A book is a friend for life. The words stay with you, even when you put the book down.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Logistics of Family Togetherness

It's no secret, I love getting together with my family! I have a very close family, and we love spending time together. The problem is, we live very far away from them!

It's hard to get together very often when you live 8 hours from the people you want to see. It's actually a major undertaking. Thankfully, my kids are good travelers; but getting everyone else together is like organizing a small army. Make that an army of cats!

Usually, we manage to get together only twice a year -- Christmas and summer time. Sometimes, it's closer to Thanksgiving, or Fall Break, or Spring Break. However we can manage it, we get together when we can. We especially love heading out to the farm where my grandma lives. The kids love running around the wide open Kansas plains, and the cousins love coming out and running around with them! It's just difficult to get all of us in one place at the same time.

Most difficult of all is having to change plans. Yes, making the plans initially is tricky. Carrying out the plans is even more dicey.

As you can tell, I am experiencing this plan-changing right now. Because my son is sick, we are unable to get together with my herd (hmm, I mean family) when we originally planned. Hopefully everyone will be flexible and we can try again when the little guy is feeling better. Nothing like a long drive in the car with a sick child! And he would have NO fun out at the farm if he had to stay inside the whole time!

So, family, be patient. We'll try this again.

In the meantime, I'll be indulging in some light reading. To cheer myself up. I miss my family!

Light reading suggestion: Hester Browne's Swept Off Her Feet. I plan to enjoy it this weekend!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Design Therapy

I love watching HGTV. And now, I'm pretty sure my daughter is also hooked!

The premiere of the new season of Design Star was last night, so we spent this morning enjoying the show on, as well as the "extras".

You know, the extras: behind the scenes, expert advice, the whining, and of course, the sneak peak of next week's episode! (Which is the white box, by the way -- my favorite of each season.)

Then, we discovered a cool extension -- HGTV Color Schemes and Paint!

We started with the really cool Style Quiz at

I think it's pretty accurate, considering it nailed me, my daughter, and my son. (I'm "Global Spice", daughter is "Color Pizazz", and son is "Rustic Refined".) Even the names are fun! The kids had fun looking through the color combinations, seeing if they could find the color styles that matched other people we know, like Aunt Teri ("Coastal Cool") or cousin Heidi ("Traditional Twist").

There is also a cool section where you can "Picture it before you paint it" -- click on the colors you like, and use coordinating colors to decorate sample rooms!

My book suggestion for the day is Apartment Therapy by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan. This amazing book was given to me several years ago, and works really well for people with small houses as well as city apartments. It takes you step-by-step through your living space to take you from hating your home to loving it! Apartment Therapy has a website, too, with lots of blogs and shopping. Great book, and great website!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Musings

This Memorial Day weekend really made me reminisce. It was just one of those weekends.

We took flowers around for my husband's grandma, to all the gravesites she usually visits. Good thing my father-in-law took us. It was a bit of a wild good chase, and I will probably not remember where they all are, but it was quite interesting. Lots of my husband's relatives that I didn't know much about. I also got to sit with his grandma and talk to her for awhile about her life. I learned so much about her childhood that I didn't know before. The neatest story was about when she moved when she was 2. She had to ride in the back of a pickup with the family's chickens!

We also went out to Mammaw's grave. The kids and I go out there several times a year, but it was neat to see it decorated with beautiful flowers from my sister-in-law and a wreath from PaPa. My husband also found the rock that my daughter had put out there when the headstone first arrived. It had been "lost" under a bit of grass and dirt. (PaPa said he'd been asking everyone about who had put the rock out there in the first place -- not knowing it was his own granddaughter!!)

I have also ordered a spray of flowers to take out to my mom's grave. We usually don't get there during Memorial Day time, but we will be there next weekend! My sister-in-law the florist designed flowers just for me! It will be beautiful: sunflowers, orange lilies, and white roses.

On Sunday, the family all gathered at PaPa's house. The men grilled burgers and steaks, and we had asparagus and cheese! The hardest part of the day, though, was that my son was sick. So hubby and I "tag teamed" to get to spend some time with the family. Everyone was there, but not all at the same time! My daughter had fun playing with all her little cousins.

Check out some great Memorial Day "reading": cookbooks! Get out the grill!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Arrows in the Air

My son is wanting to learn to shoot a bow this summer. Since he isn't playing baseball, and since my daughter is doing lots of activities like tumbling and dance, I don't begrudge him learning something new.

What has brought about this sudden interest in bow shooting? I blame it on the movies.

He has always been a fan of Legolas (of Lord of the Rings), but the new Avengers movie has brought back a bow-weilding superhero (Hawkeye). And add to that the popularity of Hunger Games heroine Katniss and super shot Merida in Disney's Brave.

We are surrounded by bowmen (and women) of many sorts. So, it's no wonder he wants to learn. He really wants to be like the guys on Top Shot -- who can shoot guns and bows!

Hmm. An interesting summer is shaping up here!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cleaning House

This week is all about cleaning house. Not actually my own house. I'm cleaning the libraries.

You see, school is out, and I'm using this week to clean, straighten, dust, and organize at the school libraries. These are all the tasks that just didn't get done during the school year. The final month of school is a bit like a foot race -- a mad dash to the finish!

So, today I'm dusting. It's not that I haven't dusted all year. But you'd be surprised how much dust accumulates during a busy month of school! I believe the elementary computers were attacked by monster dust bunnies!

It's a time-consuming process, to be sure. Sometimes, I will finish an area, move on to the next, only to discover the first area looks dusty already! (Insert huge sigh here.)

I think I know how Cinderella felt. Or Snow White. I may be a princess inside, but today I'm just the library maid.

Covered in dust.

Please pardon my sneezing.

For a fun read about a princess doing manual labor, try Goose Chase by Patrice Kindl. A neat take on the "goose girl" fairy tale!