Love Is In The Air

DSCN1301

A few weeks ago, Stephanie, the Community Coordinator from Bloom Nation contacted me about writing a post about the different ways we celebrate love, especially on the ordinary days, as opposed to holidays, birthdays, etc. Have you heard of Bloom Nation? I hadn’t. They support local communities by partnering with independent florists and showcase their handcrafted arrangements in their marketplace. What a cool idea!!ย  This is actually a concept I know very well! It’s something I’ve adopted in my own life for quite a few years. You’d be amazed how evenย  littleย  30 second effort can brighten an otherwise mundane or stressful day.

DSCN2332

When we were dating, and working conflicting hours, the romance seemed lacking and I gently suggested to my Sweetie that he didn’t have to make grand gestures all the time, but a little note here and there would really help us feel more connected while we were both working. Even a short note on a piece of scratch paper would work. It helped that we worked at a Christian Conference Center and could drop off notes easily. And I worked at the Registration Desk which ALWAYS had scratch paper available. AND, Pass It On cards were hugely popular at the time. Ever since then, we leave little notes for each other regularly. Of course there are dry times, but we always pick it up again. I pick up cute Post Its when I see them and they work great for a simple “I Love You” on the bathroom mirror or kitchen counter/cabinet as a surprise in the morning. Or his lunch box. The same with these pretty, already written notes from a notepad I bought a while back. Last weekend our church had a couples dinner and gave us 3×5 cards to write notes on for our sweeties. Several years ago I bought a little valentine mailbox and we started using it to leave little notes or pustichalks (just a little something), a term we learned from our Russian family members. This year we received this adorable mailbox from my husband’s wonderful cousin as the gift box! Perfect for this gingerbread lover. So this is our new giftie mailbox. And bonus, it’s bigger, so we won’t have to leave bigger things next to it instead of inside. ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_1558

Of course, we still love to celebrate the regular stuff, like our anniversary this Sunday! And who doesn’t like getting flowers for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and just to show you care?! Sometimes we give flowers, and sometimes we do other things for each other. Sometimes we watch a special movie, go to a favorite location, have a special meal, anything that means something to us. For example, for our Irish related anniversary, we might eat Shepherd’s Pie and Soda Bread, watch something Irish related or honeymoon related like Ever After because we watched it on our honeymoon, listen to Irish music, watch or perform Irish dancing, you get the idea. Or watch our wedding video or peruse our wedding album. And enjoy the shamrock plant from our reception that was a table centerpiece. The main thing is, we like celebrating each other and people in general. Relationships are precious and special, so we like to celebrate that in little ways as well as big ways.

DSCN9549

DSCN0723

And I love Irish Belles, usually found at Trader Joe’s these days.

DSCN2846

Because flowers ARE pretty and cheerful!

We apply this same idea when remember those that aren’t with us anymore. By doing an activity that reminds us of them. I drink black cherry Pop Shoppe Pop when I’m thinking about my dad. And I think of him when I have non-chocolate cake, because we were the only two family members, including all relatives, who didn’t choose chocolate for our birthdays. And sports always make me think of him and all of the different games we went to with my brothers, because I didn’t have a sister until I was 9, and she was a baby! My dad and I had a lot in common, including personalities. ๐Ÿ™‚

***** All of these months later I’m finally finishing this post after many health struggles, family emergencies, travels and stress! ****

I have a couple of little girls in my life and we like to connect by crafting and drinking tea together. Quality time spent chatting while doing things we love! Quality time is actually one of my Love Languages.ย  I often deliver flowers to one of the girl’s friends/neighbors on May Day that I’ve bought or we’ve made together. She loves it! ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_8138

IMG_8080

DSCN4749 - Version 2

When we remember and celebrate our Chelsie we like to look at her photos, say her favorite phrases, listen to her favorite song (Diving In by Steven Curtis Chapman), set up the train, watch Mary Poppins or The Gnome Mobile because she looked like Karen Dotrice, etc.

DSCN1908

All of these probably reveal my love of themes! ๐Ÿ™‚

DSCN2410

A few other things we’ve done are kissing and saying I love you when we part, having a date most weeks, texting as a way to check in and stay connected during the day (including fun emojis the other might like ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and just trying to be conscious of being considerate to each other. Helping each other out when needed, or anticipating needs are some of the best ways of showing someone you care, in the most important ways.

The BEST way to let someone you love them? Show them you care about their needs, thoughts and lives. Throwing in a card, flowers or a gift are just the icing on the cake. The Lord really wants us most of all, to show we care though our actions! ๐Ÿ™‚

How do you show people in your life that you care?

blog_button2

Homemaking LInkup

Save

Save

Save

Save

Our Irish Party

DSCN8407

Ack! I’m finally sharing about our Irish party with our friends! I started it days ago, but kept getting interrupted by more urgent things. Anyway, here it is!

We have some friends that love to celebrate the Irish culture like we do, so we sometimes have get-togethers in March and mix the American with the Irish cultures.

DSCN8410

So here’s our serving table with drinks, dessert and the food I forgot to photograph as I was hostessing. My mother-in-law brought some green carnations for the table. We had Bewley’s tea (my favorite tea!) in our Carrigaline shamrock tea cups, punch made from rainbow sherbet and 7up for an American touch, Shepherd’s Pie, Steamed Cabbage and White and Brown Soda Bread, served with Dubliner cheese.

IrishParty

DSCN8417

DSCN8414

DSCN8412

DSCN3494

DSCN3484

DSCN3475

DSCN2608

DSCN2627

For dessert we had a field of shamrock cookies and some rainbow cupcakes. All yummy!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

DSCN8406

And here’s our table, festive and fun!

DSCN8418

DSCN8429

Some of the decorations:

Gnomes, mushrooms and egg cups as tea lights.

DSCN8422

DSCN8425

Shamrock and flower plants and this adorable painted rock my Sweetie found for my anniversary gift!

DSCN8431

I made this table cloth several years ago, and collected the napkins from somewhere?

DSCN8421

We had loads of fun eating, visiting and listening to Van Morrison and The Chieftains. The girls were even surprised to hear they ate Brussels sprouts sneaked into the gravy of the shepherd’s pie…and didn’t hate it!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

The girls spent hours in the Bear House and Secret Garden, on the swing and saying hello to the horses next door. The adults spent that time catching up, visiting, eating and cleaning up.

And HERE are the recipes if you’re interested!! ๐Ÿ™‚

blog_button2

Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth
Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

Homemaking LInkup

Ladies Tea Time

MouseLadiesTea

There aren’t too many activities more wonderful than a special tea time with a good friend! This image is such a sweet representation of those lovely moments I’ve shared with dear friends, whether over a cup of tea, a simple meal or simply a good chat. Looking at this brings me instantly back to those moments and a smile to my face!

Haven’t we all had those special times with our friends? ๐Ÿ™‚

Image: Facebook/Wonderful Pictures

blog_button2

Modest Monday: Pink Roses Dress

DSCN8196

Finally, a sort of Modest Monday Post! It’s always tricky getting time for photos as my Sweetie is only available during daylight hours on the weekends. Then we might be too busy or I might not feel well enough, so I’m happy to get a couple of okay photos this week. We traveled to a Valentine’s day wedding over the weekend and barely arrived at our room in time to change and race to the wedding, so no daylight photos. But I decided to go ahead and have my Sweetie take some indoor photos anyway of this gorgeous dress. ๐Ÿ™‚

It was HOT and it turned out that my fringe needed a bit of a trim, so it isn’t laying right. Ah well. C’est la vie.

DSCN8197_2

We celebrated marriage, did some swing dancing and had a refreshing time away. It’s fun witnessing people getting married as a way to celebrate the day for LOVE!! ๐Ÿ™‚

I Love the femininity of this dress, the colors and the flowy-ness. So pretty! I actually bought it on clearance a couple of years ago for $8, but had never shortened the waist to work for me. I’m so glad it finally ready to wear, because I love it! The wedding attire was split, with half wearing their colors of blue and purple, and half wearing pink or red. It was fun and festive! ๐Ÿ™‚

blog_button2

Dreaming Of Winter

DSCN2195

A couple of weeks ago, during our millionth heat wave since moving here ten years ago, I came across my photos from my Oregon trip last February…and I was dreaming of winter. We don’t have winter here, only spring or summer weather, and I really miss seasons. I like variety! I always looked forward to each new season for the change and/or relief it brought. Also it’s beauty. My friends here think I hate the sun and that rain is my favorite, but that isn’t true. I used to appreciate the sun when it came out after the long rainy months. And my favorite type of day was always a cool, crisp, sunny autumn day with pretty, crunchy leaves underfoot. It’s just that the only change in weather we have is rain. And I LOVE GREEN more than brown when it comes to vegetation, and rain makes things green!.

So, while others have been trying to force winter out since the very first day December 21st, even those near us who have either spring or summer EVERY day, I’ve been longing for those days when we would pray that it would snow…and sometimes we woke up to find it had! ๐Ÿ™‚

Last February, while I was visiting family and friends in Oregon, we had a blizzard that snowed some of us in and kept us from seeing each other. That was the sad part, especially since that was the whole point of my trip. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ But it WAS tons of fun having snow and winter again!!

The day started with brunch with friends…and snow beginning to fall:

IMG_3089

I didn’t wear appropriate clothes and shoes for snow that day:

IMG_3095

We were snowed in at one of my favorite places in the world, and almost stayed the night until my cousin-in-law’s husband came and rescued us.

DSCN2190

DSCN2192

Snowy beaches are always fun!

DSCN2214

DSCN2216

DSCN2220

DSCN2224

DSCN2235

DSCN2236

Snowy Whale Park

DSCN2247

DSCN2254

DSCN2261

Becoming more blizzardly:

DSCN2264

Everyone’s favorite spot becomes even more magical at night and snowy.

DSCN2266

At least we’re supposed to get a decent amount of rain this weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚

Evie’s Bootbox Dollhouse

DSCN8008

We don’t do much shopping on Black Friday anymore, as the deals aren’t as great and too many stores have tried to take over family time on Thanksgiving, just as they’ve done on Sundays. But there are a few things I shop for on that day, and after a few years of searching, I FINALLY found a new pair of boots to replace my worn out old ones I’d had for longer than I should have. I knew I needed new ones, but it was hard to find what I wanted, and in my size. So many brands of shoes do NOT make my size…ugh! Any way, I finally found a pair and I love them!

Here’s comes the real reason for this post though. You don’t want a big, long post about my boots, right?! ๐Ÿ™‚

Before I throw out things like shoe boxes, I try to decide if there is any reason to keep them, like for storage maybe. So I let it sit as I pondered. (I love words like ponder)! A couple of weeks later I had the idea of making a dollhouse with it for a special 7 year old in my life for Christmas. It sounded like so much fun I couldn’t wait to start brainstorming and collecting items I could turn into furniture and such!! I won’t tell you how many nights I was up too late because I just couldn’t stop working yet. I was having too much fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

So I’ll try to share with you all of the details of how I made everything and created this adorable Bootbox Dollhouse that was a hit!

Here are the basics. Because it was a nice large box, I was able to create four rooms and a pretty front yard with the attached lid.

DSCN8005_2

The front of the house with a front door:

DSCN7873

And a bonus dollie for her:

DSCN7865

She likes toadstools just like me, so I covered her house with this scrapbook paper.

The back of the house:

DSCN7884

The side:

DSCN7888

And I made a clasp with these pretty flowered thumbtacks I found at a Japanese store in LA and a hair band so she can close up the house:

DSCN7889

The yard:

DSCN7893

With flower gardens, grass and a path…

DSCN7902

A shady umbrella, a pool and a kitty cat..

I made the pool from an idea I found online out of four plastic bracelets with some cardboard and paper glued to the bottom.

And a baby carriage from the Dollar Tree. I also cut the “stem” off of a cupcake pick or something from there to use as a toy teddy bear and threw in a horse.

DSCN7907

The kid’s room…

DSCN7939

Plastic bottle lid (I saved a lot of these) as a toy holder with baby bottles, a butterfly and a rocking horse. All party favors from Dollar Tree.

A matchbook dresser covered with washi tape and those same tacks as drawer pulls. I glued beads to the other ends to cover the sharp points.

I didn’t take a photo of it, but I made a mattress out of a foam piece mailed with something, and covered it with a piece of stretchy fabric.

DSCN7940

Furniture from DT and embellished with washi tape. I crocheted a little blanket for the bed and decorated the wall with some clearance flowers from Michael’s I had. Then I threaded a string through two pom poms, made a tiny loop and hung them with a cut off sewing pin.

DSCN7967

DSCN7946

I used a little crocheted throw rug and hung two hats that like to fall down, on more flowered tacks I poked through four tiny squares of cardboard and super glued to the wall. The girl’s hat is from clearance cupcakes I bought just for the hats! The boy’s were found by my Sweetie somewhere.

DSCN7963

The hat hooks. And I call this little bear a balloon!

The bathroom:

DSCN7927

I adore the floor in this room! I glued an aloe vera lid to a white lid to create the toilet, a pizza box spacer with a lid glued to the top for a sink (need to add the faucet I noticed after I gave it to her), a frame sticker for a mirror, another Chinese umbrella for a decoration and a raised yogurt lid glued to a cupcake paper for a bathtub.

DSCN7933

DSCN7921

I poked a flowered tack through the center of a miniature cupcake liner, attached a string and used my same trick to glue it to the ceiling.

DSCN7923

The living room:

DSCN8000

A cute washi tape bunting adorns this room. ๐Ÿ™‚

Another matchbook dresser, a chair made from a jewelry box, a twig heart from my stash and a frame sticker with Elsa added. (Anna’s my favorite, but Elsa’s my buddy’s).

DSCN7997

DSCN7993

The lamp was both challenging and fun. It’s probably my favorite of everything I made!

A flowered tack through another mini cupcake liner, poked into the end of a q-tip, with the other end poked into the rubber base and a cardboard square base is glued on so it stands.

DSCN7991

The chair is a nut cup glued to lid that is decorated with more washi tape. Washi tape is your friend! ๐Ÿ™‚

I created shelves out a of one half of a jewelry box and a couple of cardboard pieces. And my husband brought home two mini frames free from a garage sale. One of these, plus another picture from a Frozen tag became a TV. I wasn’t planning on including a TV, but when I saw the frame, it was too perfect!

DSCN7985

The Kitchen:

DSCN7911

More Dollar Tree furniture decorated with washi tape and a paper doily tablecloth. A brrom in the corner from an old dollhouse stash I found recently. Another sink. A fridge made from jewelry boxes and cardboard, with food stickers glued inside and a stove made from a box covered in paper, withย  sticky velcro circles as the burners. Another internet idea. ( I discovered some ideas when I was nearly finished implementing my own ideas). ๐Ÿ™‚

DSCN8011

I made a cake by gluing two different sized lids together, then gluing some mini pom poms on top. And fused the apron fabric to another piece of fabric so it wouldn’t fray, then cut it out and hung it.

DSCN8012

I had SO much FUN working on this and figuring things out! SO FUN!!

DSCN8006

DSCN8008

Now my 8 year old buddy wants one, so I’m on a search for another bootbox…and the wheels are turning…

blog_button2

RH-LinkUp-150

Tea For Two At Eddison And Melrose

DSCN7640

We had some unexpected, paid time off after Christmas and decided to take another trip to Carmel/Monterey. After discovering an affordable and clean motel last March and a fabulous tea room, we were ready for a fun and relaxing break, without much planned. We also discovered Scottish scones last March at the Tuck Box, but they were closed for a nice, long break of their own. Great for them, sad for us. We did love our one time being in the area when they were open, maybe next time?

DSCN7647

Karen and her tea room were just as charming as last time! I told her about my birthday and she had pretty sparkling juice for us, a candle in my cupcake and sweet birthday wishes. I also love the rose that garnishes the tea tier! She also volunteered to take our photo and I found a hat on her rack that perfectly matched my outfit! She always makes us feel so loved and special. In fact, when I told her that, she said she thinks of her shop as her living room. And that’s EXACTLY what it feels like…visiting a dear friend!! I should have snapped a pic of her! :>

DSCN7630

And super skrumptious yumminess for a decent price!! And cream scones!!! So skrumptious!!

DSCN7636

Elegance at it’s finest!

DSCN7637

And we were the last customers so I took some photos of the gorgeousness with my real camera this time! I just love the decor and colors!

DSCN7641

DSCN7648

DSCN7671

DSCN7650

DSCN7644

DSCN7661

DSCN7662

DSCN7651

DSCN7655

DSCN7658

More pics of us:

DSCN7626

DSCN7633

DSCN7679

**Here are a few phone photos**

Our special, sparkling juice!

IMG_5622

The darling hat!

IMG_5581

Pretty Teapot and cup.

IMG_5580

I mushed up one of the blackberries and put it with my lemon curd and whipped cream and it was soooo yummy!!

IMG_5623

So many things make this my favorite tea room, cream scones, extra, lovely touches, pretty decor. But the best of all is Karen, her care and her staff! Kim was just as friendly and welcoming as Karen herself! Thank you both for another memorable afternoon tea!

So if you’re ever in the Carmel/Monterey area, pop into Eddison and Melrose in Monterey, meet Karen, relax and enjoy some lovely tea and fare! She knows how to see the potential and make something beautiful and welcoming! :>

Living Proverbs 31

blog_button2

Tea Time Tuesday
caabgiglinkup250x

Fun and Unique Gift “Bows” DIY

DSCN1757

Last year I found a super fun idea for the “bows” on our Christmas gifts! I love doing something different and unique, and I even changed my “bows” from the original idea I found. It takes some work to find the miniatures for this project, but I was able to find enough variety by going through my house, Christmas stash and finding a few in stores. I LOVED making these, and the result!!!

DSCN1488

So adorable! And I hung the tags from this one. :>

DSCN1763

DSCN1487

I like cute and different paper too!

IMG_2744

DSCN1767

I also used some other creative cuties for my cousin-in-law: a felt acorn, holly branch and cute tags made from the paper. :>

DSCN1477

DSCN1477_2

DSCN1477_3

DSCN1746

This box always makes me smile!

I just hot glued each decoration onto a clothespin and decorated packages, so easy and fast!!

DSCN1484

I went completely out of the box for this one: simple and cute, and smudged, ugh!

DSCN1503

Here’s my cousin-in-law’s adorable gift to me. She knows of my love for all things GINGERBREAD!! And those ice skates…how adorable!

IMG_2674

DSCN1511

Fun gifts under the tree!

DSCN1517

Our tree!

**Here’s where I found the original idea I modified: Creature Comforts**

Do you have some fun and unique packaging ideas? Happy crafting!!

blog_button2

Living Proverbs 31 #89

Book Review: The River by Beverly Lewis

TheRiverBL

My blog is back up and running, yay! I am a bit behind on book reviews because of it, so here we go. Today’s review for Bethany House is by my favorite author, The River by Beverly Lewis.ย  I just adore her style and her love of people, healing and forgiveness.

Here’s the summary:

“She looked once more at the dreaded river. Since Anna’sย death, it had been such a barrier . . . a place and a moment sheย could not seem to move past.
ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย 
Aย line I can’t move beyond…
The River

Tilly and Ruth, two formerly Amish sisters, are plagued by unresolved relationships when they reluctantly return to Lancaster County for their parents’ landmark wedding anniversary. Since departing their Plain upbringing, Tilly has married an Englisher, but Ruth remains single and hasn’t entirely forgotten her failed courtship with her Amish beau.

Past meets present as Tilly and Ruth yearn for acceptance and redemption. Can they face the future in the light of a past they can’t undo?”

Here’s what I think: I Loved it!!

Family relationships are the most complicated. Deep down the love is usually there, but many times it’s so hidden we, ourselves may not even know it. I have many complicated relationships of my own, many of which are healing finally, so I really related to Tilly and her father’s difficult relationship. It reminds me so much of mine with my mother. As the years have passed, I’ve learned more and more about the fears that make my mother act the way she does. It’s still difficult to interact with her, but it sure helps knowing where she’s coming from. Just like Tilly and her dad. Once they begin to understand each other, the healing begins. Many of us experience awful things and don’t react well. It can ruin relationships and our lives if we let it. But our Lord wants us to take these things to Him and let Him do the healing for us, instead of letting our fears rule. Tilly and her dad (and other characters) were holding onto hurts they didn’t need to hold onto, and it wreaked havoc in their family.ย  Going home and dealing with these issues with humility brought them healing and forgiveness.

Also I love that these sisters were never running away from God, but from hurts and false guilt. Now their relationship with God will become even stronger as they let go of all of the baggage they’ve been carrying around. Honestly, I bawled through parts of this book, and have a better understanding of my mother after experiencing the father’s struggle and pain that caused him to be so critical of Tilly.

Love and Forgiveness glues families together! Definitely worth the read!!

**I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, but the glowing review is all true!

**Photo credit: Bethany House**

blog_button2

AProbervs31Wife.com

Lord’s Day Scriptures: Working For The Lord

WorkForLordNotPeopleGraphic

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, rather than people.”ย  Colossians 3:23

This such a good reminder! It’s so easy to forget why we’re doing what we’re doing, and to seek glory from people. If we’re seeking glory from people, our actions will be actions and activities that please people. But if we’re seeking glory from our Lord, our actions and activities will be those that please Him.

It’s so much easier and more fun to follow other people, friends, family, the world. So much less risk in that. And so much superficial glory. But is superficial glory what we truly desire? God offers us His true glory, but we must seek after Him, His desires and His plan. We have to be willing to take the risks…like seeking out only Godly activities, even if our friends and family think we’re too strict, or ridiculous. It’s really God we’re seeking to please, not them. It’s REALLY hard to be the one who’s different.

But it also meansย  sharing the Truth of who Christ is, why He came and why we want them to surrender their lives to Him as well. Because, if we truly love our Lord, and love people, we will talk to them, no matter the glory, but because we don’t want them to perish.

I want to see my friends, family and anyone else with me and my Lord in heaven, on the New Earth for eternity…so I’ll seek to please God, and try not to care about pleasing people.

To God be the glory, forever and ever!!!

**Picture credit to nickikoziarz.com via Facebook

So Much At Home