It's About Living Better, Thoughts of the Day

It’s a Grand Night with the Grands

This morning.

Excitedly, I enjoyed the grand girls.  Rarely do they stay over on a school night.  A series of comical events took place and that’s how it came to pass… but that’s another post!

First, I need to say the eldest will graduate high school in a couple of weeks.  I was present when she was born, but my favorite baby memory was toddling as fast as she could across the living area, slamming the wall with the loudest thud! So excited that she arrived first at the wall, turned with eyes blazing and CRASH! Down came the shelf holding granny’s antique ruby cut glass goblets.

Every single piece broken and shattered.  The now 18 year old graceful beauty, stood there, frozen with the biggest smile and eyes flickering.  Trying not to panic, I said ‘great job!’, be very still”.  Poppie was about to lose it behind me.  She was barefoot.  I reached over, grabbed her up and we laughed as Poppie grabbed the broom.  Safe baby, no more ruby cut glass goblets.

Now, during her last two weeks of high school, I get a night. Like the days when her mother was small, I made school lunches. Turkey on cheese bread, veggie bag, lil cheese and freshly made fudge.  I even drew pictures on the sacks so they could tell them apart (I bet they appreciate the heck out of that embarrassment ).

The middle child is just exactly that. She agrees to second fiddle when the sleeping choices are discussed. She’s happy to wait her turn in the conversation and pleasantly lays out all her clothes for the morning. Since I’m a makeup freak, I’m her best friend right now. I have tons of makeup. She especially likes the airbrush because it’s different, but shy’s away from skin care (which is ok, for now).

The ‘little’ is all under my feet! She wants to help make fudge. She talks incessantly. She’s excited to learn to read the recipe, and I am able to help by stirring the sugar and butter, as her reach is quite short. She didn’t taste it once… not even once! She measured twice and got everything just right. A little impatient waiting for it to boil, we had time to talk about her upcoming piano recital, the STARR test tomorrow (what?) and my iPad needing charging. She was first to rise this morning and prepare for school before making her way to the kitchen to check on the fudge.

At grandma’s we always have ice cream with breakfast. We’ve done it since our now 20 year old grand was a tot. Her mother was not too sure about that, but continues to deal with the ritual.  Today’s menu includes egg taco’s, salsa (we usually have pancakes) and ice cream. What else?

https://lillmi.com
Ice cream goes with breakfast at grandma’s

Photo by Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash

It’s fun to be a grandma. You don’t get days like this very often. When I do, I try to make the very best of them.  Soon (very soon) there will be two to stay over on a school night. It will never be like this again.

How excited I am to see the next phase, when I have three adult grands and six little’s. What’s your favorite grandma guilty pleasure?  At this time, while discovering my own retirement phase, it’s definitely going to be an adventure in living better! 

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Blessings, It's About Living Better, Thoughts of the Day

Mesmerizing Dreams

Chocolate, wine, fresh strawberries, long hot baths, walks by a quiet stream, and camp fires: mesmerizing.

Don’t you just get lost when you stare at a fire? It’s like you can see the future or hear a voice from the past, even see what the accomplished dream can look like!

What would your fire say to you?  Do you hear negative bits or do you hear “I think I can…” or do you silently plan for a successful project, meeting or birthday party?

 

the flames of the campfire can bring to light, the future!
Gathering around the campfire can be the start of something new!

Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash

Mesmerizing moments are important to have as they allow you to dream a dream of future fulfillment.  Can you see yourself in the fire, dressed up in that special dress or successfully performing a cool yoga move?  Visualizing is a good way to grow.  Grow your dreams, find a path to your dreams, discover the next step to your dreams.

Are you working on feeling fit and therefore, looking your best? Visualize the “you” you’re working to reveal. Eating right, exercising, spending positive moments with yourself is a step in the right direction.

I visualize myself playing with my youngest grandson. He’s almost old enough to pull in a tiny bream, like his mother did when she was about four. She got so excited she nearly fell in the stream and her alert auntie grabbed her by the pants waist just in time to help her fly back to the bank… fish still on the hook!

I have three years to make that dream come true.  I can see the little guy snapping the minnow on the hook, just the way my daddy showed me. I can see him wiping his hands on his shorts and standing impatiently on his short little legs while the minnow swims about fiercely trying to find somewhere to go. Poor minnow.

Hopefully, my grand boy won’t give up, but find a comfy spot to sit (not in the ants, mom, I promise) and watch the water. And listen to the birds. And take notice of the clouds and their shapes. And get excited when the bream grabs the hook and startles him to jump and yank the hook while it “sets” in the fish’s mouth for the ride in to the bank.  It may seem primitive, but children need to learn where the food comes from.  Fishing is a good start.  Cleaning can be a bit much, depending on the child.   We froze his mother’s first fish… in a plastic bag of water, and kept it in our freezer until she came home with a husband!

Once caught, the fish is no longer the pet in the bowl, but the animal that provides nutrition.  Who knows if he will even like to eat fish. I bet he will love to catch fish… most children do. And it’s a new skill to learn and enjoy. I’m hoping I’ll be the one to teach him. Just to hedge my dreams, I sent him a plastic play pole with a magnetic fish for the pool. He can practice.  As my visual continues,  I can see his smile in the fire. It’s a look of accomplishment!

Back to the fire.  I like to visualize new projects in order to find the next step. Or think about what the room might look like if I moved the furniture.  Watching the flames dance about and enjoying the warmth of a cozy fire gives magic to the dreams.  When we were younger, we added detergent boxes to the fire for color.   Dreams need color.

I love to sit in front of a fire with marshmallows, chocolate, a bit of wine and maybe even some strawberries on the side. I think I may have inherited that simple joy from my grandmother.  On the last family camping trip we all made together, Granny spent much of her day gathering small sticks and twigs to keep the fire tended.  She could sit for hours around the fire, stirring it, moving the kindling in and about.  I watched her and we noticed. It was her favorite place at the campground … when she wasn’t fishing!

Sitting outside under the stars, watching the dancing flames is a perfect scenario for dreaming alone or with a loved one and a good way to continue living better!

Blessings, It's About Living Better, Thoughts of the Day

Sunshine

 

Good Morning, Sunshine’s!

That was  my morning greeting for years.

I used it at work, often. As an office manager, when I arrived at work early in the mornings, as a part time bank teller, arriving early to unlock and check out the building so my partner and I could start the day, as a sales team  leader preparing to work a special event with my team… it was how I could express my enthusiasm for the day ahead.  natalia-luchanko-143031-unsplash

Photo by Natalia Luchanko on Unsplash

To me, the people I hang with are sunshine for my day.  Whether it’s at work, church, play or running mundane errands about town. I love hearing about their world. The new recipes, the trips to fun places, the reactions they received from something they shared, what they learned new and how they shared a bit of themselves to the world around them.  You know, like rays of light stretching into my soul to help create a better me!

It’s important to be sunshine.  I realize on someday’s the rays seem a little less fierce and a little more invisible… but they are there, just the same. Flooding the earth with light and warmth. Providing a way to see the path ahead, the trail left behind and the roads on each side ( the one’s that offer opportunity).

On the days my rays are a little dull, I find reading, jumping around on one foot or petting Trixie a good way to brighten up.  It doesn’t take a lot to get happy, if you are dreaming in that direction. Putting a smile on your face and thinking you are happy, usually works.  I like to make a list of things for which I am grateful and then expressing that gratitude. Looking up, toward the Son is a great way to start!

Here’s my list of things for which I’m grateful. Feel free to start your own, right here!

Sunshine is important in every phase of life.  We grow plants in the sun that provide food and beauty. We see the mirroring effects of the warmth hitting the cool water and feel it’s heat on our skin as we soak up every ray possible during our day out at the park or the lake. The warmth from the sun provides energy for power and physical fitness. Sunshine is our hope for a bright future.

So today, I see the sun peeking out as it’s almost daylight. The energy of the sunshine is contagious as I hear the birds begin to sing, the dog is stretching and preparing to hit the door to request permission to exit to the sun.  The morning glories are preparing to “glory” and the coffee is hot.

“Good Morning, Sunshine’!”  It’s a day to enjoy the benefits of the sun. Grab your SPF, (helps to pay my way) drink up some water and come join me on the patio.

It’s all about living better and it’s going to be a warm and beautiful day. Don’t forget to spread some sunshine.

It's About Living Better, Products!, Thoughts of the Day

Walking in Texas

Clematis bloomed for the dogs
Aren’t they scrumptious! I wish everyone, not just the dogs, could see!

The weather is beautiful!  It’s about time.

The sun is bright and the wind is fair, so it’s time to walk.

In Texas, a walk at certain times of the day will almost always include mosquitos. The little jiggers just think they belong with someone who is trying to work up or sweat…or not.  They buzz around one’s head until you feel like you will fall over from swatting. I guess they actually help increase your heart rate. That could be a blessing in the long run.

I try to remember to wear something dark so just maybe, I can hide from them.  I always use the Skin So Soft products to ward them away naturally. You know, I read the herb, jojoba, is a natural repellent, so apparently that’s why the bath oil works so well.  I put a 1/2 cap full in the dog’s bath water to help her fight them off.  It’s not a product for outdoor-in-the-sun use! It’s OIL. Duh!  If you plan on being in the sun, around the water and require protection, look at the other Skin So Soft product, Bug Guard with SPF!

So during our walk, before I got off point, I noticed beautiful blooms in my garden! Everyone knows I have a brown thumb, so I was so excited I had to take a picture. Any beautiful thing that I don’t kill is a miracle to be sure.  So, I hope you love my picture of the clematis growing in my yard… on a trellis… facing the dog’s yard.  Ugh!

That’s right. The one thing I planted myself, that’s growing beautiful, only faces the dog’s yard! No one from the street can see  it.

 

Even if they are in the driveway, they can’t see it.  It’s the one plant I planted and grew successfully and my dogs are the only ones to enjoy it.

Except me.  Except you.   I hope you enjoy your walk… without any pesky tag along flying blessings. Enjoy the view.  It’s a great way to live better!

It's About Living Better, Our Girl Project, Thoughts of the Day

Time for a New Project

We are officially remodeling.

Last summer, we worked diligently on the yard. I hired my girlfriends to come “help”.

For me, that meant I get to take baby steps into this new world.

1. I don’t have to dig.

2. I don’t have to plant.

3. I will water.

4. I will shop for plants and other fun stuff.

5. I will still be organizing the world around me. (control freak).

6. I will pay money to NOT dig and plant.

Ha! I enjoy sitting outdoors looking at “our” hard work. When I drive up the driveway, I am pleased and proud that “we” did all that hot work!

Fast forward 4 months. Here we are in January, starting a new project. No girlfriends. Just us.  You can pray for us, if you are so inclined.

So step one was to get Ronnie to commit to the project.

Wow! I can’t tell you how many objections I had to overcome.  I know that objections are just requests for more information, so I tried to use my best marketing techniques to answer his questions and sell him on the idea.

It must have worked, because three months after I began the campaign, he showed up for the appointment with our new friend Gail at Lowe’s.   She’s a magician, let me tell you!  We know we are over our head when you talk about construction.

The new project:

The front bathroom. The one our visitors see.  Our home is around 30 years old, and it needed to be redone.  We didn’t want to spend a lot, just enough to update it for selling purposes, in case we decide to downsize.

We decided to use a GC (General Contractor) to install a simple walk in shower and hardware and replace the vanity and counter top.  We were pleased that Gail came by first to take a peek and take some general measurements. Then, she brought the GC by and took even more measurements.

We spent a lot of time talking about what we thought it should look like when it’s done, the colors, textures and any changes we might consider.  I really felt like they listened well, and didn’t try to sell us on anything extravagant. The budget was always at the top of mind.

I’ve always loved the furniture vanities popular in some custom homes, so it was decided that I would be in charge of acquiring that piece of furniture and finishing it to match.

Gail found the most beautiful granite top, called Chaldonea, so the race is on!

I searched all the online garage sales and used a couple of apps to locate the perfect piece.  A beautiful maple Basset Buffet.

vanity buffet
This was a great purchase at $100.00. It will be perfect for the vanity.

Today, I find we are starting in 6 days! We were so excited, it’s like finding out you won a prize!   I ran to my favorite “paint” store and quickly got directions from Melanie at Sisters Reclaimed, in our cute little downtown .  I picked up a few supplies and off we went!

Step one:   WASH the buffet.  Really, that’s what she said.  With Dawn.    That was too easy.

Step two:  Ronnie will repair the one drawer that has a loose groove.   GLUE.

Step three:  Let it dry.   I got this!

Step four : Paint.  We are using Annie Sloan Graphite… recommended by Melanie.  I added three coats of paint, then finished it with a clear wax.  I have to say, I almost choked when I saw the price because I haven’t had time to be familiar with the cost of paint lately, but it is so worth the cost. The paint is smooth, pretty and the coverage was thorough.   The brush recommended for the wax was awesome.  I will treasure it always for future projects.

After three weeks, it appears very durable and I love it!

And BAM! The magic of the internet.

It only took a few days, a couple of guys running in and out of the house and some banging and clanging (which drove Ronnie crazy).  I must say, my favorite thing is the buffet and the space we gained.

chalk painted buffet, now vanity
Finished, well almost. Just a couple small pieces to add to each side to camo the plumbing.

I apologize for the lighting of this picture, but I wanted you to see, because there are still a couple of slight problems with which to deal.

  1. Hardware.  The old hardware is quaint and I’m debating about adding some sleek new replacements- in bronze.
  2. The water connectors to the next room.   My first thought is to build little “doors” on each side, and finish them to match the buffet-turned-vanity.  Another option may be to place inserts that are painted to match the wall, giving the vanity more attention.
  3. I’m still looking for some farmhouse type of container for my airbrush system.
  4. I think I’d love a small flower arrangement in the corner (or a lamp).

I’m curious about your thoughts.

Further, we chose a simple walk in shower insert and opted out of having a shower door because I like (love) my shower curtain, and I don’t like cleaning shower doors and tracks. I replaced the stainless curtain rod with one that matched the shower, and we purchased bronzed fixtures throughout.  Ronnie spent a couple hours patching the shower curtain rod holes and touching up the wall and trim paint.  We had to rehang the towel and toilet paper holders.  I stole the mirror from the mud room bath because it was just asking to be moved to a new home.

When the tub/shower combo was removed, the contractor discovered some work not properly completed during the original construction.  After a day of correction and new concrete work, the shower was installed with lots of banging and noise.

Note to self: remove everything from the wall behind the new shower before they start installation!

In all, we are happy with the process. We learned a lot and are still trying to make some decisions regarding the few unexpected items.

We gained 3 inches of floor space… which means my flooring doesn’t fit, so that’s another project, and of course, what to do about the view of the plumbing.

It’s bright, and replacing the tub with a walk-in makes the room look so much larger.  The insert cleans easily and the counter top is beautiful.  The green is still my favorite.

When I was a kid, my mom and dad would always suggest we “live with it awhile” before making decisions on change.  We are at that stage now.  We are living with it.  Happily.

This project definitely fits with our goals of keeping our projects about living better!