"All of us are watchers of television, of time clocks, of traffic on the freeway, but few are observers.
Everyone is looking not many are seeing." Peter Leschak

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fall Decorating

Large Owl Plate from Pottery Barn
Green glass vase from Pottery Barn

Owl Martini Shaker from Pottery Barn

Last Friday I posted some displays from my local Pottery Barn store which were an inspiration to me while preparing my home for Fall.  I thought I'd share how I displayed my purchases. In the first photo I used the large owl platter on my mantle and grouped it with some other owls I already own.  I'm not a pro at decorating by any means, but I've learned a few things from interior designers.  When you group similar items or collections it makes more of a statement than if you have them spread sporadically around your home.  This by no means is all of the owl statues I own, but I think it makes a statement. It helps if you have items of varying heights.   I also threw in the witch plate to give the grouping a pop of color. The bittersweet adds a natural element and also adds a touch of color.  The rocks in the vase also add a touch of nature, but I went the fake route on the twigs.  I found them at Crate and Barrel.  They are made of paper and look pretty cool up close.  In the second photo, I spread out my swag of bittersweet and put a few sprigs in the green vase from Pottery Barn.  Now that my house is decorated for Fall I can sit back and fix myself a martini with my new owl martini shaker. 
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Thursday, September 27, 2012


"My past is the fertile ground from which new good arises."  I copied that sentence from a little publication I read called The Daily Word.  It teaches me to not mourn the past, but to look at it as the sowing of seeds that have yet to harvest.  To look forward to more good in my life.  I have a lot of great memories and as I go through many transitions in midlife I can get a little sad at times.  I have a feeling a lot of it has to do with hormones.  Sad that good friends have moved and things won't ever be the same, marriages are ending and kids are going off to college soon.  Life is full of these transitions.

When we bought our first home we lived in a cul de sac and we were great friends with all of our neighbors.  We were all about the same age and starting families at the same time.  We were young, life was good and we had fun.  Then couples started to move into bigger homes as our families grew.  The addition of children meant more stuff which needed more space.  We've kept in touch with a few of those neighbors, but things are never the same.  Our second home which we still occupy is also in a cul de sac.  When we built it 13 years ago we were in a similar situation.  We all had young families and we had various gatherings in the cul de sac while the kids played.  We were young, life was good and we had fun.  Originally I was worried we'd never have the same experiences we did with our first home, but there was more good and fun times in store for us.

Once again a transition is occurring.  Neighbors are downsizing as kids get older, we don't have gatherings as often, and people are going in different directions with kids activities.  There is still a feeling of community, but it's not the same.  I try not to mourn the past, but look forward to the new possibilities the future holds.  Most importantly I'm learning to enjoy the present time because I know things won't be the same 5 years from now or even 2 days from now.  I've always been a forward thinker waiting for a future day to come.  If I'm not dreaming of the future then I'm rehashing the past and over analyzing things.  I'm starting to come to grips with the realization I'd better stay in the present because things change tomorrow unless you're Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day.  I'm reassured though that there will be more good and fun even though I won't be young and things won't ever be the same.  My past is laying the groundwork for the future, and I'm looking forward to harvest time. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Red Cedar Gardens

My Fall Outdoor Pot inspired by Red Cedar

My inspiration

Cute Little Fairy Gardens at Red Cedar Nursery

Owls Abound at Red Cedar Nursery

Red Cedar Gardens is a beautiful little nursery tucked away at 7895 W 183rd St. in Stilwell, Kansas. I often forget about this gem of inspiration since it's off the beaten path.  I had lunch with a friend who reminded me of the nursery since I was looking for Fall inspiration for my front porch pot.  The blooms of summer were looking withered and overgrown and my pot needed a makeover.  I decided to venture out to Red Cedar and wasn't disappointed.  One of the owners Ricki was putting together Fall outdoor displays for a class she was teaching the next day.  I showed her a picture of my pot from my IPhone.  By the way, the IPhone takes great pictures and is super convenient.  She gave me several suggestions, and I was overwhelmed and in awe of her creativity.  I love owls and had an owl statue at home so I decided to go with the owl theme.  I only needed a few items: a kale plant, a pumpkin, milo (which are the cornstalk looking things) and a sprig of bittersweet.  Bittersweet can be very difficult to find so I was thrilled she had it in stock.

Red Cedar offers several types of classes during the year.  My friends have taken their fairy garden class and loved it.  Ricki has a knack for creating beautiful arrangements by adding statues, lanterns, and other chotchkies with items from nature .  I was inspired to look at my outdoor pots in a whole different light.  I will definitely be returning to Red Cedar for some winter inspiration.  If you live in the area it's worth the visit  www.redcedargardens.com

Monday, September 24, 2012

Eric Stonestreet

Congratulations to Kansas City native Eric Stonestreet on his Emmy win!   His character Cameron makes me smile every Wednesday night.  I can't wait for the new season of Modern Family.  The show is so well written and at the heart of it's story lines is the importance of family.  The acting is superb which was evident from all of the leading actors Emmy nominations last night.  The show won best comedy and Julie Bowen also won for best actress in a comedy series.  If you want a good laugh tune in on Wednesday nights on ABC. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pottery Barn Fall Inspiration

Fall is my favorite season.  I love when the leaves turn beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow and the air is crisp and no longer hot and humid.  I love to light a fall scented candle in the evening.  The scents of vanilla, pumpkin, apple and cinnamon are all comforting to me.  This Saturday, September 22 is the first official day of Autumn even though it may still feel like summer in your neck of the woods.  I recently attended a Pottery Barn class on Fall and Halloween decorating and entertaining.  Some of you may not know this, but every so often Pottery Barn offers free decorating demonstrations from 10 to 11 a.m. at their stores.  They also give you a 10% off coupon to use that day.  I usually come away with a few new ideas and new items to add to my collection of home decor.  I love 99% of everything in their catalog.  I would have loved to buy every single piece in their new collection, but I narrowed it down to items I could use most of the season.  Thankfully I had my friend Christine along to help keep me focused.  I purchased the owl martini shaker, owl platter and a green glass vase.  I already own an abundance of Halloween decorations so I was trying to focus on more of the Fall theme, and I love owls so I display them year round.  The following are a few photos of Pottery Barn's displays for inspiration.  Next week I'll share with you my Fall decor and where I put my items.

Buffet set up- stack things at different levels for more interest.  

 I had to have the big owl platter.  There are also small plates to match.

Hang things from an old ladder or broom.

Metal mice you can haphazardly place on a table.
The mercury glass pumpkins are beautiful.  

Owl Heaven

Love these little mice cheese board utensils!

Love the Dracula cape on the wine bottle and the mustache stirrers.

Love the idea of framing a sketch of a pumpkin.

Pottery Barn also gives lots of ideas for theme, everyday and holiday entertaining on their website www.potterybarn.com.  It's worth checking out.  It would cost a fortune to use all of their items, but it gives some set up ideas and recipes as well.  It's a great source of inspiration.  Happy entertaining this Fall!  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Costco Finds

Le Delice de Bourgogne Triple Creme
Sea Salt and Black Sesame Wildrice Crisps

It's amazing what you can discover at Costco.  I hadn't ventured into Costco for at least a month.  I have a membership to both Sam's Club and Costco through my husbands work.  I like Costco's food items a lot better, but Sams is more convenient.  I was thrilled to find Costco carried pizzelles.  My mother makes pizzelles every Christmas.  They are a thin Italian cookie that's made with an iron similar to a waffle iron.  My mother makes them with anisette which has a black licorice taste to it.  I'm not positive, but I think that's how they are traditionally made.  I have a pizzelle iron, but it only makes two cookies at a time.  It's a bit labor and time intensive so I was happy to find Costco sells a huge container of  vanilla pizzelles for $5.99.  They aren't quite as good as my mothers, but they are good enough.  

My second find was triple creme cheese.  A friend of mine told me about this rich, soft and creamy cheese. It's delicious spread on a slice of crusty french bread.  I think it's similar to a brie cheese.  It can be difficult to find because it sells out quickly.  It's also a bargain at $10.99 a pound.  

The third item is sea salt and black sesame wildrice crisps.  I bought these when a friend was visiting who is allergic to gluten.  There are a lot of gluten free items out there which aren't very tasty, but these are delicious.  I now buy them for myself.  Feel free to leave a comment on any Costco items that are your favorites.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


In a Bible study I attend our leader made the comment people create because we were were made to create.  That sentence really struck a cord with me.  I enjoy creative pursuits such as crafting, writing, decorating, scrapbooking and photography.  However, when it comes to cooking and creating meals every week, not so much.  Sometimes I struggle with the idea that some might consider these hobbies for the lack of a better word fluff.  When people ask me what my blog is about it's basically fluff with an occasional deep insight.  It's my lifestyle and what I love.  It's a way to share with others, improve my writing and hopefully inspire others to create and pursue their passions.  I'm getting better at carving out time to work on my blog and putting chores aside temporarily.  For a long time I have fought against the urge to sit down and create.  Instead I would tell myself other things are more important.  The fact is creating is more important.  It feeds my soul and brings me joy.  Does the world need another blog about fluff?  Probably not, but it's what my heart is telling me to do.  What is your heart asking you to create?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


salted caramel cupcake

I enjoy the art of making lists.  I may be a little odd, but I find the practice of making lists cathartic.  It gets thoughts out of my head and onto paper.  Lists are particularly helpful to me when I'm working on a project or planning a party.  There are a lot of people who don't share my passion for lists.  My husband is one of those people.  I found this out early on in our marriage when I would make him a honey do list.  He claims he doesn't needed to be reminded on paper what he needs to get done.  I also have a friend who never makes a grocery list.  I can't fathom grocery shopping without a list.  I get side tracked as it is with all of the new items on the end caps.  There are always several things that weren't on my list  that find their way into my grocery cart.  I also love to reminisce and read lists my children made in elementary school.  Teachers often have a list of questions on the first day of school for their students.  The list includes things like what is your favorite color, food, television show, etc.

I'm going to share a few lists every so often that will give you a little more insight into who I am.  I  found a few of these fun to do and thought you might want to make your own list.  That is if you are a list maker like me.  I've been a little ravenous lately so I'll start with a list I found in O magazine.

My Idea of a Delicious
  • Dessert- anything with caramel and chocolate or chocolate and peanut butter
  • Comfort Food- macaroni and cheese
  • Place- Italy
  • Sandwich- roast beef and cheddar on a baguette with mango chutney
  • Dinner Date- Bravo or Bonefish Grill
  • Book- Nordstrom's cookbooks
  • Movie- Chocolat  ( I added this one)
There are several answers I could give for these categories, but these are the first ones that popped into my head.  It's best to go with your first thought otherwise you could make yourself crazy.  What is your idea of delicious?

Monday, September 17, 2012


My Dog Fritz

This picture of my dog Fritz brings a smile to my face.  The story behind the photo is that my friend was watching Fritz for the first time while we were out of town.  She was a good babysitter and sent me photos and updates on how he was doing through text messages.  She is a teacher and was trying to grade papers while Fritz sat close by and wanted her attention.  Anyone who has met my dog knows that he's a little lover and if you stop petting him he will start nudging you with his face.  

Leaving your dog can be a lot like dropping your child off at daycare.  You worry if your dog is going to cry, play nicely with other dogs and behave.  Fritz is a very social dog, potty trained, and listens pretty well and so I don't worry too much.  In other words, he passed doggy kindergarten with flying colors.  He is our first family dog and brings us joy.   I know there are a lot of dog owners who would say the same about their dog.  

Friday, September 14, 2012

Laundry Room Organization

Laundry Room Before

Laundry Room After

Jar for spare change

Bins for Delicates and Repairs
This week's organization project is my laundry room.  It's my least favorite space in the house with the garage running a close second place.  The fact that I hate doing laundry probably has something to do with it.  I wanted to share my before and after photos not because I think this is now an awesome space, but it does bring a smile to my face compared to what it looked like before.  I honestly think it has something to do with having matching containers.  I would like to add a little bit of color to all of the beige, but I'm not quite sure where yet.

The containers are all from my favorite store Target.  I have beach towels which are now out of season stored in the two large fabric containers on the top shelf.  Extra light bulbs are stored in the wicker basket beside them.  God forbid we'd have to walk downstairs to get a light bulb.  I made a little tip jar out of an old Starbucks frappuccino bottle and some chalkboard sticker sheets. This is for all the change that comes out of my husband's pockets.  The wicker basket next to my delicate and repair bins has sewing supplies in it. Having the right containers seems to be the answer for most of my organizing dilemmas and an excuse to use wicker baskets.  I have a thing for wicker.  Have a great weekend and happy organizing!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Plans Change

My first baby

Second baby

A friend of mine used the expression yesterday, "if you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans." It has been awhile since I've heard it said, but it was somewhat apropos for me yesterday.  I attend a Bible study group once a week and this years first session was yesterday.  I had gotten a call from the children's leader asking if I could help them on the first day in the nursery.  I helped them last year and if you've ever volunteered your services you're probably familiar with the subsequent calls for help that follow from time to time.   The children's leader is a delightful person, and I often have a hard time saying no to delightful people in need.  I'll be honest, I love children, but not babysitting children.  I enjoy the ages between 3 to 5 when kids are imaginative and start to become little people. Last year I helped in the 1 to 2 year old room filled with tears, difficulties sharing, and not wanting to pay attention to the lesson.  I should also add I don't have much patience for teaching lessons.

This year I had a plan.  I was going to state what I wanted and ask for the 4 to 5 year old room.  I walked into the church with a new found confidence instead of dread.  Surely, she would agree to my request.  No such thing happened.  As soon as I could get the words out she replied with force, "you are with the infants."  Before I could even mutter a "but I" she explained that several people called in sick and they were short handed.  God had a new plan for me and I wasn't too happy about it,  at least at first.  My neighbor's granddaughter happened to be in the room which was a nice surprise.  There were eight babies from 2 to 10 months old and three adults.  We were besieged by beautiful bouncing babies who were crawling, curious and sometimes crying.  Normally my blood pressure would have hit the roof, but I remained calm and was a source of comfort.  It was hard work at times especially when half of them decided to be hungry all at once.  I've always felt a tad awkward around infants, but this time I felt confident and at ease.

Lately I have been mourning the fact that my kids are older and don't think they need me as much except for when it comes to finding something they've misplaced.  They don't need the constant comfort a baby needs.  There is a HUGE part of me that is grateful my children aren't hanging on to my legs anymore.  There would be something wrong if they still were at 13 and 16 years old. However, I guess a tiny part of me misses being able to hold my babies and have them fit on my lap.  What I was dreading turned out to be just what I needed.  The next time the children's leader calls I'll ask for infants or maybe I should just let God decide and have faith it's what I need. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Apple Dip

Apple Dip       

Apples have numerous health benefits. I'm sure you've heard the saying, "an apple a day helps keep the doctor away."  I like apples, but they aren't one of my favorite fruits.  I prefer to eat them sliced.  Since it's apple season I thought I'd share one of my favorite dips to eat with apples other than the traditional caramel dip.  It's super easy.  

Apple Dip
  • 8 oz. of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
Beat together the above ingredients and stir in 6 oz of toffee bits. You can use less sugar if you'd like a less sweeter dip.  Serve with apples.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Hall & Oates

Gotta love the price!  It made me smile as well. 

My gratitude Monday posts have sort of evolved into things that make me smile.  In a way they go hand in hand.  Something that makes me smile is listening to old songs on the radio that remind me of my youth.  I'm a big fan of XM radios 70's and 80's stations.  Do you ever have flashbacks of where you were when a particular song comes on the radio?  For example, "Don't Bring Me Down" by ELO and "YMCA" by the Village People bring me back to the days of the roller skating rink.  I can still picture myself going around in circles in my white skates with orange pom poms and enviously watching others skate backwards with ease around the corners.   I was an okay skater, but not someone who skated with reckless abandon.  My friend Anne remembers skating to "Private Eyes" by Hall & Oates.  I'm a few years older so by that time I'd given up skating and was watching MTV instead.  "Maneater" was one of my favorite MTV videos.  This weekend my husband and I had the privilege of seeing Hall & Oates in concert with Anne and her husband. It was a beautiful evening for an outdoor concert filled with great songs and good memories.  

Friday, September 7, 2012

Project Organization

Before Photos

Teenage Daughter's Bathroom Sink

Underneath Sink

After Photos

Organizing isn't a one time deal.  It's a lot like doing laundry.  There is a feeling of satisfaction when everything is clean and in its place, but you have to continually work at keeping it that way.  Every approaching change in seasons brings with it a feeling of new beginnings for me.  I seem to get in organization mode and feel an urgency to declutter.  I have several areas of my home I'd like to tackle this Fall such as my bathrooms, laundry room, linen closet and hopefully garage.  I find it inspiring when other people share their organizing tips and photos so I thought I'd share mine to possibly inspire you.   When I'm stuck on how to organize something I also find it helpful to ask for a friend's perspective.  I find it easier to organize other people's things than my own.  Sometimes the solution is so simple, but I can't see it because I have arranged things a certain way for so long.

Every week or so I'll  be tackling a space in my house that has gotten out of hand.  This week I worked on bathrooms.  Anyone with a teenage daughter knows that their bathroom sink could even rattle Deepak Chopra.  Every time I walked into my daughter's room it made my heart race to look at her bathroom sink.  The first step was to purge any old makeup and things she wasn't using.  The items she uses every day I put in containers and left them displayed on her sink because I know it would be unrealistic to think she will put them in a drawer.  Sometimes it's a matter of having the right size container to store things. I bought all of mine at Target.  Keeping with the same color scheme gives it a more uniform look.  I also bought plastic caddies to contain extra items underneath the sink.  My daughter can pull the whole container out when she needs something and things don't get shoved to the back of the cabinet. 

It gives me great satisfaction to open a cabinet and see it neatly organized even if it's just for a short period of time.  Since I share a house with three other people and a miniature schnauzer it's not always possible to keep it organized.  For some reason, my family doesn't feel the same joy I get from organization.  I haven't given up faith though that one day they will.  I hope this inspires you to clean one of your spaces.   There are a ton of great blogs and websites that give tips on organizing.  One I found particularly helpful is www.iheartorganizing.blogspot.com.  Jen has a lot of great ideas and her blog is a great source of inspiration.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sea Salt Caramels

Sanders Sea Salt Caramels
I first sampled the delicious chocolaty goodness of these caramels at a neighbors house.  As my friend Amy would say, "they are to die for."  They can be purchased at Costco and cost $8.99.  If you aren't a Costco member find a friend who is or become one.  For a short time I couldn't find them which was a good thing because I'm trying to lose summer pounds which creep up on me every year. My dear husband found them again though on a recent shopping trip and came home with not one, but two canisters.  He likes to buy things in multiples.  Sander's sea salt caramels are one of those things that make me smile, but at 100 calories a piece too many can lead to regret.  Let me know if you give them a try.   
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Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Funny Confession Ecard: I tell myself every morning that I will only scan Pinerest while I drink my cup of coffee. It takes me 3 hours to drink it, but that's beside the point.
via Pinterest

I'm someone who gets easily distracted.  There is always some random thought or to do running through my head.   I'll also spend two hours in Target talking to friends I run into while perusing the aisles to see what's new.  I find the more time I have, the less I get done.  I often beat myself up about not completing a project or goal I set out to do on any given day.  Sometimes my expectations are unrealistic, but most of the time I've wasted half the day away with distractions.  What should realistically take one hour to complete takes four.   I also have to factor in the exorbitant amount of time it takes to finish a project when learning something new.  Did I mention I'm also an impatient person and not a fan of learning by trial and error?

I've been told I over think things too much.  I'll admit that I do, and I think (no pun intended) that it's because I can be a perfectionist. I have a burning desire for my closets to look like Martha Stewarts.  I want to find the perfect solution so I spend a lot of time researching for inspiration instead of just doing.  It's no coincidence I have a love affair with the website pinterest.  It's a gold mine of ideas and one of my favorite distractions.

Instead of continually berating myself about being easily distracted I'm going to embrace it.  Taking the time to say hello to a neighbor or talk to a friend are good distractions.  It's important to put people before things and work.  There will always be work to do, but not always certain people in my life.  Distractions can be a good thing especially if it's a quick 20 minute nap or 10 minutes of meditation to recharge.  Goodbye guilt, hello distractions!   After all, you are a part of life and will always be around so I may as well quit fighting with you.  

Monday, September 3, 2012

Will Ferrell

A good friend of mine showed me this skit with Will Ferrell and Jimmy Fallon fighting over their tight white pants.  I thought it would be appropriate to share today since it used to be a fashion faux paux to wear white after Labor Day.   Will Ferrell is one of those comedians who makes me laugh even if he is just staring at a wall.   I loved him in Elf, Talladega Nights and most recently The Campaign.  I hope he brings a smile to your face as well and encourages you to wear your tight white pants.