Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pennsylvania Party

My extended family held our first annual Family Reunion on July 14th, and it was a good time!  I had so much fun that I forgot to get out my camera and take pictures.  Whoops.  Those who attended were awesome and beautiful, of course!

The reunion was my mom's side of the family - all of my Nana's kids' kids...with kids.  :)  There were about 35 of us in attendance!  It was the first time I've met my cousin Julie's littlest guy and I haven't seen Craig's 3-year-old twin sons since they were brand-spanking-newborns ("freshly baked").  All the little ones got along very well, and the adults were on best behavior, too!  Although it did get a bit rowdy during a riveting game of Apples to Apples.  :) 

While I was in PA, my mom and I did our own annual tradition - our yearly trip to Knoebel's.  I drive there, she drives back, and we spend the day riding rides and laughing (or crying) like loons.  A huge perk of this park is that it's free admission - you just pay for the rides you want to ride.  The park itself is around a sometimes-small creek... which often floods like a massive river.  They whimsically mark the water lines and it is neat to see how the park keeps on chuggin' like its two trains despite being inundated with water that gets deeper than I am tall.

I didn't take many pictures here, either, because my mom and I were having such a good time.  Still, when we stopped to gather our steam on a bench and were greeted by two geese, I snapped a photo:

After that, we were back on our feet!  Funnily, I've always thought that once I grew up, I'd be the mom on the sidelines with the stroller.  Yet as I get older, I get a huge thrill out of the barf-worthy Galleon (a giant boat that swings back and forth like a pendulum) and I will never pass up a chance to spin like the dickens on a Tilt-a-Whirl.  

And yet, my favorite ride is the Skyride (a ski lift).  One year while I was in college, my mom and I brought along Ali and my Nana on our Knoebel's trip.  The Knoebel's folks were amazing and actually stopped the Skyride so Nana could get on it.  I can still remember Nana waving at me as we rode.  Nana passed away on Thanksgiving in 2005, and now this ride holds a deeply special meaning for my mom and me.  In tribute, we always ride the Skyride first and then proceed to cry for and wave to Nana, dedicating the day to her.  <3  

How do you make your memories?  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Baby You're a Firework

My best friend, Alison, came to visit for the Fourth of July.  What fun!!  We've been friends since the first week of college, where we met while brushing our teeth.  She lives in Ohio, so our visits are few and far between.  Thanks to the miracles of science, though, we are able to talk, chat, or text daily.  

Still, time in the same zip code is precious so we literally cram a year's worth of activities into a tiny little window.  Some of the things we did in the week she was here include: painting, playing Trivial Pursuit, cooking recipes from Pinterest, going to the beach, seeing Magic Mike (ahem...twice...), and lighting stuff on fire.  

Haha!  Really!  We got together with Deanna and Tom for some fireworks on Independence Day.  Nothing says freedom like bottle rockets.  True story - this was the first time I've really done anything fireworky since I almost burned off my hand with a sparkler when I was a kid.  As a teen, my pyrotechnics were more confined to campfire rings.  Anyway, my camera actually has a firework setting, so here are some highlights!

I think the next two were bottle rockets.  I've no idea why they are called bottle rockets.  They didn't look like bottles OR rockets.  Wait.  

That one kind of does look like a rocket, if you squint.  This next one is my favorite... so gorg:  

Aww, what a fun week!  Here we are just being goobers for the camera.  I like the way my eyes match my dress in addition to Ali's headband.  We did not plan this. 

What a fun week! 

How often do you get to see your bestie?  What do you do for fun?  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer Vacation

Last month, my parents and my brother and sister-in-law (Justin and Ruth) drove from Pennsylvania to Myrtle Beach for a well-deserved vacation.  So close to my neck of the woods!!!  In fact, they came down to my house for an afternoon.  My parents saw the house while it was still in limbo (and my mom helped during the move-in) and  so it was very rewarding to show off the painting update and everything else that's been done on the road to decorating mi casa.

Anyway, I ended up driving to MB to spend a couple more days at their condo with them.  It was pretty fun to get out of the house for a bit!  One highlight was going deep-sea fishing with Justin and Ruth.  Here's Justin and me on the boat!

It took an hour for us to get from the boat place to the open water.  The ride was pleasant, though, and the view was great.... you know I love me some lighthouses!  I've long thought that if I could be any inanimate object, I'd be a lighthouse.  I like the water and I like helping people.  Also, I really liked Pete's Dragon

Finally, we got to the open water and I took a moment to squint in the sun enjoy it.  I love the water! 

We had to move locations a few times because no one was catching anything... eventually, however, there was some success!  Two guys even caught sharks!  What?!  I even caught a couple fish!!  I released them back, though.  Here's one the guy beside me helped take off the hook.  And by 'helped' I mean the kind gentleman did everything for me.  I did pet the fish hello, though, and I baited my own hooks with *squid*. 

That evening, my mom and I went over the Barefoot Landing in MB.  It was all fun and games until this bad pirate got put in the stocks.  

Sadly, I soon had to get home and so did the rest of my family, so we parted ways after breakfasting at Bob Evan's.  By the way, check out my hot mama:

All in all, it was a fun mini-vacation! 

If you could be any inanimate object, what would you be? 

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Ahh, nothing makes me happier than an organized space.

Last June, I organized the catch-all drawer in the apartment (a mess that was building for 2 years) and even tweeted about a discovery I made... This year's model-of-doom is only two months in the making and is already threatening a hostile takeover (something catches and the drawer won't open).  

Pretend it's like an I-Spy... can you find a Harry Potter pencil sharpener?  Two packets of flower seeds?  a Concerta stapler?  a Bert from Sesame Street magnet?  two bottles of ink from China?  a rubber ducky?  50 different customer loyalty cards from places like Lowe's, Game Stop, and CVS?  a monogrammed tape measure?  a plastic school calculator, circa 1994?

Ahh, much better. 

I reused the Malley's chocolate boxes again (1 for tablets and extra magnets, 1 for tape/pencil sharpeners), and a silverware drawer liner from the auction house (sections for extra keys, mini tools, eye glass cleaner, The Plague, and all those loyalty cards.  Between the boxes are the ink bottles and extra markers.  Of course, I delighted in throwing out unusable items.  

Also from the auction house, you may recall this little number, the plywood magazine box (one of two):

I covered those babies in contact paper and made myself some awesome magazine racks to hold some of the magazines I receive for free: Martha Stewart, Afar, Elle Decor, Coastal Living, and Health.  I also get Real Simple (thanks, Mom!) and it is kept on the tv stand.  Coincidence?

Also a questionable coincidence is that the green goes super well with the dining room green and thus continues my quest to tie together the great room and dining area.  

What makes you happy?  Organization?  Chaos?  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Dining Room Update

Welcome back!

As my last post said, I felt the dining room needed a little softening to make it flow into the open space of the great room.  So, after toiling for a day or two, I made a few changes.  I think they do wonders for the area!

First, I've been hating on the awwwful brass chandelier since I first saw this house back in September of 2011, so I was more than willing to shut off the power and rewire in a new pendant light ($18 at Lowe's) plus a paper lantern (Pier 1, $10).  

Then, I put the bamboo placemats back on the table.  I also decided the window needed curtains - both for some soft texture and also for privacy.  This is a townhouse and my elderly neighbor sits on her back porch and I get antsy about that after awhile.  I could not find any curtains I liked (I wanted greens and yellows to pull together the two rooms) at Target, Kohl's, IKEA online, or Ross... and then I wandered into World Market and found a $30 shower curtain that is absolutely perfect.  

I hung the curtain with little shower clips from Target.

Currently, the curtain's clips are half on one side of the rod's center-bracket, half on the other, which is why it is bunchy on the left.  Eventually I may cut the curtain and hem the cut, then add a band of coordinating fabric to the bottom.  I rather like the casual look right now, though, so I am going to laissez-faire it for awhile.  

And now... the two rooms together, as viewed from the loveseat.  By the way, the temporary new "rug" is a quilt and the green pillows are the old green Pier 1 ones covered with fabric a la this Pin.  Thanks, Mom, for the idea!  

What are your favorite ways to repurpose items?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Eat Your Veggies!

Most of you who know me know that when I get started on a project, I don't like to stop until it's done.  So with the great room finished and looking mighty fine, I was anxious to repaint the dining room because once again, it looked like Perkin's restaurant.  Once again, sorry Perkin's.  Let's have a moment of silence for the awful carcass colors of the dining room before:

I once read a blog where the girl painted five different shades of the same color on her bedroom walls and it took them seven months to decide which one they wanted.  I'm too impatient and too economical for that, so once I chose a green I liked on the card (Valspar's Spring Meadow), I bought it and slapped it on the walls that day.  No arguments.  I chose green because 1) it's my favorite color and 2) it reminds everyone to eat their veggies.  Subliminal messages now in your very own house!

Fun fact - the old owner's left these two giant pieces of plastic in the garage.  Thanks!  So, before painting, I put down plastic on the floors and over the table.  Always make sure you protect your pets from paint, too?! Haha!  All joking aside, Poly crawled in there on her own and I removed her twice... she kept going back.  You can't fight with a cat and I will point out she didn't get a single drop on her.  

It took a full day to paint two coats in the dining area (one real wall, one half-wall, one wall with windows, one half wall with a door), with small breaks for necessities including a game of Mario Cart.  

Ahh that's nice!  It is deceiving, though, because the color is a bit more radioactive lettuce in person, so I spent the next two days letting it mellow to the eyes (aka get used to it) and figure out how to smooth the room together, since it spills into the great room.  I added the mirrors (auction house finds) first... Stay tuned for more... 

Do the rooms of your home flow together, or do you prefer to decorate each area on its own?