Tuesday, November 29, 2016

painkiller, sort of

A few weeks ago,
I had an absolutely awful day.

The only thing that kept me from crawling into bed
and staying there
Tyler and I had a date that night,
and I wasn't about to miss out on that.

At dinner,
we couldn't help but notice the drink
all the ladies seemed to be drinking.
It was served with a pineapple wedge
and toasted coconut on the rim.

Some friends were there,
and had one
so Tyler went over and asked what it was.

He came back to the table and said,
"It's a painkiller - you want one?"

I don't normally order a drink at restaurants,
'cause I am far too cheap thrifty for that,
I had had a really
And a headache.
Sorely tempted,
 I flipped through the drink menu.

It was $7,
so I didn't get one.
But we looked up a recipe
and went to Sodie's 
and bought a $30 bottle of rum.
It took us a few days,
but we've perfected our recipe
(though we skip the fancy toasted coconut and pineapple chunk)

Painkillers for two

Whir the following ingredients in a small blender / bullet
(we have one like this)
 about 15 - 20 seconds:

3 icecubes
4 ounces orange juice
6 ounces pineapple juice*
3 1/2  ounces Pussers rum
2 ounces cream of coconut

* our pineapple juice came in 6 ounce cans;
if yours comes some other way,
or you are willing to open more than 1 can for a batch,
using 2 ounces oj and 8 ounces of pineapple juice
would be more 'accurate'.

pour into 2 coffee cups/glasses/fancy goblets
and drop in a cube or two of ice if there's room.
This makes a delicious
(and carb-filled!)
to be honest,
it's not very painkiller-y.
we just aren't all that crazy about rum

It's also quite yum
(and perhaps slightly more painkillerish)
if you add a generous splash or two of peach snapps

But then, that's probably some other drink

Friday, November 25, 2016

so - about the house

Today makes 11 years
that we've lived at this address.
(You can read a bit more about that decision here)

This 'building a house' dream
that we are finally realizing
has been a long time coming.

Since we moved here,
we've added 2 children to the family,
and married off 3,
all while attempting to save money to build.

The house we currently live in,
without the LEM
(you can read a little about the building of it here, here, and here.
Oh, and here's another and another
and another post)
is just under 1000 square feet.
( LEM = Loukota Expansion Module;
basically a 2 story(ish) shed built on skids
that we added when Marcos, a young man from Belize,
came to live with us in 2011 )

We've had as many as 9
but no fewer than 7 people 
living here in these 11 years.

The house was poorly built, 
and just as poorly maintained.
Tyler, TJ, Lana, and Tony
(and sometimes Brandon helped too)
worked over 1,000 hours 
just to get the house habitable.
(I was home in FSM with babies.
Always home with the babies...)

It has no insulation,
except for the stuff we had blown into the attic
after we got our first electric bill and it was almost $500
and we had been freezing.
(we heat with electric space heaters
(I can't even guess how many we've gone through over the years!)
and use window units to cool the air)

There was no hot water in the kitchen,
so Tyler brought some there with a pipe that runs across the ceiling
because it would have frozen if he'd put it in the attic.
(When we bought the house, 
we'd only planned to live in it one year,
so I had told Tyler I could manage without hot water in the kitchen...
I am so glad he didn't listen to me!)

Termites had been enjoying living here for quite some time
when we moved in.
We were willing to let them stay,
but they nibbled on one of our John Bell Jr prints,
so they had to go.
(John was our neighbor in Fort Smith,
and he gifted us a few prints over the years,
and they are precious to us)

Our floors are so uneven
we keep a stash of wooden dominoes to use as furniture level(ish)ers,
but still, pretty much every hinge is whacked.

There are holes so big in the dining room floor,
that if your chair leg hits 'em just right, you'll tip over.
And the only thing keeping things from falling 
to the earth below
is the carpet.
If the table isn't settled into just the right spot
the whole thing swings from it's center legs.

We have no dishwasher
(though for a time, we did have a portable one that leaked
and you had to thoroughly wash the dishes by hand 
before loading them)
The 'counter top' next to the stove
is the top of the (top loading) washing machine.
We have to turn off the air conditioner in the summer
before we run the vacuum
or we'll flip the breaker.

Of course, there is only the one bathroom
and frequent septic troubles.

we have almost 10
really beautiful acres
at the end of a .4 mile dirt road
that begins with an archway of trees

and dead ends in our drive


People are always wondering
'how long until we move in to the new house?'

we have no clue.
Still a few months, for sure;
maybe several.

We are doing as much of the work ourselves as we can
plus doing all sorts of additional DIY projects,
and we are considerably slower than the professionals,
(and we're also having to do all sorts of learning
which makes things take even longer)

Some friends tell us not to move in until it's completely finished,
but I think you'll agree
(and I didn't even tell you the bad stuff!)
that our new house, unfinished,
will be so much more comfortable than the digs we've got.

We'll just keep doing the next thing,
until it's livable.
Then we'll move in,
and we'll keep doing the next thing,
and one day,
it'll be all done.

I would never have purposely chosen to live in this house this long,
but having done so,
I can tell you that we will appreciate our new home
sooo much more,
than if we hadn't
and we truly view it
as God's

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Last week, 
when we went up to NWA for our Gramma Day,
we left early
so we could go to the huge Helping Hands thrift shop in Bentonville.

I was so sure we'd find our vanity there,
but alas,
we did not.

What we did find though,

The boys and Lily love Erin Hunter's books,
so they were thrilled to find a few to add to their growing collection.

I replaced my (used - bought for $.25) copy of
one of my favorite's,
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
that I loaned out and didn't get back.
This one was a whopping $.75,
for a paperback,
but I was just happy to have the book in my possession again.

The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club
I didn't even crack the cover of,
or look at the back;
one glimpse at the title on the spine and I was sold.
Plus, look at the cover....

Little Bee has been on my reading list for quite some time.
I actually wasn't positive I haven't read it yet;
the cover is so familiar to me.
I flipped to several pages and read a few lines each
and didn't recognize anything though.

Grace for the Good Girl 
was pretty popular a few years back.
I was never overly interested,
because I can't really identify with being 
'a good girl',
but for fifty cents,
I figured it was worth a look.

I'll report back when I read 'em.
It could be awhile, though...

Lexi had two books
that somehow didn't come home with us : /
so that stinks.

One of them was a $1.50 pop up book
that wasn't in fantastic condition,
but she loves pop up books and doesn't have any,
so I said she could get it.

All I can figure is they put them in a separate bag,
because our box was full,
and then forgot to give the bag to us.

I was sad Lex' didn't get her books,
and that we didn't get everything we paid for.
Ah well.
At least the money goes to a good cause....

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

does he know me? yep, he do.

There's this thing going around FB,
where you ask your husband questions about you,
and record his answers, word for word.

I thought it might be fun to do.

I rarely ask him to get things for me,
but he was up, 
and I was on the couch,
 so I asked him to grab me a pencil and paper.

When he handed them to me, 
he said he was going to head to bed;
he hadn't slept much last night.
 about a minute later,
I headed to the bedroom
to iron his shirt,
as has been my custom for several years.

He asked what I was doing.


I thought maybe we shouldn't play the game after all ;-)
It might not go too well for him...

someone was hogging the bathroom,
so while he was waiting to get in there and get ready for bed,
I got started with the list:

What is something I always say?
I love you.
I adore you.

*When we bought this place,
the guy we bought it from kept suggesting things we could do to the property or house,
then he'd add "if you want to" in his southern drawl
but he ran the words all together as one,
and left of the 'w'
so it came out as "ifyouaunto"
so that has become a standard reply in our family :-)

What makes me happy?


What makes me sad?
Missing your kids.

How tall am I?
(this one cracked me up!)

No. I don't think it's 5'10
(I'm 5' 3 1/2")
(he later said he would have said 5'6, 
but didn't want to guess too short
and it doesn't really matter how tall I am 
because I am just the right height.)

What's my favorite thing to do?
Oh gosh!
It depends.
You like - duh - creating via sewing
but you love to find bargains.
You love to read blogs - but that's about the people..

What do I do when you're not around?
I think you sew when you can.
You miss me.
I don't enjoy laundry, so I'm glad you do it when I'm not around.

If I become famous, what will it be for?
sewing and blogging
or starting a successful business

What makes you proud of me? 
your tenderheartedness.
your wisdom.
your (makes curves with his hands) butt.

What is my favorite food?
Ribeye and baked potato

What is my favorite restaurant? 

Right now - you really like Texas Roadhouse.
And Chilis, but they haven't been getting your salad right.

Where is my favorite place to visit?
You don't like to visit.
The bed? {smile. wink wink}
Okay - thrift shops.

(I said - come on, you know where I always want to go,
to which he replied
You want to go to the beach;
you'd be pissed if we just went to visit the beach!)

If I could go anywhere, where would it be? 
Bora Bora or Hawaii
Italy - you can finally get a stamp in your passport.
You'd probably go read a bunch of blogs, then tell me where you wanted to go.

How do I annoy you?
I don't usually use you and 
the word 'annoy' together 

What is my favorite movie?
While you Were Sleeping

Who is my celebrity crush? 

I'm your celebrity crush.

You get a phone call that I am in trouble, who am I with? 

The kids.
You're always with the kids if I get a call;
You locked your keys, or a baby, in the car.
(One time. I only locked a baby in the car once.)
(keys I've locked in the car many times.
But only when I have a baby...)

See -that was kinda fun.
I thought he did super
- although - 
WYWS isn't my favorite movie, but I do like it a lot
and we quote more lines from it than probably any other movie
(the passport quote up there is from WYWS)
And it was tricky because I don't have a favorite favorite movie. Shocker ;-)
My favorite family movie
(remember we have a big age span...)
is a tie between
National Treasure and Sahara.
(we quote a lot from those, too)

Actually, I'm ashamed to say it - 
he did better than I'd do answering the same questions about  him...

I love you, My Man.
(see? he was right. ;-)


I like to go back and read old posts.

This blog is our family diary, 
so it makes sense...

As kids have gotten older,
it tends to be more of a project diary,
because so many of our stories
are more theirs than mine, 
and I want to be careful to protect that.
(also -  I just get busy,
and some stories that I could share here
I don't make time to ;-)

I was reading some old posts,
and the comments that go with them,
and I just wanted to say

Thank you for visiting,
and sharing life with us.

Thank you for your kind words
(and sweet thoughts that never got written)

I've 'met' so many wonderful people 
because of this space,
and today,
I am grateful 
for you.

Monday, November 21, 2016

humbled and speechless

I don't pretend to understand it;
I can only be grateful when it happens.

I told you last week about the fabric;
(Which arrived on Saturday.
Even though it's on the bright side, 
I think it will go well in the quilt,
so - yay!!)
Saturday's blessing event 
blew my socks off.

You may remember,

We were also on the lookout for
night stands,
a screen door
bed frames (twin and queen)
and dressers
but none of those things were as imperative as the vanity.

We were at the Salvation Army thrift shop.
(where we found an end table to use as a night stand for Lexi,
although, I am considering stealing it from her
for use as - wait for it - 
an actual end table
in the living room.
But I'd find a replacement that she likes as well
or better
before I did that)

We breezed through the furniture section
(they've moved things around, so it was in the middle of the store)
then made a potty stop
(that restroom had been out of order for years.
I was fairly shocked that it was available for use)
and quickly hit the back of the store,
where the furniture used to be
(and a few pieces still were - that was where we found Lex's table)
then went back to the (new) furniture section 
to make sure we didn't miss anything
our first run through.

While there,
a woman came up to me.
"Would you make an old woman happy?"
she asked, as she tugged on my arm.

Thinking she might be asking for money,
and knowing I had no cash,
I answered with a smile,
"I don't know - but I'll try."

"Will you take this? For your girls?"
She held out an envelope.
"They remind me of my girls.
And I don't have them any more."
Her voice got a bit shaky
and her eyes watered.

I took the envelope,
gave her hug,
told her "thank-you"
and "God bless you."

I peeked in the envelope after she'd turned to walk away
(I had no clue what to expect!)
and saw that there was at least 2 bills,
and one of them was a twenty.
I told the girls to run give her a hug also,
and tell her thank-you.

They did, 
and she said
"I love you.
and remember,
God loves you, too."
before she continued on her way out of the store.

When the girls came back to me,
we opened the envelope again,
and counted.

There was 100 dollars in there!

I don't know why God is choosing to bless us like this,
but I am so grateful that he is.
And I'm especially grateful 
that my girls got to be on the receiving end of the blessing, too.

Not knowing what else to do,
we prayed a blessing over her as we left the store.

Maybe when we get to heaven,
we'll get to hear about how God blessed her
in return.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

fits and furniture

We've been extra busy 
trying to get ready for sheet rock.
We had hopes of finishing everything this weekend
(Tyler even took off work Thursday and Friday)
but alas,
it is not going to happen.

At the rate we're going, 
I'm not even sure that we can be ready 
next Monday.

But we'll sure try.


I had a little meltdown yesterday morning.

Tyler was going over our list
(which we keep adding to...)
marking the things we could tend to 
that didn't require a trip to the store first.

When he put a little dot by 'upstairs bathroom vanity lights',
- um -
fell apart.

in my mind,
that was not something that could be tackled
without a shopping trip.

I'd purchased 2 of these
to be the vanity lights,
and while it would seem like you could just leave two wires
poking through your drywall
and be done with it
- as usual -
there was a little more to it than that...

 I had hopes of finding a 4 ft dresser
to use as the bathroom vanity,
but I could use something as long as 5 ft, 
if the perfect piece of furniture presented itself.

without knowing exactly how long our vanity would end up being
we didn't know where the second light needed to go.

(the downside of DIYing!! You can't just 'build to plan')
(of course, we've already changed the plan for that bathroom anyways...)

I've spent a good bit of time looking for this elusive piece,
and was almost resigned to just buying a legitimate vanity from Lowe's,
but I hated to bite that bullet,
because I was fairly certain
we could have a vanity that was much more 'us'
and a better quality
for well under the $500-$600
 it would cost us to go the Lowe's route,
if only I could find the darn thing.

I'd already been thinking about all that yesterday morning,
which is why I responded so poorly
when Tyler innocently marked the list.

(I'm not excusing my behavior; merely explaining it...)


We decided that maybe I should go find a vanity.


I invited the girls to go with me,
after telling them that this was not going to be our usual
look at everything
fun flea market /antique shopping trip.

We were on. a. mission.

I also told them I didn't want to hear that they were hungry,
so they best bring a snack.

I made going with Mom sound really appealing.
(eyeball roll)
They decided to go with me anyways.


We hit every shop in Van Buren that we thought
even might have second-hand furniture,
then we headed to The Fort.

Belle Star Antiques was our 3rd Fort Smith stop,
and it was there that we found it.

A 48 x 18 x 31 inch credenza 
with 3 drawers across the top,
and doors (with arches) on the bottom.

And only $125.


We asked them to hold it for us,
and checked 3 more shops,
which served to thoroughly convince us
that we'd found the right piece :-)
so we went back,
happily paid the nice people,
and brought it home.

And now, 
we can easily figure out
where we need those wires.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

a day without a phone, and other things.

I didn't get up in the morning to see him off,
so somehow, it feels as though it was my fault;
Tyler left his phone at home.

Worse than having to email him when he got a message
or a when a calendar event popped up
(and hope he saw the email in a timely manner)
was the fact
that I couldn't text him.

I suppose I could have,
but then I'd have just had to email him
to tell him about it...

the day felt rather strange.


The awful discord on social media
following the election
seems to be quieting a bit.


When I got my last 2 packages
containing the final fabrics for Jordan's quilt,
I was a little bummed.
None of the 4 fabrics will work.

They are all very nice,
the prints are just the wrong size or color for the quilt.

Such is the business of ordering online.

I  really wanted a fabric that said 'Chicago'
or at least 'big city'
(the one I'd chosen for that was waay to large-scaled!)
so Thursday evening found me scouring the Web,
yet again.

I found one that seemed promising,
- and this time there was a ruler in the photo -
but the gal only sold it in 1 yard increments.

I really didn't need a whole yard,
so, armed with a name and designer,
I searched for the fabric elsewhere.

The etsy shop I'd originally found it in
was  apparently the only place that sold it,
so I sent a quick convo,
asking if she might consider selling me just a half yard
or even a fat quarter.

I explained that I was already over budget for my project,
and wouldn't use but probably an 1/8 of a yard,
if that,
so I hated to spend $13
(what it would cost with shipping)
but I thought the fabric would be a great addition to my quilt.

She wrote back Friday asking for my address.

I thought that was a little weird, 
but figured she wanted to give me an accurate shipping quote,
so I sent it to her.

She wrote back that she was sending me the fabric.
For free.

It was an unexpected kindness,
and it reassured me 
that we're going to be okay;
the world isn't full of hate,
it only seemed like it for a few days.

I'm trying to think of a fun way to pay it forward....

Thursday, November 10, 2016

just a *little* more

The downside of my system for designing quilts
- graph paper, pencil and eraser -
(and minimal drawing skills)
sometimes what looks good on paper,
doesn't look quite right 
life size.

Especially when one depicts a 16 inch swoon block
with a simple 'S'.



I  ordered both the 16" swoon pattern
and the sparkling cider pattern.

Neither were overly helpful;
the swoon, because I'm not making it exactly like the pattern,
so I've had to re-figure everything,
and the sparkling cider pattern
was pretty much a joke.
But at least I don't feel like I'm stealing anybody's design....

The sparkling cider pattern,
which is made of rectangles and sawtooth stars
calls for some pretty good sized pieces of fabric
(6.5 x 10.5 & 6.5 x 16.5, to be precise)
and I incorporated that into my design.

Which looked perfectly fine 
in that quilt,
and on paper,
but the next largest piece of fabric in my design
is 4.5 inches.
And my smallest pieces of fabric 
are the corners of flying geese blocks that finish at 1 x 2 inches.

The more blocks I added to my wall,
the more I realized
 that those big chunks of fabric
just wouldn't do for Jordan's quilt.

Jordan taught me how to do 'cat eye' eyeliner - so I *really* wanted to include make-up fabric in the quilt.
After 2+ hours of looking, this was the only fabric I found that I thought would work.
Never mind that it doesn't actually have eyeliner on it...

So last Friday,
I decided I needed to 'break up the expanse'
with some smaller (4") sawtooth stars.

Over the course of the weekend,
I made a dozen.

Monday I pulled my 'pattern' out
and decided I needed 20 more.

They're so cute,
I was eager to make a few every chance I got,
and once the fabric was cut,
each block averaged about 22 minutes
(It's hard to say exactly, because my sewing time is so interrupted)

I still have a couple of swoon blocks,
3 firework(ish) blocks
(at 8 inches - those are fiddly, let me tell you!)
and a half dozen 8 inch stars to make,
but since I've finished all 32 of these 'extra' 4" stars,
I'm calling it a mini finish
and linking up with Amanda Jean

(I've also finished all of the 6" sawtooth stars,
and all of the other i-don't-know-what-to-call-them 6 inch blocks.)

the Victor

One of Brandon's projects in his
Intro to Engineering class
was to work with a partner
and make a car powered by a mouse trap.

They also had to create a presentation
to 'sell' their car.
(which encouraged them to keep costs down.
We are the sort of people who tend to go 'all out',
but every idea they had
they ran through the filter of,
'will this add too much to the cost?')

Their car came in second for speed
(though in the trial run, it was first)
and third for distance,
so they were pretty pleased.

As part of their presentation,
Brandon put together this little ad,
which just totally makes me smile.

Maybe you could use a smile today, too?
(make sure your sound is on)

(it's better if you click over to watch it on you tube)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

insulation rocks

The rule is - you can't turn up the heat
- or complain about being cold - 
unless you are wearing double layers

I have been chilled to the bone
every winter
for the past 10 years.

It's not uncommon for me to be triple layered.
(I even developed a new clothes item
 - the skrobe -
a combination skirt/robe.
It's an extra layer for your bottom half,
that's far more comfortable than tights or long johns,
and keeps your legs and bum warm,
without the restriction of a full robe
(or the lethargic/depressive feeling
that comes from wearing a robe all day long).

It's safe to say that insulation 
is one of the things I have really been looking forward to 
in the new house.

And now, we have some!!