Monday, November 24, 2014


The business of life is the acquisition of memories.” 
—Mr. Carson, Downton Abbey

Our lives are but a story in this book called life.  Wow, that sounded so philosophical and cannedand who-cares-boring.  Let me try that again.  Your life experiences and my life experiences are so incredibly fascinating that they must be shared.  Thats right:  They must be shared.  At this point, whether you believe it or not does not change the fact that it is true.  This book is chocked full of unscientifically proven facts that you will just need to accept.  We can review my credentials later.

I have always been an intentional memory maker and a natural story teller.  Nothing is more satisfying to me than a captive audience.  It doesnt matter if it is an audience of one or one hundred.  I am actually happy to tell a good story to myself.  To be able to engage others through storytelling is powerful.  Words are powerful. The Bible tells us that life and death are in the power of the tongue.  Think about that.  We have the potential to bring forth life through our words or death through our words.  We have the potential to bring forth life through our stories

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
I love gift giving, but I hate gift choosing--especially for the adults and older children.  I have endless ideas for the eight and under crowd.  Oh, why can't they just stay little forever?

After 37 years of mothering and and 15 years of grand mothering, I have given just about every kind of gift possible. There remains, however, a few favorites for the kiddos that I would consider timeless and have purchased several times--and will probably purchase again when the next round of grandchildren arrive.  I guess you could call them my standbys.


laugh (verb)
make the spontaneous sounds and movements
of the face and body that are the instinctive
expressions of lively amusement

This word was a bit hard for me because I did not come from a very fun or funny family.  There were many reasons why that was so, but the main one is that my parents were not storytellers.  Gut laughter comes from living a fun life and then developing the stories that go along with that life.  That is the whole premise of the book that I am almost finished writing.  

There was no laughing around the dinner table when I was a child.  As a matter of fact, we mostly were required to eat quietly so my dad could hear the news or a sporting event being broadcasted on the television in the next room.  We children were to be seen and not heard.  

That is probably why we all loved it when the greatest storyteller of all time, our Uncle Tom, would get going.  He was animated and expressive, and we all fully expected his eyes to pop right out of his head.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


I love to shop my husband's warehouse for "stuff" that I might get a vision for.  When I first saw this old bedspring, I knew that I could use it for a display at a wedding I was working on.  After the wedding, I really could not part with it.

And just like that, it hit me.  Since rearranging daughter Tessa's room a while ago, I've been searching for the perfect thing to hang over her bed.  The search is now over, and the best part is that it cost me absolutely nothing.  

full shot edited


vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in 
such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, 
and expression of emotion.

I do not come from a very musical family and that has always made me so sad.  I love music and wish that I had been blessed with the gift that brings so much joy personally and to others.  My mother's singing voice was actually the worst one I have ever heard--and I've watched a lot of American Idol. 

On the other hand, my grandmother had a beautiful soprano voice and my earliest memories are of her rocking me and singing to me in German, specifically O' Tannenbaum.  
Grandma Mahr with me in March, 1958

My Grandmother was everything good and kind and loving.   She called me Dolly Dimples.  I miss her every day.

All posts from the 31 Words project can be found here.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


It really is the best holiday.  What's not to love about a day that focuses on family, food, and gratitude?  Even the colors of the season communicate warmth and love.
This dough bowl was an impulse buy that has left me dealing with some serious guilt.  I am the bargain-hunter type, so when I make any purchase over $100, I usually feel sick to my stomach--for a while.  The only way I could recover from this purchase was to make sure that I found a way to decorate with it each season--I mean really decorate with it.     Then, and only then, could I begin to justify the purchase.  This fall is season three, so I think that I am just about over it.

The mantle got a bit of a makeover, too.  Here's the before fall.

And here is the after.
I love how the nature prints lend themselves to each season, and I have no regrets about painting the mantle.  

Saturday, November 15, 2014


I wanted to decorate the cabin last year, but without having the heat installed, it seemed unlikely that we would actually go there in December.  This year we have heat which means I will definitely be spending time there, so I added just a few things to put us in the holiday mood.

I made garlands out of pompons (Target $1 bin) and by stringing drinking straws and plastic beads (Hobby Lobby).
Next, I wrapped lights around a metal cone that I have been moving around for a few years waiting for an idea of how to use it to hit me.  I placed the cone on a log that I dragged in from the woods.  Because we are not here all the time and our space is tiny, it has made the perfect tree.
I kind of think that Donna at Funky Junk would be proud of me.

I am really hoping to add some decorations to the outside next week when we come to cut down our Christmas tree.  Last year we enjoyed a little bit of snow when we went, and I am praying for a little this year also.

I would love to decorate a bike--if I could find an old one--and put it outside.  

I would also like to add a few decorations to the camper which is now right outside the back door.

Hopefully, I will be posting some more cabin photos next week!  In the meantime, I have some more garland to make.  You should go make some, too!  Kids love it, and it's easy-peasy!


When I volunteered to help with my granddaughter's homeschooling this year, I knew that I needed to create a space that allowed us to focus and work with the least amount of distractions. 
I knew that the room at the top of our stairs would be perfect.  After rearranging the furniture a bit, I painted one wall with Rustoleum Chalkboard Paint in coffee. It took about three coats and had to cure for three days.
Then I chalked the whole wall (according to the instructions) using sidewalk chalk   That did not take as long as I thought it would, but it sure made a mess.  Now I use Prang Hygieia Chalk because it is not nearly as dusty.  Every now and then, I wash down the whole wall using a flat mop.

We absolutely love our space.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


ready to face and endure danger or pain
showing courage

I was either very brave or very stupid as a child.  Maybe I was a bit of both.  If there was a dare, I would take it.  Every time. I didn't care if it involved picking up a snake or swinging from a vine in the woods over a deep ravine or crawling through the window of "the haunted house" or standing up to someone.  Even as an adult I tend to be the same way:  very brave or very stupid.

These photos of my sister and me were taken in 1968.  I was in 5th grade, and 
she was in 4th.  I believe my grandmother gave these matching dresses to us
which was a huge deal since my mother made most of our clothes.   It is 
obvious that I had fashion sense (with the addition of the lovely pin) even then. 
Maybe the true test of bravery was wearing that lovely pin.  *wink*

Sunday, November 02, 2014


While planning our visit to Portland last month, I googled and searched Pinterest for as much information as possible before tackling the "weird" city.  While most of what I read was very helpful, nothing takes the place of experiencing it first hand.  And nothing takes the place of a first-time visitor's perspective.  I will share things that would have been helpful knowing on the front side, and places that I would consider non-negotiables when planning an itinerary.

Kenzie and I started our trip well rested.  We would not end it that way.  The three-hour time change took a little getting used to--especially around mealtimes.  We spent four days in Portland and the surrounding area in the middle of October.  And contrary to everything I read, people do carry umbrellas in Portland--with good reason.  I wish we had brought ours.  Sheesh, I wish we had brought raincoats and boots, too.

Powell's Books is the largest independent book store in the world.  Its shelves are well stocked with new and used books, and we could have spent all four days there.  I have been to plenty of bookstores, but the atmosphere and organization in this place is phenomenal.  I loved the fact that the used books are right there on the shelves next to the new ones, so you get to decide on the price and quality.

Each floor is color-coded and a map is provided.

Since I buy most of my books online, I sometimes forget how much fun it is to browse through "real" books and how great it feels to see our favorites--especially our family read-alouds-- on the shelves.  Tessa, Kenzie, and I caressed quite a few.  It is also fun to be surrounded by other book lovers.