March 31, 2009


this week finds us having a blast with family! my niece (13) and nephew (12). tommie's cousins. brad's sisters two out of three children are in town...from an affluent neighborhood outside of chicago. they're a bit older then tommie by a couple of years. and lightyear's ahead of him...maturity wise. but they truly love each other so much. it makes my heart happy to see them bonding. laughing. wrestling and rolling around with each other. being an only child myself.... i have very fond memories of spending time with cousins from my childhood. you know this bonding thing is's all so unconditional. it's memories, time spent like this...that will forever connect them. memories that will never be erased. they'll have them forever. and will one day look back and be filled with so much happiness at time well spent.
here's a peak at their week so far:
pizza on sunday night
wrestling and giggling
enjoyed several card games of bologna sandwich, speed and spoons
slept in
came to my house- i taught rebecca how to make yeast bread from scratch- two cinnamon and one garlic-oregano...all fabulous!
painted an abstract picture with two different art mediums and framed it
joey and tommie built a six foot working roller coaster out of k'nex-- amazing!
painted whimsical candle holders
visited a pig farm
drove my SUV (Yes, Uncle John...we were careful and I was with them!) up and down grandparents driveway!
had a wonderful pot roast dinner at grandparents
played a very fun board game called Last Word
the three kids took flashlights and played hide and seek in the dark..until 9:30.
the kids are looking forward to painting EMU (cousin of the ostrich) eggs!
today, we'll be heading on a homeschool nature scavenger hunt...with our homeschool group. the sun is shining. it's suppose to be in the 50's. it should be fun. plus, i gotta hand it to my brother and sister in-law...their kids are always, enthusiastically "game for anything!"

March 29, 2009

wool scraps and rose hips!

just a quick sunday night note! it's been a pretty productive weekend. tommie crossed over...officially to boy scouts! quite a big step. and we're so very proud of him. i'll post a few pictures soon. today at church, the band played a song by eric clapton. the message, again was phenomenal. it's about stepping out and trusting God in all facets of your life. it was a mesmerizing service. i came home and deep cleaned. the school room. the basement. and every other little nook that i seem to just drop and plop things in. this week, i gave tommie the school week off. his cousins from chicago are in for an entire week! they came in today. the fun's already started. we had pizza and the kids wrestled and giggled and looked at old pictures. and played card games. about the picture above? i've been saving scraps of pearl cotton thread and wool- all season long. for the birds. i had tommie toss them out in the field-- hoping the nesting birds use it for their nests! the picture below? a bouquet of rose hips from our backyard. i just read they are not i may attempt to make rose hip jam or pie. we'll see?

March 27, 2009


The funny thing about homeschooling is, you can legitimately go on adventures and justify the life experiences as some sort of academic or enrichment lesson... you know, to make your child even more "well-rounded." That said, today we visited an Art Gallery. My mom is a member and vice president of The Great Lakes Rug Hooking Guild....and had invited us to view her club's beautiful hand-crafted pieces. Many artist draw their own patterns. My mom dyes most of her own wool, right on top of her stove! This is just one of her pieces:

Both of my favorite little aunts joined in the field trip with Tommie and me... first for cabbage soup and salad at the Big Boy. (showing this picture of my aunt in her PT Cruiser....she is 74 and is in fantastic shape! If you look close, you may see her Mardi Gras beads hanging from her mirror!) She's the type of aunt who zip-lines through South America and tango's her way across Argentina. It's true.)

This is the art gallery!

Meet my aunts! On the left, my Aunt Janet- who found us a church home and is much like my second mother. And, my worldly Aunt Joyce is on the right...the one who is game for everything! They're admiring an Alice in Wonderland piece.

There were many, many more pieces. All beautiful in their own way!

And...what was I thinking? I didn't even get a snap of my mom. It would of been nice to have her standing with one of her designs. Shame on me.

March 25, 2009

birdhouse gourds finished. and redbox first time.

i finished painting my birdhouse gourds!
they turned out better then i expected.
brad drilled holes in the bottom for drainage.
i had him make the entrance holes bluebirds could feel safe!
i just need to shellac them and hang them.
and wait for the new tenants.
here's what they look like from the back.
below: this isn't a pie crust...although it does look like one.
it's my latest penny rug. stay tuned.

today, for the first time...i took advantage of renting dvd's from redbox. on wednesday's throughout march and the first week in april, you can rent dvd's free, with the promotional code. which you can just type into google: redbox promotional code and the date. our local meijers and walmart has the vending machine. i was surprised to see all the current titles. i chose the family movie, "bolt." i may just be designating monday or wednesday nights..."movie nights." we'll soon be under the afghans with our popcorn...enjoying the free movie! hat tip to lisa w., for telling me about this.

March 24, 2009

favorite things!

i received this lovely bouquet of flowers, on sunday... they were used as decorations at my uncle's 80th birthday. it was such a wonderful day...spent with the immediate family. those days are truly my favorite days of the year! just the whole unconditional love we all have for each other. many, many laughs, a catered lunch from panera bread, tango music and it was held in my cousin's mansion. well, anything over 1,000 square feet is a mansion to me!

today, i enjoyed making up a few bread mixes to have on hand. you know, on the shelf....ready to a blink of an eye! and, best of all they are super economical to make.

i love hodgson mill flour. the best price i've found is at krogers. i'm especially glad to be using a 50/50 blend. it's like $2.50 a bag. not terrible.

i made four different kind of mixes... beer bread, strawberry bread,and two different focaccia's.... the recipes can be found here: mixes

one of my favorite pictures...oh, i have many i love...hanging around in here. which makes me think, i should take snaps and share some of them with you. this one above has been passed back and forth in my family...between my aunts, mom and now me. it's one of my true is signed by the old-time silent movie actress, mary pickford. her signature is very clear and it's on the bottom right hand side of the picture. boy, would i ever like to take this to an appraiser.

friends that need prayers!

Sending up well wishes and prayers!

Our young friend Marla (who frequents this blog) and is in our homeschool co-op... she had a pacemaker put in yesterday and is doing fine. I understand the surgery was uneventful and she may be coming home today!


To one of my bestest friends... Rhonda. Who will be undergoing a hysterectomy today at 4 p.m. Please pray for her, her family and the medical team. And, that she will be in her garden very soon!

March 23, 2009


monday. march 23, 2008

outside my window: sun is setting. clear looking sky. everything is sure grey here, i'm ready to see green.

i am thinking: of decorating for easter, very soon. shopping for seeds. planning this years garden.

from the learning room: teaching multiplication of improper fractions. and, trying to justify the little bit of schooling tommie got done today. he spent the day with my mom. i sat in the emergency room with my in-laws. we think my father-in-law had a mini-stroke. yes lisa, you just met him at my house.

i am thankful for: that my neck and shoulder pain is history.

from the kitchen: zero. well, leftover carry-out applebee's containers.

i am wearing: blue jeans, khaki cable sweater, no jewelry. barely any make-up. it's been a long day in the e.r.

i am reading: still reading the queen's fool.

i am hoping: for a productive homeschool week, this week. i'm giving tommie one full week off next week...his cousins will be coming in from out of state and staying for a whole week!!! he doesn't know this yet. he'd be doing twirly-birds and somersaults all week long!

i am creating: i'm thinking and planning another penny rug...something with an easter theme.

i am hearing: about natasha richardson's funeral. so sad.

around the house: very quiet night. tommie and brad went up to the hospital to visit grandpa/dad. i would of...but, i've been there all day. and, it's kind of a nice father-son-grandpa memory. hot shower coming up. then settling in for the night.

one of my favorite things: well, yeah...besides getting comments? maybelline mascara. noxema. the smell of laundry drying. that second cup of coffee.

a few plans for the rest of the week: hospital visits, scouts, michigan history, family ( with my aunts) fieldtrip on friday, tommie crosses into boy scouting on saturday! big day.

March 22, 2009

complain, complain, complain.

woke up again with nasty pain in my neck, sides of neck and top of shoulders. this is the fourth day. the pain in unreal. moving like i'm 90 years old. tried to not buy into it. brad and i think it is because of all the needlework, reading and laptopping i've been doing. because when you bend your head down...that's when it hurts. took one excedrin tension headache pill. and, it went away within 20 minutes.
tommie and i headed to rite aide. had a two coupons for dove shampoo. the only kind he'll use. the sale was buy one get one free. had two coupons for a dollar off. making each bottle $2.50 when it was all done. good deal. usually they're $5. a bottle.
went to the bank. drive up. cashed two checks for some books i sold at homeschool co-op.
went to game stop so tommie could get a new war game. i hate gamestop. i've jokingly said that they need chairs or benches for mom's to use. told tommie, i would be bringing folding lawn chair next time. he was mortified! i did, however, bring in my tasha tudor gardening book and stand back at the counter and flip through it. love the pictures. but, she sure was feisty. or maybe it is the author? regardless, i bet no one in the world has ever stood amongst halo games and marveled at tasha's corgi's.
went to meijers. aunt millie's bread was just .99 a loaf. bought two. will freeze one. did the u can scan.
neck and shoulders feeling great. i'm actually cocky now. thinking, whatever this was is gone. even called brad to tell him. just feeling really exhausted. blaming it on homeschool co-op. long day. especially, because it was my turn to help out with cleaning.
came home. folded towels. aunt janet called. we talked about the recession at great length. the banking industry. foreclosures. legal stuff that is happening, that we have no control over. the conversation sounded like the glenn beck show.
went to work on a "roast" i will be giving my uncle, on sunday...for his 80th birthday.
wow. feeling awesome. did i ever have that pain? feeling so good.... decided to get the endorphins fired up on the treadmill. walked two miles. the pain is back! oh, big time. why did i do this?
laid on the couch, watching band of brothers marathon with tommie. regretting that dang treadmill.
a lot. a lot. a lot.
had all to do to make leftovers. and stay chipper and perky. and pretending to be fine. oh, so fine. after dinner, managed to push through it and invite tommie to play a really, super fun card game he learned at co-op called speed. i love this game.
finally told brad in my sweetest michelle dugger voice, that i had enough of the band of brothers ww2 marathon and needed something else on. he suggested we watch the last of the pirates of the caribbean movies that brandi loaned us and make popcorn. which we did. i didn't have any, because i am noticing my belly is getting jiggly.
fell asleep on the couch. only watched about 1/4 of the movie. slept good.
it's sunday morning now..and i awoke with the muscle pain again. will be popping another tension headache pill, heading to church. and staying off the treadmill. smile, wink, nod.
sorry to complain...but i'm just being real.

March 20, 2009

just friday.

Although I am not at all an organized person, truth be known..... anything important is usually scratched on a paper towel or napkin and stuffed in the pocket of my blue jeans...I couldn't stop myself from buying this 3 pack of beautiful file folders at The Dollar Tree. They were tucked low on a shelf in the back of the store. I also found coordinating note cards and ink pens, which are already tucked give as extra gifts to someone!
I've also been fooling around with my new juicy acrylic paints! Remember? I showed you in the previous post? Yesterday, I traced a couple of antique cookie cutters and came up with these gift tags and an Easter card. I did the blanket stitch around the middle card. Safe to say, I have blanket stitch fEVer!
After a BBQ chicken dinner, with baked beans and baked potato's...and a garden salad....last night I pulled out the birdhouse gourds and got started painting on them. I still have a bit to do...detail work, that is. I'll put the pictures up when the project is completed. Have a happy Friday whatever you do... First day of Spring. Love it. How about YOU?

March 18, 2009

Wednesday chatter.....

This drab-grey afternoon, found us running local errands! I slipped into JoAnn Fabrics and just couldn't resist buying these acrylic kool-aid colored paints! They were .50 cents a bottle. I have two bird house gourds, that I'd like to paint... I'm thinking something whimsical-- in turquoise and lime green! I'm also thinking of doing more with water-color painting. I'm teaching a book class to early elementary aged children on Friday... the lesson I have planned is around a couple of Beatrix Potter stories! I plan to use the water color techniques in class. It should be very fun. What is it about Springtime that makes me think of Peter Rabbit? Jemima Puddleduck and Mr. McGregor?

While Tommie plugged away at math today...I finished my penny rug! Actually, we had a race to see who could finish their project first? Who do you think won?

Better late then never... here's a snap of our Saint Patrick's Day tree! It is just beautiful at night---when every thing's dark! I plan to keep it up a few more days!

In People Magazine this month... there is a coupon for a free box of Milkbone dog snacks. I was also able to get another bottle of Frank's Red Hot Sauce free, too. I had a .50 cent coupon...Kroger sells a small bottle for .99 cents... Kroger's doubles. Hence, free. smile, wink, nod.

March 17, 2009

nature hike

... just a quick blog entry to show you the emerald green river, we discovered on our nature hike, today. It's just 50 steps away from our home! The city, like many cities...colored the river green today for St. Patrick's Day. We also heard frogs croaking..and the bulbs are pushing up through the brown grass! that's right... Speed Spring! smile, wink, nod.

March 16, 2009

simple woman's day book

the simple woman's daybook for 3.16.09

outside my window: dark. pleasant. and a really feel-good day outside today!

from the learning room: ugh. i tried the homeschool workboxes that seemed like a good idea. not that it isn't...but it just isn't a good fit for our charlotte mason, relaxed, unschooling, child-led, project based homeschool. i felt like it was too schoolish. i'll explain more tomorrow on my twisted education blog.

i am thankful for: probiotics! they've changed my life immensely! brad's too.

from the kitchen: a fresh batch of breakfast cookies. a lukewarm glass of iced tea leftover from dinner.

i am wearing: olive drab columbia hiking pants, mis-matched socks, black hoody, white long john shirt and black tank over that! rhinestone barrette and fake diamond earrings. make-up worn off.

i am reading: the list of new blogs on my sidebar. have you seen them? they're just utterly awesome. shudder. and, also... the queen's fool.

i am hoping: garage sale season opens soon!

i am creating: the penny rug that i blogged about a few posts back. and lesson plans for the two co-op classes i'm volunteering to teach. oh, and maybe a saint patrick's day decoupaged plate, tomorrow. if so, i'll take a snap and post it.

i am hearing: jon and kate plus 8. tommie giggling. wishing he had that many siblings.

around the house: brad in the recliner, dog in the chair sleeping. one small lamp on. tommie snuggled up next to me here on the couch....with very cold feet. saint patrick day lights all lit up.

one of my favorite things: my home.

my plans for the rest of the week: a nature walk in the park tomorrow, michigan history class, homeschool co-op, dyeing my hair, a very cool 80th birthday party, putting nesting material out for the birds, and i'm really looking forward to the rain on wednesday. i just love the smell of it, in springtime. smile, wink, nod.

picture thought: the picture above is by gustavo aimar.

March 15, 2009


This weekend, I had fun printing off freebie's for cheap little shabby chic projects and other free printables for around my home! I found this template to make a shabby chic button jar.. I had an old pickle jar in the basement...which I cleaned up...then just printed, trimmed and glued to the jar! You can download and print this HERE.

I thought it would be fun for Spring, if I found a new grocery list. Forget a plain sheet a paper... how much more exciting is grocery shopping going to be now.... with this whimsical, free, printable, quirky grocery list? You can find it HERE.

I just really love these recipe cards! They're even more sweet in real life! I printed out a stack of them...and will tie them with a soft blue ribbon...and tuck them in my gift drawer to add to someones gift! I even kept some for me! Very, very cute! You can print them, too! Just click HERE.
Be sure to sign up for a FREE Fleischman's Yeast Cookbook! I also ordered one for my mom! Click HERE for the easy/quick sign up form!

March 13, 2009

Easy Art!

I made this! See, that's one of the very cool things about homeschooling... you get to be a kid again! If you'd like to know how easy-peasy this is to on over to my Twisted Education blog! It is so incredibly'll want to be a kid again, too!
This is one of the websites, I'll be hanging out on this weekend... it's BUDGET 101 and it has a bazillion different recipes for homemade mixes...check out the sidebar on the site!
I had a very pleasant visit with Lisa W., today, while her teenaged-son tutored my son on computers, a MP3 player and showed him some other things on his PSP. Lisa and I were not at a loss for words, nor laughs or ideas. We even made a flower planter with grout and broken dishes! Thanks Lisa.... Tommie and I had a very uplifting afternoon!

March 12, 2009

Vintage Treasure!

The story behind these tiny little scissors? Oh, I'm curious to know, myself! You see, my father-in-law was recently in Florida...walking along a gravel road... I'm not sure why...but he looked down and at that moment....noticed this very, very vintage pair of sewing scissors! You can see where the holes-where your fingers go, are worn thin! It's engraved with a name- which I can't make out. My father-in-law scooped them up and brought them back across the country and gave them to me! I wonder where they came from? Who they belonged to and the history of their journey? And, how did they end up in a gravel road? You can bet your bottom dollar, that I'll be respecting this treasure! Just wish I knew the history!

Speaking of treasures... I felted two wool sweaters today, traced a couple of plates I had in the cupboard and traced a cookie cutter...then-- organized this new penny rug! I'll be adding more to the flowers...and I'll also be adding leaves or vines.

March 11, 2009

My nose is buried in....

Just today, in the next town over... I sauntered into The big Goodwill Headquarters! And, found this historical fiction, "The Queen's Fool," for a whopping .75 cents. I have two good friends who've recently read, The Other Boyeln Sister. This is by the same author. The first chapter reeled me in... my eyes darting side to side, fast-like and hoping my 11 year old was not looking over my shoulder ... and then my in-laws came to visit and I had to set it aside. I'll pick it up again before bed tonight!
So, what's in your hands this week?

March 10, 2009

Favorite things!

On Sunday, I whipped up this little cell phone pocket! I used a recycled sweater...the white fabric is a sweater cuff! The other wool felt are just odds and ends from my mom. I think it would make a nice gift card holder, too!

Have you been over to my Twisted Education blog, lately? This week finds us on an adventure in Japan. If you're can find the link on my sidebar!

In Monday's mail, I received a couple of nice FREEBIE'S that I sent away for! One is a free one-year subscription to Body and Soul a Martha Stewart publication! The other sample was from and I received a good trial size Selsen Blue Shampoo. We don't have dandruff...but hey, it was free!

Well, I'm off to watch my favorite show, "The Duggar's"... I just love Michelle Duggar's pleasant, pleasant, gentle personality!

March 09, 2009


The Simple Woman's Day Book for Monday, March 9th....

Outside my window: It's just about dark. It's been a cold, damp day...AGAIN!

From the learning room: This week we're rowing Grass Sandals from Five in a Row Vol. 4. The adventure takes us to Japan, Haiku poetry, the Milky Way, and more.

I am thankful for: leftovers, the internet, my church

From the kitchen: the dishwasher running and an empty cookie jar.

I am wearing: black workout pants and tee--- and a wool sweater over it. hair straight up in a pony tail, like Pebbles, only it's not as cute, since I'm 44. No shoes, sitting Indian style in the living room.

I am reading: blogs and more blogs!

I am hoping: we get a ton of rain tomorrow, so things get green, really soon!

I am creating: a penny rug pin cushion!

I am hearing: the dog snoring, the movie Batman and Tommie excitedly saying, "these guys have machine guns!"

Around the house: washed and changed the bedding today, I made homemade pizza dough mix, and for fun during homeschooling, we took a break and played Bunco, after dinner tonight....Tommie and I headed outside for fresh-cold air-- he shot his air gun and I picked up 2 arm loads of sticks and twigs that have fallen.

One of my favorite things: my soft pillow with the flannel pillowcase!

My plans for the rest of the week: Michigan History class, scouts, decorating for St. Patrick's Day, making Rhonda's Artisan Bread, pricing books and such for homeschool co-op, creating lesson plans for two classes at our homeschool co-op... which I've volunteered to cover... one class is State Quarters, surprisingly interesting and a Busy Bookworm class...which I'll more then likely use Fiar or Homeschool Share plans...

March 07, 2009

homemade muffin mix!

Here's something really fun to mix up and have on hand!
It's Homemade Muffin Mix!
In a large bowl, mix: 2 1/2 cups sugar, 3 Tablespoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 2 teaspoon nutmeg, 8 cups of flour. Mix it all and store it in a baggy or container....then when you're ready to make muffins, here's what you do...take 2 and 3/4 cups of the mix, add a beaten egg and 1 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of butter, marg, or vegetable oil. Mix it well and then add dried, frozen or fresh fruit. Or even chocolate chips! It's good without anything, too! Bake at 400* for 11-15 minutes in greased tins or baking cups.
I added cut up strawberries and a handful of blueberries... My kitchen smells cozy sweet, on this wet-damp day in Michigan! smile, wink, nod!

March 06, 2009

Friday Fill-In's!

I'm joining Lisa at Cornerstone Homeschooling and filling in the blanks for the FRiDay FIll-IN!

1. Making my neighbor pasta salad was my last random act of kindness.

2. Another place I love to visit-- yet haven't had time to put it on my sidebar is: BUDGET 101 -- it's loaded with easy ideas for homemaking and budgeting.

3. I'll be honest here...I don't get this matters of the heart.

4. Coffee, tea or Little Debbie Snack Cakes??????

5. Unfortunately, the time comes for friendships to take separate paths.

6. Our acts of kindness reminds me that there is A LOT of good people left in the world!

7. And, as for the weekend.... tonight I'm probably making tacos for dinner and hope to work on more penny rugs.. tomorrow I have ZERO planned and Sunday we'll go to church and once again...I have ZERO planned.

*Gosh, am I boring or what?

March 05, 2009

Thursday Treasures!

Before I forget...I'll share with you some of the cheap, little treasures I found at Goodwill, last Saturday!

I'm still planning on making bird feeder tea cups...I found both of these sets for .29 cents. They're solid white with silver trim...but, I think they'll be fun in one of my colorful flowerbeds, this summer! Plus, the price was right! For now though...they hold two little tea candles on our kitchen table...very uplifting for these cold March days and nights!

In the .20 cent bin at Goodwill..I also scooped up a 3 pack of wooden picture frames.. I'll have Tommie embellish them on a rainy day...perhaps decoupage' or paint or something? I mean for .06 cents- it's a good project to keep on hand!

I also picked up a couple of refridgerator frames. They're whimsical!

Can you ever have too enough gift tissue paper? I use tons of it! So, imagine my delight when I found three packs to keep in my gift wrap drawer! You could of watched me doing the happy dance when I discovered red-polka dotted bolts of ribbon, too! Scooped those up, as well! And, a pack of Heavenly Vanilla lip gloss, for my niece!

What's in the ziplock baggy? Come on back in a little while and I'll tell won't want to miss this homemade recipe mix! Hint: get your flour ready!