Sunday, June 30, 2013

Quiet Sundays

Dragonfly gold and black

Friday, June 28, 2013

What I learned in June

I've decided to play today and link up with Emily's' What I learned in June' linky party.

I've been thinking about it all week.

Should it be lighthearted?



I was stumped.

In the end I decided to just blurt it all out regardless of it's style, so . . .

Here it is  . . .

What I've learned in June:

1. I love making pretty, tasty or unexpected gifts for people (sometimes all three at once!). What I learned in June is that it's been much longer than I realized since I've actually done this for anyone. Lesson learned. This is going to be one of those non negotiable things in my life, not a 'they would love it if I. . . but I just don't have the time, energy, resources, desire to . . .' 

2.  I have been wasting a lot of food! Something that has really struck me this month since I can finally bend/crouch down low enough to clean out the fridge myself again after nearly a year, is just how much food gets thrown out at our house. It makes me feel rather sick and I haven't figured out just how to fix it

 Which sounds crazy I know. After all if I were just to buy less food, or meal plan better, or have a 'Leftover' supper once a week that should fix it, right??

 Not so far it hasn't. Our life has changed. How we eat, who's home to eat it and what we like to eat has changed a lot in the last few years and I'm only really noticing it now. I've come to see that fixing this problem is going to require relearning the whole approach I've taken to food in our house.

For example. . . If I buy 36 buns at Costco and most of them go in the freezer for later? Or look at leftovers, realize no one will eat them now, so I'll put them in the freezer for later? Or buy the warehouse pack of hamburger, don't feel like cooking it it or separating it into 1 pound portions and instead throw it in the freezer for later?

Later never comes.

My freezer is full of frost covered, dried out, unrecognizable bits of . . . something.

Finding a new way should be an exciting process. Truthfully? It makes me tired just thinking about it.I want this area of my life to be simple. Right now it is taking up waaaay to much space in my brain.

I'd welcome any and all ideas. . .

3. I have a long way to go when it comes to being a good wife. Have you ever been super aggravated with you spouse or even just impatient and dismissive thinking about how little they do for you? Perhaps, like me, you feel as though they have slipped in the cherishing department lately.

 Something happened at the beginning of June though. I heard myself talking to Henry about something I wanted done and I really heard myself.

People??? There was not a whole lot of cherishing going on . . . just a whole lot of impatient "Will you just do it right now!!!"

It's pretty hard to cherish a cranky, rather demanding spouse but that is what I had become. Oh, not all the time of course but a whole lot more than I've wanted to admit.

It was  time to do better. Much better. It was time for me to cherish him.

People??? Life is just lovelier when you make the effort to do nice things for your husband. When you pray for the ability to show your husband the grace God rains down on you everyday.

Lesson learned.

When he invited me out for lunch yesterday? I decided to be thrilled that he wanted to do something special with me rather than annoyed that he just didn't get that our funds are too tight for stuff like that.

Lunch at Joey's in Mayfield Common beside the pool, garage door windows rolled all the way up, thus  allowing cool breezes to blow by?

Priceless. (Although not paid for with a credit card!)

4. I'm braver than I thought I was!

5.I am blessed.

6. I can garden this year!

Hmmm. . .

There was a lot of serious learning going on this month.

I wonder what July will bring? I'm hoping for a little quirky. . .

What have you learned this month?

Drop by Emily's and check out all the other linky participants.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Deep. Dark. Secrets.

There are a few things you may not know about me that I thought I would share. . .

House plants try to hide behind each other when I stroll past them in the big box greenhouse.

 The word is out.

 Go home with Rosa and three months later?  You are a crispy, brown mess, just one day from being tossed in the garbage. She'll save your pot though. . .

When I bake smarties cookies I put them in small Ziploc bags and stash them in a variety of locations in the freezer.

I put a token dozen in the cookie tin and eat the rest  of them on the sly. Shhhhh . . .

Ditto lemon sugar cookies, although, Holly seems to have caught on. She eats as many of those as I do.

I don't like to drive.

 I do not understand the appeal of a road trip. If someone else can do the driving I let them. Better yet. . . I'll fly instead. (Yes . . . I drove a school bus for nearly 20 years.)

When I was young I liked to make up songs and sing them for other kids, pretending they were not made up songs. 

As a matter of fact Tamara and I made up a song (With the organ? someone's piano?) that I still clearly remember . .  Toyland, toyland, Toyland, toyland,  you can sing and play all dayaye . . .  Ring any bells Tam??

When I went to kindergarten I had a huge crush on a cute boy named Stanley.

I was positive that we were perfect for each other. After all, I was Rosa Terpstra and he was Stanley.

 R. S. T.

 It was meant to be! I'm not sure I ever knew his last name. Not that it would have mattered. Who can argue with R.S.T. ???

I hate fish and deer meat.

Oh wait! That's not a secret. . . . That's Henry's lifelong sorrow. . .

Do you have any deep, dark secrets that you want to share???

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesdays

pink hydrangea

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Guess what the UPS Man Brought. . .

I was stirring the spaghetti sauce for dinner last night and saw the UPS truck pull up in front of my neighbor's house.

"Hmmm... I wonder if that's for me?? No, of course not, the UPS man is always delivering things to the neighbors."

Wait, what . . . hang on, he's coming to MY house!

I ran to the front door, threw the bags full of recycle stuff out of the way and excitedly opened the door.

What could it be???

I didn't order. . . oh wait! Yes I did! And it got here in a week??

Look what I got. . .

Ooooh . .  all my newly made marketing materials . .

Business cards, product cards, postcards and a small banner!

I decided to use postcards rather than brochures. They are less expensive and up until now at least, I haven't actually handed out that many brochures. People seem to like the postcards better

Look! They match my website and blog now!

My business card, the large product tag as well as two smaller product tags that I had printed on one card.

All I have to do now is cut 500 cards in half, punch holes in all my product tags and add some twine

Sounds like I need to put on a good movie and get to work!

I am so thrilled with how my business site, blog and marketing materials have all come together.

A big thank you to Jana from Little Web Writing Hood for a beautiful job well done.

Thanks again Jana!

*And to all of you? Sorry for the lavish use of exclamation and question marks today. It's been a long time coming ( I kept trying to do it all myself. Bad idea!) and I just couldn't help myself!!!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Changes . . . and Danger in the Garden

You may have noticed a few changes on the blog this morning. . .

We're not quite finished, there are still a few things to be tweaked but Jana and I are hard at work bringing a new look and better functionality to my Growing Wisdom site as well as integrating A life of Whimsey into it.

Thus. . . the colour changes. My original intent was to have both sites look the same but I loved the look Jana had made for A life of Whimsey so much that we decided changing colours and the background would still do the job.

I spent Saturday in the garden. I finished preparing the last garden bed and planted the multitude of shrubs, roses, perennials and annuals I had been babying along for the last month or so.

 It was hard work people!

I was grunting and groaning as I weeded, dug and planted.

I stopped for frequent rests.

It took me forever!

During one of Henry's rest periods (he's working on the pond) he listened to me for awhile, (I may have been whining a bit as well . . ) and said:
 " Two months ago you didn't think you'd be able to garden at all this year. Now you're down on the ground planting up a storm. It's amazing isn't it?"

It really is!

But, I still wanted to finish up by the end of the day. And it was going so slowly.

Which is why I kept planting as dark clouds rolled in.

Started frantically digging one hole after another, throwing in the annuals that had waited far too long in their little cell packs.

 Thunder rolled.

I got wet from waist to toe as I scooted on my behind through every muddy puddle in the garden, going from from one planting hole to the next.

Kept chanting "hang on, hang on, I'm almost done. Just a few more minutes. . ."

Dragged the hose to the back bed to water everything in.

It started to rain.


Not so gently.

Not at all gently.

I ran for my rain coat.

I had to get that bed watered in properly for the plants to settle into their new homes.

I can hear you thinking "But it was raining. Water. Why in the world would she need to use a hose to water it???"

 What you may not know is that potted plants are sneaky. Very, very sneaky. The ground all around them can be soaking wet but the plant itself, with it's roots still stuck in the potting soil they came in, can be bone dry. Normally I soak everything thoroughly before I plant it.

But I was running out of time!!!

And so, I stood in a downpour, thunder and lightening all around, while the little voice in my head wondered if there was any possibility my watering wand could attract lightning.

Thankfully, that night, the answer was no.

Gardening can be a dangerous business.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Quiet Sundays

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Favorites

My Favorite Pinterest board this week.

A sample:

I come across a lot of great reads and videos on the web and I thought it would be fun to share a few on Fridays.

*First up a truly beautiful and inspiring video. I'll never grumble, snarl and throw my hands up in the air over computer stuff again. . . (well, yes I will, but I'll watch this again to remind myself about the good in it all.)

*If you, like me, struggle with doing something that's 'worthwhile' or 'valuable' outside the mundane everyday.

*Or, harder yet, are in a time of difficult waiting . . . for better health, better family circumstances, a new season in life. This is a powerful message . Both Part one and Part two.

*And . . .  because it's almost summer holidays and I'm sure that there will be at least a few scorchingly hot days ahead  (won't there???) . . . Nine secrets to amazing homemade lemonade.

Have a blessed weekend.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Welcoming a New Baby to the Family

We have actually welcomed three new babies to the family but since two are far away, I'm just waiting for a few more pictures to be posted on Facebook so I can steal them and then tell you all about them!

A sneak peak at my youngest sister Sabrina's first baby . . .

Isn't he adorable?!!

 Today though, I'm going to introduce you to the newest addition to Henry's youngest brother's family . .

Meet Jonathan . . .

How cute is he???

I just love babies.

It also gave me a reason to have a little fun in the kitchen. After all . . .  new babies need presents right?

Since this new baby has three older siblings, I decided to do something just for them first.

Homemade play-dough . . .

please excuse this terrible picture . . I was running late and had No time to fiddle!
Clara seemed to like this one.

Of course, when you decide to play in the kitchen it's never clean and it always takes longer than you think it will, but I had so much fun baking cupcakes from scratch (The Martha Stewart Cookbook) and then using my cake decorating tools (a gift from my dad years ago) that I didn't care that I had  left it looking like a disaster zone.

How fun is it to play with cake and icing?

And when you can use pretty packaging to finish things off??? ( Martha Stewart cake boxes I stock piled after a fabulous sale at Micheal's.)


Thanks for giving me a chance to snuggle your sweet baby Andrea.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I had a lovely day . . . Jada . . . did not.

I had the loveliest day yesterday.

The sun was out after a week and a half of gloom, Jada and I went for a long walk and then Jada got a much needed, long overdue bath.

As I said. . .I had a lovely day. Jada's however, went down hill the minute we entered the store for her bath.

Jada hates a bath and for the past few years I have been lucky enough to do it at the pet store down the road leaving them with dirty water and hair splattered from one end of the room to the other.

It's fabulous people, absolutely fabulous. Well worth the $20 (includes access to the reverse vacuum that helps blow her dry. Which, considering her double coat, is essential.)

Jada was grumpy for the rest of the day.

Jesse came up, sat on the chair beside her, began petting her and asked "hey did you give her a bath?? She's so soft!"

Jada grumbly growled.

Jesse laughed.

A while later Holly came up for a little dog love and asked her "Jada did you get a bath? You are so soft!"

Jada grumbly growled. She was not happy.

Holly giggled.

Jada spent the rest of the day sulking on my bed. On my white duvet. . . which was a little damp when I went to bed.

Poor Jada, I should have had my mom over to tell her what she always told me and my sisters on Saturday nights while putting put our hair into foam rollers in preparation for church the next day . . .

"If you want to look beautiful it has to hurt!"

Monday, June 10, 2013

Why I'm NOT a Big Fat Liar . . .

A while back I wrote a post that talked about how much I want to write.

I meant every word when I wrote it. I still do. So I'm not really a big fat liar, I just forgot something. . .

My other passion.

The snow had finally melted, plants were in the greenhouse and it was time for a plant sale! And plant sales are a lot of work, believe you me.

So. . . no time to write.

Plant sales don't last forever though and mine finally came to an end. So I should have time to write. Right??


Now it was time to redo my back garden. Because isn't that what you do every year?

 You don't???

Huh. I seem to.

This year is different though. This year my mind is swirling with all the new things I want to learn and try. I've bought books on concrete sculpting, signed up for a Fine Arts Grunge Composition Photoshop Artistry course, taken a one on one photography lesson (which took place in part in Greenland garden center !) and have a stack of books beside my chair on decorative painting to refresh my memory on techniques.

I love my garden but the time has come to finish it off and enjoy it rather than constantly changing it. I want to tweak it every year instead of constantly reinventing it.

To that end I have been emptying out the garden centers in some of my favorite big box stores, taking advantage of Nicole's garden hardscape skills and nagging  sweetly suggesting to Henry that this is the year to finish up all the garden projects that have been dragging on (ahem), waiting to be finished.

So I've been gardening nearly non stop in between all that other stuff I just told you about, leaving no time for writing.

But I'm getting close to the end and I love, love, love how things are coming together in the back garden!

As soon as I'm done I'll have a before and after post.

And, if you were wondering after my last post??? I was brave. Not only did I garden toothless in the front garden, I also ran to Winners in search of garden ornamentation to jazz things up a bit. I figured I would just pretend to be rummaging in my purse with my head down when the clerk asked me anything. It was a good plan. Except, I forgot it when I was actually at the cash register.


Oh well she didn't look at me too weirdly. Maybe she didn't notice.

 The truth is though, even if she had??? Somehow I just didn't care.

How awesome is that??? Not that I want to do it again anytime soon . . .

I leave you with a few pictures of my front garden which is finally mostly finished with just a little tweaking each year . . .

© A Life of Whimsey