Thursday, November 17, 2011

Great Cause...Great Event!

I got to co-chair a Vendor Fair for our school's Foundation.  I am a proud Foundation Board member and this is our first BIG event.  This is the first time I've run an event this big and I have  to say I learned a lot!  We had some amazing vendors, crafters and local businesses.  I was very proud with the final product!  I even got to do some Christmas shopping!  By the way, it was also the day of State Speech Contest for the I had to leave mid-event to go and cheer on the Speech Team.

Ben and his speech partner Grace.  They've been buds since kindergarten.  That's how I met her wonderful mother who is now my very best friend!  They do a comedic duet and they've been working together since 5th grade.  The past two years they've received a 1st place and Judge's Choice Awards. 

This year was no different!  Way to go you two!  (Look...he's taller than me now...ugh!)
Over all it was a great Saturday!  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Master Bedroom Update...(FINALLY!)

Please don't mistake my lack of posting as a sign that projects aren't getting completed around here.  They are...but S-L-O-W-L-Y!    I wanted to give a quick update on my Master Bedroom progress...

Here is the desk I was my Grandma Fern' was mine in high school...then it went to live with my nephew...I saved this desk!  My nephew and his buddies treated it like a booth in an old pizza it's fresh and new (thanks to sanding and LOTS of wood fill!)

I kept the original just fit the desk and was in great shape!

Ahhhh!  Can't wait to jazz up the inside!  

New IKEA slipcover...I need a cute throw and pillow..hmmmm...any ideas???  My sister Melissa found the lamp.  I don't know how to describe her joy.  It was on clearance for $24.00 at Marshall's and she carried it around the store...never put it was like she found a prized toy!  The table was originally black and had wooden handles.  Some spray paint and new pulls and it looks like a new night stand!  All I can say about the paint on the walls is that it's a Benjamin Moore Historical Color, Georgian Green and it looks SO MUCH BETTER in person than in these photos!  

I love the new linens!  The duvet cover and ruffled shams are from Target (Shabby Chic).  I needed something easy to make in the morning and something that could be washed easily.  The dog loves to camp out on our bed...I love, love, love, the look of Ralph Lauren, don't you think?  The quilt and matching shams are from  They were $82 and FREE shipping!  The monogrammed pillow covers went with our old quilt and were from Pottery Barn.  I got them seven years ago and they still sell them!  (I am a sucker for anything with a monogram!)

Since these photos were taken I found a great lamp for hubby's side of the bed.  His nightstand, btw, was a Kane County find many years ago...still love that wash stand!  I also made a Ballard Design monogrammed burlap memo board to hang over my will follow soon!
So, what do you think?  Any suggestions for a cute throw and pillow for the white chair??  I'd love your thoughts!

Linking up to...

The Shabby Nest

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Recognizing Daily Gifts

 Have you ever read The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison?  If you haven't, you must!  A few years ago I heard her read a passage from the book on aYouTube video...I had to read this book!      She talked about how tedious and mundane motherhood rituals could be and explained the importance of recognizing that those details are the things we should be celebrating as mothers.  Savoring.  She learned to appreciate all the tiny details delivered while we are living our lives.  Katrina Kenison came to her "ah-ha moment" (to steal a phrase from Oprah) when her boys were in middle school and high school.  At the time mine were still in elementary school...I felt overjoyed that I still had savor all the little spend more time enjoying the little daily motherly actions that in the past had been overlooked by lack of sleep, overbooked schedules or just daily chores.  I vowed to stop complaining about all the details that made up my day and start recognizing the goodness in daily life as a Mom. forward to this past September and my eldest child has a broken arm in a cast...oh...and he had to have surgery to have pins put in place to hold the bone....ouch!  This happened at football practice one Tuesday evening while I was with my daughter at her school's curriculum night.  I will spare you all the details of the evening but suffice it to say Ben was home from school 2 days before he was casted.  Being the paranoid mother I am...I've been driving him to school and picking him up...daily...only to make me feel better (I'm sure he'd have managed on the bus just fine!)  He did, however, tell me just the other day that he will miss me driving him to school when his arm heals.  And I can't lie...I was beaming all day after that one!

        This was a few days after Ben got his first cast.  

 I am so glad I had this time.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not at all glad he broke his arm.  It was painful and there is nothing worse than seeing your child in pain and not being able to do much about it.  But throughout all of this I have learned a few things about Ben and myself that I'd like to share.

The second cast was green...after week 1 they had to remove the case and "reset" the bone...OUCH!

First of all, when in a traumatic situation I am not a panic-er or cry-er.  Throughout the entire ordeal I have rallied to be a strong, positive mother on the outside even though there were times I was quietly sobbing behind closed doors.  I am proud of how I handled the entire situation and I think my strength mixed with extra understanding made things easier on Ben.

This was the second cast...split...see that white line down it?  Two weeks after the accident he had to have surgery to have pins put in...they split his cast and sent us home so he could get on some "comfy" clothes...look at him...he's still smiling and goofing around with me!  

Before surgery and he's still smiling...I just love this kid!  

Secondly, I learned a few things about my first born.  He is a positive child.  He's a leader and not too worried about what others think.  He is innately happy and has a wonderful sense of humor that got us through lots of tough moments throughout this entire fiasco.  He is tough and can suck it up when necessary...I am so PROUD of him!

This is today's cast...PINK...(and shorter...finally!) honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

Finally, I have learned to enjoy the daily shuffling of kids.  Now that mine are both school aged and in various activities I am doing lots of chauffeuring and instead of whining and complaining, I am choosing to use this time with them to bond, talk and connect.  Soon they will be driving themselves to practices or riding with friends and I will miss out on that special time.

At 40 it's important for me to acknowledge that time is fleeting and my full time mother career will come to an end at some point.  I don't want to miss it.  I certainly don't want to waste it.  I chose to pay attention to the details that make up my life.  I chose to celebrate being a mother and be proud of the job I am doing with them.  Most of all I will say yes when they need a ride or want to come with me to the store because that is precious time too!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fun Fall Mantel

It's been awhile...I know.  To all eleven of my faithful followers...I apologize!  What can I say?  Life has been busy!  Do you want the "Cliff Notes Version"?'s a list of the latest happenings...

1.  Girl and Boy started school...3rd and 7th grade.
2.  On the third day of school Girl woke up with head LICE!!!  (what a nightmare...ugh!)
3.  One week later Girl got a virus with a fever and missed 2 more days of school.  grrr....
4.  5 Days later Boy broke his arm at football practice...can you say "End of the season"?  So sad!
5.  1 week later Boy had to have his cast removed and arm reset (OUCH!)
6.  Exactly 1 week after that Boy had to have surgery to have 2 pins put in to keep 1 of the 2 broken bones in place.
7.  Six days later I had gum replacement surgery!  (Seriously...I'm not making any of this up!)

I feel like I am behind with EVERYTHING!  I need to start working on that writing class I am suppose to be taking...I should be substitute teaching up a storm...but I can't...and...then there is the regular chores of the week.  To top it off...I am writing this post on the couch watching Narnia with Girl who is home "sick".  I think she's suffering from my choice to stop her OTC allergy meds.  oops!  Bad Mom move!

Anyway...there has been some progress with some of the MANY MANY MANY projects I have started around here.  Am I the only one in "Blog-o-sphere" who starts dozens of projects thinking that they will be quick and easy...only to have WEEKS pass and they sit there only half done?  Please tell me someone else suffers form IPS (aka Incomplete Project Syndrome)???  please?

Here is my version of the Autumn mantel.  I have had the star for forever...I know it's not really "autumn-ish" but it matched the color scheme and did you see the above list?  I can't believe I even got to this project!  The lantern is a $7.99 beauty from IKEA (love it!) and the pumpkin was an old decoration that I painted last year with a handy can of spray paint.  The banner was made by ME!!!  I love it and it was easy thanks to my circut and some paint!  The grapevine pumpkins on the hearth are from Dominick's...I picked them up several years ago...couldn't pass those babies up.  Simple but festive...what do you think?  How are you decorating for fall?  Tell me all about it.  And if you're not a follower please think about becoming one...I have some fun new projects I will be sharing...SOON!

Friday, July 8, 2011

4th of July Mantel Decor

Do you ever get an idea in your head and you just HAVE to try it?  That was me this July 4th.  Why?  Who knows!  But I decided that although I was having house guests for 3 nights and hosting a party for 20+ people...I also needed to decorate my mantle with a homemade banner. to Hobby Lobby I went...idea in head.

I purchased 3 bandanas for $.99 each and brought them home ready to CREATE!!

I am new to sewing and not exactly worried about making everything PERFECT at this time so I just got out my scissors and started cutting.  I cut each bandanna into 4 smaller squares.  I then ironed each square so my next cuts were more even.  I took the squares and cut out triangles with room at the longest end to fold over and stitch.

Next, I ironed the longest ends over twice to make a nice edge.  I left room at the top to thread some twine through for hanging.  I know you can sew it right in but I wasn't sure how far apart I wanted each triangle.  Good thing I waited because I started this project thinking I wanted lots of space between each triangle and that wouldn't have worked on my mantle.  See?  There is some bonus to being a novice without a real plan!

I cut the 2 remaining edges with pinking shears...I love those zig zag edges!

Once the tops were sewn I went around the other 2 sides with a small stitch.  Again, not perfect and no measuring occurred.  Just sewing!  

When I reached the point I left the needle down, lifted the foot and turned the triangle so I could sew up the other side.  EASY!  And although there was little measuring...I think it turned out REALLY cute!  What do you think??

The star is an old purchase from Kane Co. Fair...the glass vase is filled with sand and the mini flags were 4 for $1.99 at Hobby Lobby.  EASY!

Independence Day!

Happy July!  I have so much going on right now I could ramble on for several paragraphs.  Instead I will share with you some of our July 4th highlights.  We had a really great weekend.  Busy but great!  On Saturday my cousin and her husband and 2 children came to stay with us.  They are so much fun and we love to just hang out with them and enjoy the great weather.

They arrived on Saturday mid-morning right as my niece was sent to the hospital to be induced.  Huh?  Yep, my niece was due to have her first child on July 1st and ended up being induced on the 2nd.  (More on that later!)  The fellas were suppose to go golfing but it was toooooooooo hot and we stayed home and hung out by the pool.  FUN!   The kids were so happy to have their cousins here and the 4 of them virtually only surface for food or drink.

Meanwhile, my sister was at the hospital with my niece and her husband keeping us posted with frequent updates.

Saturday morning (early)  I got the call to pick up my mother and head to the hospital.  It was a treat to have my cousin there with us.  We sipped coffee and waited.  At 10:22 am my brand new niece made her way into the world and let me tell you...she's gorgeous!  Mother and Grandma and Daddy are all doing well.


By 1:30 on Sunday we had experienced the miracle of new life and were in our suits zipping around Lake Essex watching our kids knee board.  (whew!)  It was a beautiful day to spend in a boat and the kids had a blast!




We finished the day in our pool, cooking out burgers and roasting extra large marshmallows over a very smokey fire (the best plans!)

These are our "Adult Juice Boxes"  Found at the local Jewel for $1.99.   YUM!

Which brings us to Independence Day!  We woke early...ate homemade pancakes, baked and prepared and welcomed more family and neighbors around 2:00.


                Here are the girls making our 4th of July cupcakes...gotta love little helpers!  They made and decorated the cupcakes all by themselves!  Way to go girls!







 Lots of swimming, eating, drinking and fun was had by all.  The kids had a blast!  The fireworks were incredible.  The weekend was a success...and I was TIRED!  I can't believe the 4th has come and gone and summer is chugging away.  It always goes too fast!  I hope you enjoyed the holiday and I hope we all remember how lucky we are to live in this country.  




Friday, June 10, 2011

Here We GO...............!!!!!

Summer has officially begun around here.  These past few weeks have been a blur of end of the school year events, yard work and work!  But it has is out and we are trying to "wind down" from our busy spring.  I am so happy to start work on our Master Bedroom Makeover Project!  I think I should give some background information before I delight you with some before pics and hints to future fun!

When we built our house we were quite excited but I had a 4 year old and a 1 year old so I think I made some decisions that seemed "easy" at the time and now?  Well, now I regret some of those decisions and need to make some changes.  One MAJOR mistake is that I agreed to put the same cabinetry in every bathroom, laundry room and kitchen.  They're nice, don't get me wrong but..WHAT WAS I THINKING??  I am so SICK of looking at them!  This summer some changes will happen!  

When we built our house I was bound and determined to bring COLOR into our home.  I grew up with a mother who has EXQUISITE taste but everything is a shade of beige or cream.  My parents TRULY believe that painting a wall a real "color" will ruin your walls.  REALLY!  But I needed color so I went for it.  I hired a great decorator to come and help me select colors for my home.  I had pictures from magazines of dreams for each room and she was wonderful in coordinating my dreams with rich, lovely color.  The point I am making is that my bedroom is a color.  "Of course it is Amy," you say.  But when I say a "color" in my family it means something other than a shade of beige.  I chose Benjamin Moore's Georgian Green because it went well with my brand new Pottery Barn bedding that I LOVED!  I decided to splurge and get a beautiful quilt with reds, golds, greens and blues.  I got 3 Euro shams and even had monogrammed shams made from their hotel style linens.  I LOVED my bedroom!  

Fast forward 7 years bedroom has been the sight of many camp outs, family TV viewings and naps.  The dog and the kids REALLY love my big, soft bed and they've REALLY broken in my quilt.  Now, I am well aware that bedding really isn't suppose to last THAT long.  Especially with the kind of wear and tear and the number of washings it's gotten.  I've gotten my money's worth out of my bedding. With the current national economic crisis directly affecting my husband's career (real estate appraiser...ugh!)  we are tightening our belt and room makeovers have not been in the budget for 2 years.  

I went into a period of denial with my  bedroom.  King sized bedding is just too expensive and I didn't have the money to hire a painter...besides, our paint looks fabulous and it would be a waste to repaint since I still like the color.  What to do?  What to do?  Suddenly it came to me...MY SISTER!  Melissa's home is RIGHT out of a magazine.  SERIOUSLY!  (I will have to give you a picture tour some time soon!)  And she loves working with a's the challenge!  I asked her a few weeks ago if she'd be willing to help a sister with a shoestring budget, and she jumped at the project.  We talked about many options and she agreed that my paint was great and we should work with it.  Just under a week later I get a message from her to check out OverStock...she'd found a new quilt.  Let's just say it fit the room beautifully (and my budget).  So now we are off and running!  YEAH!!!  We have thoughts, we are scouting out sales and we've snagged some new furniture (FREE)!  It's moving forward with great speed but I need to share some befores with you so here we go....
Love the IKEA chair and pillow...hubby hung the frames too far apart but it was such a project I let it go.  They will be coming down, chair will be recovered, nightstand is being painted and new hardware purchased.  We also found CHEAP new lamps (oh is THAT a story for another time!)

Please note the vibrant color of the Euro Shams...that is the color the quilt USED to be...look how FADED!  Too sad!  The monogrammed pillows are missing because they have been laundered and pressed and are part of the new bedding 

I found some sale plain white curtains at Target and used some stitch-wichery (sp?) to add some ribbon detail at the bottom.  Done with it!  The curtains will be coming down and we are dreaming up a whole new window concept.  The shades, however, will stay.  They are room-darkening and I like it dark when I sleep.  Sometimes function trumps fashion around here....just sometimes!

This washstand is from the main level of our home.  My sister and I did some furniture swapping before we got started with our project and I like this size piece better than the dresser that was there.  In all we moved 3 pieces and it made my house feel like it got a face lift.  I will have to share those pics soon too!  And I feel like I am about to share a naked picture of myself...this is BAD...really BAD...look at my pathetic quilt!  I've NEVER in my life worn out sad...but look...holes!

And look at how FADED...ugh!  (Hide my head here!)

OK...on to the NEW AND FABULOUS!  Here is just a sneeky peeky (can you tell I've read too many Junie B. Jones books this spring?)  We did some budget shopping and found some yummy items...

Polka dots...of course!

also the OverStockoooohlala!)

Wait til you see what we found for this wall..."Bye bye picture...hello dazzling!"

Last but not least...I leave you on a humorous hubs idea of home security!  Seriously?  I feel so much safer now!  (LOL!)

Thanks for stopping by!  Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!  Also, if you haven't yet...become a Follower!  I'd love to have you!  Come back soon....updates to follow!  

Linking up to...

The Shabby Nest