A Buffet to Paint

Did you happen to notice this piece of furniture in my last post?

1-IMG_9257While I will agree it is not the prettiest of pieces it is new to me.  Which means it is not new…at all.  It’s an old heavy solid wood Drexel buffet.  And it’s green.  As in 1970’s avocado kitchen-like green.

I purchased it at a used furniture store.  Cheap.  I had HUGE plans for this buffet.

It was meant to hold my TV out in the white room.  But it was too big.

Then it landed in our bedroom to hold the TV and other things … for a while.  It was not serving us well in there.  As a last ditch effort before it went to the Freecycle – I placed it here.  In this odd little room off of our Family Room.

It’s perfect.  Honestly, it was meant to be right here.  And, while it’s not a crisp linen white color – the green blends perfectly.

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I had the chance to really enjoy the extra table top space recently when I hosted friends for coffee recently.


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And yes, I did serve my guests the option of sugar along with my favorite flavored stevia sweeteners.  3-IMG_9204

I still may paint the piece but for now I am content.

New England Village & My Holiday Trick

My teen this year declared she was freeing my Dept. 56 New England Village from the attic this year.

While I lugged it all down, and organized the boxes for her she jumped into setting the village up.

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I am not sure why it has not seen the light of day for so many years.

Well, yes I do.

Small curious fingers and lack of space are two main reasons.  Also all of my pieces are retired now making me feel very protective.

Between two Christmas Trees, candles in the windows and now the village I dreaded the thought of running around at dusk everyday to flip things on then off again at bedtime.

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My Holiday Trick?  I use timers.  I adore timers.

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The girls enjoy coming down in the early morning to find things lit and they don’t even know that by the time they leave for school it’s all off again.

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 When I come home alone after dark and find the house all aglow.  It just warms my heart.

I suspect know that I will be the one putting it all away in January.

That would be another reason I have not used it in so long!

Winter White

I had posted back in the Spring about the transformation in our old ‘playroom’ in our Little Red House.  And how I had a moment and whitewashed the entire room.

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I shared this photo of the transformation.

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I looked forward all year to transforming this room into a Winter White room.  I came close!

The girls call it the ‘Natural Room’ for Christmas.  Mainly because I tried to keep it the opposite of the Family Room which contains the bulk of our ‘colorful’ ornaments and decorations.

I have enjoyed the results!!

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A Gathering

I am going to politely ignore it has been months since my last post.  Fast forward….

Today we are in the midst of a Nor’easter rain storm.  I am lucky enough to live on the coast – as we are getting rain and not snow.  I have the illumination of the Christmas tree and decorations keeping me warm.

Last week I was invited to a neighborhood evening for Wreath Making.  It was held at our local community center.

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It was a most lovely evening.

It could have been the hot cocoa bar that was set up with lovely gluten free treats and spirits or it was the abundance of the festive supplies we all had to choose from.

But I think it was the gathering of friends.

Some are close, some are Mom’s from school that I happen to know.  For the evening we were all supportive and came together to start the Christmas Season.

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My wreath almost completed

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 While many opted to hang on their doors, I choose inside.

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I hope this becomes an annual event!

Sharing at:

Moonlight and Mason Jars Link Party Wednesday Linky Party

Songbird

Too Much Time On My Hands

A Cool Splash

One of our favorite stops in the White Mountains is at Diana’s Bath.

Tucked off a New Hampshire road, and a 3/4 mile mild hike in there is this amazing waterfall exists.

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We went a few years ago.  I posted about it here.  This year the girls and I took the Mr. for the first time.

He LOVED it!

I cannot express how cold the water is!!

This is as close to it as I got:

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Some outtakes from our day:

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Naturally formed water slides:

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The crevice.  For the record I was totally against my teen jumping into the very narrow and very deep hole in the rocks.  08-IMG_8722 09-IMG_8723 10-IMG_8724

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Then she did it 4 times in a row :0

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Summer Snapshot

I simply did not post this summer.

I had no intentions of taking the summer off – I just did.

I had plenty of things to work on – not all of it was things I will share.

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I focused on having fun with my family.

I thought I would share in photos some of those moments.

The first thing we did was institute ‘Date Night’.  Once a week Mom & Dad went out for dinner.  Girls loved the independence we enjoyed to reconnecting time.  I highly recommend this.  We made it a point to go to newer places we wanted to try.

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Finally got the Mr. back up on a ladder to finish painting the house

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And the shutters installed on the upstairs addition

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We packed up and took a family trip to my happy place – the White Mountains

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We spent a day at Mount Attitash riding the Alpine Slide.  I remember being there when I was 10. It was thrilling.

There is no way I would ever flip my sled!

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Even though we did flip our sleds earning a dislocated knuckle and numerous skin burns

we make it out alive. 25-IMG_23151-IMG_2316 23-IMG_2307
Not trip is finished until we stop here on the way home!
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My CSA was light this year but the food was VERY tasty!

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The Tween was invited away for the weekend and the Teen and I had fun with her first Pedi

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and some outlet shopping.17-IMG_0005
I mastered a bread recipe that I just LOVE

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The girls got away from us for a whole week at camp!10-IMG_2443

And we even let them come home.08-IMG_2486-SMILE

Lulu is almost officially taller than Coco! Yikes!

I spent almost a week of my summer trying to lock down and control the wifi in my home – with not much luck. (Due to iPhones – if we had Androids this would be a lot easier!)

That is a whole other post!

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I spent a LOT of time turning THIS:

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into THIS: 06-IMG_2614
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Unfortunately, then this happened.

I am now the mother of TWO Middle School girls!
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We are off to a great September start.

And yes, my knuckle is still swollen :(

My View Lately

Summer’s arrival has brought mixed feelings.

My first feeling is – if I have the chance to sit on the couch and do nothing – hands down that wins EVERY TIME.

My second feeling is – these kids are not getting younger.  Or am I!

Lately – this is my view:

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Lulu and I are ‘training’ on our bikes.

By training I mean – we go for a ride.

 We track our ride with a GPS App and make sure we go further each time we go out.

GREAT!

But there are rules…

like -

Mom has to be in the mood

It cannot be too hot

Or during high traffic times

I want to go when I want to go – not when she wants to go

We stop almost every .25 mile for water or to just chat.

We are enjoying our time out together.

We are up to 5.65 miles.

I find myself reminiscing a lot lately about how when I was 14 this is how I got around.

All the time.

The other view I am seeing a lot of lately is this:


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 It seems that every ‘plastic’ piece on the pool has decided to not do its job this year.

But that one is fixable!

Like I said – no one is getting any younger!

The REAL Teenage Year

We had a celebration of a birthday here!

Coco turned 14.

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We were allowed to take her out for a nice breakfast.

And present her with a few small gifts.

And we were allowed to present her with

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a cupcake.

Then she was off to the beach with her girlfriends.

As it should be…

How silly I was when Coco turned 13 last year and I thought we had entered the Teen Years.

I remember when she turned 2 and I was warned of ‘the terrible twos.

And – they were not that bad.

Then she turned 3.

No-one warns you about 3!

Well – that is how I am feeling about 14.

I am also spending a LOT of time reliving my 14th year lately.

Was I like that?

Did I demand independence and think my mother knew absolutely nothing?  That she was simply my chauffeur?

Who – ME?

I suspect my mother is having a field day with this…

I should add it is not all that bad.  She has a great sense of humor and I love spending time with her.  She has an amazing fashion sense and we can even share shoes.

I am blessed to be her mom <3

Winding It Down

I came to the realization last week that I am indeed done.

After 8 years of being heavily involved in our elementary school as a parent volunteer – I am done.

My second child is officially a ‘Middle Schooler’

Let me repeat that – I have TWO children in Middle School.

And I am SO HAPPY!

I was not expecting that elated feeling – but that is the feeling.

Lulu got a little special treatment the day before I surprised her with her first mani.

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During her ceremony each student makes a small speech.  Hers was wonderful.

We expected no less.  She tends to over achieve.

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She shed some tears (of happiness too?)
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I on the other hand was thinking – save those tears for Middle School!

But she was not shedding any tears over the presentation of…

11-IMG_2163the cell phone.

I am a sucker for anything that promotes independence.  And she was ready.

We stuck with our original plan we used with Colby.  A text and talk phone with a contract we all sign.

High expectations were set.  Which, if followed would lead to a better phone – later on.

I am sure she will meet those expectations too.  Did I mention she is an over achiever?

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So grown up.  So ready for Middle School!

This one:

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is THRILLED that her pack is back home full time!

Lucky Seventeen

17 is my most favorite number.

Always has been.

My seventeenth summer was my all time favorite.

 I grew up at house number 17.

I hit 17 black in Vegas once – and won BIG!

I could go on…

It is just one of those numbers that perpetually comes up in my life.

Yesterday was my 17th Wedding Anniversary.

We actually got out for a bit and enjoyed some food and drinks.

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#17thselfie

And just like clockwork – our rose-bush in the yard bloomed just for us.

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 We did not plant it and when we purchased the house it was WELL established.

We estimate this
rose-bush must be going on about 25 years now.

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Make it Easier – Food Prep

There are times I am more successful than others.

About  6 months into changing my lifestyle I realized I needed to plan better so I could do better.

One book I read early on helped me learn how to maintain this lifestyle: Paleoista.  It gave such great ideas on how to manage food better.   It takes time but I have learned that if I have the right food on hand in the house and it is prepped correctly I can function.

Honestly, I can have a fridge stuffed with fresh organic veggies and protein but if they are just sitting in the original bags they usually go bad before I get to them.

I thought I would share my top three favorite things that help me.

Veggie Prep:

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One of my favorite meals is a stir-fry.  It gets my veggies in with healthy fats and some protein.  Once I have all my fresh broccoli and cauli and zucchini in the fridge I prep:

Broccoli – I purchase at least two bags (about 6-8 heads)  I cut it all down into pieces and pack it into large Ziploc bags.  Then I steam half of it – and store it cooked in a glass container.  That way I can stir-fry quickly or if I am short on time I can heat up the pre-cooked really fast.

Cauli – I usually bring two home.  I also cut this into smaller pieces.  Half I put into a Ziploc bag for steaming later on in the week and the other half I run through the food processor and store it in another glass container so I can easily make cauli rice.

Zucchini – No less than 6-8 zukes.  I love zucchini.  I pull out my mandolin and slice it all up into coin sized pieces and store it all in glass containers.  Then it is ready for stir fry.  Sometimes I save 3 and make zucchini noodles but I do that the day of.

If I do all this on my grocery shop day – I usually end up eating it all by the week’s end.

Protein

Since my allergy testing I try to stick to mainly chicken.  Nothing is worse than defrosting chicken and not getting it cooked in time.  I literally have to write it in my calendar three days after I take it out – so I am not tossing it out.

I prep it so many different ways – bake, grilled, roast, stir-fry, crock-pot and poached.  It just depends on the season.  Lately – I have been poaching.  In large batches.  And the easiest way to shred all this:

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Just toss it in the Kitchen Aid!6-IMG_8544

Sometimes I use it right away – sometimes I refreeze it.  It is all about having it ready to go.

Bacon

OK – while I have cut way back on pork in general – that does not include bacon.

I love bacon.

A little too much – and I have found that if I cook a package of bacon – there is little left for the recipe I made it for.

The best advice I got on this was – freeze it in smaller portion sizes.

Seriously this is a game changer.  Now I can pull 2-3 slices at a time from the freezer and it is ready by dinner time to cook just what I need for dinner.
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All of these suggestions make it easier – the trick is to just carve out time.

These are the glass storage containers that I use:

Pyrex 6 Piece Storage Set

sharing at:

ABFOL One Project at a Time

 

Carving Out Space

As soon as the last hem was sewn from Lulu’s 5th grade play “Annie” I had a plan!

This is where I sew:

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It is a nook carved out of my bedroom.  That my husband tolerates.  And the mess it brings.  It is not pretty.

Who does not dream of their own room to create a multi purpose crafting/sewing space?

But, this is the Little Red House.  There is not room for that.

It was time to ‘clean that up’ and transform the work space.

I want to be able to sit and just work on a scrapbook page when I want.  Not to have to haul all my stuff out.

This seems to be working!


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I reorganized all the sewing stuff to the bare minimum and put the machine away.

Now all my scrapping items for my new approach right in front of me.

Washi tape, ribbon, cutters, stamping pads, and my Project Life cards are now right there.

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I also LOVE that my Silhouette Cameo has a permanent place and that is getting used MUCH more now too.

The bins still hide a lot of my ‘supplies’ that don’t get used but that I want close by.

The morning sun that comes through that window makes this a wonderful place to sit and work.

And given that the kids are almost out of school – it gives me a place to hang out that is not always with them ;)

June Already?

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I think I missed May?  How does one miss a month?

OH let’s see…

Dance Competitions:

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Hip to be Square earned Coco her first PLATINUM for a duet!

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Lulu’s Jazz The Pink Panther


Mother’s Day

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I dragged us out early for a Mom and Me breakfast.  No makeup was allowed ;)

& a Dance Recital

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and dealing with this mess…


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But now it is June!

Thoughts turn from “Wow – that was the coldest winter in a long time” to dealing with spring allergies

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and wearing shorts and flip flops.

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My CSA started back up

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and we celebrated two birthdays!

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…and Nora.  Who is enjoying her new bed immensely!

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We also turn our attention to the end of the school year.

I have one moving up to 8th

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and one moving up to 6th

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That’s TWO in Middle School…  more to come on that!

Project What?


Confession:  I am a big scrapbooker – did you know that about me?

Did you know:

          • I started scrapbooking in 1997? 
          • I own over seventeen 12×12 albums stuffed to the gills?
          • I was a Close to My Heart rep for two years?
          • I have scrapped almost all the moments of both my girls’ lives since they were born?
          • Two times a year I leave my family behind and head out of town to a ‘scrapbooking weekend’?  
          • I own SO many scrapping supplies I don’t even have a place for them in my small home?

But in the past year my zeal for it has changed.

My photography has changed and using an iPhone has changed my pictures also.

 I have changed.

Enter Project Life.

Basically, I still scrapbook just on a smaller scale.  I also don’t adhere to any ‘scrapping formulas’ like I did before.  For me it is more about capturing daily life with my young teen/tween in place of two page spreads on a party we held.

And it is working.

The investment for me was minimal as I already had 90% of what I needed.

And the best part is I still fulfill that need to create something – I just don’t need to be 2+ hours away from home to accomplish it anymore.

I also am letting go of imperfections.

Such as this photo – where I would never show such a messy room in a picture – now I appreciate that is part of our real life.

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This picture tells a story to me.  And while it is not ‘perfect’ I love what it has to say.  (Mainly that Coco can show her children that her room was a disaster as a teen HA!).

I am glad my girls have their ‘perfect’ albums up through elementary school.

I am also glad they will have this record of daily life to look back on also.

Instead of this:

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I now create this:

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Not perfect – But better in its own way.

Spring Green for Easter

 We had a last-minute change to our Easter plans.  One that meant I was not making bacon and eggs for 12 but instead just a simple day for just us.

On Saturday I took some time to marinate some chicken thighs in a recipe that I was wanting to try.

Asian Chicken Thighs! from Nom Nom Paleo.  

And, YUP it was green!  Spring green!

I was assured in the recipe that once cooked the green would go away…

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and it did!

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They tasted as good as they smelled.

The only thing that could complement this was Melissa’s Grain Free, Sugar Free & Low Carb Cheesecake, of course!!

I am glad I realized this needed to sit in the fridge overnight – so I made this on Saturday also.

The biggest point to make here is I have never made a cheesecake before.  And this one was so easy and came out perfect.

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It had a great almond flour & pecan crust.  I was a tad worried about making this with Stevia (I only use KAL and this recipe called for it). But I was pleasantly surprised there was a great sweetness but no bitter aftertaste.

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Once we added the strawberries – it added just the right amount of natural sweetness.

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Coco still does not know it had no sugar in it…  don’t tell her – she had two pieces!!

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I hope you all had a great Easter with your families!