Category Archives: happy list

Happy List #29

First week of summer is in the books. We’ve done museums, play dates and playgrounds.

I now remember how much fun grocery shopping is with children in tow.

Actually, my kids are eager to help with the shopping and if they are helping they aren’t whining. So, I like to give them something obscure to find – like sriracha sauce – and see how long it takes for them to track it down. 

This week I shared what it is like when your kids don’t get a report card for a year. I also shared our latest children’s book list, which features some books we really enjoyed reading last month!

Let’s get to my list o’ happy.


Handy Husband has been diving into the world of audiobooks lately. I think he might enjoy these with a slightly lighter touch, which of course, are available in regular book format too.


Layla from The Lettered Cottage posted some great trash-to-treasure projects this week.

My favorite was this tutorial from Good Housekeeping on how to turn 4 shutters into a side table.

Also, I love that brick floor.


Reader’s Digest always has the best short stories, don’t they?

I will forever associate Reader’s Digest with the waiting room at the dentist’s office. That’s pretty much the only place I ever remember reading one of those magazines.

Here are some great stories about dads just in time for Father’s Day.


I know a few kids who would like this in their backyard.

Image and more info can be found at Emily A. Clark.


I also know a few palm tree fanatics who would love this free printable from A Bubbly Life.


I have NO idea what a smoking slipper actually is, but my kids would probably call them cancer slippers.

To me, they look like espadrilles and I’m loving them.

Indigo dyed ones.

Uh, taco shoes? Where have these been all my life??!!

I have no idea if I could actually walk in any of these shoes by Soludos. I actually care about such practical things as comfort these days, but I have great hopes.

I do not want my dreams of taco shoes dashed by a pesky thing like blisters.

Still might be worth it though.


I made this recipe, well a version of it, and it was a hit!

Then a certain someone I’m married to ruined it by saying, “do you know how many calories are in granola?”

To which I replied, “not THIS granola, dear.”

Actually, I think I said in my sweetest voice, “less calories than a pint of Guinness.”

Handy Husband loves my witty comebacks. 

Get the recipe at TheKitchn.


Kristine from The Painted Hive does the most incredible furniture makeovers. She must have a level of patience and attention-to-detail that the rest of mere mortals do not possess.

She made over a $35 office-style laminate sideboard with peel and stick wood flooring. Peel and stick flooring never looked so good.

Check out her tutorial to see how.

We’re off to have some Father’s Day adventures this weekend. I’m not sure if it is Father’s Day in Ireland, but we love the opportunity to walk an endless amount of miles uphill both ways explore Ireland with Handy Husband.

If there happen to be any dudes reading this blog, Happy Father’s Day!

Happy List #28: SCHOOL IS OUT

Today is the last day of the school year! No more homework. No more keeping track of school uniforms. No more packing (and the dreaded unpacking) of school lunches. No more forcing certain offspring to wear socks AND underwear because that’s what civilized people do on school days.


On Monday I’ll probably be saying, “Oh, sweet heavens how long until school starts?”


That will definitely probably happen on Tuesday.

This week I shared the unexpected thing I am so glad I saved after my mom died – sweet, sentimental pieces of her handwriting. By the way, I love you all to pieces. Your sweet comments here and on social media were like a nice virtual hug.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I also shared the other thing I’ve been saving – tourist maps. They make fantastic wrapping paper!

Here are the other things giving me all the happy feels this week.


I believe I recently posted a paper flower tutorial and told you guys to hide my scissors. Well, I found another one! I can’t seem to let this idea go.

I need someplace to hang paper flowers because it could look so cool as a photo backdrop. Am I right or am I right?

Full tutorial (and image credit) can be found at Hostess With The Mostess.


I recently ordered something on Amazon with a lithium ion battery. It was the drone for my son’s birthday. The box was papered in huge warning labels.


I can’t remember the exact words, but that’s close enough.

I didn’t know where lithium comes from, but now I do. I watched the video with my kids too and we had a crazy good discussion about minerals and technology. I felt like we really nailed it in the learning department…for those 6 minutes.

This was also a gentle reminder of how interdependent our world is on each other for natural resources and trade. Because HOLY COW if we can’t get batteries for our iPhones there’s going to be a panic!


At least, that’s what InStyle magazine says.

So, if you want a $395 lilac-colored fanny pack (or belt bag to be super up-to-date), visit ShopBop. No, that’s not an affiliate link.

I actually wouldn’t mind fanny packs coming back into style. You can’t beat the practicality!


This is Faith and Tim’s home in the Bahamas.

I wonder how much time they spend here? I’d probably never leave! See all the gorgeous photos of their home on Architectural Digest.



Since I will be visiting (aka overstaying my welcome) at Dad and The Junk Whisperer’s house soon, this idea for reclaimed tin signs caught my eye.

I can almost guarantee there’s a piece of tin somewhere on the ol’ family farm.

I also have a friend who could sell these in her shop with no trouble at all.

Get more inspiration at Gypsy Farm Girl.

P.S. There is no way I’d say “welcome y’all” in Ireland. Just in case you were wondering. They already think I’m strange enough.


Why am I not surprised coffee butter is a thing? At least it is in Japan.

And I’m not talking about spilling your coffee on your buttered toast either! Been there, done that. DANGIT!

This might come as a soul-crushing shock – there’s nothing healthy about coffee butter. Check out the recipe from Epicurious and see for yourself.



I found a company called Raw Restorations that reuses barn wood and metal to make cool wall art.

I’m a little obsessed with all of their creative ideas…and their firm grasp of geometry.

Learn more about their process, including custom creations, here.


How about balloon flowers to jazz up your next party? The color combinations are endless!

Depending on your space and how you hang these, I don’t think you’d need helium.

Learn more and get the tutorial at Hostess With The Mostess.

But wait! There’s more!

If you’re serving ice cream at your party, it would be fun to make ice cream cone decorations with balloons.

By the way, this picture comes from a party that served ‘make your own spiked milkshakes.’ Clearly, a grown-ups party and one I think I’d actually attend. Just throwing that out there…

Get the details and see more pictures here.


Wedding or anniversary gift idea!

A quilt or throw with a map of where the couple got married (or calls home) would be super special. A definite keepsake. I’d love to receive something like this.

You can also personalize the quilt with the couple’s wedding date or mark a specific spot on the map with a heart.

This quilt/throw below shows a map of London and was made by Haptic Lab. I’m sure other companies must do this as well – perhaps on Etsy.


After my post about saving copies of a loved one’s handwriting, a reader told me about some Etsy shops that sell handwriting jewelry. Send them something handwritten and they can recreate it!

This bracelet is from CaitlynMinimalist.

This one is from CarolJewelryArt.


I loved this idea for displaying your house numbers by Sarah at Sarah Hearts.

As she points out, it is renter-friendly too.

That’s all from me this week!

Wish me luck! I’m off to collect two very happy kids from their last day of school! I am so very proud of all of their hard work this year.

*affiliate link in post

Happy List #27

Why, hello again!

I sure am thankful for all of you who keep coming back week after week!

I’m excited because we have a 3-day weekend. I have no idea why Monday is a bank holiday and I do not second guess these things. Also, if you want to do anything touristy on a bank holiday weekend in Ireland – forget about it. All 5 million people that live on this island plus a herd of sheep will be in the same place at the same time. Guaranteed.

This week I shared how I repurposed my wine rack into a display shelf for my children’s beloved tchotchkes. If dessert soups are your jam, then I also shared a Sour Cherry Soup from Hungary.

Here’s what’s giving me that happy feeling this week.

FREE DOUGHNUTS AND FISHING – just not in the same place

Don’t say I don’t look out for you peeps in the United States. Today is National Doughnut Day in the U.S.A.

If you want a free doughnut, TODAY is your chance.

Dunkin Donuts is handing out a free doughnut with the purchase of a beverage. Krispy Kreme is just giving away free doughnuts – no purchase necessary. It’s like they want us to get fat. I read all about the freebies – not the getting fat part, I made that up – on

It is also Take Me Fishing Week in almost 20 states, which means free fishing! No permit or license required. To see if your state is participating, click here.

Image via Merriam-Webster. If you want to know whether it is doughnut or donut, then visit their page.


I didn’t know it until this week, but now I am CONVINCED I need a spiralizer to make sweet potato noodles.

According to the recipe for Chipotle Sweet Potato Noodle Salad on Pinch of Yum, that is how this salad is made. Looks delicious, right?

(image via Pinch of Yum)

I’m currently pretty gadget-free in this house, so I had to “search up” (to use my 7-year-old’s lingo) on Amazon what exactly a spiralizer is and does.

There’s this one that’s about $30 that sits on the counter. It got almost 5 stars from 8,000 reviews, so I’m guessing it is the best thing since sliced bread. I’m not a fan of bulky kitchen gadgets though.

Then there’s this cute handheld one too., which looks more up my alley. I’m guessing it isn’t quite as good as the beast above though. It got 4 stars from around 450 reviews and is only 14 bucks.

I’m wondering if my kids would think any of these veggies were truly noodles? Hmm. Might have to think about this.


7th grade (or was it 8th?) shop class was a nightmare. I think it had something to do with the instructor not really being a kid-person. Or a people-person.

There were also all those rumors about kids losing fingers in the power saws. And there were the boys who liked to goof around, which was probably why there were rumors about kids losing fingers.

I find this to be a shame because looking back, I really could have used some encouragement in the category of ‘dive in and try a power tool.’

Instead of the useless napkin holder that didn’t hold napkins up…or was it a letter holder?…this toothbrush holder would have been a cool shop class creation.

It would definitely look cool in my minimalist house where my kids never leave a toothpaste mess everywhere.

Get the scoop on the DIY from The Merry Thought. (Image is from her site, by the way.) Also, that wood counter gives me all the heart eyes.


Is there anything a pool noodle can’t do? I’m just throwing that out there because it can keep you from drowning and now you can use one to shoot marshmallows. It’s the MacGyver of summer accessories.

Here’s a big list of other summer games you can create from a pool noodle that don’t involve a pool.

I might have to make these marshmallow shooters…for the kids to use…just kidding. They’d totally be for me and Handy Husband.
(photo credit: Flynnside Out Productions)


I thought this was a pretty nifty hook DIY by A Bubbly Life. I’ve been mulling ideas for how to hang my bracelets and this could definitely work.

The marble tiles are attached with E6000 glue, which I know is strong. I don’t know if it is “hang a wet towel on the hook” strong though. Bracelet strong, yes, since the bracelets are resting on the dowel. Check out her DIY instructions and decide for yourself!

(image A Bubbly Life)


DO NOT tell my daughter that ‘cat cuddler’ is an actual paying job at a veterinary clinic in Dublin.  I’m fairly certain that would be it for her at this stage!

As reported by Time“Are you a crazy cat person and loves cats? Does cattitude come naturally to you?” Dublin’s sole vet clinic for cats-only wrote in the job post. “If you answer yes to some or all of these questions, how about working with cats as a full time job at Just Cats Veterinary Clinic?” 

“The ideal candidate will be “softly spoke and capable of cat whispering to calm the nerves of some of our in patients,” the clinic wrote in the job posting. The listing added that a bonus qualification was having the “ability to understand different types of purring.””

What I want to know is how do THEY know that YOU know what that purring means?


I like happy stories. I like a sentimental tale. I’m particularly fond of stories about bringing life to a new space while honoring the past.

This story has all of that. Read about it on DesignMom. Oh, and this Utah home is on AirBnB.

(image via DesignMom)


I’m really, really digging the picture of this kitchen. I love the use of medium-toned wood on the island and how that contrasts with and warms up an otherwise white space.

This kitchen was designed by Serendipite. See more from this portfolio here.


Happy first weekend in June to everyone! Go enjoy it!


*this post contains affiliate links*

Happy List #26: I SURVIVED Edition

TGIF! Finally!

Some of my friends are celebrating the last day of school. Or, as I like to say, the last day of packing school lunches! I love seeing all of those first and last day of school pictures pop up in my social media feeds!

You guys know I crack myself up right? I’m not even ashamed to say that! This week I shared a funny story about the new vegetable my husband hates. Celeriac. Have you had it? It’s delicious.

I also shared an awesome craft, which I’ve aptly called emoji golf balls. My daughter and her friends had so much fun making these. If you have some extra golf balls lying around and don’t know what to do with them – try this project!

Here is what’s giving me all the happy feels this week:

Last weekend I mentioned we were doing back-to-back sleepovers for my children’s birthdays. Some of you asked me how it went. I think this sums it up…

I joke. I joke! Sort of. Not really.

The kids all had a blast though. That’s the important thing.

If you need me, I’ll be at the salon getting all my new grey hair covered.


I’ve included the following song on my list this week even though it’s a bit sad. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a sad song with a bit of wisdom.

The line in the song that gets me is “we got the life that we wanted, not the love that we need.”

Particularly as my children are growing up in a social media-ridden world, I want them to take this concept to heart. It is easy to look at the curated version of what our “friends” post on social media and think there is something lacking in our lives.

In other words, we don’t have the fanciest things, the biggest home, the smartest kids, the best swimsuit figure, the coolest job, the most glamorous vacations, etc. You can have all those “things” and still not be happy because the love part is missing. I really want my kids to take that advice to heart when they grow up and choose a person with whom to spend their life.


This home was designed with inspiration from the cartoon Tom and Jerry and is located in Bangkok. Now, Bangkok is NOT on my Travel Bucket List, but my kids would LOVE for us to rent this home. In fact, I’d kind of like to rent this home.

“White nets are spread across the five levels of the 4,682-square-foot house like hammocks and trampolines, so users can hang, hide, climb, and tumble along interiors that look and feel like an indoor playground.”

Anyone else wondering how much their homeowner’s insurance is???

Photo courtesy of Wison Tungthunya

Read more about it on Dwell.


I heard all the buzz about HBO’s new show Big Little Lies, so I decided to read the book. The book is always better, right?

Oh. My. Word. (No reading pun intended.) If you’ve ever been a PTA mom or have done everything in your power to avoid being a PTA mom, you will SO get this book. It’s hilarious and just a tad bit scary how Liane Moriarty nails the stereotypes.

Thankfully, no one ever died at any PTA functions I’ve ever attended though. I’ll leave it at that.

If you like any of Shondra Rhimes’ TV shows, you’ll love this book. Basically, it’s like candy for your brain. It’s the perfect summer beach read.


Has anyone tried cloud bread? Or heard of it?

Cloud bread is NOT bread. It is a bread alternative made with egg whites, cream of tartar, egg yolks and full-fat dairy like cream cheese or yogurt. It’s pretty much carb free.

But how about the taste?

I loved it when Epicurious answered the question, “is cloud bread delicious?” “No, not really. Our food director Rhoda Boone described it as, “A little worse than a rice cake.” Food editor Kat Sacks said she could see eating them if you were “really, really desperate for something resembling carbohydrates.” HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh, that review made my day!

Bottom line, if you try it, TELL ME!!! I think I’ll stick with regular bread and exercise, thank you very much.
Picture and the full article from Epicurious can be found here.


AirBnB is full of gems. Elle Decor recently shared a list of converted churches you can rent from their site. Yes, churches!

Like this one in Chicago, which was originally built in 1888. Those beams!

Or this one in Australia, which has a really, really cool interior.

By the way, Australia IS on my Travel Bucket List.

I’ve always thought it would be cool to convert a church into a home. Except old churches are often situated on busy streets, which makes the location less than ideal for me.


How do you feel about this kitchen set up? Bench seating built into the back of the kitchen island with the table right there?

I’m on the fence…

Image via Becki Owens

On the plus side, my kids wouldn’t even have to get up to clear the table. Wait…I don’t need to encourage them to be lazy.

On the downside, the throw pillows would be a disaster. Only people who never sit there would have throw pillows placed there. In fairness, this set up is possible without pillows and cushions.


Would you install a black sink in your kitchen? I’d have to go with yes, mainly because I had an espresso-colored granite sink once and loved it.

It wasn’t as cool as this sink though. Hubba, hubba!

(Image credit: Domino)

Depending on the material the sink was made of, the only thing that would make me nervous would be hard water spots. My granite sink (this one from Home Depot) was prone to those and I had to oil it with baby oil to bring it back to normal.

More black sink eye candy can be found here.


Summer showed up in Dublin this week! It hit 72 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s about as warm as it gets here, folks. But it has been absolutely perfect!

Winter will probably be back this weekend, so we have been spending every spare moment outside soaking up the Vitamin D.

That’s it from my part of this beautiful world! Happy Weekend, everyone!

Happy List #25: Happy Birthday Edition

A HUGE birthday shout out to my two kiddos!

My daughter turns double digits today (HOLY COW, TEN!) and tomorrow my son turns SEVEN!

I have to admit, I got a lump in my throat last night when I tucked my daughter into bed. I told her, “this is the last time I will kiss 9-year-old you good night.” Then I gave her a million kisses until she finally said, “MOOOM!”

I don’t want to make this about me, even though I did grow them, birth them and have spent a decade devoted to their whims and whines health and wellbeing. But, really, it’s their day!

After months and months of debate, decisions and changing minds they each (finally!) chose to celebrate their birthdays with a sleepover!

WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!?! This is proof you CAN wear your parents down, kids.

Tonight a group of girls is coming over and on Saturday night it is the boys’ turn. Two sleepovers in a row. Back-to-back nights. Can we make this about me and my questionable decision-making now? P.S. Please send earplugs. Perhaps a stiff drink too.

Joking aside, I am overwhelmed with gratitude that in the course of this school year the kids have made all new friends and have been welcomed into this community. It’s a pretty amazing thing. In each of the places we’ve lived, my kids have made long-lasting friendships with incredible people that enrich their lives and I’m sure will continue to do so for years and years to come. In short, we are blessed.

It’s hard to top all of these birthday blessings, but here is what else I’m digging this week.


I really need someone in the Pacific Northwest to go to this fair and tell me if it is everything vintage and handmade dreams are made of. NEVER MIND. Don’t go. Don’t tell me. If it’s as awesome as I think it is, I don’t think I can handle missing out again. Disregard this message.

Oh, all right. If you really want to go, here’s the info. Just don’t send me pictures. But you can buy me a present. Oh, yes you can! Hint. Hint.


We’re trying the drone thing. Again! My son is getting this drone for his birthday. I thought perhaps if we got him a drone with wheels that can supposedly “find its way home,” then maybe we’d have a better chance of not losing this one on a roof, in a tree, etc.

All this proves is that yes, I sometimes live in a mild state of delusion. It’s that same feeling that has me convinced that someday my kids will put the lid back on the toothpaste.

P.S. I somehow missed in the product description that this drone is for ages 14+. And I was JUST saying to my husband “let them be little.” Oh, the irony. I’m not certain why it received this label…something to do with the camera maybe? Those age labels are just “suggestions” anyway, right? Kind of like how the serving size on a pint of ice cream has no relevance whatsoever when you’ve had a rough day is also a suggestion?


I have friends who are really good at scoring amazing deals at thrift shops. They visit these shops frequently. They have a system for how they shop and I’m always in awe of what they find.

I walk into a thrift shop, declare it all rubbish and then don’t go back for 6 months. Therefore, I do not find the good deals. Don’t be like me.

Young House Love scored an amazing rug at a thrift shop…that didn’t smell!


It does beg the question: would you buy a used rug? I think I’m in the “it depends” camp.


Paper and Stitch made over 3 pairs of shoes for summer with acrylic paint. I’m wondering how this holds up over time. Anyone know?

They used a custom paint mixture with a Testors Acrylic Paint Spray Set that doesn’t have the best reviews so far, but it seemed to work for them.

Basically, I’m skeptical about this makeover, but I’d really like it to work because the results were pretty neat looking.



I was reading an article about SheSheds and what caught my eye was this table base made from a gigantic stump.

How did they get it in there? Maybe it is the camera perspective that makes it look wider than the door. Maybe they built the shed around it.

Either way, it’s gorgeous! The entire room is amazing.

Jason Kisner, 2014, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved


The below photo from The Hunted Interior caught my eye for two reasons.

First, I’m intrigued by the dresser that is the same color as the wall. They painted it that way so that it didn’t visually break up a small space. I haven’t tried that trick yet.

Second, look at the closet doors. They did that with Frog Tape and A LOT of patience.


We had a live edge slab of wood in our home growing up. It didn’t look this cool.

And dusting the nooks and crannies of the live edge was a pain in my…dusting rag.

(Image credit: C Magazine)


You should really read what Bill Gates said to graduates via Twitter.

Definitely some nuggets of wisdom there for all of us!

One of the things he said: ” @melindagates 8/ Like @WarrenBuffett I measure my happiness by whether people close to me are happy and love me, & by the difference I make for others.” – Bill Gates

He also recommended that all graduates read this book, which is now an instant bestseller! It’s on my list.


Guys. This paper backdrop is just the sort of crazy project I would do. In fact, someone hide my scissors.

Image and directions from The House That Lars Built.

With that, I am off to collect a wonderful group of girls (and one fabulous boy) from school for the weekend’s first sleepover! Oh, happy day! Seriously. I truly meant that in a non-sarcastic way. Sometimes I feel the need to qualify my statements. The sarcasm will come later. Possibly around midnight when I’m still awake.


*affiliate links contained in this post. thanks for the support. over and out. 

Happy List #24

Why, hello again!

This week was started out as a blur of gorgeous weather. Today is has fizzled a bit. On Wednesday when the weather was amazing, I shared pictures from my commute in Ireland. It was filled with all the good, the bad, the weird and the pretty that I’ve seen in the last couple of months. On Monday, I shared a 15% off coupon code for Anonymous Jewellry. It’s a subscription service that I tried and enjoyed recently. It would be a great Mother’s Day gift and something you can do last minute for all of you pick-up-a-card-on-the-way-to-mom’s-house types. You know who you are!

Here’s what’s on my Happy List this week.

Good Fences Make…Me Happy

The fences I see in Ireland are usually made of stone or concrete. Highly durable, yes. Pretty to look at? Eh…sometimes.

I like the look of this horizontal fence. If you don’t need complete privacy and I’m trying to think when that might be, these horizontal slats offer a cool aesthetic look.

(image credit: Mark McWilliams Photography)

Again, here are horizontal boards offering more privacy than the above picture, but what I really LOVE is the living wall concept. Assuming I could keep it alive, that is. This is a small detail to this aspirational gardener.

If you’re wondering where I’m at on the journey to becoming an actual gardener, I am  somewhere in the “sit in my bed with my laptop and look at pretty pictures” phase of gardening. But, I’m feeling there might be progress. Maybe not soon, but eventually.
(Image: Jeeheon Cho; Design By: Guido Keller, Lotus Gardenscapes)

For more about these ideas and other fences, read this article.

Super Bookshelf

I’ve been birthday shopping for my offspring and this bookshelf on Amazon looked super cool. Pun intended. There’s a boy version as well.


I stumbled upon a campground called Someone has been refurbishing old Airstream trailers and created a campground with them. Such a good idea! They’ve set them up in an old RV Park and you can rent them – just like you would a hotel room. No need to pull around a trailer. No need to worry about parking a trailer. Just show up and enjoy all the perks.

This is a great business idea. I might even do this kind of camping. They have showers, right???

AutoCamp has two locations in California. It’s not cheap though! I randomly checked mid-week in October 2017 at the Russian River location and it was $275/night.

But it’s so cute! And they have bikes!

Anyway, check it out. It’s and all pictures are from their site.

Melted Crayon Rocks

This is something I’d like to try with my kids – melting crayons on hot rocks. What could go wrong? HAHAHAHA!

The inner child in me would like to try this project too. The inner child in me would also like someone to carry me when I get tired, but we know that’s not going to happen! So, rocks it is.

Read about it at

Cool Design

There’s so much to love about this photo featured on Caan Design.

If I got over my annoyance with fingerprints on windows, I think I’d really love that bridge. So would my kids.

The inside of this house is really neat too!

Architects and photo credit: Shiflet Group Architects and Glynis Wood Interiors

When You Don’t Have a Mom on Mother’s Day

In the hustle and bustle of Hallmark holidays, we can forget that not all holidays are happy for everyone. Mother’s Day can be a tough one for so many people who do not have a mom in their lives.

There’s a child at school who doesn’t have a mom to come to Mother’s Day Tea. There’s a friend who’s mom has recently passed. There’s a neighbor who hasn’t had contact with his mom in years.

This little world of ours if full of people who could use an extra hug on Mother’s Day. It’s a great day to open our arms a little wider to those around us – just like our moms would have done.

Don’t watch this video if you just put on your mascara. It will make you cry.

Plot Twist

I’ve been following along as Ashley from Under the Sycamore and her family spend 10 weeks in China. What she wrote this week had me saying “YES! THIS!”

To quote her, “An attribute that has always been important to me to instill in my kids is adaptability – in relationships, situations, goals and everyday life while still remaining consistent in their core beliefs and values. The ability to adapt and change as needed will not only open the door to some pretty incredible adventures, but it also makes day to day life far less frustrating.

Since they were all tiny, Chris and I have tried to teach them to approach change and the unexpected with a positive outlook…to be able to smile and say, “Plot twist!” when the unknown and unexpected pops up in the story of their days.”

(photo: Under the Sycamore)

Isn’t that great? Adaptability is KEY to making life so much less stressful and so much more incredible. I’ve seen my kids demonstrate this ability as we’ve changed houses, states, schools, countries. In fact, I think they do better with change than even my husband and I do.

My kids and I LOVE a good plot twist in a book and this phrase is something I’m going to steal to help defuse those tense situations where your day or your travels just don’t go as anticipated. Usually I say, “oh, it could be worse!” But I like “PLOT TWIST!” so much better!

Read the whole post and see Ashley’s incredible photography here. She’s also on Instagram.


This was a fresh take on the glow-in-the-dark stars we used to put on our ceilings as kids. In fact, I put them on my daughter’s ceiling at one point.

I can’t imagine where I’d ever do this, but I really like the idea. It would also be a cool wall treatment for a restaurant.

Image credit: Nathan Kirkman and Anna Knott for Domino and more info from here.

Butterfly Wreath

I don’t have a wreath up right now and I feel like I’m slacking.

This wreath from Design Improvised is so darn happy looking! Isn’t it?

It looks easy to make too. Bonus!


To all the moms in the United States, I wish you a very happy Mother’s Day. (Mother’s Day in Ireland happened a couple of months ago.) Take care and enjoy!

Happy List #23

Ah, Friday. How I love thee.

This week I shared the story of paddle boarding with DOLPHINS and a MANATEE!!! Yep, I’m type yelling with excitement still. STILL!!!! I also shared my shortcut to making store-bought spaghetti sauce taste good. It is not Italian chef approved, but it totally works.

Here are some other random things on my mind this week.

DIY Food Wrap

Would you make your own food wrap? With beeswax and fabric?

Did you know there was such a thing? Do you think it is worth it?

I’m full of questions on this one. Here’s a tutorial. It looks pretty easy and uses beeswax pellets. Famous last words, right?

(image Edith Zimmerman via)

Or you could buy some already made beeswax food wrap on Amazon, but that seems more expensive.

Utilizing Space Under Stairs

When I was a kid, my friend Cara had the coolest house. On the first floor of her house there was a deceptively large coat closet under the stairs. If you pushed behind the coats, the closet was actually an L-shape and opened into a secret room of sorts. Perfect for a fort! It seemed huge at the time, but I’m sure it wasn’t as big as I remember.

I like to see how people utilize the space under their stairs – especially when it’s not used for a closet or a secret fort.

In this picture, I like that gigantic triangle of cork board.

In reality, I’d never get anything done at this particular workstation. I’d always have two kids sitting on the stairs staring through the treads at me. “Hey, mom! Whatcha doing?”

(image Brian Patrick Flynn via)

Party Favor

My son’s birthday is coming up. For his party this year he is having a few friends over for a sleepover. HELP ME! I’m sorry. Did I type that out loud? Back to the point.

I wanted something for the boys to do that didn’t involve computer games and could double as a party favor. I ordered these flying balls and they should be here today!

Grad Party Ideas

I’m only posting the below picture because I made homemade pretzels one time. You know how much I love bread.

I’m fairly certain one of my pretzels accidentally came out looking like this graduation cap. True story. I have only made homemade pretzels that one time, so I’m not sure I’d go to the trouble of making these for a grad party. But I like to applaud people who are more ambitious than me!

I might do these for a birthday party though. I do have a child turning 7 and one turning 10. It would be way easier to bake dough in those shapes rather than a grad cap.

This idea came from the website Hungry Happenings, which, coincidentally, is pretty much how I caption my life. The author used pre-made pizza dough for this handy dandy recipe, so it’s even easier than it looks.


All the Different Ways to Lace Your Tennis Shoes 

I never really thought of lacing my tennis shoes, or trainers as my children now call them, in any particular way other than how they came out of the box. Have you?

It’s like I’ve been eating vanilla ice cream my whole life and now I know there’s chocolate and cookie dough and all sorts of other mouth-watering flavors.

A company with shoes I’ve never heard of (On) has pictures of 6 different ways to lace up your shoes to make them fit better. This is one of the ways – diagonally. And each of their recommended ways of lacing your shoes is designed to fix a specific problem – high arches, slipping heels, etc. Pretty cool, right?


Are Love Letters Dead?

One of my favorite blogs is Thistlewood Farms and Karianne just shared a funny story about her teen daughters finding a box of love letters her husband had written to her. Letters written before smart phones and texting and emojis. Letters written while he was away serving his country. Letters she cherishes with all her heart.

Her daughters’ response to what they would do if a boy wrote them a love letter was very 2017, as Karianne put it. You need to read the whole story – she tells it brilliantly!

So it made me wonder? Are love letters dead? I seriously hope not because I don’t want my kids to miss out!

This one from Johnny Cash to June Carter Cash will melt your heart.


Party Decor

I saw this on Facebook. All I can say is, someone gets me. Really gets me.

What Can’t a Shipping Container Do?

First, I have been listening to the most fascinating podcast about the shipping industry called Containers. Did you know that shipping containers were developed during the Vietnam War so that the U.S. military had a systematic way of delivering and unloading supplies in Vietnam? Fulfilling that need paved the way for global trade as we know it. It currently costs 4 cents to ship a shirt from Asia to the West Coast of the U.S.A. Amazing, right?

I’ve only ever viewed shipping containers as purely utilitarian. I did want to hug the shipping container that carried my stuff across the Atlantic to Ireland, but that was probably the exception to my general viewpoint.

I know you can make homes out of shipping containers, but have you seen the pools? WOAH!

My son says, “Oh my gosh, everyone’s going to want one SO BAD.”


Read all about it here. Image from here.

I hope you have a happy Friday and an even better weekend. Both of my kids have projects due next week at school, so I think we’re going to be doing a lot of school work this weekend. Send a prayer.

Happy List: #22

Hello! How are you?

After a two week break from school and work, I’ve been humming “back to life, back to reality” and “if I only had a brain” all week. It was a little rough those first couple of days all week!

This week I shared a virtual tour of two hardware stores in Ireland and a tutorial on how to embellish a t-shirt with embroidery thread.

Here’s what has caught my eye this week.

Rubber Boot Racks

Or, wellies as they are called across the pond. I deal with a lot of wet shoes, not necessarily rubber boots, but definitely wet, dripping shoes that need to dry.

I just don’t think you should pay 80 bucks for something as simple as this boot rack. I like the idea though – especially for a simple DIY idea.

(image: Cotswold Co.)

This looks to me like a regular coat rack of sorts, but it can be used for boots. And it’s only $73. Ha! I still think that’s a lot of money for something you could make. Although, when you factor in your time to make something, maybe it is worth it to buy it.

(image: A Place for Everything)

Outdoor Living Inspiration

Apparently, Ellen Degeneres is selling a home in California for a cool 45 million DOLLARS. Just let me shuffle my couch cushions and come up with that, said no regular person ever.

But if Ellen invited me over for brunch…I might never leave. Do you think she’d notice?


Or if Johnny Depp invited me over to this place in the south of France, again, I might never leave. Because hello? South of France!

(image: Hilton and Hyland)

Visiting the south of France is on my to-do list. Handy Husband is just worried that I will really, really like it.

Pottery Barn Lamp Knock-Off

This awesome nautical rope lamp below is the knock-off version of Pottery Barn’s much more expensive lamp. It looks incredible, right?

Kristen from Down Home Inspiration shares the step-by-step to making this lamp and it looks pretty doable!


We’ve done a couple of Pottery Barn knock-offs ourselves. Check out this bed and these shelves for more inspiration.

Dirty Jean Trend

NO ONE, I mean, no one tell my dad that these jeans at Nordstrom are going for $425!
He does not need any encouragement where his dirty jeans are concerned. In fact, he’ll probably say his are worth more because they are authentic!

Or worse, he might say they should have added a little tractor grease and cow manure too – just so they not only look authentic, but smell authentic too! Hey Nordstrom, if you need a dirty jeans consultant, I’m sure my dad will charge a very reasonable hourly rate.


I don’t understand this fashion choice. At all. I don’t care if that makes me old.

Here’s some more info – as if you need more.

White Kitchen

I don’t know where you keep stuff in this kitchen (probably out of the camera frame), but I like how clean it looks. And that ceiling. Cue all the heart eyes!

For more pictures of this home, click here.


Why Americans and British Spell Words Differently

This video on Mental Floss shared some interesting tidbits about why Americans spell color with an “or” and British spell colour with an “our.”

Frankly, it disturbs me a bit that this all seemed to originate a little flippantly. There was definitely some tit for tat going on in the world of dictionaries.

It will be interesting to see how my kids go back and forth between the two spellings since they have been in American and British/Irish learning environments. Do not be surprised if you hear them reference their surname instead of last name, sweets instead of candy and lorry instead of truck!

Fence Goals

Landscape designer Lisa Bynon created this pretty and apparently effective deer fence for her home in the Hamptons.

No problem, right? HAHAHAHA.

I’m trying to decide if it would be harder to build the fence or keep the garden weed free.


That’s all for me, folks. I hope you have the happiest of Fridays! We’re celebrating Handy Husband’s birthday this weekend. I’ll be attempting to make his favorite dessert even though the ingredients for which are not available in Ireland. So basically, I’m not making him his favorite. But let’s hope it tastes good anyway!


Happy List: #21

Happy Good Friday!

This week I shared the most recent books my kids and I have read together. Plus, how I’m teaching them how to type. It doesn’t actually involve me teaching, so they are knocking it out of the ballpark!

Here’s what’s on my Happy List.

Good Friday Newspaper Ad

I thought you might like to see an example of how grocery stores in Ireland advertise for the Easter season in the newspaper.

At the last count in 2011, 84.2% of people self-identified as Catholic in the Republic of Ireland, so you can see why advertisers are choosing to speak to one specific religious group.

Also, fun fact. You CANNOT buy alcohol on Good Friday in Ireland. Anywhere. That restriction is set to change, perhaps next year, but it’s been this way for a long while. I have heard this FREAKS THE IRISH OUT and on Thursday before Good Friday there is a run on alcohol sales. My grocery store (where you can buy beer and liquor) was unusually busy yesterday…

Interesting Places to Use Wallpaper

In a past life, the interior designers I worked with loved wallpaper. Rarely did they decorate a home without using wallpaper.

For myself, I have never been able to use it. I think I’m traumatized by the amount of old wallpaper I’ve had to remove in the various homes we’ve lived in. There were times when I was certain the only thing holding up an old wall were the layers and layers of wallpaper stuck to it.

This article about interesting places of using wallpaper had me intrigued. I like these stairs by Old Home Love. It would probably drive me batty to try and cut all of those pieces and I don’t know how durable it is, but I like how it looks.

For more ideas, check out the article. I especially like the kitchen island and fireplace ideas.
(image Old Home Love via)

9 Things the Most Influential and Persuasive People Do, Backed by Science

This article on about things persuasive people do is one everyone should read. We all have times in our work or personal lives when it would be helpful to be a bit more persuasive.

It’s a quick read and you’ll be happy you did!

Do it for me. Or for the pandas!

Ways to Repurpose a Trampoline

I’m almost wishing we kept our trampoline now. Almost.

Here are some other ways people have repurposed their kids’ trampoline.

Online Home Decor Stores You Might Not Know About

One of the most frustrating, but silly experiences about moving abroad is the shopping. The shops you rely on aren’t there. Finding new ones is easier said than done.

Here are some stores I didn’t know about. Some of which even ship to me. Hurray!

The happiest store with the most colorful products was Arro, which is based out of Australia, but ships to the U.S. and U.K. for free!

(image via Arro)

Adopt a Whale Shark

The kids and I love listening to Tumble Science Podcast. We recently learned about efforts to track the world’s whale shark population. By tracking whale sharks, scientists can tell if the world’s whale shark population is growing or declining.

In fact, you can even adopt a whale shark. When you do, you will receive emails from your whale shark so you know where it is migrating. The adoption money helps fund whale shark protection and research.

Learn more at


DIY Cyanotype Diptych Art

Have you heard of cyanotype diptych art? I hadn’t.

Thanks to Centsational Girl, I learned a little something. Cyanotype is a historic type of printing process using the sun. Diptych is used in design to describe two complimentary pieces of art.

Kate made DIY cyanotype diptych art using a special watercolor art paper and it looks really cool. It also didn’t look overly complicated to create. Win, win!


That’s it for me! Have a happy Easter!

Happy List #20


My kids have a half-day at school today…the excitement was palpable in our house this morning! But the angst over the one toy they could bring for “toy day” was…intense.

This week I shared the gorgeous spring flowers that are blooming in our Irish garden. All thanks to my green thumb, I’m sure. Actually, I think the blooming flowers are proof that nature finds a way. I also walked you through the “should I, shouldn’t I” decision of switching to linen bath towels. Decision was probably the wrong word there. Maybe indecision would be more apt.

Here are some things I’m not indecisive about!

Old Fireplace

I don’t know who has an old, random fireplace in the middle of their living space, but I want to meet them. And move in.

This looks so cool.

This fireplace picture came from an article where a prop stylist gives you their tips for a fabulous room. Check it out!

1965 Sears Catalog Items

I was not alive in 1965, but if I was, I could have purchased a man girdle from the 1965 Sears catalog.

To see other items from the 1965 catalog, click here.

Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions

Any excuse to eat warm, gooey brie.

This recipe from Sense and Edibility looks like heaven.


Pop Up Kitchen Shelf

Clutter-free counters are my idea of a happy space. I like this shelf idea for a clever way to store and still use your small appliances. I’m assuming there’s an electrical outlet in the cabinet or within easy access too?

With a little bit of handiness, I think this idea could be retrofitted to existing cabinets.


University College Dublin Choral Scholars

I have a new musical obsession.

The University College Dublin (UCD) Choral Scholars is an ensemble group of 18 college students. The ensemble has toured throughout the world since beginning in 1999. They sing a variety of styles, including traditional Irish songs and music composed especially for them.

If this one doesn’t give you goosebumps, especially when the drum comes in…listen again.

Upcycled Easter Terrarium

If you’re craving an Easter craft, this one looks easy and cute.

It would be a fun hostess gift if you’re going to someone’s house for Easter dinner.

Here’s all the details.


Marbled Eggs With Shaving Cream

If dyeing Easter Eggs the regular way isn’t exciting enough, this should spice things up a little.

Food coloring and shaving cream are the magic ingredients for this technique.

My kids would love doing this. I’m just wondering how it works on brown eggs because I still have yet to see white eggs in my area of the world.

Here are the instructions.


Half day at school – gotta run! Literally. To get to the train. Have a happy weekend folks!