple of ornaments myself by mod podging strips of fabric to a glass ball.

 

One really special thing about our tree this year is that we have some ornaments from Jason's Grandma Olline, who passed away last year.  I love this one.

One really special thing about our tree this year is that we have some ornaments from Jason’s Grandma Olline, who passed away last year. I love this one.

 

This is a super-old ornament from Olline's tree.  I had to hang it very high so the kids couldn't get to it!

This is a super-old ornament from Olline’s tree. I had to hang it very high so the kids couldn’t get to it!

 

I love how our decorations and all of our Christmas traditions are evolving!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some New Creations…

29 Aug

Casey, Julie, and I have kind of been on the fence as to whether or not we want to continue with our Mommy in Bonlee business this holiday season.  We have taken the summer off and are feeling re-energized now, so have decided to make a few things for the fall and Halloween season.

I spent all day yesterday making some wreaths, and I must say I really enjoyed myself!  I really like making them, and love seeing them on my door (and other people’s doors) even more!

I love this one for fall, and it looks great on my red front door:

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I really like this one for football season.  Go pirates!

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Casey is busy with some tutus for Halloween, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with.  I think a mummy costume is in the works!

If you are interested in seeing more of our creations or buying anything, just click the Facebook link on the right.  You can order through that page, or you can click on the link to our Storenvy shop and order that way.

I need to get focused now on packing for our Labor Day beach trip-so excited that we are staying at a hotel and someone else will be vacuuming and cooking and making our bed!

Have a great day, everyone!

Summer Bounty

19 Jul

Hi everyone!  So glad today is Friday and we have a great weekend ahead of us.  I am especially glad that our new refrigerator was delivered today.  After several weeks of going back and forth to our garage fridge to retrieve juice every time the kids needed something to drink, I am SO HAPPY!  What an ordeal this has been, but I will save that story for another day.

We were late planting our garden this year so we are just beginning to harvest our fruits and veggies.  We have been eating fresh squash, zucchini, cucumber, and tomatoes every night, and today I enjoyed my first tomato sandwich of the summer.  It was so good!

Jason is keeping a close eye on our canteloupe and watermelon, and I think we will get to pick one this weekend.  Can’t wait.

My cutting garden is also very plentiful right now.  I so love to go out back and cut a bouquet of flowers for the house.  Jason built my cutting garden for me one day when I was at work and he had the day off (about 7 years ago), and I have gotten so much enjoyment from it!

Here’s what I cut today:

I am not sure what this red flower is, but it actually comes back every year.  I added some rosemary.  We got this vase in Tijuana several years ago.

I am not sure what this red flower is, but it actually comes back every year. I added some rosemary. We got this vase in Tijuana several years ago.

This is a mix of zinnias, cosmos, mexican sunflowers, and black-eyed susans.

This is a mix of zinnias, cosmos, mexican sunflowers, and black-eyed susans.

I love this print I just got. You guys should check outhttps://www.etsy.com/shop/LiveAtHome and their gorgeous prints.

I love this print I just got. You guys should check out https://www.etsy.com/shop/LiveAtHome and their gorgeous prints.

Anyway, great day for me!  God has really blessed me.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

DIY Chevron Wreath

9 Jul

Is anyone else obsessed with chevron like me?  I just love it.  I found some grey chevron scrapbook paper the other day that I just love, and my new yellow chevron pillows are being delivered tomorrow.  I can’t wait!

Mama asked me to make a gray chevron wreath to match her new paint colors, so we went to Hobby Lobby today and got the fabric, and I made it tonight after I put the kids to bed.  It turned out just beautifully and I thought I would give a quick DIY on it.

Gray Chevron Wreath with Flower Embellishment

Supplies Needed:

Glue Gun and Glue Sticks

Straw Wreath Form (I used a 15″ Form)

1 Yard of Gray Chevron Fabric 

Silk Flowers of Your Choice

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1. Cut the fabric into strips about 6 inches wide.  Make your cut in the direction of the arrows in the chevron pattern.

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2. Cut those strips into pieces that are 10 inches in length.

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3. Take each fabric strip and fold over one edge.  Secure it with the hot glue gun.

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4. Begin gluing the strips of fabric to the straw wreath form.  Secure one edge to the back of the form with the hot glue gun.

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5. Pull the fabric tightly around the form and secure the end of the fabric to the straw form using the hot glue gun.

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6. Continue adding strips of fabric, overlapping the side of the fabric that is folded over onto the fabric on the form so the frayed edge of the fabric isn’t showing.  For a more uniform look, line up the pattern of the chevron on the front of the wreath.

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You will need to fold over the fabric a bit to keep it tight around the form.
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Halfway there!

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7. For the last piece of fabric, fold over both sides so the frayed edges are not showing, then secure it to the wreath the same as the other pieces.

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All done!

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8. Use the hot glue gun to add the flowers of your choice.

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And all done!

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Isn’t it pretty?  I can’t wait until Mama sees it.  And luckily, I have enough fabric left to make one for myself!

What to do With All of These Seashells?

2 Jul

Hi everyone!  I hope you have all had a fabulous rainy day….yeah.  Here in the South we are getting quite tired of the constant monsoon.  We have gardening to do!

Luckily, I prepared yesterday morning for the rainy week ahead.  The kids and I (and Noah, whose name is quite fitting at this time) packed up and headed to Hobby Lobby to replenish our craft supplies.

We have TONS, and I mean TONS of seashells from our recent vacation.  Everyone likes looking for pretty shells on the beach, especially my mom, who may be a little OCD about her shell collection.  Not only did she tirelessly search for shells, she washed, separated, and bagged the shells according to shape and texture and color. Thanks, Mama!

So we spent the day making things with our shells.  We had a lot of fun and it was a great way to spend this incredibly rainy day.  Here’s what we came up with:

First, we went out yesterday during a break in the rain and buried all of our shark’s teeth.  We are going to have friends over to dig for them as soon as we can walk through the yard again!

We went to the sandbox during a break in the rain yesterday and buried our sharks teeth.  We're going to have friends over to dig for them!

We’ll have so much fun digging for these again!

This morning, Charlie and I redecorated Goldie’s bowl.  We added some smooth black stones and several oyster shells.

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Goldie loves his new bowl decor!  He has been swimming around happily all day.

Goldie loves his new bowl decor! He has been swimming around happily all day.

When Maddie woke up and we had finished with our morning routine, we made seashell sculptures.

We used Crayola Air-Dry Clay.

We used Crayola Air-Dry Clay.

Maddie is serious about her sculpting.

Maddie is serious about her sculpting.

Charlie's finished project-I think we'll put them in our English garden in a few days when they are dry.

Charlie’s finished project-I think we’ll put them in our English garden in a few days when they are dry.

Then we painted some shells.

Charlie making his Spiderman shell!

Charlie making his Spiderman shell!

And some wiggly-eyes for added effect.

And some wiggly-eyes for added effect.

I also made some magnets with some purple-grayish shells.  They match our kitchen well!

Just use a hot glue gun to secure the magnet to the back of the shell.  Easy!

Just use a hot glue gun to secure the magnet to the back of the shell. Easy!

They look good on the fridge.  I think I will make some with the shells the kids painted, too.  That would make a great gift!

They look good on the fridge. I think I will make some with the shells the kids painted, too. That would make a great gift!

I do have one more shell project I am working on, but it may take a few days.  I’ll let you all know when it is finished.  Then I guess we will dump the rest of the shells in the sandbox.

I am glad we had the shells today.  We had a lot of fun making stuff with them and it helped to make our day indoors pretty fun. Plus, we got a visit from Jill and Addison, so that made our day even better!

Blueberry Pie and The Honor System

25 Jun

My Husband and I both had to work this past Saturday morning.  Luckily, we were both done by lunchtime and when I got home, he said he had a surprise for me!  Yay! I can usually figure out what his surprises are, but this one really had me stumped.  We got in the car and headed to wherever the surprise was.  We ended up in the next town over, Pilot Mountain.  He was taking me blueberry picking!  There was this cute little blueberry farm that he had driven by on his milk truck route and he thought I would like it.  Of course I would!  I love doing stuff like that!  So, we pull in and there are 2 people there, none of whom work there.  We just grab a little bucket and start picking.  It was hot, but we had a lot of fun eating berries and throwing them at each other!.  When our bucket is full, we head back, but there is still not anyone in sight that works there.  Well, there is a table set up with scales, plastic bags, a metal box, and a piece of paper.  The paper says “The Honor System:  You pick them, weigh them, put them in a bag, and leave your money in the box.”  So we did!  I thought that was pretty cool!

Apparently, I was tricked because, little did I know, Johnny had been wanting a blueberry pie, which I have never made before.  Of course, I wasn’t going to tell him that.  And it turned out freaking fabulous!  So, here is my recipe.  I apologize for the measurements.  I tend to not measure things.  I just guess and add and pour, but I will try to get as close as possible.

4 pounds of blueberries!

4 pounds of blueberries!

These were some big berries!

These were some big berries!

 

So to start, if you are using fresh berries, you need to wash them of course.  I assume everyone knows this, but I also forget that not everyone has blueberry farms 15 minutes from their house.  If you buy them from the store, I would recommend washing them anyway!  Now, I’m not going to get into the pie/sonker/cobbler thing (that’s a whole other blog) but, I had just bought a deep dish pie crust and I really wanted to use it, while I really felt like the blueberries would work best in a sonker/cobbler setting.  I filled the pie crust with blueberries.  I really don’t know how many it was, but if I had to guess, I would say 6 cups.  Next, you mix together 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup light brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.  I just poured that over the berries inside of the pie crust and kind of tossed it around until all the berries were coated.

 

Next step is the topping.  This is just a crust, you could use another pie crust if you wanted, I just didn’t want to go that route with this one.  I melted 6 tablespoons of butter a mixed in 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of sugar.  I also added some cinnamon and quick cooking oats to it, just to be fancy.  (Reminder:  I don’t measure, so what I am writing on here is just a guess of what I used.)  Mix everything together until it is pasty.  It shouldn’t be runny.  More like a cookie dough.  You kind of have to drop it onto the top of the blueberries in the pie crust as evenly as you can.

That's what it looked like before it was cooked.

That’s what it looked like before it was cooked.

 

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  You can’t cut it immediately, it needs time to set up.  This pie is so good!

Finished Product!

Finished Product!

 

 

 

Sometimes I let him do what he wants.

Sometimes I let him do what he wants.

 

That’s why you shouldn’t cut it immediately.  But, he was going to terrorize it anyways!  It was a great Saturday!  I also got a new planter from my Dad and got my chicks and hens planted (This is what I call that plant, although I have heard several other names.  I do know it is one of the only plants that I can successfully multiply!!!)

So cool looking!

So cool looking!

 

 

 

 

 

remodeling, remaking, reinventing

7 Jun

As I was driving to work today, my thoughts were on the disaster I was leaving at home. My newly refinished bedroom floor was dotted with puppy paws. There was already one long scratch in the floor, complements of Kitten moving the box springs. The painter had started moving his tools in, before the floor man moved his stuff out. Trying to live in a house while these two major things are being done is impossible.

A permanent reminder of our dogs.

A permanent reminder of our dogs.

This led me to think, “Are we always trying to improve? Are we ever satisfied with our life? Has this year been hard enough, just with the things that have been handed to us? Do I have to add to it by sanding my floors and painting my walls”?

My Aunt Betty is 87 years old. She is still trying to be better. Trying to lose weight, improve her health, exercise (or talk about it), clean her house, be closer to God. And, she wants to ride the train to NC to help me do all the same things! So many times I have wondered if I will be what God wants me to be. Will I ever be complete? Sometimes for just a moment, I will settle down and say, “I am okay just the way I am. My life is good.” The next breath, I am tearing something down, creating my own chaos.

I hope I’m still striving for perfection when I am 87. Here’s to the next 29 years!