Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Little Something Different.....

I have been in a creative slump lately and since I'm on summer hours, I've had time to peruse my favorite blogs & some new ones looking for inspiration.
I was looking for my normal scrapbooking inspiration when I came across this link to make this bag from "fat quarters".  The blog said the bag was made in about an hour and included complete instructions.
So I took a trip to the local fabric store today to find some "fat quarters" and came home with a few different selections.  I sat down late this afternoon to start and just finished the bag about a half hour ago.  Mind you, I did take some time out to fix and eat dinner with my hubby & son #1.  Overall, it probably took me about 1 1/2 - 2 hours.  It has been quite some time since I've sewn, so it took a little bit to get back into the groove.  I also managed to break a needle & it took me a little time to find my "kit" that contains my bobbins & extra needles.
I was a little confused with some of the directions and there was one thing I wish that would have been clarified a little better.  It stated that you only needed a fat quarter and fabric for the lining.  I assumed that the lining was just another fat quarter, but it's a little more than that.  So fortunately I had some scrap in my drawers that match the fabric choices I had picked for this particular bag.  Hence the reason why the bottom of the bag doesn't match the "lining" of the bag, but I think it turned out pretty darn cute if I say so myself!
It's not very big, I think it would work out great for a lunch bag or just as a little tote type purse when you don't want to hall the big thing around.  It would definitely hold some magazines or a book & a few little extra's with no problem.
I had so much fun making this bag and was very pleased when it actually turned out after my confusion earlier on with the pattern. 
I also made a camera strap to cover my Nikon standard camera strap.  But I wasn't thinking & put it on my camera before I took a picture of it.  It's actually very cute & it is so much more comfortable around my neck than the scratchy standard one

Monday, June 28, 2010

Libbi.....

Here's another shot of Libbi enjoying her pool time.  It is absolutely one of her favorite things to do in the summer.  She spent so much time in the pool that afternoon that she slept......and slept......and slept that night away!!
I've been enjoying leisurely reading my favorite blogs every day too!  It felt like it's been so long since I've been able to do that.  Every morning before I leave for summer school, I grab my coffee & bowl of cereal and sit down to read them through Google Reader.  It's absolutely the best way to stay on top of them & not waste time going from blog to blog if no one has posted anything new recently.
So on today's "I Heart Faces" blog they posted their weekly challenge to post your pets picture.
So here is Libbi once again -  she's so dang cute though, you have to admit she makes you smile when you see her playing!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Barbie in 2010....

As I was perusing my favorite blogs this morning, I came across this "Sunday Funny" at Hope Studios
There's something comforting in seeing Barbie in this fashion!!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer

I don't think I need to tell you that I love lazy summer days.  I love being able to move at my own pace & drift through the day with no set schedule.  
During the school year we are more regimented because I am working all week.  But now with only 4 1/2 days of school a week & Friday's off, I can enjoy each day as it comes.
Dear hubby has been raiding the neighbor's raspberry bushes this week.  Might as well, as they aren't picking them & they are growing along our property line.  He picked enough earlier this week & a friend baked a raspberry pie for him.  He went out last night & filled this bowl up again & today I experimented with my bread maker.  I found a recipe online to make raspberry jam in it!!!  Wowza!  
Isn't that just the craziest thing you ever heard of?  But it seems to be working great.  The smell in my kitchen is absolutely scrumptious right now as the 2nd batch is just finishing up.  
I got one batch done earlier & it's in the fridge now setting up - be right back, the timer just went off to pull batch #2 out of the bread maker to cool........
I haven't made jam in a very, very long time.  Back in the day when the boys' were young I spent many a summer day canning & freezing fresh veggies & fruits.  Now I'm much older and wiser & just do it for fun, when I want too.!
Even if it doesn't turn out exactly right, isn't it just the prettiest thing?  That color is so deep & rich & red & the smell is just so sweet & tantalizing to my senses!!
Yummmmm........maybe after this 2nd batch cools I'll have to bake up a fresh loaf of bread to eat this yummy jam on?  I don't think anyone around here is going to argue with that.





Next I made a batch of O'Henry's!  They are delish!!  I found the recipe on Becky Higgin's blog.  They looked absolutely devine & the recipe is oh so easy, especially since they are made completely in the microwave.  No heating up your kitchen for these babies....
Make sure you click on the link to Becky's blog to get the recipe - you won't be sorry!  Just be warned - these are not for the faint hearted nor are they for those with peanut allergies.
 I must say though - this is absolutely one of my favorite parts of summer.  Getting Libbi's pool out & letting her play.  She is a riot to watch, growling & barking & shaking the hose until she's sure it's done working, only to find it's still going.
 I grabbed my camera today & started playing with my settings & got the first shot on a slow shutter speed, capturing the water in a constant, cool flow.  This second shot show depth - the focus is on my pretty "Lucille Ball Red" toes that I had done up yesterday.  Libbi's in the background attacking that vicious hose again.
I had a gift certificate from Christmas that I hadn't used up so I decided to treat myself yesterday.  The color is actually called "Heart to Heart" but it made me think of Lucy - she always had red-red nail polish on.
So - this has been my lazy day of summer brought to you by plenty of cool Michigan breezes and bright sunshine!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Domestic Goddess Returns...

I have been doing battle with a bad chest cold since my 1st day out of school last Tuesday.  I survived the whole school year with no sick days, I even breezed through our shut down for 4 days last October when our district, and many others in our area, were over run with students & staff who had the H1N1 virus!!!  I was so happy to go the whole year with no illness of any kind, after the year I had before with the thyroid surgeries & cancer.  It's the little things, ya know?
Well, I haven't been able to kick this schtuff, so I finally dragged my weary hiney to the doctor on Tuesday.  I've been wheezing quite bad & my dear friend played "mom" on Monday & told me if I didn't get in, she would make the call for me!  So Dr. Hammond checked me out & diagnosed me with borderline bronchial pneumonia.  It had moved way down into my lower right lung & was pretty bad.  So he put me on heavy duty antibiotics & told me within 24-48 hours I should start feeling a difference.
Yesterday afternoon it kicked in!  I felt better than I have in over a week.  The nagging achy feeling was gone, the cough has subsided a bit & I actually had energy.  You know I did because it was one of the hottest, most humid days.  Storms came through in the morning & more were on their way for the night.  But I could no longer stand my house, so a BIG cleaning got done.  The domestic goddess returned!!!  My friend Lisa, calls herself the domestic diva, so since that title has been taken, I needed to deem myself the goddess.  I loaded the CD player with all my "mix" CD's & danced through the house to Mambo #5, Wipe Out and many more!!!  The fridge got cleaned, the floors got mopped, the carpets were vacuumed, the toilet was scrubbed and on and on.  My house smells so springy fresh today!
Then I even got a great supper on the table.  Homemade lobster pasta salad & portabella fajitas with a fresh avocado sauce.  Yummy!
After dinner was all cleaned up & I was watching the radar as son #2 was driving through Chicago in Tornado Warnings on his way home from Minnesota, I played around with a photo and came up with this.....
My sister loved the shot I did the other day of my hubby, dad & grandpa, so she asked me to do one of her hubby, dad & grandpa.  Since I was playing, I came up with this one too...
Our mom loved the sun & the beach, so it was only natural that I include her in this shot!!
So, I'm off to another fun filled morning at summer school!  One week down - seven more to go!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Michigan Summer

Things are so beautiful right now in Michigan.  Everything is blooming & so green.  We've had quite a bit of rain so far this summer, not so much that it spoils your day, but a lot of rain nonetheless. 
Sunday Steve & I took our bikes over to Battle Creek to the Linear Trail.  We rode into downtown & had lunch at Clara's On The River - the old train depot.
It was such a beautiful, clear day.  Just look at that bright blue sky & those fluffy clouds!
It was such a beautiful day we decided to dine on the outdoor patio.
  The temps were beautiful & there was virtually no humidity in the air, which is a rarity for us this time of year.
Our ride back took us past this patch of beautiful summer flowers...
I had noticed them on the way into town, but we stopped on the way back because Steve was drawn by the scent of lavender.  We found a patch of lavender from which I quickly picked some stems.  They are here at home waiting to be made into a lavender wand, but the smell is so intoxicating that I've left them in a vase on my kitchen counter & almost hate the thought of making the wand.  I learned this art in California 2 years ago.  The wand that I brought home from there still smells lovely!!
Well, I must be off to my 2nd day of summer school.  Then it's onto the doctor as I've been dealing with this stupid summer cold for a week now & I can't get rid of the cough or the wheezing that is accompanying it.  Hopefully I'll get a good dose of antibiotics!
Enjoy your day everyone!
 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Life Is Blessed!

As I sit here this morning & reflect on Father's Day I think of how blessed I am.  I have been given some of the most influential, Godly men to help mold & shape my life.
My Grandpa DeVries was an honorable man.  I don't ever recall seeing him mad.  He loved us all in such an unconditional way.  I have so many wonderful memories of him growing up and as an adult.  My grandmother passed away when I was 14 and so my grandpa became a staple in our household.  Every Wednesday night he came for dinner until he married many years later.  I remember him sitting in church every Sunday morning, next to his brothers & sisters in the back pew of church.  He never missed a Sunday.  I also remember the day that he stood in the front of the church and publicly professed God to be his Lord & Savior.  He was close to 80 years old.  Yes, he was in church every Sunday, listening to the minister, but it wasn't until his later years in life that he truly understood the meaning of salvation and accepted the truth into his heart!
Then there is my own dad.  A man who could drive my mom crazy, but love her so deeply at the same time.  He had a laugh that came from deep in his belly.  I hear it ever so often to this day.  How I miss him so.  He was a source of strength to my sisters & me.  He was not perfect, but he was a trusting man, a gentle soul, & when I truly admit it to myself, he was perfect in eyes.  He worked hard all his life to support our family, putting my sisters & I through the christian schoolHe made sure that we were in church every Sunday, he prayed at the dinner table before every meal, reading the Bible afterward.  He could & would tell jokes like no other.  They were always funny when you told them to him, but when he turned around and told that same joke to someone else it was absolutely hilarious!  My dad left me a great legacy in being a man of God & teaching me of God and the unconditional love for me.
My husband, where do I even begin?  Even after all these years (32 since we met & almost 30 since we married), I love him deeply and completely.  He is the calm in my storm, his gentle touch when I become so "passionate" about something.  His smile, his laugh, his true devotion to me & our sons.  He is exactly the kind of father to our sons that I've always dreamed a dad could & should be.  He is gentle, considerate and deeply devoted to the boys' & to me.  He is an awesome provider & a positive influence.  He is a true man of God.  He is a model to our sons of what God's love is.
But my most important dad in my life?  God - my Heavenly Father.  When I continue to fail, or I am deeply saddened and lash out at Him in anger, He continues to love me regardless of how I act or how I feel.  His forgiveness is never ending.  His love surrounds me much like your favorite blanket on a cool winter's day.  He is the ultimate, He gave the ultimate and He will provide me with the ultimate when my time here on earth is done.
I am truly a blessed woman today and everyday.  My life has been surrounded with positive, Godly men & I thank my God for these blessings every day.
Happy Father's Day.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

It's Official...

 Summer has officially started.  Yep - yesterday was our annual "Sisters At The Beach Day!"  The morning started out kind of questionable as storms were all along the Lake Michigan shoreline.  But after a few phone calls back & forth, big sister, Pam made the decision to push our departure back 1/2 hour & head on out!  By the time we made it to South Haven the sun had made full appearance & it was a glorious day!
As we were setting up our spot we noticed an umbrella down the beach go flip floppin into the water.  The owners tried to catch it, but the wind was so strong that it was carried way out before they could even reach the shoreline!
It was quite comical to watch as they stood there watching it get carried further & further out & they seemed to be trying to make a plan on how to retrieve it!  Me, on the other hand, starts clicking photos & then telling my sisters how cute a story this would make.  Now I don't claim to be a writer,  but my hubby thinks I should.  Ideas have been popping up into my head about a children's story regarding the journey of one said umbrella across Lake Michigan.  Do I need to put a tm here so no one else steals my idea???  Hmmmm.....
The day was a hot one, but the water has warmed up tremendously since Steve & I were out here a few weeks ago.  You could actually walk in & not have to catch your breath because it was so cold.
My nieces had absolutely NO problem getting in & having some fun!  Kylie spent more time in the water than anyone.  Dani, who will be staring high school in the fall, was working on the ever important tan that all teenage girls do.
When I got my camera out to take pics of the umbrella, I noticed that dear hubby had been playing with it.  He captured some shots of the beauty in our backyard.....
We have lots of things blooming right now & they are prominently yellow!  I must really like that color.  But I must say it so sunny & bright & cheerful in our little oasis.
Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Father's Day to all of you dad's out there!!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Like Riding A Bike.......


It's like riding a bike - once you learn you never forget, right?
Son #2 took off for Minnesota today in my Rendezvous to see his girlfriend & to meet the parents.  We checked out flights & train tickets, but by the time we took him to airport or train station & they had to go pick him up on the other end, he could drive there in the same amount of time or less.  Plus, it's much cheaper.  So we agreed to change vehicles for a week.  I'm driving his little Volkswagon - a 5 speed.  I haven't driven a stick shift in forever!!!   The last time I attempted to move my Son #1's car from the drive I couldn't find reverse, so I pushed in the clutch & let it roll out the driveway all the while with the car alarm blaring because I had NO idea how to shut it off!  I was only moving it because son #1 was still in bed sleeping & I needed to get to work & being the sweet, loving mom that I am, I didn't want to wake him to move my car.  Well, needless to say, the car alarm woke him up.  Hmmmm.........maybe I should install one in his bedroom so he doesn't sleep through his alarm anymore.   NOT!!!  :)
So this morning my niece & I went for a little cruise in the little red v-dub & I must say that it is like riding a bike = you never forget!  I am proud to say that I didn't grind one gear, Kylie survived the ride without whiplash and I didn't stall it out once!!!
Speaking of Kylie - she is spending the week with us.  Tomorrow is our annual girls' day at the beach - a yearly tradition where my sisters, my nieces & I go spend the day on the beach soaking up the summer sun!  Kylie's older sister, Dani, had her 8th grade trip to Cedar Point on Tuesday & so Kylie ended up staying here so that she wasn't home alone bored.
Yesterday we got a little crafty & made these adorable frames.
Kylie's is in the front & mine is in the back.  We will need to be sure to get a great beach group shot tomorrow to put in our frames.

Here is a little closer look at our detail.  I was catching up on some blog reading yesterday & I love this sight - it's a go to for me when I'm in a creative slump.  She's always got great ideas & lots of tutorials.  Scrap Tiffany is a fun blog - be sure to check it out!
This is my first week off from school & my only week off until mid August as I start summer school next week.  Wouldn't you know it, I survive the whole school year without a cold & even avoided H1N1 - but my 1st day off from school & I get a terrible chest cold.  I went to the pharmacist today & picked up something to try & break it up.  I sound like I've been smoking for 40 something years when I cough!  Luckily it hasn't kept me down too bad - I think taking Zicam for the 1st 24 hours made a huge difference!
Well, I do have to get to a training session at school for some new software - but it's only a short training.  
Have a great day everyone!

Monday, June 14, 2010

WOW!

WOW - have I been a bad blogger or what?  It's been way too long since my last post.  I apologize.
Time has truly gotten away from me.  I have been up to my ears at school with meetings, meetings & more meetings.  We have new administration & he lives for meetings.  Ugh!!  They have not been happy meetings either.  I am very happy though that I've been able to keep my job for another year.  I absolutely love what I do.  I enjoy the kids' and the staff I work with.  I can't imagine doing anything else?
With all these meetings have come some retirements - lots of them.  There are 13 teachers retiring from our district this year, 6 of them from my high school.  My dearest friend, Sandy, is one of them. 
Sandy is our district librarian.  She has 38 years of service in our school system & is an alumni of G-A.  She was basically forced into retirement when our school board voted last month to remove her position.  Such a sad, sad thing.  But, I have a true friend & I know we will stay in touch forever.  I'll just not have my lunch buddy anymore to hang out with everyday.
Last Thursday we had a district retirement party at a local restaurant/bar.  It was quite an event - almost every staff member made an appearance, along with retirees from years past.  This picture is of Sandy's little granddaughter, Avery.  She's 17 months old & constantly on the go.  I took this shot of her - she's so cute!
Last November, Sandy's sister Pat (on the far right) retired as librarian clerk at our intermediate.  She was also at the retirement party, along with Sandy's oldest sister (left), Kathy & Sandy's daughter, Lindsey & granddaughter, Avery.  Can you tell all these ladies are related??
This though, is why I love my job!  This is Tatiana, Tot for short.  She was one of my student council members back in 2000.  She was a gracious, sweet girl and still is.  Her senior year of high school, she & a buddy from class, were in the same place as we were for spring break.  I still have the picture of the 3 of us in my classroom.  Tot went out of state for college, but has kept in contact.  She has returned to Michigan & is now married to one of our high school English teachers.  She also worked in our district until budget cuts removed her position in January.  BUT - she is still one of my girls!  She always comes to see me & we have so much fun when we're together.  Her husband just rolls his eyes & laughs at the 2 of us because we just get plain silly!
Today is the last day of classes, so I have one week off.  Next Monday I will be back in school for summer school until mid-August.  I will try to do much better this summer at keeping up with my blogging.
Until next time.......

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Favorite Thing....

What a beautiful Memorial Day Weekend here in Michigan.  On Saturday it was sunny & quite warm.  Steve & I spent the day working around the house - him in the yard, me in the house & mostly the kitchen!
I had a graduation open house to attend in the afternoon (tis the season!) and then I met the girls at Masterpiece Memories so we could all be together when the doors closed for the final time.  This saddened us all greatly.  Each of us loved working there.  We will miss it tremendously, but one of the best things to come from it is the friendship we have built with one another.  We will surely not lose touch!
I spent the morning cleaning the house & cooking/baking.  I made fresh homemade black bean salsa, fresh homemade sun dried tomato hummus, footprint bars and 2 dozen deviled eggs.
We went over to some friends' house on Saturday night for a cook out.  They live on a local lake & their house sits up on a hill over looking the lake.  It was so relaxing & peaceful for all of us to be out there together.  
On Sunday Steve and I went back out to South Haven.  I absolutely love that we live less than an hour from the beautiful shoreline of Lake Michigan.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous for the beach.  It was packed, the south beach especially...
Steve & I went for a walk out on the pier that the channel runs through.  Looking across the channel is the pier for the south beach & this is what you saw........oodles & oodles of umbrellas & people.
As we were walking back to the beach coming out of the channel was this "tall ship".  It's a charter ship.  They take people out onto the lake & pretend that they are under attack.  All the crew members are dressed in colonial attire & at several points you will hear the canons being shot off to ward off the pirates who may be trying to attack!
Also, as you look off to the other side of the pier we're on, you see the north beach...
It was also crowded, but the north beach is much larger than the south beach.  The water temps are only in the mid 50s, but it was so hot out you couldn't resist getting in to cool off the tootsies at least!
The sailboats were out in full force too.
Monday was a rainy day here, but that's okay.  We needed the rain & it also made us stay in & get things around for our upcoming garage sale.
I can see many a Sunday being spent on this shoreline this coming summer.  We're not taking a "scheduled" vacation this year, but with the beach so close, it's good enough for us.