Thursday, July 29, 2010

Why I Love Where I Live

Today was a super fun day.  I got to go to Town and get all kinds of goodies for this weekend (my grandma's 80th birthday party) and get things for the house (Though there's totally going to be more of that happening next week!) with Sheena.  We had the best lunch that included dessert like this...
Seriously, one of the best things I have ever tasted.  When I look back and wonder why I'm not losing any weight, this will be to blame.  Today was a bad day.  (Sorry, Taylor!) 

But this is really meant to be about why I love where I live.  While not quite the real south, it certainly has its charms.  I mean, what are the chances you'll drive through your neighborhood and see this...

In case you can't tell, that's a pygmy goat on top of its goat house.  What you can't see is that there is also a baby goat in this pin who I couldn't get in the picture.  It's the tiniest, cutest thing ever!  But this is right in the middle of town, right next to the highway.  Seriously people, it doesn't get much better than this.  I live far enough north that people still ask if you want your tea sweet or unsweet (another hundred miles south and your only option is sweettea, all one word and your only beverage option).   I live far enough south that not only do I know what muddin' is, I know that you don't dare put the "g" on the end.  And, of course, that this is actually a dessert option at the local greasy spoon...

Deep Fried Oreos.  Rest assured I didn't order them, however.  I do have some standards.  And after the cheddar bacon ranch fries, I thought it might be overkill.  Life where I grew just doesn't get any better than this! 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Antique Shopping (The Official Update)

Here's the painting!  I love it, but you can't tell how big it is in the picture.  It's four feet by four feet.  My next decorating challenge is to come up with something to put on the table to accent it!  This amazing, magical, looks-like- I-picked-the-decor store just took my breath away.  I think I could have spent all day in there and still found things I was in love with.  The prices were reasonable and the owner was fantastic!  I just can't say enough great things about it!  Besides, look at the ceiling in one of the rooms...
And you have to love a place that has a great sense of humor about things!  I hate stodgy antique shops!
Amber bought a couple of cute things too!  The lion was Laurie's but the bowling pin is all Amber's!  Seriously, they had old bowling pins for sale.  You've gotta love that!
So, the question is, blog friends, what should I put on the table to make my painting look even better?  Let me know in the comments...

Monday, July 26, 2010

So About That Update...

Umm, so I was totally planning on updating everything this afternoon, really I was.  But plans changed.  Everything is fine, thank God, but my car is in the shop for a little longer than I had intended.  So there's that.  But I am totally excited about how God goes before us and knows exactly what we will need long before we ever do.  Which is good because if I was in charge of the planning we would be in really big trouble around these parts. 

While I can't give you pictures and stories from my weekend yet because I am at the studio, I can give you a quick book review of what has fast become my favorite book, In A Heartbeat by Sean and Leigh Ann Tuohy.  It's partly about fleshing out their story, which you may be familiar with if you saw The Blind Side (and if you haven't you should!).  But the rest of it really focuses on being a cheerful giver and what they feel God means by that.  The Tuohy's do have financial means, and they give as freely as God allows, but they are also stewards of their time.  In the book, they discuss what they call the Popcorn Theory.  They believe that you don't necessarily have to set out to save the world, but it's your job to do something about the people or situations that pop up right in front of you.  I really like that idea.  I think that Christian action can seem very overwhelming sometimes and I don't operate well if I am overwhelmed.  But doing something where I am with how God sees fit to dole it out to me?  That I can deal with.  It's a great read, and I highly recommend it, but even more it makes you really think about what you are doing and how you can do more for the Kingdom of Heaven and for your world and community in general.

So there's that, too.  I promise I will let you see the big painting I bought and tell you all about the awesome, magical wonderland of a store I bought it in and all of that.  But, for now, you are just going to have to practice patience.  And if you are anything like me, you can probably use all the practice you can get.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Do I have some things to tell you!!  My internet has been down for a couple of days and I am just brimming with stories to tell.  I have a book review, a little house decor news, and a recap of shopping dates with Lulu and with Amber!  I don't even know where to start!  I promise that I will be back here tonight (or tomorrow afternoon at the latest!) to give you all the dish about all you've missed!  What did I do before the internet, people?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Who Doesn't Love A Kitchen Appliance?

Guess who bought an Air Popper and Tea Maker tonight?  And guess who then ended up, in the inaugural run, sending popcorn all over the table and floor because she didn't seem to understand that 3/4 a cup of popcorn is more than a Tupperware bowl full?  Yeah, I don't know who it would be either...

Warning: This Post Is A Hot Mess!

First thing first.  Delilah wanted to make sure I posted a nice picture of her since I posted all the bath ones.  She has almost forgiven me for all of that.  Here she is perched on my chest first thing in the morning, looking like the diva she is.
This is my new book.  I'm barely into it.  I read her first book and really liked it.  It's just a big switch from the fast pace of Jen Lancaster.  Marisa de los Santos loves to write with an almost poetic nature, very descriptive and image-heavy, which is beautiful to read, but you have to focus and we all know that isn't something I'm great at.  I've also been watching lot of old movies recently, Easter Parade and Singing In the Rain, which just make me more convinced I was alive during the wrong era.  I think I would have made a kick butt singer at a USO or dance hall.  I love the hair and the clothes and handsome dancing men like Gene Kelly.  Ah, be still my heart!  The only thing better is young Marlon Brando in Guys and Dolls.

On Saturday, Sheena and I did a little antique shopping while we were in town.  This cutie belonged to the owner of the shop and he was SO sweet! 

Pretty much everything else about this place didn't work for me though.  The prices were a little out of joint with the quality of most of the stuff.  Plus I don't really like shops where everything is just crammed together.  I'm all about the treasure hunt, but I don't want to sift through junk to only find more expensive junk.
Luckily, the trip was redeemed by a stop at the ice cream shop.  This ice cream was so good it made you want to hug a cow!  When I look back and wonder why I didn't lose any weight this summer, I will blame my ice cream obsession.  The Rocky Road is mine, Sheena had something with cherries...I don't remember what it was called. 
I'm just all over the place today.  I know, but if you come here often you know that's not really all that odd. What happened the rest of the weekend/week?  Crys has already talked about how great prayer group was on Sunday!  God showed up and showed out!  And you have to love that.  We are banning unbelief, knowing that God will answer our prayers in the way that is best for us!  The sweetness of the Spirit blesses my heart, even three days removed from that time. 

I went to my parents on Monday and that's getting to be one of my favorite times, just hanging around watching TV and chatting with my parents.  We watch Antiques Roadshow, CBS sitcoms, and Rizzoli and Isles (which I really like!).  I will always take a free meal and some good conversation!

Oh, and my new favorite photographer is this girl.  She's young, but she totally has the eye!  And I like her work more than I like many "professionals".  So if you get a chance, check her out.  She would love the Facebook "like."  Who doesn't love encouragement?!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Things I have discovered in the time we have been apart:
  • I went to a couple of antique stores around town and discovered that some people smoke crack while pricing their items
  • Ice cream truly is the love of my life
  • Four kids in the nursery sounds easy, but it only takes a moment for things to spin wildly out of control.
  • I love the ladies of our prayer group!  I can't wait to see what God has in store for us!
  • Aleve Sinus D can cure most of life's problems
  • I'm a little obsessed with YouTube
  • Monday nights watching TV at my parents has quickly become one of my favorite things
  • There is always someone right around the corner who will do what you do, but better.  Encourage them!
I promise I will fill give you the unabridged version soon!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Guess Who Can't Sleep...

I've had a pretty intense set of allergy issues recently, particularly when it comes to my ears.  Friday I didn't feel like doing a whole lot and so I just kind of hung around the house, finishing my new Jen Lancaster book (which was fabulous, by the way!) and sleeping.  I slept for three hours in the middle of the day and a little bit on and off after that.  Then, I went to bed by 10:30.  So, here I am, wide awake at 4:00 AM, trying to figure out what to do with myself.  (Other than watch Gilmore Girls reruns, that is.)  Perhaps later today, I will get out and do something because spending one more day in this house will not be good for me (and besides I really need to hit a grocery store as I am out of pretty much everything).  But for now, I was up and this felt like as good a place to hang out as any...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bathtime (Rubber Duckies Not Included)

Someone my not be getting into the bathtub for a drink of water anytime soon...

I look like I have been on every water ride in the theme park.  And she's angry--very, very angry.  But she looks SO much better!  Maybe this will stop the scratching.  And the really nasty hairballs.  But, I'm totally going to be sleeping with one eye open for the next little bit...

That's Right, I'm a Sucker for a Cute Face and Barbies

Giggles loves Barbies. And since I had a five story house with an elevator when I was her age (for my Barbies, not for me!), how could I not relent and let her have the Barbie who comes with her very own vanity?  It matches the kitchen she already has, people!  Yeah, I'm that easy.  And as I was standing there in the toy aisle, I couldn't help but remember all the $20 handshakes I've gotten from her grandma (my Auntie) and feel like it was payback time.  Enjoy, Giggles.  And come back soon (bring the Barbies)!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

One Ring Circus

In the last seven minutes I have:
  • gotten moisturizer in my eye (and trust me there's a reason they say to keep it out of there, folks!) while trying to put in my contact, causing me to writhe in great pain and wet the only clean hand towel in order to make the seering pain go away
  • Rushed around trying to finish making my house look like less of a heap, because I am keeping Giggles this afternoon and I want my Auntie to feel that she will be safe and well-cared for and not buried under a pile of junk
  • Freaked out because I thought Auntie was early, started throwing things around to "finish up"only to realize that the car pulling into the driveway was actually mine, being driven back from the tire center next door
I know.  You're jealous.  It's okay, I certainly don't blame you.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Do You Want To Spend All Weekend in the Box of Shame?"

On Monday, Mom mentioned that my grandma was going to have my cousin, who I'll be calling Giggles, all day on Tuesday and wanted to know if my sister and I would be willing to help out.  Knowing a good opportunity when I see one, I decided we would go to the movies.  Here is the huge bag of popcorn, this will come into play in a minute...
Here's Giggles, waiting for the movie to start.  We went to see Despicable Me, which was absolutely hilarious!

Here's LuLu, who doesn't ever want to miss a chance to appear on the blog.  (Ignore the red eyes, I was too lazy to photo edit before I blogged.)
So I set the bag of popcorn with Giggles to take the picture and immediately realized I wasn't going to get it back without a fight.  Despite being no bigger than a minute, this child can put away some food.  Eventually, we compromised and filled up a small bag for her out of our bigger bag.  I can't help but love a girl who is serious about her food!
About the time the movie started, Giggles decided that she wanted to sit in my lap.  Of course, I obliged and we spent the rest of the movie cuddled up, laughing.  After the show, I was informed that she was hungry (after a bag of Sour Patch Kids and a bag of popcorn), so of course we went to Dairy Queen.  Here's Giggles and her DILLY BAR!  (Which is what she kept saying when I asked her to eat her hot dog first!)
We still had some time before we had to go back to Grandma's, so we decided to hit the park.  Giggles didn't understand why Lib wouldn't go down the slide in her dress, but I think she managed to have a good time anyway.  (And didn't throw up everything I'd fed her like some kind of Gremlin, so SCORE!)
We had a great day!  But I was completely exhausted!  I really admire all the moms out there who keep up with busy little ones all day long!!

Photo Session: The Kraatz Family

When I agreed to take pictures for my third grade teacher, I was really nervous.  I did not want to screw things up, as having their whole family together was kind of a big deal.  I reminded them that I wasn't a professional, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.  Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the session.  It was a good time, and I am glad that everyone seems happy with the results.
Isn't this the sweetest cookie face ever?!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Painting, Purchasing, and Photography

This is my new paint color.  It's Kestral Gray.  I liked the sound of that name.  It reminded me of an English manor or something like that.  And I don't think it will clash with the paneled wall in my bedroom (or my bedding!)  I didn't get a whole lot of it done yesterday.  Mostly trim, but here's what it looks like on the walls.
It's actually a little bit darker than it looks here, but I really like it.  I'm hoping to get the rest of it up on Sunday or Monday.  But before I could paint, I had to sand.  And anyone who's ever dealt with drywall dust knows that it goes everywhere, no matter what you do.  Here's an example...
My trusty assistant wasn't convinced that I had any idea what I was doing.  Sometimes I'm not either, I guess.  But I do know that I really want to do this project all by myself, if for no other reason than being able to look at it and know that I did it.  Delilah would prefer that I hired in, or at least made less noise.

But that was yesterday.  Today, I had a women's brunch in the morning (which was very interesting, and I mean that in a good way!  Great speakers and fellowship), then I went to visit my grandma in the hospital and do a little shopping.  Delilah decided to chew the straps of one of my brand-new tank tops in two.  Needless to say, I was completely and totally hacked because I loved that top and had only worn it once!!  But I replaced it and bought a couple of other cute things because they were having a sale. 

On the way home, there was a guy and his little boy selling corn and sunflowers on the road.  The sunflowers had been cut and were mostly wilted, which made me sad because I was hoping to get some pictures of them.  (A lady at work had been wanting some pictures for her kitchen.)  The guy was super nice and said that he had a bunch down the road at his house and that I could take all the pictures I wanted to.  So, I followed his directions, made sure his wife knew what I was up to ( "Hi.  I'm the crazy lady who has come to take pictures in your garden.  Your husband said it was okay.  Don't mind me.  Thanks!"), petted their two adorable dogs, and ended up with a couple really good pictures. 


I love absolutely unexpected adventures!  What an awesome day!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Why I Love Summer

Yesterday afternoon, Sheena and I were talking on Facebook in between her lessons.  She said something about how she wanted a cookie.  I agreed.  That was how we ended up driving 25 minutes for cookies.  This also meant, however, that we found ourselves in the local Barnes & Noble.  I believe that all things happen for a reason. Case in point, if we had not gone in search of cookies, I wouldn't have found the following book for half price.
 That's right!  It's the new Jen Lancaster book!  And it's fabulous!  I actually stopped reading another book that's on loan from Crys (despite the fact that I have accumulated no less than 10 more books to read this summer as is!).  That book is really pretty good but my love for Jen ranks above my love for most anyone else.

I'm sure that I will go back to this book when I am done with Jen.  It might be better to read it closer to when school starts anyway.  I can always use a little inspiration before I start molding the leaders of tomorrow.  (Because you never quite know what a new school year will hold!)

In other news, I started working on my bedroom today until I started feeling like crap.  The good news is the room is mostly taped and the drywall is patched.  This means that hopefully I will be able to start painting tomorrow!!  I'm really ready to have this project over and done with! 

I love this pink joint compound!  It goes on pink, but turns white when it's dry.  If you aren't a pro, it helps take the guess work out of the whole process.  Even if it does make your wall look like they are covered in Calamine for a bit.  Being able to patch and finish drywall has proved to be a pretty valuable skill, and I'm pretty good at it, if I do say so myself.
My plans for the rest of the evening include watching So You Think You Can Dance and reading some more Jen.  I know, you are all jealous of my wild and crazy life as a single girl!

So, Big Morning...

"I'd like to thank the Academy, my agent, my lawyers, all the little people who I trampled on my way to the top...."  Wait, wrong speech.  Let me backtrack just a little.

I was getting ready to post about books and spackling (not all at once mind you!), when I stopped to read all the new posts I hadn't read yet from all my favorite bloggers.  And imagine my surprise when I saw that The Lumberjack's Wife named me as one of her favorite blogs!  This totally (totes? I just don't think I can go there, Taylor!) made my morning!  If you are stopping by on her recommendation, I just want to say hi and welcome to my little corner of the Internet!  I hope you will come back and read all my riveting (ha!) posts about, well...everything.  And to Taylor, a favorite blog buddy, a huge thanks!  I wish you ten minutes of complete and total peace!  (And no more broken cabinets!)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Having A Moment: The Celebrity Edition

Update:  And I think Kate Ward over at EW writes much more eloquently about what's really at the heart of the matter.

Now, while I am a bit of an entertainment industry encyclopedia (meaning I read Entertainment Weekly and People and watch a lot of movies and TV), I don't normally comment on here about such things.  This is about my life for the most part, not someone else's.  But I just can't help myself this time!

I don't feel sorry for Lindsay Lohan.  That's right,  I said it.  But I may not be going where you think I'm going with this either.  She's made mistakes and I believe that it's time she put her sobriety above everything else, including her career (which is floundering, big shock).  She also needs some people in her life who are more concerned with helping her than they are with money and fame.  Unfortunately, it seems like the two people who should be the most concerned with her welfare (her parents), just aren't.  And that's really sad to me. 

I actually applaud the judge's decision of 90 days in jail, followed by 90 days in rehab, and I hope that she orders that there be no "celebrity shortcuts" to this.  I think that spending six months, uninterupted, working out her issues might be the thing Lindsay needs the most.  Because the sad truth is she used to be a very promising actress.  You don't have to look any further than Mean Girls or The Parent Trap to see that.  However, I don't think that she is of any value to the industry in her current condition.  Perhaps this judge sees that, too.  Everybody and their brother has been on the morning shows bemoaning the harsh judgment, but maybe this is what it will take.  No one needs another celebrity killing themselves with drug and alcohol abuse, accidently or otherwise.  If her parents or other people in her life aren't willing to step in and do what needs to be done, maybe the law should.

I hope and pray that Lindsay gets the help that she needs.  And I hope that when she does, she will be able to act if that is still what she wants to do.  But starting July 20, she will have six months to think about it.  

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Can't Stop Now!

I've been on a bit of a blog roll so far this month, so I felt like I had to post a little something today.  Other than laundry and dishes, I didn't really accomplish all that much today.  (Though if you saw the state of things around here that might seem like more than it is.)  Let's just say that I am a lot of things, but a great housekeeper isn't quite one of them. 

Early in the afternoon, my little sister, Lu, sent a text asking if I would go with her to the doctor and then for our usual Mexican and DQ date.  I agreed, of course, and was able to get most of the things that I will need to finish my bedroom purchased (paint, curtains, etc.).  I'll be anxious to start on that Thursday, and will hopefully have my whole bedroom ready to roll by the weekend.  I can't wait to post pictures of that finished project!  There's still plenty to do before I even paint.  I have to patch several nail holes and whatnot.  I'm so glad that my daddy taught me how to do those things when I did my original renovations on this house!  It's nice to be able to take care of things like that myself instead of having to ask for help.  Being single has its drawbacks, but learning how to fix things around the house myself isn't one of them.

My goal is that by the middle of next week I will have this house cleaned up, my bedroom finished, and can begin Renovations: Phase 2.  I feel like I need to explain to you that when I moved into this house, a certain amount of furniture was already here.  I didn't have anything other than my bed, so these things were quite welcome.  One of those pieces was a couch.  This couch weighs roughly as much as a compact car.  It feels like it has a hide-a-bed inside, but it doesn't.  One night several years ago, while a friend and I were watching TV, the legs started to come off, causing a pretty severe tilting issue.  I, in my infinite wisdom, took the legs off, meaning that my couch was now an 800-pound lowrider, sitting just a foot and a half off the ground.  This was fine for me, as I am short, but it proved to be a bit of an issue for those that weren't. 

Well, I have loved this couch with all my heart, but my mom subtly mentions how I need a new couch just about every time I make a purchse for my house.  For instance, I go to Wal-Mart to buy some paper towels, "Honey, don't you think you could save that money and put it towards a new couch."   The poor, old thing is starting to go.  It's almost 20 years old, has no legs and sags in the middle.  Every once in a while, I can actually feel a spring break loose and head for the hills.  So, this fall, for my mother and for my own good, I am going to buy a new couch.  Maybe a double chair too.  Who knows?  Phase 2 is still actively being formulated, but I'm sure it will be great.  It might even mean I get to move the non-working (because Delilah chewed the wires when she was a kitten) treadmill out of my office!  I may go wild just thinking of what could happen!

But for now, I am going to fold another batch of laundry and get ready for bed!  Tomorrow is another big day, with fabulous adventures awaiting to unfold!

P.S. Let me know what you think about this new blog look!  Been a little bored with the old one and thought we might be due for a change!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Crystal Turns 30!

On Saturday, we gathered as a tribe under the giant blue and white umbrellas, as has hopefully become our new tradition.  Crystal was turning 30, in case you hadn't heard and we were ready to celebrate!  
We had a great time eating, laughing, and eating some more.  This was the first time we had met some of Crystal's girls from work and I believe that we bonded beautifully!  (I don't think you can help it when you are all cut from the same cloth!)  Mo-Mo the Magnificient brought plenty of hats for the birthday girl to wear (see previous post) and provided lots of entertainment as she danced and tried to convince the jerks in the band to let Crys sing with them!
I think it's safe to say that I good time was had by all!

On Sunday, we gathered at Crystal's parents, as per our usual tradition.  Since officially Crys is a "Yankee Doodle Dandy," we come together not to celebrate the birth of our country, but the birth of the woman we all know and love!  This year, the aunties brought something to make things a bit more celebratory. 
Here we are, birthday crowns and all.  We've been friends now for more than 10 years, believe it or not.  Why God would see fit to connect three stubborn, strong personalitied girls and have them sing together all this time I will never know.  I will also always be thankful!
Of course, there was another trio that wanted to get in on the act.  They've been together a bit longer than 10 years, but they are pretty, pretty princesses too!
If you read both our blogs you may remember that Crystal had a very specific birthday cake request.  Her youngest brother made sure that she got exactly what she wanted! 
"Look!  It's actually a triple decker!"  This cake was massive and rich (and I'm a girl who rarely ever says something like that about a dessert)!  But I will also say that there wasn't any of it left at the end of the day!
After all the food and the swimming and whatnot, we usually head into town to watch the fireworks!  Now in our town, they shoot off the display from the grandstand at the park.  This means that the best way to watch the fireworks is to sit in the cemetery.  You'd think it would actually be a little creepier than it actually is.  By the time we headed that way we had multiplied into quite a good size group and spread out into two full comforters and a bunch of lawn chairs.  We whooped and hollered and laughed (way to go, Skippy the fireworks captain!), and it gave me a chance to play with some settings on my camera I hadn't ever tried.  This is the night setting.
And this is the fireworks setting!  We were a a long way off, so I am pretty impressed! 
It was a great weekend, one of those golden ones you only get now and again.  I'd say that the 30s are going to be pretty awesome, Crys!  I can't wait to see where the next 10 years take us all!  (Of course, some of us won't be 30 for another year, so you will have to wait for me to catch up for the real fun to start!)