Wednesday, April 25, 2012


What?? Isn't it still APRIL??
The high today was actually 104*!!! I only got a picture of 101*

I'm NOT ready for summer!!

Btw - my newly planted hydrangea is NOT happy with this sudden heat wave!! I sure hope she perks back up. I'd hate to think that I've lost her in the first week!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Do YOU like Yew?

I am a sun gardener. It's what I know. Our last home had a butterfly bush, canna, day lillies, salvias, and black-eyed susans. Everyone of them just soaked up the sun. Sure, I lost some plants along the way - even the most drought tolerant plants can burn in the West Texas sun and wind. (And boy, do I mean wind!!) I completely fried our purple fountain grass and a small spruce tree. (OK, that one we probably should have lost. He wasn't really made for the spot we placed him. Oh well.)
Welp, you guessed it. Our new home has....Wait for it....SHADE! I'm not really sure I even know what that is!! Sure, it's not a lot of shade, but ANY is pretty exciting.....and a little weird!

Our new home faces north and the garage is on the east. That means a good section of our front seating/planting area has full shade and/or partial shade for the entire day. I knew I wanted something that would fill in the corner between the garage and the dining room, but I wasn't sure what that would be. All of my ideas required full sun. A quick trip to a local nursery was in order!

The nursery guy recommended a Hick's Yew! Great idea! It meets everything I was looking for...

             Evergreen --- CHECK
             Tall --- CHECK
             Full --- CHECK

Of course, this little guy is still a young 'un. He needs to grow up!

Since the entire dining room is in complete shade, it gives me the opportunity to try new plants. I have always wanted a hydrangea, so......!! Here's my perfect chance!

I'm excited to play around with the soil to make the flowers turn blue or purple.

The front part of the bed is in almost constant sun. I can really do some fun things here! Today, we put out some purple irises and liriope. These were at our old house and we transplanted them to our new house. We originally got the irises from my mother-in-law. Two different purples -- I'm in love!!

I've got big plans for the open areas! A climbing rose, some bright pink salvia, a lavender plant, and a sage of some kind (either Russian or Texas - not sure yet.) Anyway - stay tuned to see how my garden grows!! : )

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bill Paying System

We have been so disorganized for the past 9 months and it's driving me crazy!! (Yes, it's been driving me crazy for a long time, but I'm just now at a point where I can do anything about it!!)

Between deciding to sell our home - having to pack things up to get ready to sell - keeping our home staged - packing to move into our new home - and now in our new home - SHEESH!! It's been hard to keep up with the bills and paperwork. Back when we first decided to move, I found one of those wooden bill organizers at a local thrift shop. I had big plans for it. Welp -- nothing has happened! (Feel free to refer back to the list above!!)

While stalking reading back posts in one of my fav blogs, I saw this simple way to handle monthly bills. Whoever said that copying is the highest form of flattery was definitely talking about me! I basically just copied everything she did!

I was determined to not spend any money on this project and I did it! Luckily, I'm a not-quite-hoarder!!!

First things, first -- Had to have a cute label!! Just some scrapbook paper and my trusty Cricut!

It will be MUCH EASIER to work on the bills when they are in a cute binder!

So, here's the inside tour. Be ready to be amazed!! (Just remember that your original amazement belongs to Angie at Echos of Laughter.)

A paper punch for 3-ring binders and am small zipper pouch for pens, stamps, and return address stickers (coming later)

Monthly calendar pages. I just downloaded these from calendar dot com.

When the bills come in, I will just write the name and due date a few days before the bill is actually due. When I pay the bill, I'll write the check number and amount paid - in a red pen of course!

This folder is the "holding tank" for the unpaid bills. (See the yellow label that says "To Pay"??) After I've added the due date to the calendar, I add the bills to this pouch until time to write the check.

Sorry this is such an aweful picture. This is where the statements will go AFTER the checks have been written. I made a separate divider for each of our bills.

Remember that I'm not spending any money on this project? Remember also that I HAVE to have labels? Well, here's my solution! I could have used my label maker, but I was afraid I'd run out of tape and I couldn't possibly only do part of my labels - Oh No!! Instead, I went Old School again and used my Creative Memories tools and my Xyron to make the labels.

I had recently taken apart some old workshop binders and had this stash of heavy duty dividers. Obviously I didn't need "Session 1" for our Bill Paying binder....

A handwritten label for each bill and a quick run through the Xyron = instant personalized labels.

We've already started using it! It turned out just great, even if I do say so myself!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Morning Greeter

Take a look at who greeted me on my way to work Friday. Isn't he great?

I wasn't expecting him to be sitting on top of that post, but there he was. Sorry the picture is a little blurry. I was in my car and had to shoot this from my driver's seat, looking back through the rear passenger window. We don't live in the country unfortunately, but we do live by several empty fields. We're lucky that they haven't been developed yet.

Other news -- today was a terrible Weight Watchers day, which actually means it was a terrible WW week! DH and I both gained weight. I gained 2.4 pounds. How does that happen?? Grrr!! Oh - maybe it's because I've felt pretty crummy all week (spring allergies) and have eaten lots of sweets. Or maybe it's because of the medicine that I've been taking that drying everything (and I mean everything...ha ha...tmi, I know). Or maybe it was the donuts that I bought for staff yesterday and the 2 I ate. Or maybe it was the strawberry waffle I ate just before weigh-in. Alright - I hear ya. It was all of those "little" things that added up. OK - this starts a new week. I can do this!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Laundry Room Organization

One of the features we like best about our new house, is the abundance of storage! We even have a closet filled with shelves in the laundry room - plus the cabinet above the washing machine. Yup - I'm super lucky!!
In theory, this sounds great. In reality, this is where everything got stuck until we could "do something with it." Don't laugh -- I'm betting you have a space like this somewhere in your house, too!

Well, this was That Time! I was off work on Good Friday, so it was the perfect time to tackle this mess!

Sorry - I forgot to take the real "before" picture. I had already started taking stuff out when I remembered to grab my camera.

Pretty sad when this "before" was after I'd already taken stuff out!!!

First step.....empty everything out so you have a clean slate.

Second step......try to find some empty space somewhere close by so you can purge and sort! (Wish I had thought to take a picture of this. I had stuff EVERY WHERE!!)

I am SUPER happy with how it turned out!! Now, everything has a place and all of those places are LABELED!! (Hee Hee -- oh how I love labels!)

The top shelf (not really pictured) holds all of my glass jars and vases.

The second shelf has all of our "party" stuff -- plates on the left, plastic cups in the middle, napkins in the top box on the right and plasticware in the bottom box. Obsessive? Maybe. We love to entertain friends and family, and I like to be prepared. Besides, I just like colorful tables and parties!

The third shelf contains cleaning supplies.

The bottom shelf just has the "stuff" that you need to run a household. You know, kleenex, napkins, paper towels, light bulbs, and spraypaint!

Wait -- don't all households have to have spraypaint in order to run efficiently??

I didn't get a picture, but I put the grocery bags and a basket with all of the vaccuum accessories on the floor.

I went "Old School" with the labels. I used my Creative Memories cutting system (the old one) to cut the labels and then just wrote the titles with my Creative Memories pens.

Since the closet looked so good, I just had to tackle the cabinet!  I know I've said it before, but I definitely need to say it again. I LOVE my label maker!! 

Not bad for a little bit of money and a little bit of time!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!!

What a JOYFUL day!! We serve a RISEN LORD!!! The stone was rolled away - death can not hold him!!
When Dave and I got married, he promised to get me a new Easter outfit every year. Aw....isn't that super sweet!!

This year, we picked out a bright, sunny dress. I love it!

I hate to get my picture taken, but I wanted to show everyone my new dress.

The top is sleeveless. I actually like it. It's a little chilly (and windy - of course!!) today, so I'm glad it came with the jacket.

The best part ---- it's 2 sizes smaller than I've been wearing!! Whoo Hoo!!

Well - hopefully this is the last picture of me for a long time!!! Projects are much more interesting!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Surprise Project!

After our normal Saturday routine of breakfast out and a quick weigh-in, we headed out to Lowe's. We had every intention of getting the materials to install another row of shelving in the garage. We were going to put a second row under this one. Well, .......

Look what we found instead!

We took a quick walk through the garden center and stopped right in our tracks! Look at the price!!

There were actually 3 couples hovering around these pavers, but we prevailed! The group in front of us took 13 and we took the rest..... 60 pavers! Did I mention 60 - SUPER HEAVY - pavers?!?

We knew we wanted to create a nice seating area surrounded by plants - we just didn't plan to do it so soon! Still, this was a bargain we just couldn't pass up.


In between buying and laying the pavers, we had to make a quick trip to the Small Animal Emergency Clinic!! Somehow, Riley had hurt the dew claw on her front right paw. It had started bleeding and was obviously hurting her. The vet wasn't worried. He quickly fixed her up and we were back home before we knew it. Our only problem was trying to figure out how to keep her from licking/chewing it. Remember that she's a lab!!

Problem solved......tape a baggie around her leg!


Before ---->


After ---->

A few hours later, and we now have a beautiful new front patio!! By the time we were finished, every nook and cranny in the patio -- and our bodies was filled with sand, but it was all worth it. We are very happy with our surprise project!!

Can't you see it ---- 2 rocking chairs with a small table, all surrounded with fragrant and colorful flowers?? Ahhhh!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I'm Tired!

There - I've said it. I'm tired! Not the "I'll just take a nap and feel better" kind of tired. I'm talking the "Down in my bones, can hardly move" kind of tired.

OK -here's a disclaimer.

If you are family - DON'T WORRY! There's nothing wrong! I promise!
If you aren't family, you are probably bored with all of this anyway, so you can stop reading now.

I've debated for a while about whether I should post this or not. Since this blog is about my life, I decided to go ahead and write.

Today, I woke up SUPER late (becuase I haven't slept much the last few nights) and barely had time for a shower. Then, I didn't have time to shave my legs. Normally not a big deal, but today they are man-legs! Well, I promptly forgot about the forest on my legs and ended up putting on a skirt. On my way to work, I discovered that I had also forgotten to put on a slip! Sheesh!

The rest of the day was just like that. I even missed a webinar I'd been looking forward to for weeks. I got my times wrong and just missed it.

I'm not stressed. I'm not worried. There's nothing going on. I'm just TIRED!

I think I'm starting to fall apart! I have a mouth-full of ulcers, my carpal tunnel is acting up, and my left leg aches so badly that it wakes me up at night! Is this what middle age is all about?!?

Well, I've complained enough. Sorry to let all of this out online. I'll be bright and sunny in my next post! Thanks for listening!