This week I shared a funny farmer tale and my thoughts on why you should try to give your loved ones a gift that is handmade. I’m not advocating that ALL your gifts should be handmade. That would be nuts. But, at least once, try the handmade route.
Here’s what making my Happy List this week.
METAL SIDING THAT LOOKS LIKE WOOD
The wood siding on this house is not wood, it’s METAL. Can you imagine the possibilities? The maintenance savings?
Hello, hello! Are you ready for the weekend? My days have felt like one big weekend while we’ve been visiting family and it’s been GREAT! Reality will come knocking soon enough. It always does!
This was unofficial Raspberry Week on the blog. Be sure and read about our raspberry pie and margaritas.
Next week is unofficial “I’m Not Sure What I’m Writing About Yet” Week. Summer fun and traveling do not help me in the planning-ahead department. The same can be said for autumn fun, winter fun, spring fun…
But I still make time for my Happy List!
FOOD SAFE STAIN
I’ve paid attention to butcher block counters and how to seal them from a food-safety perspective, but I’ve never really thought about wood stain and food safety when it comes to other DIY projects.
This crate from iHeart Organizing is cool, but it’s not what caught my eye – the food-safe wood stain did. I like to know what other people use and like.
Jen used Tried and True Wood Stain that she found on Amazon. She also used Howard Butcher Block Conditioner to finish off the project. I haven’t used these products, so I can’t vouch for them, but Jen is pretty thorough when it comes to these things it seems. If you ever attempt a project like hers where fruits and vegetables are in contact with wood stain, it’s something to consider. And let me know how the project turns out!
I can say with 100% certainty that I have NEVER thought about pickling strawberries. Have you?
I cannot vouch for this particular brand, but I loved Keds tennis shoes way-back-when! These socks are on my list to try. I’ve thrown away SO MANY no-show socks because they don’t stay up around the heel area.
CAN PLAY / CAN’T PLAY DOOR HANGER
Am I the last one on earth to learn about can play / can’t play door hangers?
If you live in a busy neighborhood, it’s awesome for your kids to have so many children to play with. However, it can also be awkward when your kids don’t feel like playing, or it is nap time, or lunch time, or you have to go somewhere, etc.
If you buy the pass online, they charge a $10 processing fee, so the total cost is $20. Still a heck of a deal. Processing is taking a super long time according to their website though, so bear that in mind.
DIY PLANTER BOX WITH STORAGE
This is SUCH a good idea. If you want to build a large-scale planter box for your deck or patio, you might as well make it functional too.
More pictures and the step-by-step directions can be found at HomeDIT.
I hope you are enjoying your summer as much as we are! Go forth and have the happiest of weekends!
Constance Hall, a blogger and mom, had some pretty insightful words on motherhood that every overwhelmed mom feels at some point. I read about them here.
Here are some of the highlights…
“It’s not motherhood that’s the problem, it’s the relentlessness. Your children aren’t the problem, your lack of a village is.
“You see I read once that mothers suffer the most in the absence of a village. The worst part is that rather then questioning their community they are constantly questioning themselves.
“Don’t question yourself, this isn’t supposed to be this lonely, you are not the only one suffering, we all suffer due to our society’s set up. Grab your girlfriends, hold them close, make dinner together, wash each other’s dishes and love their babies like they are your own.”
“And my all time favourite memory of the first few weeks of motherhood was opening the door, leaky tit hanging out, flap of skin swooping under my top. And the sides of a maternity pad sticking out of my undies, to a friend, who took one look at my disgraceful state and we both pissed ourselves laughing.”
Girlfriends. Can’t live without them. I know I cherish the few I truly have.
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.
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!
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.
HURRAY! HURRAY! HURRAY!
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.
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.
WARNING! LITHIUM ION BATTERY INSIDE. HANDLE CAREFULLY. YES, THAT MEANS YOU, DELIVERY GUY!
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!
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.
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 Time.com.
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.
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.
WHAT I SHOULD HAVE MADE IN 7TH GRADE SHOP CLASS
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.
THE UNSUNG HERO OF SUMMER
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.
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!
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.
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:
I SURVIVED, THANKS FOR ASKING
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.
ADVICE FOR MY KIDS
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.
COOLEST RENTAL HOME EVER
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???
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.
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.
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.
THE FARM CHICKS VINTAGE AND HANDMADE FAIR
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.
FLYING CAR DRONE
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?
BUYING A USED RUG
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.
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.
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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.
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 Autocamp.com. 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 Autocamp.com 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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?”
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.
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?
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.
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.”