Sunday, September 30, 2012


Want to join me on a 31 day FOCUS FRENZY?  These days it’s so easy to get distracted and sidetracked with all the time-sucking things around us.  Smart phones, ipads, facebook, twitter…blah, blah, blah.  I’ve joined the 31 Day series at The Nesting Place to help me (and hopefully you too) find better focus in life.  The concept of 31 Days is to choose any topic and write a post every day for the month of October.  YIKES, right?!

I’m afraid I may scare you away with a post every day, but I hope you stick with me.  At the risk of boring you all to tears, I’m going to give it a go.  No worries, I will try to keep most of the posts short and sweet to make it realistic for a daily read (and write for that matter).

Throughout the 31 days, I will focus on different areas of my life.  Many posts will be about trying to rewire my brain out of bad habits to create better ones and some will be a little self-talk to light a fire under my booty.  My hope is that by the end of the 31 days, I will have simplified my life a bit so that I can focus on what’s really important.  Your focus and my focus will be different, but I sure would love it if you joined me.  It’s always easier to tackle a challenge with friends along with you.  So, will you join me?

Oh, and if you’d like to do your own topic for 31 Days, check out The Nesting Place for more info.  Anyone can join in the fun.

Don’t miss a day.  Below will be each day’s link for you to check out.

DAY 1:  Happy Mess Mad Mess

DAY 2:  I Am Your Husband

DAY 3:  Divide & Conquer

DAY 4:  A Girl's Gotta Have Goals

DAY 5:  Just Walk Away

DAY 6:  Should it make the cut?

DAY 7:  Half There

DAY 8:  Eye Candy

DAY 9:  Think Like a Child

DAY 10:  Oh, pretty pillows, what was I thinking?

DAY 11:  You've Got to Move It, Move It

DAY 12:  Homemade Halloween Costumes

DAY 13:  Playing Hooky

DAY 14:  Road Trip

DAY 15:  Rock Star Goody Bag


DAY 17:  Halloween Glow Stick Pockets

DAY 18:  Quick Quote

DAY 19:  Halloween Decor & Craft Ideas

DAY 20:  Halloween {REAL} Food Ideas

DAY 21:  Halloween Treat Bags

DAY 22:  Candy Corn Cupcake

DAY 23:  Candy Corn Pizza? Yes, Pizza!

DAY 24:  Salvaging Broken Bamboo Blinds

DAY 25:  Halloween Around the House

DAY 26:  Brass Attack Update

DAY 27:  Halloween Blast

DAY 28:  Containerize to Organize

DAY 29:  What NOT to Buy

DAY 30:  Love It or Leave It

DAY 31:  Bringing It All Together


Friday, September 28, 2012

My Super Power: Strep Detector

A tongue that looks like a ripe, red strawberry – check.

Breath that has a weird, sweetish scent – check.

As soon as my little guy woke up yesterday, I knew what was coming.  I detected it so quickly this time, I almost questioned myself.  Diagnosis: strep throat.  After several bouts of strep with my oldest, I’ve become a pro at strep detection.  In the end, it saves me days of misery because we shut it down at the first sign.  It actually does make me feel like I have some kind of super power.

So that’s it.  We’ve kicked off the dreaded sick season already.  When my kids are on antibiotics, I often ask myself if I gave them their medicine?  The days start to blend together and I lose track.  Heck, sometimes I ask myself if I put on deodorant Smile.  So anyways…I started writing it on our kitchen chalkboard like this.  Not for my deodorant, for the meds.


Then I remembered a fantastic trick my friend Tricia at making it feel like home did to track her meds.  She simply wrote with a sharpie right on the med bottle.  Brilliant!


This little bottle is so small, I almost didn’t have enough room, but it works!  I’m doing both methods this time around as back up systems to each other.  (Thanks for the great tip, Tricia!)

Also, just want to share a super easy and yummy chicken chili recipe with you.  Perfect for a fall day!  You can find the recipe here from my Super Bowl Food post.  I shared it over at Just a Girl's Slow Cooker Linky Party the other day.

Have a great weekend and stay well!!  By this time tomorrow, my little guy should be turning a corner.  Hoping we can make it through with only one man down.  Fingers crossed!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Double Duty, Easy Fall Decor

Like I said the other day, if it weren’t for those three cuties living here, I would probably stick with general fall décor.  I can be lazy.  I mean I like to keep things low maintenance if I can.  Plus, I just want less stuff. But I cannot deprive those kids of some spooky, creepy Halloween fun in exchange for my lazy pragmatic ways.

There are a few things I do to keep things simple.



I love mums in the fall.  But I finally realized, I’m so over watering flowers by the end of summer, I don’t want to do it in the fall.  So instead of a beautiful pot of mums, I go for pots of pumpkins.  Oh, and I thought about a pumpkin totem pole, but realized it was much easier to throw one large pumpkin in a pot and call it good.  Although I think it looks great on its own, I do dress it up a bit.


One Pumpkin – Two Looks


I use this pumpkin the entire fall season just by changing out the leaf garland.  And the garland doesn’t take up much space in storage – bonus.

The same concept works with my window boxes.  Use gourds and mini pumpkins as a base and change out black leaves for Halloween to the warm hues of fall for Thanksgiving.  And again with my mantel.  Dismantle the mantel of creepiness and infuse the warmth of fall.


Throw some pumpkins, bones and spiders in a basket for the kitchen table centerpiece.  Easy to put together, easy to get out of the way and doesn’t really get in the way.


After Halloween, exchange the spiders and bones for pretty leaves and berries. Or make it functional and put fruit in it surrounded by leaves and baby pumpkins. You can use this one basket the entire year and just change the contents. Double duty at its best.




Functional decorations are not only useful, but super easy and cute.  Really can’t dispute the cute of a jar full of colorful straws or even jars of candy in the colors of the season.


Throw a pumpkin in the mix, even better.



Instead of buying a pillow for each holiday, use different pillow covers on the same pillow insert.  Last year I cut the neck and arms off an orange t-shirt and ironed on "Happy Halloween” to recover an outdoor pillow on my porch.  Yes, I know this pillow is pretty pathetic, but you get the idea.  Try to use what you have and adjust it to somehow work.


Or easier yet, just throw a spider on the pillow as is.  I think a spider anywhere adds the creep factor nicely.  Add a little gauzy stuff and oooh yeah!


So, don’t stress.  Make it easy.  It can be as simple as throwing a spider here and there.  Boom, immediate creep factor.  Have fun!


As usual, linking up here and at Thrifty Decor Chick.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Halloween Mantel

I tried to hold off until October 1st to put out any Halloween stuff, but I was weak and I cracked.  Up went a creepy, Halloween mantel.  The skulls creep my husband out, which I think is hilarious.  Jake and I were giggling about that yesterday.

It’s full of skulls, spiders, and pumpkins.  That thing under the spider is actually the mold for my son’s space maintainer from the orthodontist.  The impression of the teeth and the red wax looked creepy, so I thought is was kind of funny to add that into the mix.


Rather than take everything down to put stuff up for the holidays, I try to work around it if I can. And the candlesticks and candles worked right into play. Even the black and white artwork, lends itself to the black and white Halloween décor.




That jar of poison is way back from that day the kids made concoctions.  Glad we got to do something else with it besides it sitting in my kids’ rooms taking up space.



I threw some pumpkins and a skull on top of my clutter pile of magazines.   Hey, why not add a little zing to that clutter pile?  (I should probably go through those and recycle.)  I also used my gratitude wreath by throwing some orange scrap ribbon around the burlap and zebra crepe paper I found in my closet.


So do you go creepy or do you go for general fall décor?  I admit, if it weren’t for the cuties living here, it would probably just be fall, but I’m sucked in now.  Soon, I’ll show you how I do double duty with some of my Halloween and Thanksgiving décor.

Linking up at Centsational Girl’s Autumn Mantel Party and here.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Shopping Therapy: Shabby Apple

Hi guys!  Hope you had a great weekend!  I have to tell you that I got choked up several times this weekend by all your support from my last post.  Thank you for your warm embrace.

That post was a bit heavy, so let’s lighten it up with some shopping therapy today.  I’m super excited to share a 10% discount with you for the Shabby Apple.  If you’ve never heard of them before, they provide a line of very unique women (and some kids) clothing.  To me it has a retro, vintage vibe.  Some items are very classic and some more unique, and that’s what I like about them.  You won’t find stuff like this in your general mainstream.  They also offer artisan style jewelry which is one of my soft spots, along with unique art and accessories for the home.

I’ll share a few of the things that have caught my eye, just to give you a better idea of what they have.

I’m lovin’ their cocktail dresses because they are both unique and affordable.  I have a standing “fancy” date with the hubs for the auto show fundraising event every year, so I’m keeping my eye on these.  This is my current fave.  I love the classic lines and the playfulness of feathers at the bottom.

black sheeth w feathers

Here are a couple casual looks I love…

crosswalk skirtdorm room blouse


And of course, the jewelry…

gold bangle setluce del sole ring

So check it out and see what catches your eye.  Fun stuff!!

Just click below to head on over and use the code High for the 10% discount.  I will have their ad on my sidebar for easy, future access.  Happy shopping!

Dresses from Shabby Apple

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Put On Some Purple

I actually didn’t want to do this post.  Because if I don’t talk about it, I don’t have to think about it.  I don’t have to think about the reality of how much my dad has declined over the past year from Alzheimer’s.

Put on some purple tomorrow, Friday, September 21st for Alzheimer’s Action Day.  That’s all I was going to say.  Just a quick shout out for Alzheimer’s Action Day.  But I think for people to fully understand what Alzheimer’s is and what it does to your loved one and to those in their life, I need to share.  We aren’t talking about losing car keys, we are talking about losing yourself.

It’s been about 5 years since we first learned my dad had Alzheimer’s.  At first it was shocking, but then it made sense.  Now I understood why I was so frustrated by conversations with my dad and why he was becoming suddenly anti-social.  We are talking about a social butterfly kind of man here.

He started to avoid social opportunities because he was frustrated with his inability to find the words.  That’s my theory anyways.  Once he was diagnosed, he started coming back around more.  However, I believe the first year was the worst year for him.  He was still very aware and just struggling with the changes in his mind.  It was beyond frustrating and emotional.  I remember picking him up from work (he stopped driving when he was diagnosed) and he was utterly exhausted with frustration and came to my car in tears.

As the years went on, he seemed to come to terms with it, so it was more like riding the wave.  I took comfort in the fact I could tell he still knew us.  And was surprised by things he would know or remember.  It’s an up and down disease.  Some days are good and some are bad.

Interestingly, his core was still there.  I know that’s not the case for everyone.  It can change a docile personality to an aggressive personality.  Luckily, in our case, I can still see the glimmer of spirit deep in his eyes.  He still appreciates a good joke, story or comedy and of course a good sporting event.  He may laugh out of context at times, but he still enjoys a good comedy. 

We are at the point where we have to decide if it makes sense to take him certain places.  He comes over every Wednesday so my mom can have some time to herself.  This past year, I’ve noticed a huge decline during his visits.  His walking is much worse, so much worse.  Conversations are fairly limited if any at all.  I ask him if he wants salami on his sandwich and he doesn’t know what salami is.  I show it to him and he still doesn’t know.  He goes to the refrigerator to put something away and doesn’t know how to open it.  I ask for the remote and he points to the lamp.

He’s ready to take a nap the minute he walks in the door.  I try to keep him awake for a bit, but eventually he starts to fall asleep.  He only likes to eat with his fingers and eats a sandwich layer by layer now.  First the bread, then the meat, then the bread.  On his visit this past Wednesday, he barely ate and could barely stay awake.  Watching him walk was heartbreaking.

What most people don’t know, and what I didn’t know at first, is that Alzheimer’s is a fatal disease.  It’s not just memory loss. Brain cells are being destroyed to the point that a person is unable to function and organs eventually stop functioning.  Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. and it is the only disease on the top 10 list that can’t be prevented, cured or slowed. 

Alzheimer’s sucks away your loved one’s life.

Alzheimer’s sucks away a caregiver’s energy.

Alzheimer’s just plain sucks!

So I ask you to join me by putting on some purple tomorrow to help create awareness about this horrible, horrible disease.

Feel free to spread the word to friends on facebook, twitter or instagram. Post a picture of you and your family sportin some purple and why.  Let’s go viral with purple!


If you’d like more information about Alzheimer’s or how to donate, click here.

You can also shop for the cause here.

I just got this cool bracelet here.alz union bracelet

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

DIY Bottle Cap Knobs

A friend of mine is doing a little project on her deck and she wanted to have bottle cap knobs to finish it off.  She found some on Etsy, but for $10 per knob!  Ouch, that hurts, especially since she needed seven.  So being the DIY Queen that she is, she figured out how to make all 7 knobs for the cost of one knob by using a $10 ten pack of knobs from Target!  Oh, yeah!  So let’s get right to it.

Here’s what you need:

  • your favorite bottle caps
  • a set of inexpensive knobs
  • silicone glue (waterproof if you plan to do it for outside project)
  • some kind of sealer (poly or varnish) to protect cap from rusting (again for outside elements)
  • brush for sealant
  • pliers 
  • hammer
  • screwdriver
  • sandpaper



Here’s what you do:


Flange out the edges with pliers.  Check to see how it fits on the knob and tweak if needed.


IMG_3897 TWO:

With bottle cap on knob, put face down on cutting board and gently tap with a hammer to help the cap hug the knob.



IMG_3898Turn it over and tap edges.







Use a screwdriver to take the plastic casing out of the inside of the bottle cap.










Sand the inside of the bottle cap




Sand top of knob.







Put a nice glob of silicone inside your bottle cap.



IMG_3905Adhere bottle cap to knob.






Place something heavy (like a can of olives) on top of the upside down knob to keep pressure on it until it dries.  (seal it if using outdoors)




Attach knob to furniture piece like any other knob.  Now you’ve got yourself a unique and very cool knob!


I’ll be back again soon to show you where she put these knobs.  Another very clever project.  She truly is the the DIY Queen.  I think she’s helped everyone in the tri-county area on various projects from tiling, building, painting, you name it.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Baseball Keepsake

Hello, hello.  So fall is here in full force and before it suddenly turns into winter, I wanted to savor one last memory of summer.  A few weeks back, my boys had the baseball game memory of a lifetime.  Seriously, my little guy will probably never be able to go to a game again after his five star experience.  All others just won’t compare.

A couple hours before the game, we got a call from my in-laws that they had FREE Tiger tickets from their neighbors’ son.  Not just any tickets.  Tickets behind the dug out of the Detroit Tigers!  Not just behind them, but first row.  They literally used the dug out as a table for their drinks!  And friends, that’s not all.  Both boys came home with a baseball…what?  In all my life, I never came home with a baseball.

Prince Fielder threw one to my oldest and my little guy got one from the starting pitcher, Anibal Sanchez.  They also got to high five the Tigers’ mascot Paws.  As if all that was not enough, they ended up on t.v.

My husband called as he was walking to the parking lot and said they might be on t.v. behind one of the players.  And sure enough, there they are “sitting” on this player’s left shoulder.  Not really, but they were in the background so it almost looked like they were little miniature people sitting on his shoulder.  Hilarious!

This was a moment I had to capture.  I grabbed two shadowbox options from Michael’s to display their baseballs and tickets.  My plan was to display them the same, but the little man had his heart set on the plastic case.  So here they are…

Option One:  cost $3.99, used cap from drink as baseball holder and a glue dot to stick ticket in background – easy peasy.  My son liked the natural wood, works for me - no paint, no stain.  Another one minute project!  Yay!




(found display box in the wood project area of Michael’s, not frame shadowbox aisle)

 Option Two:  cost $5.99, ticket didn’t fit, so it just sits on top, put ball in, about a 30 second projectSmile.

IMG_3938 IMG_3941


(this was found in the frame area with other shadowboxes)

Now all that’s left to do is put it on a shelf and enjoy the memory.  I may add a framed photo of the boys to go next to it, then I could frame the little guy’s ticket too.  But for now, this captures that special game day just perfectly.


Friday, September 14, 2012

All You Need is $1, 1 Minute & 1 Sharpie

These are definitely my favorite kinds of projects!  It doesn’t require much money, time or skill and it’s fun and functional.  Right up my alley.  This story begins at Target’s dollar section again.  I found these adorable burlap pencil cases for a buck each and just grabbed them knowing I could do something with them.  I decided to make them gift card holders for each person in our family.

Now that the kids are getting older, we are receiving more and more gift cards and they are hard to keep track of.  Right now they live in a bin in my kitchen cupboard divided up in envelopes.  These pouches are just the right size.  They could also serve as a nice “wrapping paper” when giving a gift card instead of just putting it in a greeting card.  And you could personalize it for the person.  And….and, and, and, they could reuse it as a pencil case, make up case, anything after.  Woohoo.  So many options.  Okay, so anyways…

Here’s what you need:

* Sharpies in any color * Burlap pencil pouch * Stencils (optional) * 1 minute *


Create your own design.

Monogram it.


Polka dot it.


Whatever you fancy.



Too cute, too fun, too easy!

Love it!

Happy Friday!!!

Thanks for stopping by and please do come again!

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