Sunday, August 30, 2009

Words to Live By

Love charms


Love one another and you will be happy.

It's as simple and as difficult as that. 

                                        --  Michael Leunig

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Little Update

Here's the skinny on our current situation. I guess I haven't talked about it in a while -- so it was easy to get confused on just what I was saying while I was doing my happy dance at my own personal party for my very good friend, Heidi. :-)

Mr. H has been working since the spring, but at a 1099 contract (this means you get paid, but your employer pays none of the taxes usually taken out of a person's paycheck. Sounds pretty good on the surface, but the reality is that Uncle Sam will come find us in April with his hand out and stern expression on his face, and say "WELL?") -- while we are so thankful for the work, no matter what it's form, it has been stressful.

We have to save a good-sized chunk of Mr H's check to prepare for the looming tax bill -- bleh. Sometimes, like with our daughter's recent surgery costs, we don't save anything at all, and just take care of current obligations. Double bleh. Add in the fact that this was supposed to be a very short term contract, that for some reason keeps getting extended...and you have a very thankful, but very nervous girl.

I feel blessed that we have money coming in. But I can't quite get out of the survival mentality; the work could disappear at any moment and while it's here, it's a blessing that has an eventual bite to it. While counting my blessings, my eyes are to the skies, waiting for that other shoe to drop.

(okay, does that picture creep anyone else out? ~shiver~)

Life is good in the meantime. I'm a worrier (what woman/mom isn't ?) and I have my days when the uncertainty of it all really gets to me, but for the most part I try to focus on the here and now and the blessings found in each day. Life is here now. It is what it is. I try to make the best of it. But, you can't blame me for getting a little excited when my parallel-universe-kindred-spirit-friend has really good news to share -- that means something good comin' down the pipe for us, too! Happy dance time.

Hoping and wishing all good things for you, too. I hope life is treating you well in your little corner of the world. ♥

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Defining a Library


Mr. H and I have dreams of a having a library in our home. We have a spare bedroom, and our family loves to read (and write) so why not?

When I think of a library, I think of this. (sigh) I just want to curl up in one of those chairs and lose myself in a book, don't you? Well, our spare room is nowhere near that size, so we'll have to scale down from this.

On our current precarious budget, we'll also have to take baby steps as we move forward on putting the library together. dictionary stand

Baby step #1: A Dictionary Stand. This is one of the things on the "library list" that Mr. H and I made a while back. Yeah, whatever -- where in the heck would you find one of those old-fashioned things, nowadays?

Uh, at a local thriftstore, apparently:

Woo hoo! Found one! $15? -- that's a deal.

(Sorry -- couldn't keep Bij away from the thing long enough to take a picture. He loves this thing! Silly gato.)

We've got some nicks and scrapes and a big problem: the shelf the dictionary's supposed to sit on is missing!

Ack. Time to get creative.

the stand has nicks and scratches but it's a good deal! Uh-oh. No shelf for the dictionary!

Bye-bye nicks -- say hello to some furniture touch up pens...

furniture touch up pens

OK. So, how to make the stand functional without adding a crappy looking shelf that won't ever match no matter how hard we try? Kitchen cabinet knobs! Mr. H, you're a genius! ♥  Flat ones that won't get in the way of the book, but hold it evenly (form follows function, ya know), and somewhat blend in with the look of the thing....

Mission accomplished:

Knobs filling in for the shelf

Add an old dictionary we picked up at that same thrift store... and...

it works!

It works!

Cool! Love it!





Two things will put a polishing touch on this project for me. <-----  This idea. It's gonna go right over the space where we put the stand. Vinyl lettering defining the word "read":

... and to be able to tell my Sweet Girl to

  look it up 

-- like my parents did!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Kindred Spirit


Remember I told you how behind I was? I wasn't lying.  After we got the Sweet Girl up and at 'em, we had guests visit and then a close friend of the family passed away after that, then back to school... what a whirlwind!

In all of the kerfuffle was a little message that I tucked away in a happy corner of my heart, to see to later:

... I also need to post pictures of our yard, M put in a sprinkler system himself, but we hired someone to lay sod, put up a fence and do some other maintenance work that we could have done but would have spent the entire summer doing. What a blessing to be able to hire someone. Best of all, M. GOT A NEW JOB!!!!! And it's with a large, very financially secure company. We feel BLESSED!!!! Now hoping the same for you!!!

This was from my friend, Heidi. She and I are kindred spirits. Have been for mumble, mumble years and follow a strange and wonderful life of parallels. We're way past the point of funny. It's scary. We have gone through "similar everythings" together in our adult lives and *have never met in person*.  Heidi, what's up with that? LOL

Proof -- look at that message up there. Mr. H and I are doing extensive yard work, too. Fence needed? Yep. New sprinkler system? Uh-huh. Sod? Oh yeah. I happen to know they are planning an arbor entry to their back yard....just like us. We never check our plans with each other. We just touch base here and there, and find out that we are still traveling parallel lives.

I am blessed to have a friend and kindred spirit like this out in the world.


Heidi, Mr H and I are so happy to hear of your good fortune! If the pattern holds true, our dreams and plans of a back yard haven are on their way. Better yet, Mr. H has steady, full time work in his future!

Time to celebrate! From our house to yours -- WOO-HOO!


 To play around with making your own signs (like the fortune cookie one up there), go here.

 picture credit

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to the Routine

...and not a moment too soon. I feel totally kerfuffled lately. I am so behind! Maybe it's 'cause we had such a weird summer; distracted with getting the Sweet Girl back on her feet. Maybe it's 'cause I keep on adding to the to-do list and project pile without clearing off the old stuff... maybe it's just 'cause I've been lazy.

Not lazy, really. Overwhelmed. I take a look at what's needing to get done, and  I rebel and run away from what I know I should be doing. Please tell me I'm not alone in doing that ....

Unfortunately, we don't have a "Jeeves" hanging out in a spare closet anywhere, so I'm it. Look at Jeeves'  face -- it's the one I'd get if he popped in and saw my house this week. LOL It's the old saying -- "if it's to be, it's up to me".

Alright. No Jeeves, but I got Flylady.

Back on the wagon I go.

I recently updated my routines and emergency pages and put it all together in a new control journal. I think if I just have a system to follow every day, I'll do better.

Control Journal

Call it a Jeeves on paper. Who knows? Jeeves probably had a Control Journal himself.

Back to school time means back to a schedule with routines. Especially for me. :-)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back to School

First Day Back at School 

Back pack packed?


Breakfast in you?


Looking good?


Tylenol to get you through the day, tailbone girl?


Pillow to sit on all day?


A Sweet Girl that somehow fast forwarded
from first-grader to our sophomore-in-high-school-girl?


Mom sniffling just a little after dropping off her high-schooler?


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Words to Live By


...remembering our friend Jason, who passed away this week. He was a light to those around him;
he always made us smile and made this world a better place. We miss you.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


 Snowbird Tram

On the last day of Grammy's visit, we wanted to do something exciting, out of the ordinary, and unique to our area. We decided to visit the Snowbird ski resort and ride the tram to Hidden Peak, 11,000 feet up. (Yep, those are three zeros.)

Everyone was excited, the day was perfect -- sunny and clear. I must toot my own horn here, and tell you what a superhero I am. I have a problem with heights. Especially heights that move. Ferris wheels, roller, ya. I've had three year olds mock me. It's not pretty.

I am not a party pooper, however, and had a plan for silently freaking out on the floor of the tram, where I couldn't see the view. I was good to go.

The tram started, and I waited for the panicky feeling.....waited....hmmm! Nothing!


The ride was buttery smooth (maybe that had something to do with it) and the only time I felt a "yikes!" coming on was when we swooshed by the giant towers holding the cables up.

Try not to think about it...

I found out a little later I wasn't the only one bringing issues. Grammy was nervous, but never really let on. Looking back at the pictures now, I can see that she was "white-knuckling" it...

Enjoying the View with white knuckles

We went higher and higher and higher; even passing other mountain peaks!

and higher

We turned around and tried to find where we had started from. Holy cow!

Really high-1

When we turned around again, we were there, and the view from 11,000 feet is Like, on top of the world amazing!

On a clear day you can see forever...

Check out the view of the Salt Lake Valley below...

Down in the valley

Here's our Sweet Girl capturing the view, too. I love this shot.

 Top of the world

 Run for it!



Mr. H and I must've took one too many pictures -- our daughter and Grammy had already boarded the tram for the return trip down, but we had to run for it, and barely made it!



The funniest thing about our adventure was that Grammy and I had delayed reactions -- we were woozy and lost our "sea legs" after the trip. I guess that would be better than during, huh?

So, I can check off  "climbed an 11,000 foot mountain" off my list. Sign me up for that kind of mountain climbing, anytime! Glad that the Sweet Girl got in a summer adventure, despite her very boring summer of health issues and recovery. We love the pictures we got while we were up there --we're still pulling 'em out and enjoying them.

So glad we did it!



So, end of a long day and we're ordering a pizza...

...from the place down the street from our house. We figure out what we want and call the local number ...

...which connects in INDIA.

Are you kidding me?

Outsourcing is already a sore spot with me and all our job troubles...

...but ordering a pizza from a neighborhood joint??!?


Bye-bye Pizza Hut.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Snow in August

Snow in August

For reals. 

But you have to go to Snowbird with your family.

Then take a tram up to 11,000 feet.

Stand on top of a mountain.

And look real hard.

But it's there.

Snow in August.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Words to Live By

Grammy visit

Grandmas are moms with lots of frosting. 

                                                                              ~Author Unknown

Very much enjoying our visit with 'Grammy'. She is one of our very favorite people!  ♥

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wicked Good Peanut Butter Bars

Makeover Peanut Butter BarsI'm sorry.... I've been sitting here for 5 minutes trying to give an accurate name to these "you-are-so-good-you-are-trouble" peanut butter bars we made recently. I'm pretty disciplined when it comes to watching what I eat, but I lost *all* control with these babies!  Should I open this Pandora's box and unleash its power on you?  Hey -- if I have to suffer, I want company. So here's the recipe.  I dare you to stop at one bar. 

Good luck.


Makeover Peanut Butter Bars

5 points per bar (including the PB layer AND the frosting. oh yeah.)


1  3/4 cups reduced-fat creamy peanut butter, divided

1/3 cup butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups quick-cooking oats

1 teaspoon baking soda



4  1/2 cups confectioner's sugar

1/3 cup fat-free milk

1/4 cup baking cocoa

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. In a large bowl, cream 1 cup peanut butter, the butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in applesauce and vanilla. Combine the flour, oats and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well (batter will be thick).

2.  Spread into a 15x10 inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° F for 18 to 22 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes; spread with remaining peanut butter. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3.  In a large bowl, beat frosting ingredients until light and fluffy. Spread over the peanut butter layer. Cut into bars.


picture credit: Healthy Cooking magazine, June/July 2009 issue, p. 26

original recipe: Lori Stevens

Monday, August 3, 2009

Guest Room Reboot, Part 1

Our Sweet Girl continues to improve. The big issue to deal with now is her doing too much. (that's a good problem, right?) She pays for it at the end of the day, though, when her body reminds her that she's still a girl recovering from bone surgery. Ouch. She's missed out on friends and fun all summer -- I can't really blame her too much. In fact, I feel the same way... lots to do!

I've been feeling like someone woke me up and said -- you overslept! School starts in 3 weeks! Mr. H's mom will be here this week! How come you're not ready?!? ACK!! The Sweet Girl's health issues have eaten up most of the summer and our attention. Now, all of the sudden, getting back to real life is here and in our face.

One of the first things we did around here was to "reboot" the guest room -- from 'recovery room' back to guest room. Mr. H's mom will be here in a matter of days, and we needed to get things ready for her. More pictures of the overall project soon, but I'll share a little before and after project we did in there last week...

I've got an Americana theme going on in there, and needed some artwork for the walls. I also needed to keep it on the cheap --

 Keepin' it real (2)

my old Susan Winget calendar to the rescue!

Before white frameBefore other white frame

A couple of white matte frames with mats included on sale?
Hey, I've got a coupon, too! Sweet!

Okay, looking pretty good, but I need more color....

Spray paint to the rescue

Spray paint to the rescue...ACK!! That looks bright blue! Oh well.
Let's see what it looks like after a couple more coats....Press on!

After navy frame

After navy picture above dresser

Oh yeah. Dat's what I'm talkin' about.
What do you think?