Summer’s Twilight

For us, summer is almost over.

It’s been an extra long one.

Normally, the kids would already be two weeks into their new school year, but Irish schools start a bit later than schools in Georgia.

I call it a moving bonus of sorts. For the kids.

I think of this time of year as summer’s twilight.

The season is coming to a close and I’m going to miss all of the fun summer dished out for us this year.

I’m really going to miss the unscheduled, flexible nature of summer.


I’m taking this week off from blogging to just be in the moment with my kids and husband. We’re going to explore, have a few adventures and top our memory banks up during this last little bit of summer. Summer’s twilight.

And when it’s over, I’m going to try and be ready for the dawn of a new season and all the newness it’s going to bring our way.

Put another way, I’m going to put on my happy face and fake it until I’m used to that alarm going off at oh dark hundred to get the kids up for school!

See you next week!

P.S. Isn’t the Junk Whisperer’s fire pit area dreamy?

Out and About

For our friends and family back home, today is just a little bit of random life as viewed through our iPhone lens.

We know Ireland’s beautiful summer weather is fleeting, so we paused for a picture one night. I’m not 100% sure, but I think Handy Husband was trying to blend into his surroundings. This is hard to do when you are standing next to a kid wearing multiple colors and prints.

I admire her sense of style bravado. Wearing an uniform to school is going to be a big adjustment for this 9-year-old. She did ask me if she could wear any headband she wanted to school. My answer? Well, they didn’t mention anything about headbands…yet.
The kids and I have been spending a fair amount of time exploring the villages close to us and have found some cool parks and trails. Multiple times on these adventures we’ve also found a carnival. Oh goodie.

My kids have some sort of built-in radar for carnival rides. If there is a carnival ride or cotton candy in the vicinity, they will find it. Mark my words.

Yes, the sky really was that blue that day. You can see a small slice of the Irish Sea in the background too.

Handy Husband still run commutes to work. If he runs the entire way, it is roughly 13 miles one way. That’s a half marathon, so he doesn’t do that everyday. Slacker.

What he usually does is some sort of split commute. He hops on the train for part of the way and then hops off at whichever train station suits his fancy and runs the rest of the way. I believe he’s averaging about 60 miles per week.

On part of his commute, he runs past Bono’s house. Yes, that Bono. Part of the compound’s gardens are visible from the road.

For some reason, Handy Husband hasn’t been invited in for tea yet. Keep trying, honey.
I’m not sure if I’ve whined about mentioned it, but we don’t have a car here in Ireland. Public transportation is pretty good, so we don’t technically need a car.

There have been a few times when it would have been convenient to have a car though…like when you need propane for the barbecue and the closest place to buy propane is a mile away.

It turns out that buying the Berg Pedal Car and Trailer wasn’t a completely frivolous expense. Our little guy, thankfully, LOVES to haul stuff in his trailer. You should see him back that thing up…he does a better job than I would.

Part of our reason for moving south of Dublin was the beach. We have three different access points to the beach – all within walking distance from our house.

At this particular location we found a large pipe covered in seaweed. Why is the pipe there? I don’t want to know.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll recognize this photo. My sweet girl wanted to see how the seaweed felt on her feet.

We also learned about how tides work that day. When we got to the beach the kids could walk quite a way out on that large pipe.

As the tide came in, they saw how the pipe slowly became covered up with water.

And, yes, they stood there for a very long least 30 seconds…before one of them pushed the other off the pipe.

I’m just sharing this photo because it makes me laugh.

Handy Husband and I do not have a ton of photos of just us. We’d much rather take pictures of our cute kids. So on this particular day we gave both the kids a phone to snap a shot of us and this is the best one we got.

I love the angle.

Handy Husband snapped this photo while out and about in the Temple Bar area of Dublin recently.

Yes, those are umbrellas hanging above the street.


How happy is that?

The streets of Dublin are quite entertaining.

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Moving Tips to Keep You Sane

Last week I mentioned my number one moving tip to end all moving tips.

No, it wasn’t go to a beach and sip daiquiris while someone else does all the hard work. Although, I’d like to research that one just to see how viable it is.

It would be tough, but I could take one for the team and do lots and lots of research.

My number one moving tip was to designate a Parts Box to hold all of the small parts and pieces for your belongings. This includes parts for the bed frames, clock hands, screws and anchors, furniture feet, shelving pins, etc.

It will save your bacon. Trust me.

Most of the other things I’ve learned about how to make a household move less crazy have come through trial and error. A lot of error.

Since we’ve moved 4 gajillion 9 times or so in 16 years, I’ve become pretty good at the packing and moving process. I almost like it.


I know I sound off my rocker, but I like the newness. I like redecorating. I like purging. I like the new adventure and fresh start that a move brings.

There are a few things I do to make sure I don’t lose my ever loving marbles during the moving process. It doesn’t mean that things won’t go awry during the move. They do. It just means that I try to control what I can, minimize the risk where I can and shrug and laugh the rest of it off.

MOVING TIP: Seal anything that might leak.

I’m not sure what it is with children’s cough syrup, but I haven’t found a bottle yet that doesn’t leak. Am I the only one with this problem?

Even if we are using a moving company, I always pack toiletry items myself and use a two-step system. First, seal any bottles containing liquids in a plastic baggie and then place the baggies inside a small plastic bin with a lid. If something does escape the baggie, at least it is contained inside a sealed plastic container instead of a cardboard box.

The other liquid that you might think is sealed tight, but really isn’t, is nail polish. I found one bottle on this move that might have been sealed tightly enough for everyday use. It was not sealed tight enough for changes in air pressure and temperature though. Oops. Thankfully, the nail polish was all sealed in a small plastic bin, so the spilled polish didn’t damage anything important.


MOVING TIP: If it’s dirty, the movers will still pack it.

I don’t even know how this happened, but yes, that’s dried orange juice on a glass.

The real point here is to be ready when the movers come – especially if you are the one footing the bill for the move. Every delay because you are still sorting things or cleaning something is costing you either more money, more time or both.


MOVING TIP: Plastic totes are your friend.

When we were first married, I did my fair share of getting free boxes from the grocery store for our moves. I also spent a ridiculous amount of money on cardboard boxes, just to recycle or give them away as soon as we were unpacked.

Then we moved to a house with a basement and we decided to invest in a bunch of large plastic totes to store items that we did not want damaged by moisture.

Since we made that investment, we’ve never purchased moving boxes for across town moves we’re handling ourselves. We’ve loaded up the totes with all of our random stuff, taken them to the new house, unloaded and taken the empty totes back for another trip. The totes are sturdy, stackable and hold a lot of weight.

Totes are also practical when you are using a moving company, as we did this time for our international move. If there are items you want to pack yourself, then carefully pack them in a tote. In my experience, the movers don’t give more than a passing glance to a plastic tote if the lid is on. Don’t blame them if something breaks though. And for the love, don’t try to pack something that you aren’t supposed to pack!

MOVING TIP: Take care when moving food items.

These spices were packed by the moving company. Whoever packed the box did not do the best job separating the glass spice containers. The box smelled really good…like Herbes de Provence. Why did the jar of my favorite spice have to break? Why? This is one of those shrug and laugh it off times! Could have been worse.

There is a reason why moving companies don’t want you to pack liquids. Honey in a snap on container makes a big mess if it spills. See the side of the box? Again, it smells lovely though.

Moving Tip: Designate a safe zone.

A safe zone, particularly when movers or friends are helping you pack, is one corner or area of that house that is NOT TO BE PACKED AND LOADED UP. It’s safe. In order for the safe zone to be effective, everyone must know that it is the safe zone. This is very important.

This is a picture of our refrigerator in Georgia. It was the safe zone in the kitchen. Yes, it looks like a cool hot mess. It was. But it worked because I needed paper plates and cups for the next two days. I needed a knife. I also needed extra plastic bags for garbage.

I also had a safe zone in one of the bedrooms where my phone, purse, shoes I planned on wearing, suitcase, phone chargers, etc. were located.

MOVING TIP: Don’t become paralyzed by organization indecision. 

While momentum is on your side, start unpacking boxes as quickly as you can.

The initial goal of unpacking is not to find the perfect spot for everything. You need time to live with your home and its new spaces before you put new organization systems in place.

The initial goal of unpacking is for your home to be minimally functional. It’s a lot easier to find something if it is out of the box and on a shelf instead of packed away in a mountain of cardboard and packing paper.

The dishes and pans in this disaster of a kitchen (below) did not stay where I initially shoved them on the shelf. I was just trying to clear the kitchen of boxes and find the counters again. I dealt with the organization part later when I had time to breathe, think and figure out how to best utilize the space.

MOVING TIP: Get the kids involved.

It’s super awesome if your kids can hang out with family and friends while you are packing and unpacking during a move. One of my dearest friends in the whole entire world took my kids overnight while our house in Georgia was packed up. They had a ball and I was able to power through and finish up all of those last minute details. When we got to Ireland? I did not have that luxury. We know no one here, so I put the kids to work!

At 6 and 9 years old, my kids felt important to have some responsibility while we unloaded and unpacked our boxes.

Jump in a box to squish down papers? Perfect job for kids.

On this move, my kids hauled empty boxes outside. They helped me unwrap the packing paper off of items that I knew weren’t breakable. They set decorative items on the shelves for me as I unwrapped them.

I also let them unpack the boxes that belonged in their rooms.  It gives them ownership of their space and frankly, it’s going to be a little like Christmas for them to open a box full of toys.

If all else fails, take 30 seconds and cut a door in a box so your kids can play in a cardboard box fort while you’re unpacking. That 30 seconds will buy you a good hour of uninterrupted unpacking time. At least it did in my house!


MOVING TIP: It’s okay to be sad and excited at the same time.

I’m always amazed that the pendulum of human emotions can seemingly swing to both extremes at the same time for certain situations. How can I feel two opposite emotions at the same time about a move?

We certainly are complex creatures. Understatement of the year, right?

So if you are feeling sad and excited or some other combination of emotions about your move, I think that’s normal. I’m clearly an expert on what is normal. Ha!

Moving is something we all experience. It’s a big undertaking. Try not to sweat the small stuff. And don’t be too hard on yourself for what did or didn’t get done. You’re only human after all.

At the end of your move I hope you can look back and find some bright and happy spots to put in your memory bank.

Two Books That Made My Eyes Leak

As a general rule of thumb, I’m not a crier. I make exceptions for the occasional sappy movie and anytime my kids are on stage. Oh, and when I was pregnant I could cry during those Coca-Cola commercials with the polar bears. Dang hormones.

The point is I don’t remember the last time my kids saw me cry.

That’s why it’s a little awkward that the two books that made me cry recently are CHILDREN’S BOOKS that I was reading aloud to my CHILDREN. Oy.


On a whim, I picked up A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd while in a bookstore in Corvallis, Oregon. It was on the bookshelf of staff favorites. Now I know why.

My 9-year-old daughter and I devoured this book and her second book The Key to Extraordinary. They were both one of those, “don’t you dare read this without me because I don’t want to miss out” type of books.

GAH! She’s reading it without me.

The main character in A Snicker of Magic is a 12-year-old girl named Felicity who, after moving over and over, yearns for her family to put down permanent roots. Felicity is a ‘word collector.’ She sees words everywhere – around people and even objects. She explains it better than I ever could…

“At exactly that moment, I saw my first word of the day: Believe. The letters were made of melted sunshine. They dripped down the window glass, warm and tingly against our faces. Believe is a powerful word to see and to say. But that morning, I felt it. And feeling it was the best of all. I knew something wonderful was about to happen to me. I didn’t know what, or why, or how. But I believed.” – Felicity in A Snicker of Magic as written by Natalie Lloyd


A book that can be enjoyed by children and adults cannot be an easy thing to write.  Natalie Lloyd transported us into her world and we did not want to leave. Her books were so relatable that on just about every page I wanted to say, “YES! That! Exactly that!”

“…that’s when I realized that it’s possible to have a happy ending, even if the ending isn’t what you imagined…Home isn’t just a house or a city or a place; home is what happens when you’re brave enough to love people.” – Felicity in A Snicker of Magic as written by Natalie Lloyd

Here’s the catch with these two books and why the endings made my eyes leak. The books were not bubblegum fiction. The author weaves in difficult family situations into the storylines. Its part of what makes the characters so relatable. In doing so, she creates a safe place to explore topics of broken homes, military deployments and grief, among others.

The thing is, these books aren’t about death or loss or trauma or abandonment.  The books, ultimately, are about love, friendship and hope. The author ends each story with a beautiful moral. So poignant. So hopeful. So healing.

If talking about these topics make you feel uncomfortable, this might be a good way to broach the subject with your child. Or better yet, let your child take the lead – if he or she is ready.


The end of The Key to Extraordinary was one of the most touching passages about grief and healing that I’ve ever read. My kids noticed tears were running down my face, which was a bit concerning to them. My son asked me if I was crying because my mom died.

Ah, gosh. What do you say?

In short, I told him yes. This story of love and hope was so beautifully written and it did remind me of my mom, but in a good way because I loved her so much and she loved me.

“I know some people think of angels and harps and rich stuff when they think of heaven. But I thought about my mom – barefoot on the back porch, her hair blowing long around her face. She’s strumming a guitar that never goes out of tune. She’s singing a song that doesn’t end. She’s thinking of me. I’m thinking of her. Maybe we never really lose the ones we love. Maybe we’re connected, always.” – Emma Pearl in the book Key To Extraordinary as written by Natalie Lloyd.

I don’t want my kids to be afraid of something that’s natural, so I’ve been very open, in an age appropriate way, with the kids about death. They’ve experienced the death of a pet. They know my mom died in a car accident. They know a family friend died unexpectedly recently and left 3 young children behind. They’ve had playdates with these kids and have talked to each other about grief in the way that kids do.

Here’s what my son tells me. In all of his 6-year-old wisdom.

Son: The sun is so bright mom, because it takes in all of our joy and shines it out for everyone to see.
Me: I like that idea.
Son: And do you know what Heaven is like?
Me: No, what’s it like?
Son: It’s like the airport. You know when you have to give them your suitcase and then when you get someplace new your suitcase comes out on that belt?
Me: The conveyer belt in baggage claim?
Son: Yes! Heaven is like that. You give them your suitcase full of sadness. Then when you get there you get a new suitcase filled with joy and happiness and you get to see your mom again.
Me: I think that’s the best description of Heaven I’ve ever heard.
Son: I know.

“In the eyes of many people, I may never live an extraordinary life. But I will love in extraordinary ways. And I hope I choose to always see the best in people.” – Emma Pearl in the book Key To Extraordinary as written by Natalie Lloyd.

Then he throws his arms around me in the biggest bear hug imaginable. With his face buried in my shoulder he says “I love you so much.”

And my heart almost burst from happiness.


My Number One Moving Tip

Between Handy Husband and I, we’ve lived in Oregon (a few different times), Washington, Canada, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Georgia and now Ireland.

We have enjoyed the luxury of being moved by moving companies, domestically and internationally.

We have loaded our stuff in a uHaul.

We have loaded our stuff in my dad’s cattle trailer. Don’t worry, he hosed the manure out.

Just think about that one for a minute.


We have moved our stuff in the back of a car. Yes, a sectional does fit in a Toyota Venza. If you take 3 trips.

If anyone wants to question my moving credentials, I think I have the market cornered on all the ways one can move their stuff.

Just saying.

I don’t need to mention the cattle trailer again, do I? I didn’t think so.

My Number One Moving Tip:  Designate a Parts Box.


I can’t take credit for this one. This tip came to me after my experience with moving companies and it’s been one I’ve incorporated into all our moves since.

What’s a Parts Box? A Parts Box is the one single place where all of the random parts and pieces for your furniture and pictures are placed. The only place.

If you unscrew a bed frame, the screws and other small pieces for the bed frame are grouped together, labeled and put in the Parts Box. Same things goes if you remove knobs on a dresser. Secure, label and put them in the Parts Box.

If you are moving a shelving unit with adjustable shelves, for the love of your sanity, take out those tiny silver pegs/pins and place them in your Parts Box.

When we take a large piece of decor off the wall, I always put the screws plus new anchors in a labeled baggie. That bag goes where? In the Parts Box.

The nails that I used to hang various pictures go in the Parts Box too. I’m all about reusing.


When you unpack everything, it makes life so much simpler to have all of those miscellaneous parts and pieces in one place. I cannot emphasize this enough.

Plus, you don’t have to worry about the screws for your bed frame or adjustable pegs for your bookshelf getting lost. You don’t have to expend mental energy thinking, how did I hang this last time? Everything is there waiting for you.

I also use the Parts Box for any last minute finds when I’m doing a sweep of the house. Random pens, Lego figurines, electronics cords, etc. The movers missed a packet of taco seasoning in the pantry? It goes in the Parts Box too. Imagine how happy I was to find that packet in Ireland? Super, duper happy.

Guess what was for dinner that night? My favorite meal ever.


Let’s face it. Moving, no matter how far you are going, is stressful. It doesn’t have to be miserable though. The hero of many of our moves has been the small, unassuming Parts Box.

I hope this tip helps you in future moves. Happy packing and unpacking!

Our New Pet

Meet our new pet, a blue whale named Per.


Did I have you going there for a second?

Okay. It’s not a real pet, but my kids don’t know that.

I don’t think. Well, my 9-year-old kind of knows, but she likes to believe, so I’m not going to ruin the fun.

A few months ago, in a riveting blog post, I told you about an amazing TED talk I listened to by author Mac Barnett and the children’s book I bought as a result, Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem.

I think I mentioned in that previous post there’s a fun surprise under the jacket cover of that book.

My kids wrote a letter and sent it off to receive their very own pet whale before we moved to Ireland.

I promptly forgot all about the pet whale because HELLO? moving to a foreign country. They didn’t forget. They were worried about how the whale was going to find us because we didn’t tell the whale our new address. We didn’t even have a permanent address at that point. Details.

It’s moments like these that I realize the depth of my children’s resiliency.

We’d just moved to a foreign country. Everything was new. They’d left their friends and family behind. We didn’t have our belongings or even a place to call home. It’s a lot for anyone, no matter your age, to process.

None of that seemed to phase them. Instead, they were concerned about the whale. Not about how we’d feed a whale or where we’d keep a whale, but how the whale would find us.

I guess I’d never explained mail forwarding.

We had a package of mail forwarded from the U.S. to our temporary home in Ireland. As is my luck, the package was too big to shove through the mail slot in our door and we weren’t home.

Instead, we had to walk/scooter a mile to the mail holding facility. Along the way to find our mail, my son decided to jump fall into a duck pond.

Really, it was only a matter of time. We’d walked past that pond twice a day for weeks. Don’t worry. He was fine. We had to walk back to the house so he could shower the algae and duck poo off of himself though.

Finally we arrived at the mail facility and that’s when we discovered a very official letter had arrived addressed to the kids.

(By the way, it’s just “post” here, not post office. People also say they are going to open the post instead of open the mail.)

The letter informed them their pet whale is stuck in Norway in a very lovely fjord.


There was a “change” in customs law and Norway won’t let the whale leave. Oh, darn. My kids know all about customs and immigration due to our recent move. While they were disappointed, they rolled with the bad news like the troopers they are.

Bureaucratic red tape. What are you going to do?
I was happy there was one way to smooth things over.

The kids can call their whale and leave him a message. YAY!

Except my kids want to FaceTime instead.

Of course.

Our Foyer – Come On In

When we lived in the Atlanta, Georgia area, I finally had the spacious foyer I’d always dreamed about having in a home. Always.

The irony is not lost on me that while I finally had the spacious foyer, no one used it because the house was a ‘come in the back door right into my kitchen’ sort of home. *sigh*

Our home in Ireland is definitely a ‘come in the front door’ type of home. The foyer is actually of decent size and is its own designated space, so people aren’t walking immediately into our living areas.

Assuming that we’ve actually had people over. We haven’t.

Note to self: need to make friends.

Hey, you guys are friends! Come on in and check it out.

Do you know how outrageously happy I am that the bench Handy Husband built fits perfectly in this space?

If you missed how the bench came to be, it’s a good story.

The entry was inspired in a manic moment of “all the things must get off the floor now.” This is a very real part of the unpacking and moving-in process if you are me.

I can always tweak it later to make it match and/or function better. Yes, there is a radiator behind the bench, but it’s not touching it. At this point we don’t plan on using this radiator, but I’ll get back to you in January.

The doorway to the right of the below picture leads to our dining room.

The doorway adjacent to the dining room doorway (a lot of doors in this house) opens into the living room.

The doors in this house are my nemesis. I’d take some of them off, but I don’t have anywhere to stash them.

More doors mean more walls. I’ve learned the default method of construction in Ireland is concrete block walls. Therefore, it is very likely in a home this old (1960s) that all of the walls are structural. To remove a wall would require a significant look by an engineer and placement of a large beam.

If the doors are my nemesis, the concrete walls are my…uh…what’s worse than nemesis? That’s what the doors are.

Do you know what a pain it is to hang stuff on concrete walls? Huge. Gigantic. You need a good drill, masonry drill bits, plastic anchors and screws. Muscles help too.

Everything on this wall, except the mirror, was hung with Command Strips. If you own stock in the company that makes Command Strips, you’re welcome. I think my purchases should insure they have a very good quarter.
One of the pretties I hung on this wall (with Command Strips) is the good luck horseshoe I made awhile back. I know I say all of my projects are my favorite, but I do love this horseshoe makeover. It’s such an easy DIY project.

To give you some perspective on how everything works when you come in the house, here’s the bench in relation to the front door. I hung the coatrack we made with wood from our wine bar right behind the front door. There was really no other spot for it.

The solid white door leads to the office. And, no, I’m not ready to bare my soul and show you the cord-a-palooza that’s going on in there. Or the printer propped up on crates. Or that brand new drill we needed that’s still sitting on the floor.


I’m keeping shoes in a closet next to the stairs, which I didn’t take pictures of for this post.

The basket under the bench is holding mittens, hats and miscellaneous running gear for Handy Husband who run commutes to work. Run as in actual running with two feet running. Yes, he’s nuts dedicated.

The basket on top of the bench is holding all of the miscellaneous stuff that I carry around in my pockets. Lip gloss, keys, change, etc.

The rug was left here by our awesome landlord and I’m kind of digging its neutral zen right now, so I’ve added it into my rug rotation.


I’m happy to have a foyer we actually use and that is functioning pretty well so far. At the end of the month we’ll be adding backpacks, school papers and lunch boxes into the mix, so we’ll see how hard this area works for us then.

Moving to Ireland: Grocery Look Alikes

There are certain things I take for granted about life in the United States. Going to the grocery store is one of them. I have my routine. I know where everything is located. I know what’s a good deal. I can cruise through the grocery store on autopilot grabbing the items we use most frequently.

In my experience, the hardest thing about moving to Ireland thus far is the mental effort that every single little thing, like going to the grocery store, takes. Even though I can thankfully read the labels, I can’t cruise through the store on autopilot.

How do I know if Tomato Sauce A or Tomato Sauce B tastes better? I don’t. So, I have to actually look at the label. Weigh the differences. Hush child who is nagging at me. Try to calculate how many milliliters are in an ounce. Hush child who is making farting noises. Grab a jar of tomato sauce in exasperation and leave. Remember I need pasta too. Repeat the above process. Get home and realize it doesn’t really matter what tomato sauce I purchased because I always add my own seasonings anyway. But at least I picked the jar with the pretty label.

Sure, I can’t always understand the Irish accent, but again, I am so thankful I’m not trying to learn a foreign language on top of all of this. Hats off to the people who are living that reality.

When I see brands that are familiar to me, it’s like a lifeline. It’s a little bit of home –  even if it tastes or looks a little different.

I thought it would be fun to show you some of the items I’ve found in the grocery store that are the same as what you might find in the United States, but different too.

Frosted Flakes are called Frosties.

Sour Cream is Soured Cream. I have to admit, the word soured doesn’t sound quite as appealing to me.

On the plus side, it looks like I can spoon with it.

Just seeing if you were paying attention back there! Ha!

Cocoa Puffs are simply Nesquik.

When I’m buying chocolate cereal for my kids, I feel so much better because it is nourishing their minds.
Ritz Crackers are packaged differently than in the United States.

I think the cracker formula might be slightly different too. These look a little lighter to me, but the Ritz Aficionado in our household (my 6-year-old) doesn’t seem to notice.


Nutella seems to be the same here in Ireland.

Looks like we need another jar.

I feel like this is a good time to point out that we eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and other healthy stuff. I swear. 
These are the least expensive eggs I’ve found in the store. I only mention they are the least expensive not because I’m cheap (I sort of am), but they look and taste like expensive, organic eggs do in the States. I haven’t seen any eggs with white shells yet.

Eggs are sold on-the-shelf in Ireland at room temperature. Each egg is stamped with an expiration date.

Also, my fingers look freakishly long in this photo.

I was surprised to find Philadelphia brand Cream Cheese here.

I have nothing witty to say about cream cheese. I am hungry for a bagel though.
I don’t think you can find Bacon Rashers in the States, but they are too wild not to share.

My husband and kids think these chips are awesome.

I do not. I will say the first one does taste like bacon. After that, these chips just taste…wrong.

However, I did crush a bunch of them up and used them as bread crumbs in some hamburger patties. Now, that was delicious and genius, if I do say so myself.

By the way, rashers are another name for bacon. So bacon rashers seems a bit redundant. Also, chips are called crisps here. Fries are called chips.

It’s confusing.

By the way, if you noticed the word Tesco on some of the packaging, Tesco is a supermarket chain located here. They sell groceries and other random household goods, toys, etc. I would say they are somewhere in-between a Walmart and a Target. Better quality than Walmart, but not as cool as Target.

Speaking of which, I need to make a grocery run.


It’s hard to take yourself too seriously when you take a selfie walking home with your groceries and toilet paper. I’m really, really happy I found the necessities on this particular day though! And I’m not talking about the Frosties!

Happy Birthday Junk Whisperer

The Junk Whisperer had a birthday yesterday.

She’s going to be SUPER glad I’m mentioning this milestone.

And she’s probably wondering if I’m going to share that EPIC photo of her showing my kids how to do a cartwheel.

I’m not.

The thought did cross my mind though. Briefly. Ever so briefly.

I simply want to wish her a very happy birthday and a year full of blessings.

And hopefully international travel.

To a little island called Ireland.

I also want to tell her thank you.

Thank you for sharing her life with my dad. I can go off on these adventures because I know he’s not alone.

Thank you for loving my kids even though they aren’t your own by blood. My mother isn’t alive to shower them with love, but I want them to know the love of a grandmother and to love a grandmother. They are loved. By you. By Handy Husband’s mom.


I did not get her a fancy gift for her birthday. I didn’t even bake a cake, but it looks like one of my kids probably would have eaten all of the cake frosting anyway.

What I did do was finally devote an entire section for her projects on this ol’ blog! It’s long past time I did!


Here’s to many more happy birthdays and projects. Keep ’em coming!

P.S. All photos in this post are The Junk Whisperer’s creations. To see more of her projects, click here.

Matchbox Car Magnet

Guys! I did some crafting! First time since we moved to Ireland.

It felt good. So good.

Plus, it was a 2-minute project, which is my favorite kind of craft project.

Do you remember the sheet metal United States map I made for my son? It’s still one of my favorite projects.

At the time, I thought it would be cool to make tiny magnets that my son could put on the map to show all the states he had visited. I just wasn’t sure how I was going to execute on that idea.

Then we moved to Ireland.

I should have made a world map.

Ah, hindsight. It’s always there when you need a chuckle.

Anyway, as I was hanging decor in my son’s teeny, tiny room last week, I realized he has a transportation theme going on in there. It’s a loose theme, but I’ve run with less!

That’s when I decided to scrap my original idea and make just-for-the-fun-of-it magnets for his map.

These were my supplies. Glue, magnets and old Matchbox cars. As you can see, I packed all the essentials when we moved overseas.

Honestly, the longest part of this process (besides dry time) was waiting for my son to inspect every. single. car. to determine if we could use it for this project. By the end, pickings were slim.

Basically, he gave me the cars that had broken axles. I sure am glad we moved the broken toys overseas too.

Then he told me not to start without him. He had to put on his “crafting helmet.”

I kid you not.

This is my real life.

If Ironman can make his own suit and save the world, he sure as heck can make some Matchbox car magnets.

Now, don’t let Ironman intimidate you.

This project is as easy as putting glue on a magnet and sticking it on the underside of the car then waiting for it to dry.

My first inclination was to use hot glue for this project, but I wasn’t sure if it would stand up to heavy abuse use by a 6-year-old. It would probably be just fine.

I picked the ProBond Advanced Glue because that’s what I used to glue (and only glue) the sheet metal map to the cork board. It survived the move in perfect condition, so it has my vote. (No, Elmer’s does not know who I am, but I’ll take their call. Yes, I am that shameless.)

The tricky part if you use the ProBond Advanced Glue (and this is where hot glue would have the advantage) is that I had to pick cars with smooth underbellies or very limited ridges so that I had a large enough surface area to adhere my magnet.

I’m big, fat loving how the magnets turned out.

Fun, but not fussy. Perfect for a boy’s room.

I might make more. If my son can loosen his grip on a few more cars.

I’m so happy I eased back into crafting mode with a quick, fun and useful project! The upside was getting to work with Ironman. He’s so down-to-earth. He did drink all of my chocolate milk though.