My blog dress and header has changed! As a newlywed, I am excited to present a whole new theme.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Goodwill Hunting Shopping

What a sunny, beautiful day! After severe thunderstorms and even two tornadoes within 30 miles away last night, today turned out about as perfect a day as you could ask for. There is just something about a gorgeous day like this that just makes me want to get out and shop.

I'm really trying to be careful with my money. This week a client came into the agency wearing the cutest outfit and sporting a darling purse. She was so excited because she found them at Goodwill and wanted to look good for a job interview. Well I just had to go check it out myself! Just look at the cute orange blouse from Sag Harbor that I found! And I really like the black tank with rhinestones. The dark brown purse is great. I have one almost exactly like it in tan. I swear this one has never been used. It looks like a brand new purse for only $5! Everyone says that the one I have looks like a Coach purse. Ha, I can't spend that much on a purse! I hope this one fools people too.

Here is a placemat I found for the table on my deck. I thought it fit in really well with my decor. It was just a dollar.

I love this little Winnie the Pooh figurine! My daughter is trying to get pregnant and has decided that when she does, she is doing the nursery in Pooh. I'm sure any baby is going to have poo of its own to add! This is going to be my way of letting her know I am pulling for her.

Grand total for my Goodwill shopping spree was only $17. Can't beat that! I found some other bargains, but you are going to have to wait until June 5 and see what I got for the porch! Check out my next posting on the Porch Party!

Irises have bloomed in the garden next to my deck. Aren't they gorgeous?

These pretty purple flowers are blooming just on the edge of the riverbank.

Have a great day everyone! Hope its as beautiful where you are as it is here.

Front Porch Party, June 5th!

Rhondi at Rose Colored Glasses is having a porch party on June 5th! Jump on over to her site and see what it's all about. Sounds like so much fun!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Return of the not-so-prodigal son

I think that ghosts have moved into my house!

Today I found an empty milk jug and empty container of tea sitting on my table. I just bought them Monday evening!
Here is a mysterious load of dirty laundry that I found on top of my washer...not in it as you might suppose it would be. There are more piles of dirty clothes in my family room.
Yikes! These must be dirty ghosts! Look what they did to this once clean bedroom! That used to be a nicely made bed.

Somebody call Haz Mat!
I would post pics of my empty refridgerator, but that would mean a second call to the HazMat Unit.

Oh wait. I think I was wrong about scary messy ghosts! It's just my oldest son who moved back in this weekend! He does look just a bit scary here though.
Sean has not lived under my roof since February 2007. At that time, I moved to this house to be closer to my job. It was 30 miles away from my old house.
He chose to stay in his hometown as he was finishing out his senior year, so he moved in with his dad and step-mom. When school ended, he opted to stay as he would be close to his church where he plays guitar on the praise and worship team, and he would be close to all of his best friends. Plus he didn't yet have a car or his license, and when he got a job, his dad and step-mom could provide transportation. Now they are moving to Texas to be closer to her family, so I told him that my door was wide open. I didn't buy a three bedroom home for nothing!
So I'll live with the empty milk jugs, empty fridge, dirty laundry and messy room. My baby boy is back home! And I'm happy.

P.S. He is still going to have to clean his room and have to do his own laundry! Do I look like the maid? lol

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

Memorial Day in northern Ohio was beautiful! Instead of the predicted thunderstorms, we had sunshine and 80 degree temperatures! The peonies were starting to bloom.

Here are some more of the rose bush next to the garage. They are really going wild this year!
My sons put together the fire pit, and I finally was able to put out the patio set that I bought last year on clearance. I waited until the very end of the season and paid only $250 for the whole set, firepit and chairs. Original price was $600. My daughter helped me clean up the patio and is sitting back relaxing after all her "hard" work. She doesn't look too worn out. It wasn't so long ago that the garden behind her was ablaze with color. Different flowers will be blooming soon.
Here I am, enjoying the warm sunny day and my new stuff.
My daughter was so proud of herself. She actually got the fire going! Since I went broke paying for van repairs and couldn't get a grill, someone at work suggested that we cook over the flames from the fire pit. Great idea!
We also had tiki torches which we lit to help keep mosquitoes at bay.
My oldest son moved back in this weekend. He finished his senior year living with his dad when I moved to this house, and he stayed so he could be close to his friends and church. He is trying to look scary pretending that the shish kabob sticks are swords. What a silly! I guess I shouldn't make fun though. I've seen plenty of grown men at Renn Faires playing with swords too.
And here is my youngest, refusing to give me a smile for the camera. My daughter's boyfriend was inside asleep, so no pics of him!
We had a great time roasting our hotdogs over the open flame, and making smores. We also had potato salad, chips, and root beer.
I would have taken more pics, but the memory card became full. Hmm, wondered how that happened? In just over a year, we have managed to fill a 2 gb card, but a good half of them are all of my youngest son.
All in all, a great day spent with family!

Monday, May 26, 2008

To honor those who served

This is in honor of those who served or are serving, and to those who lost their lives.

This first picture is in honor of my father. As the oldest child, it was very moving to receive this flag at his funeral. My father was a veteran of World War II and he served as a medic on the Navy ships.

My grandfather served in World War I.
My children's other grandfather was a veteran of the Korean conflict.
My daughter's father served in the Vietnam war.
My youngest brother served in the Army during peacetime.
And my former stepson served in the Navy during the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I thank you all for your service.

May all of you in blogland have a pleasant time with your families on this holiday, and if your loved ones are away serving this country, I pray they are brought home to you safely!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

He's the Lily of the Valley, the bright and morning star

While sitting on my deck a couple days ago, I noticed a heavenly smell coming from the flowerbed! Lily of the Valley has the best smell!
It's been a crazy week. I was without wheels from Monday night until last night. I had to catch rides into work early, and had to stay until I could get rides home.
On Tuesday, I was at work from 9:00 a.m to 8 p.m.
Wednesday I worked from 8:00 a.m. until almost 6:00 p.m. I was pooped.
So I didn't get a blog out earlier this week. I won't say how much it cost me to get my van fixed, but lets just say that the grill I wanted to get for Memorial Day weekend isn't going to happen, and neither is the new set of mattresses for my oldest son's bed.
After all these stresses, all I have to do is sit out on that deck or look through my gardens.
Just look at all the beauty I found! I have lily of the valley growing, a bush of beautiful yellow roses, and some lovely two toned tulips.
I also have some pink flowers, and these beautiful blue flowers. I like the above picture the best!
God's creation is so beautiful. We need to take some time on stressful days to smell the roses...and the lily of the valley, and the lilacs. Breathe in the fresh air, look at the fluffy white clouds scudding along the sky, and listen to the birds sing their songs. I feel blessed.
May God bless you too!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Itchin' for a new kitchen

What a day! Many of my clients cancelled or didn't show, so I got a lot of paperwork done today. You would think that since I am in the helping profession that my job would be mostly talking to people, but a good 50% of it or more is paperwork, so when people don't show up, then I got a lot of time to work on catching up on files.

Well that fun didn't last. I was the last one to leave the building, and when I got out to my van, it wouldn't start. The engine light went on last week, but I hadn't taken the time to contact a repair shop. This kind of decided it for me. I called Triple A, and within a half hour, had a tow truck there. Tomorrow I'll find out what is wrong with it and find out how much it will cost to repair. I live in dread. I am so glad I just renewed my AAA membership! I get my money's worth every year. Anyhow, when I arrived home sans mini-van, I had a nice suprise in my mailbox!

Nice fat, soft package! My eBay winnings were here! Wonder what's in there?
Valances for my kitchen! I love the Waverly Norfolk rose pattern. It's so country or shabby chic, and I love roses. There was an extra bit of red checkered material in there. I think I am going to cut it up and refabricate it to be long curtains to put in the little window on the door leading to the garage.
These are the current valances that I am going to replace. I don't hate the current ones, I just don't love them.
Ever since I moved here, I have wanted to re-do the kitchen. I don't have a lot of funds, but I can do things like painting. Below is my inspiration kitchen from berley_joy on Rate My Space. This is a picture of her dining room. What I like is that her table is very similar to mine, and I think the room is cute as can be. This is something that is doable in my kitchen. I love the green and found the exact color at Menards. Don't you just love all the touches of red and the creamy white furniture? I already have the chair covers.
Here is what my kitchen looks like now. Again, I don't hate it, I just don't love it. The green wallpaper is just too dark, and I find that I am always having to turn the lights on even during the day. I would like to lighten things up a bit! I don't even want to talk about the linoleum on the floors. I need some laminated wood floors in a pecan stain. Oh, and I used to have four lovely matching ladderback chairs. Now I am down to two. Let's just say that TEENAGE BOYS happened to them! Grrr!

I haven't decided if I am going to take down the border. I kind of like it, then some days, not so much. The sayings on it are pretty sweet. "Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always gives," and "The light that shines the farthest shines the brightest at home." Awww!
My dream is to paint the cabinets a creamy white. I love a clean country look in a kitchen. I think that a glaze over the top to antique them up a bit would be cute. The cabinets are pretty sturdy even though they were installed in the 1960s. I could do a lot to improve the looks of them.

I love these black knobs.
And these black drawer pulls. Maybe if I buy one of each every pay day, by fall I will have enough for the kitchen!

You don't even want to know what my counters look like. They are white with gold flecks in them...something straight out of the 60s. I have read about painting old countertops and may give this a try.

I don't know when I'll be able to get around to all of this, but I'm sure having fun dreaming about it! I've lived here a year and there are so many things I want to do, but for now, it will be just one thing at a time.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Busy Saturday

It's been a busy weekend so far. Yesterday was a gorgeous day, temps in the high 60s and sunshine. I got into a cleaning mood, and on the rare occasions it strikes, I better go for it. People who know me know that I hate to clean. To me, it is a necessary evil and nothing enjoyable about that. The only things I really don't mind are doing laundry and vacumming.

Here was my list of things I actually accomplished: 5 loads of laundry (mmm, love the smell of freshly laundered clothes and towels), cleaned upstairs tub and shower, cleaned downstairs half bath, cleaned fabric shower curtain and shower curtain liner, cleaned downstairs bath, picked some lilacs, went through piles of papers to throw out or recycle, went grocery shopping, went to Menards to get deck cleaner and stain, and then to Joanne Fabrics. I had fun at Joanne Fabrics. I recently got a rattan chair for free and was looking at pretty fabrics and cushions for it. It's a To Do List project. It needs to be spray painted first, but it was just too windy yesterday.

Here are a couple half price finds at the store. Got them each for only $5!

I loved this cute little bird! I've been wanting a bird to put out somewhere on my deck or in the garden.
And here is an adorable bird nest. It will probably go into my living room when I get that around. Also got a tablecloth for half price for Memorial Day!
Another task that I tried to accomplish yesterday was sweeping off my patio. It was full of these little "helicopter" thingies that kept falling from the maple tree. As soon as I finished, it looked like I hadn't done a thing as they had continued to fall. Hopefully, they are about done so I can get it swept, and maybe next week stained.

My oldest son came to visit with one of his friends. They took my youngest boy to the theater with them where they watched Ironman. They asked if I wanted to come too. Awww! I considered it since Robert Downey, Jr. was starring, but I opted for some peace and quiet. My son is moving back home May 30 after living with his dad for the last year. Yay!

Hope everyone else is having a productive and peaceful weekend!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Come with me to a magical realm...

Come with me to a magical realm, to a castle high atop a hill. Travel along a country road in a remote land, and travel up the path that winds up the side of hill, and at the top, find paradise! Where might you find such a wonderland, full of magic? South central Ohio, of course, just east of the Hocking Hills!

My sons and I have visited Ravenwood Castle twice now, once in 2006, then again last summer. Each time, we came for a special weekend so that they could have magic lessons and at the end, a magic show in a small stage set in the woods. This is the coolest place! It's actually considered a bed and breakfast, but you can rent rooms inside the castle, cottages in the castle "village," and little cottages at the bottom of the hill. That's where we stayed! We love this place so much that I wanted to share our visit there! For a link to Ravenwood's official website, go to the bottom of the post.

Below is the entrance to the fairy tale village, a collection of old church camp cabins from the 1930s, all refurbished with a bathroom, kitchen sink, small fridge, and microwave. I remember the first time I came to the entrance to the village. Walking through the archway was like walking into another time and place. Isn't the purple cottage beautiful! That's where I really wanted to stay.
However, we stayed in the Snow White cottage, the same place as last year, but this year there was a new color on the outside, and fresh new linens on the bed. Let me tell you, that bed was very plush and comfortable!
Here is a mural behind the bed.
And here is the pretty bed, fit for a princess in teal blues and pinks! The boys slept on the futon.
Here is a pretty babbling brook that was directly behind the cottage.
Look what I found next to the little bridge that crosses the stream!
Next to the castle is a village of more cottages. There were several to choose from. This location is wonderful as it is next to the castle where breakfast is served each morning in a grand dining hall, outfitted with stained glass windows, medieval banners, a big fireplace, and of course, a knight in armor! Or at least just his armor! Here is the cottage I really wanted to rent, but it was already taken. We found out later that's where the magician and his family stayed.
Here is the cottage that I would have loved to stay in if I were rich! It had an upstairs and downstairs, and I heard it had a heart shaped jacuzzi tub in the tower! Don't you just love all the flowers? The pathways on the property were lined with flowers and all kinds of interesting things!
The castle dog Raven, and lord of all he surveys, is always there to greet you. Or not. He likes to sleep too. He is a friendly and gentle giant, protecting his castle from intruders. Or not. He would rather lick you.
Come take a walk with me through the castle grounds and let's see what we can find!
Wow, what's that on top of the castle? It's own castle hawk! Oh, just a replica made of stone, but cool anyhow.
Here is an interesting lantern next to one of the doors leading into a room at the side of the castle.
I love this sad little broken gargoyle. He just looks so miserable, but he has a quality about him that I just adore, despite his missing ear and toes and teeth!
Behind the castle is a maze and a statue of Pan playing his flute. If you're lucky, you'll be able to take breakfast on the enclosed porch overlooking the maze.
My youngest son took this pic. I loved the little worn fairy. She would be perfect in my garden or my living room! Until I saw her, I didn't realize they did shabby chic at the castle!
Here is a pretty little vignette between cottages in the castle village.
There were the most beautiful flowers growing on the walls on the castle grounds! I don't know what kind of flower this is, but it was gorgeous. (Rhondi at Rose Colored Glasses says it may be a trumpet vine. Thanks Rhondi!)
And here is another beautiful flower. I don't know what it is either, but it was striking! (It's a day lily. Thanks again, Rhondi!)
Thought I'd end with a picture of my boys, enjoying their day outside, soaking up the sun. They are sitting next to a big checkerboard patio where people can actually play checkers with big round discs! It's so lush and green here!
To learn more about Ravenwood Castle and their special weekends, you can go to . It's affordable too! The Hocking Hills is a vacation wonderland and full of different places you can stay, mostly in cabins which have hot tubs outside! It is full of winding roads and soft rolling hills. There are many places to hike too, including Old Man's Cave. It's about a 5 hour drive for me since I don't like to drive main highways and prefer smaller roads, but it has always been well worth the trip.
Hope you enjoyed your trip through Ravenwood Castle!