Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Paintings, props and pretend

So, I'll admit it, Christmas has been kind of rough the last couple of years...  I know, and I hate to even whine about it because there are SO MANY people who have such difficult circumstances that I can't even, and never will imagine, and there are so many people who don't have what I DO have, but maybe my little thoughts will mean someone....

Have you ever heard the phrase, " of a Norman Rockwell painting"?  

I've used that expression all my life because others did and it made sense.  I grew up in a Norman Rockwell painting, with Christmases like this

 and this

 and this

But what I'm really wondering is, did anyone ever feel like this?

I think we all probably did at some point.  I wonder if we pretended and painted on smiles when inside there was hurt and shame smoothed over and covered up by sparkly lights and glittery presents, good food and nice phrases?

  Why the mood 4 days before Christmas, you ask?  Well, I'll tell you, the funniest thing happened to me today that got me thinking about this very mood, this sad little funk I was in!

I saw a picture on a blog of an office I loved, I mean loved!.  You know, perfectly designed, warm yet functional, edgy yet useful, great accessories, pretty fabrics... so I went to pin it on Pinterest.  I couldn't find the original "owner" of the picture and wanted to give credit where credit is due, so I went back and back and back and back on each blog that tagged it until I found it's original owner and guess what?  It wasn't anyone's real office at all!  It was a picture taken from a blogger who does props and staging!  Isn't that hilarious?  Do you see what I see?  I was in love with something that wasn't even real!  It never was!  No one lives there, it was just a prop, a farce, a figment of my imagination!

So then I that what all this "crying over spilt milk" is doing to me?  All this "those were the days", "things were happier then" thoughts I've been processing for the last week? Have they led me to discover that we all probably live in paintings, props and pretend?  

So when does this post get cheerful you ask?  Right now!  Because in all of that, here's what I remembered and rediscovered...(thank God!)....
                                                          Christmas isn't now, and never was about how I feel or really even who I'm with..  It's always and forever about the very person my Norman-Rockwell-painting-or-not dad and mom and grandmother always and diligently taught me to remember in this season:


                                the Christ-child,
                                    the One who though came as a child,
                                         was purposed to

                                                        "bind up the brokenhearted, (MY broken heart!)
                                                        to proclaim freedom for the captives
                                                        and release from darkness for the prisoners,
                                                        to bestow on them a crown of beauty  instead of ashes,
                                                        the oil of joy instead of mourning, (MY mourning!)
                                                        and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair..."
                                                                                                                    Isaiah 61

And it doesn't end there.  HE SHALL BE CALLED

                                              Wonderful Counselor

                                                                                Mighty God
                                                                                                  Everlasting Father

                                                                                                                                  Prince of Peace

Norman Rockwell or not...

Merry, merry, sweet merry Christmas!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Style NOT "Lack"ing!

Do you all own one of these?
Ikea's Lack Side Table
I do.  Okay, maybe one...or two...
In my attempts to downsize I was thinking of getting rid of them, that is until I saw THIS post at Apartment Therapy!  Just look at these incredible "Lack Hacks"...
Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy
 I'm totally doing this--
Apartment Therapy
 And what a great idea for a kitchen island
Apartment Therapy
At 9.99, I think you cant' go wrong!

Do any of you have a Lack?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Do you ALDI?


If the answer is "no", AND you're answering with a little turned up nose and snooty-faced brow, then shame on you! (Well, not really, I used to feel the same way about Aldi, but NOT ANYMORE!)

Who couldn't stand to save a buck or two...or three, or four?  I have been shopping there somewhat consistently for the past year or so.  For the last couple of months, since school started back, I've found myself abandoning my dear, sweet Aldi for more convenient choices on the end of town I find myself more often...Kroger.  Now don't get me wrong.  I love Kroger.  Heck, Kroger is like the Nordstrom of grocery stores for someone in my area, and for someone like me that loves to cook!  But, if I could just remember to get myself together every week and go to Aldi, I save so. much. money!

The lastest buy from Aldi is salt and pepper grinders (yesterday)...$1.29 a piece...that's with the sea salt and peppercorns in the grinders!  You just can't beat it! Holidays are an especially good time to go there. They have some great deals on baking stuff!

I have one friend who is afraid to go there to shop and another who swears by it!  (Friend #2 knew a manager at our local Aldi and he swears that many of the products are the same exact  products that we buy in fancy packaging.)  My favorite is when they have special buys like UNO frozen pizzas for $5!
yummo!  And, they sell random things...I bought a handheld mixer there once that's the bomb!

I will say, I haven't bought fresh meat there, but I have bought frozen chicken breast several times---not a bit of difference!  I know, I need to challenge myself and try. (Admittedly, a few things I've bought I didn't love, but hey, that's where Kroger comes in!  ANYWAY, here's a list of things I do get at ALDI and they have been consistent or even better than consistent with large chain grocery store items:

sugar: white, brown, powdered
cake mixes (for chocolate cupcakes)
pudding mix
OLIVE OIL---love Aldi's brand
Canola oil
sour cream
block cheese
cream cheese
fresh mozerella
PITA CHIPS---I mean, the best in the world!
toilet paper
paper towels
garbage bags
frozen fruit
light bulbs
bag salad
seasonal fruit/veggies
canned goods: chili beans, diced tomatoes, soups
dry pasta
PITA CHIPS---I mean, the best in the world!

I'm sure I'm forgetting something!  So here's the challenge:  Go to Aldi, see what you can do and compare your receipt!   You'll feel great. By the way, a few things to remember:

                     You will need a quarter to get a cart (no big deal, you get your quarter back when  
                     you return it!)

                     You must take your own bags (plastic, reuseable, whatever!)

                     They only take CASH and DEBIT cards.

P.S.  you can go right to the ALDI website HERE to see weekly specials, special buys, etc.

Friday, October 7, 2011


I've been thinking of my dad a lot (more than incredibly a lot, the normal amount) the last few days; just a few days from today will mark two years since he's been--gone.  I keep trying to think of a better word than gone, because he's not, not really.  Gosh, I miss his voice and his big ol' hands and his impromptu play-by-play at football games and our conversations about politics and how I could just pick up the phone and say, "Did you just see that? or him? or what he said?" I think 1000 times a day there's something that is said, happens, thought or felt that links me back to him.  Today on Pinterest, I saw this quote.  My dad said something like this to me once when I was a heartbroken teenage girl  and I've never forgotten it.  Maybe he was re-quoting, or maybe, quite possibly, he was just that wise...

I'm so glad he'll never be gone...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Have you seen these?    
My sweet cousin Erin is getting married next year and she's using a brooch bouquet?  Isn't that a great idea? She's asking for brooches from family members or even to keep an eye out when shopping.  I love that she'll have so many great memories.  I've got to look for some of our grandmother's brooches stored away in my stuff...I have one with a picture of my brother and me on it, wonder if she'd like that one? :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Move Over, Martha

Okay, in this post, I bragged about my Martha blueberry scones.  Well, this weekend, I tried a new Blueberry Scones recipe I found at Sunday Baker.

Sunday Baker
  Holy blueberries Batman!  I made the recipe just as she said AND I made the Butter Sauce.  Now, the title alone, Butter Sauce, tells you it's going to be divine, right?  Well, it was.  Miss Em was out for the morning so I made them for little Lyl and me.  We ooed and ahhed and mmmmmmd our way though Saturday morning.  You MUST give them a try!

P.S....then we went to the park and ran....:)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Rey Swimwear

Ok, I just had a "wow, I could've had a V-8" moment!

While participating in my secret obsession, PINTEREST, no judging :), I came across this AMAZING swimwear site...
                                                            Rey Swimwear

                          modest, vintage inspired, retro swimwear
I can't tell you how fabulous this site is. Their motto?: "Who says it has to be itsy bitsy?"

I am constantly disappointed and dismayed at the LACK of tasteful, femine, PRETTY swimwear that is available out there...needless to say, my "V-8" moment comes with the sad realization that summer, at least for me, is essentially, over...(sigh) 
                   But, next year....

Monday, August 22, 2011

Good-bye, Hello

Good-bye summer
Good-bye sleeping late and lemon scones
Good-bye long evening suppers and sweet iced tea
Good-bye late night movies and three on a couch
Good-bye brown skin and light dresses
Good-bye walks and talks to wee hours of morn
Good-bye hot nights and bug spray
Good-bye daydreaming and belly laughing
Good-bye summer.

Hello fall
Hello football games and dance classes
Hello well-planned meals and right-on-schedules
Hello old friend memories and new ones too
Hello competitions and out-of-town tourneys
Hello lazy Sundays and much-needed naps
Hello cool nights and warm sweaters
Hello stories galore and hearts full of love
Hello fall.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dad's Birthday

Today would have been my sweet dad's 71st birthday.  He was barely 69 when he went away... Another 71 years with him here on earth wouldn't have been enough.  I'm so thankful that I'll have 71 years over and over with him when I see him again.

Surprising dad on his birthday was always a stuggle.  He was rarely surprised and usually bought for himself what he wanted before we kids could get to it---usually a book or tool of some sort.  One of the favorite birthday gifts I gave him was when I was still married and my, then, husband and I gave him season tickets to Marshall University football games.  He was excited and so were we.  I always looked forward to going to the games with him.  After my marriage ended, Dad made sure to be my date, along with my girls, to the Marshall games. What a Dad!

Now, I feel his presence so often and know that I'm the one receiving the gift...

I heard Jewel perform this song soon after Dad died and thought it was the most amazing interpretation of the feelings trapped in my broken heart.

September settled softly
Leaves are starting to fall
I recall, the last time you were here
your laughter a melody that lingers still.

There's a hole in my heart
and I carry it wherever I go
Like a treasure that travels with me down every road
There's this longing lonesome deep
Kind of bitter, kind of sweet
There's a hole in my heart in the shape of you

Time stealing swiftly
As children having children of their own
And around life's merry-go-round goes
And there you are wanting what you cannot hold

There's a hold in my heart
And I carry it wherever I go
Like a treasure that travels with me down every road
There's this longing, lonesome deep
Kind of bitter, kind of sweet
There's a hole in my heart in the shape of you

Even though my heart aches
There's a smile on my face
Just like a window to heaven
There's a light shining through

There's a hole in my heart
So I'll carry it wherever I go
Like a treasure that travels with me down every road
There's this longing lonesome deep
Kind of bitter, kind of sweet
There's a hole in my heart
There's a hole in my heart
There's a hole in my heart in the shape of you

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

For the Love of Scones

I love scones.  I must say, they are definitely a newer love of mine.  I grew up with biscuits and cake, pies and homemade breads and lots of baked goods, but never had a scone, until about 6 years ago.  They are so wonderful because they are like all those yummy pastry things rolled (or rather kneaded) into one!

Now, maybe you don't think of yourself as a baker, but don't let these little darlins intimidate you.  Martha Stewart says, "The secret to making delicate scones is handling the dough as little as possible" (, and she's right.  The less you mess with them, the better they are! So, here are some of my favorites:

Glazed Lemon Scones
I made these just yesterday...lemon and summer are one of my favorite combos.  Now, I WISH I could tell you where I got this recipe originally.  The bottom of the torn out page of a magazine says FAMILY FUN so when I googled to investigate, I found the exact recipe and picture on a Disney Family website, so who knows?!  Either way, you can get the recipe by clicking HERE.

Another favorite is, of course, from Martha.  I've made these several times and they are no-fail too:

Blueberry Scones

I got this recipe from a Martha Stewart Living, but you can find it HERE.

And, if you just want to keep things simple, and I do love simple, you can find these at Target!

I've had cranberry and vanilla. They usually have several varieties and they are delicious!

Try them and let me know how you LOVE them!

Sunday, June 19, 2011


From my journal, dated June 21, 2009 and Days With Dad:

Today is Father's Day.  Definitely a surreal experience.  Even stopping for a card and gift  was the strangest we assume that this is his last--then, do we indicate that? Do we say it?  Do we say what we're all thinking? It's so truly...odd.

So, I saw Dad today for the first time since he left the hospital.  His weight has dropped even more and he is as thin as I remember him as a very young girl, though without the muscle tone, the sturdiness...the strength.  He is not eating---totally uninterested in most foods which is difficult to watch (since all of our family celebrations, Father's Day included, have always centered around and celebrated food!)  However, he is somewhat ornery and silly today which is Dad, my dad, though of course unseen at the hospital in 3 1/2 silly there, no light hearted laughter, no...

It's a strange thing to sit around and talk about the end of life. You know, with Grandma
Chappy, we knew death was imminent but didnt' talk about it openly with her, but with Dad, today, we talked about it like we would the score of last night's game or the weather.  It just is.

Dad told me he was proud of me and wanted me to take care of the girls.

Happy Father's Day, Dad. I love and miss you today more than ever.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Yard Sale Yummys

Okay, first of all let me say, I know I often use the word yummy for that which is inedible.  So, if you're mouth started to water or you were thinking, "what weirdo buys food at a yard sale?!", I apologize.

The Nester is having a fun little linky for Yard Sale Finds.  Now, I must admit, I'm not a HUGE yard sale-er.  I love thrift stores but this linky is ONLY for yard sales. So, I thought I'd share my few treasures from yard sales.

My Ruth Orkin picture of the American Girl in Italy.  I love her.  I feel like I know her and imagine stories about her.  I think I really just kind of daydream about her because I want to go to Italy to eat, cook and live!

I'm not sure what it is about chairs and me, but I don't think I've bought a "new" chair since before I was  married when we bought a little country table with four chairs (that was when I was in my blue and mauve phase!).  The chairs above were a local teachers' and they were her Grandmother's chairs...lots of nostalgia.   I bought all 6 of them, painted them, recovered them and have used them in my dining room for 7 years.  (they used to be covered in red toile!)  The other chair was unpainted too. It's in  my living room now.

Last but not least...I love this little treasure too.  I've hung it in a window, set it around in various places,  and am currently using it on top of an urn for a side table (however, after seeing it here, I might hang it right where I propped it for this picture!)

Hope you've enjoyed my yard sale finds.  What treasures have you found?

I'll be linking up my finds at Nesting should too!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Girls Night Italiana!

I was so glad to get to host a Ladies Night Out at my house this weekend for some awesome girls from my my church!  We decided to make it a "pot-luck" Italian theme...EVERYTHING was delicious!

I made easy, I'll post the recipe soon...

I also made Berry Strata, a Giada recipe,

mmm!  with fresh whipped creme, its as tasty as it is beautiful.  You can find the recipe here.

Andi made Lasagne Rolls

Oh my gosh, they were amazing!  I'm totally making them this week!

Lara, Andi, Kristi

Lisa, BJ, Jan

I really wanted to have it outside with strings of white lights and a little bistro feel,  but with the threat of thunderstorms and a 92 degree temp, I decided indoors would have to do it.

So much fun!...
I'll be sharing my little party when I link up at Centsational Girl!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Great Outdoors

A hundred years ago, or so it seems, right after my divorce, the girls and I lived in a little townhouse.  It had a little patio outback just big enough for a little table, some chairs and a flowerpot or two.  I loved that little patio.

When I saw this picture
Centsational Girl

it made me think of the dinner parties I threw back there.

I used 
red toile fabric and creamy muslin to cover EVERYTHING!  (that way you can use a cheapy patio table and some folding chairs!)  If only I had taken pictures....
Another favorite was some Martha Stewart Everyday dishes that I bought at KMart right after my divorce (2 4-piece place settings on clearance). They looked kind of like these:
I still use them all the time.  They are definitely one of my favorite things.
What's your favorite summer treasure?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Silhouette Necklace I Made For Myself

You know the old saying, "If you want something done, you have to do it yourself"...? Well, I decided to take matters into my own hands when I saw THIS adorable  necklace at Less-Than-Perfect Life of Bliss.  I love her blog; you'll always find neat things to do or make.  So, I made my own (for myself for Mother's Day)!

The background is from a couple of book pages from a book of poems that was my dad's. I don't know if you can see the words but they each have words under the portraits that remind me of each girl.

SO, what do you think?  The tutorial is the best,  and you can find it HERE!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

May Showers

We've had so much rain here even the poor ducks are confused...

This is in the middle of our local park.  Emily and I walked there the other day and found them swimming in the grass.  Poor ducks.

I'm so grateful that my loved ones and I have been spared any horrific damage from recent storms.  Praying for those who have not...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Have Shoes Will Share

Well, it finally happened!  This daughter has had a little growth spurt in the foot area and we can FINALLY SHARE SHOES!!  That's the beauty of being a 42 year-old tired, worn out mother,young stylish, energetic mom with teenage girls, you may not be able to always share clothes, but accessories are usually a shoe in!...pun intended!!

I'm currently loving these and these and especially these! Miss Em and I are sharing them now!

I'm trying to outlaw flip-flops for any more than a trip to the basement for laundry or a run to the store...

Although the rainbow of colors is quite enticing, a physical therapist friend told me they were horrible for teenage girls' and womens posture, foot health, etc.  So, hey, any excuse to buy cute flats! 

So, what are you wearing on your tootsies this summer?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Living Room Curtains

So, I promised pictures back in this post and I'm just now getting them on here.  My curtains have been done and up for a couple of months, but sadly, no pics. So, here we go...

Sorry about the picture quality.  It was hard to get a good picture with the sun shining through but I thought the sun made them even more beautiful and of course, I used my phone :(    I had originally planned on lining them but am glad I decided not too.  They make the room feel so light which of course was my intention.  
This is the fabric I used
It's from  I ordered a swatch and when I didn't order fabric right away, they sent me a coupon, so...just sayin'...

I thought I'd add just one sad little picture of my sun room.  Again, not great quality but I did end up using the fabric I had mentioned before.  It, too, is from

So what have we learned from this post?  Joy can sew curtains AND it's time to buy a camera!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Is J Lo Crafting?

Did you see Jennifer's Lopez's ENORMOUS flower in her hair this past Wednesday?

I wonder if she's been crafting and made it herself?  That girl has all kind of talent!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Prayer for Today

Today at Joy for Today all I can think about is the people who are suffering right here in our own amazing country. Lives have been torn apart, literally, never to be the same again.

 (Can you tell that's a Hobby Lobby in the background?  Sadly, crafting is probably the last thing on these folks' minds)

I want to believe that everyone has arms to be held in during this time.  I don't feel confident of that.  I want to be able to get in the car, go to Alabama and just hold and hug people... old people, children, everyone.  I want to but may not be able to, so, I'll do what I'm asking you to do...PRAY.

Over at Kelly's Corner blog today you can find out resources where YOU can help the people devastated by the tornadoes and also join in prayer requests of so many who are hurting in many ways.  Please click HERE and lift up others in prayer.

Call on me in times of trouble.  I will rescue you and you will honor me.  Psalm 50:15

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Shabby Apple Giveaway!

Do you all love just love Shabby Apple??  I do!  Their dresses are so feminine and I always feel nostalgic when I look on their site.  I kind of wish I lived in the day of women dressing up for no reason at all.

ANYWAY, YOU can WIN a dress from Shabby Apple!  Just head over to Centsational Girl and enter to win!  And long live the dress!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Kupcakes for Kids and JoyCakes

I had the really cool privilege of being involved in a fundraiser some students at HHS put on this weekend to benefit the hopeful building of our local children's hospital.  You can read the article HERE.(I even got a little shout out on page 2!)
The cool thing is, one of the girls' dad's (Mr. Mike Steele and graphic artist extraordinaire) designed this logo for me...
I mean really, isn't that the cutest thing ever??

I made three kinds of cupcakes
The chocolate one is a chocolate cupcake with a chocolate ganache filling and a chocolate ganache icing...yeah, they were delicious, even if I do say myself.  The other one shown is a vanilla with a hulled-out center and a strawberry in the middle with a lime confectioner glaze!

Last but not least, a MAGNOLIA vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream icing and toasted sweet coconut...for the season.  

I had a great time even though I was exhausted!  I will definitely admit that wonder woman I am NOT, and if I ever get to open my own little pastry shop, I'm taking applications ASAP!