Wednesday, February 27, 2013

this is my kitchen


Welcome to my kitchen. It’s so nice to be back!!!!

It seems like forever since I last blogged, between getting sick and then trying to catch up with Life. Whew, yesterday we just sent Michael off to his senior retreat until Friday, so I plan on getting some things done around here.

First things first. Buy some fresh flowers. Clean the kitchen. And of course, invite you in. 


There’s something incredibly Spring-like about the fluffy, white blossoms of the pussy willow, don’t you think?



I’ve never done a post on my kitchen before, and quite a few of you have asked about it. The real reason is that the lighting in here isn’t the best. But I just discovered this wonderful website that’s helping me learn all about my Nikon D90. Check it out if you’re a beginner like me. I’m finally figuring out about aperture and F-stops and ISO, which is what I need to know in order to shoot good photos in here.


My kitchen is not grand or particularly big. No custom cabinetry in here. These were the original orangey, stock oak cabinets that were painted white. (Someday I’ll share my horror-story with our painter, but that’s a whole other post).

Those glass paned doors? I think we found our same style doors at Home Depot (this was years ago) purchased them, and simply took them to a local glass shop for the glass inserts. As you can see, the microwave simply sits on the counter.

My next kitchen project will be to paint these black chairs and table. It’s part of my “lightning up” phase. Remember my white bricks? Well this is the same room.


I’ve never really had a decorating budget (maybe when we write our last tuition check?) so there’s lot’s of DIY projects around here.

We put a pot rack overhead because the ceilings are so high. I consider myself a vintage d├ęcor gal living in a more contemporary floor plan so I’m not a fan of the angular ceilings. You have to work hard to create coziness.

Which reminds me, I need to lower my chandelier. We lifted it for one of our parties and forgot to put it back again, in case you noticed.


I chose tumbled marble for our backsplash and granite for the island, and although it’s been wonderfully durable, I chose it for its resale value rather than my love of it. And here we are, eleven years later… haha. You can check out my Pinterest kitchen board to see what I might choose these days.


I hang old baskets for warmth. And I’ve got one of my favorite antique trunks overhead too. Do you see it?


I have large Saltillo looking porcelain tiles throughout the house and although it creates a feeling of warmth when you enter my home…now that we’ve had wood upstairs, I’ve fallen in love with wood. The tiles have been amazing for ease and durability though. While the boys were growing up I had annual Halloween parties, Christmas caroling parties, and birthday parties, with tons of kids. And I’ve never worried one bit about my home.

I think scratches and dings and smudgy fingerprints are a home’s laugh lines. I’ve got a few, and so does my house.

And for adult parties, tile floors transform into great dancing floors.


I love my double ovens. It was the best spurge if you love to cook and host family get-togethers.


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Remember when I re-decorated my office? Well I brought the old black and cream valance in here. Yep, just taped it from the inside. I’m not sure how long I’ll keep it here but for now I like it.

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I like to use old silver (plated) pieces for storage. Next to the coffee pot I have stir sticks and sugar and tea packets hidden inside.

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An old trophy holds some kitchen utensils.


Here’s a shot of the other side of the room. Do you want to see how dark and red the bricks looked before I painted them with ASCP? Go HERE.


A few final thoughts

When we bought our house it was considered a total fixer-upper. I still remember finding a drawer filled with real estate broker cards because of all the people who must have looked at it and rejected it. And of course, we tackled the kitchen first, knowing that we had so many other things to do.

I now wish I had waited a bit longer, so I would have grown into my taste more. But since I can’t change all the brown tones in here, I’ve been using a white paintbrush to change things. I think our houses reflect who we are at any given moment, so I guess it’s natural they keep changing with us.

Maybe this is the motto of a true DIYer, eh?

Today I’m just grateful for everything I have. And I’m loving that my Flu is gone, and that you’re here today visiting.





I’m linking up at these creative places:


Friday, February 22, 2013

our bodies…



Just in case you were wondering, I’ve been sick.

It seems like right after I hit the “publish” button for my Tuesday post, I was visited by some pretty mean Flu germs that proceeded to wipe out my entire week. Yes, right when I’d thought I’d escaped the entire winter without getting sick.


Today happens to be the first morning I can sit upright without my head pounding or my stomach feeling queasy, so I thought I do a quick post before I forget these grateful feelings I’m having about my healing body. Maybe you can relate.


But for those of us who are blessed with robust health year-around, I think sickness is like childbirth.  The minute it’s over it vanishes from our minds. It’s as if the return of our energy somehow effects our memories and we instantly forget how bad it felt.

And I don’t want to forget. Because I’m humbled by the truth.

The worst part of having chills, and vomiting and a chronic throbbing in your head is how it robs you of the simplest joys in your life. When I was crashed on the couch with my stomach in tight knots, I couldn’t think of…

  • making breakfast for Michael
  • shopping for healthy foods for the family
  • reading anything
  • the smell and taste of coffee
  • the idea of creating something

and these are just the tiny things… My point is that everything that takes effort suddenly got pushed on the back burner while my illness took over. It won. It beat me. And not only did this make me feel tremendous compassion for all those people who are struggling right now with their health, my weak-fragile days made me focused on getting my body strong again.

So this is my post on physical fitness.


How do you stay in shape?

On my regular days, I jog or walk with Stella 4-5 times a week. But I don’t lift weights which I definitely need, especially for my upper body strength. And I don’t feel muscular anymore.


In my younger days, I used to love going to the gym, lifting weights and doing spin classes. And when I got married I was 106 pounds (I’m five feet two) and a runner. Only I haven’t felt that way in a long time.

I’m not talking about being thin. I’m talking about being strong.


The irony is that I live in a house where fitness is a top priority. Both my boys keep a fairly disciplined regimen. Michaels rows on the Crew team which means three hours of daily exercise and lots of healthy food to keep his weight up.  And Patrick hits the gym daily for intense workouts that have totally altered his body over the last few years.

Nobody eats chips and desserts at my house anymore ..which make me feel lonely. (sigh)

I mean, my own 71 year old mother goes to her neighborhood gym five days a week, how much more motivation do I need?



So these are a few things on my mind this morning.


1. I’d like to focus on getting a stronger, more physically fit body, and say Hello to a few muscles again by using small weights and good old fashioned workouts. And yes, I still remember how.

2. I want to eat cleaner.  And in the process take off a few (eight would be great) pounds. I stumbled on this Pinterest board for the Clean Eating Magazine, and I’m curious to check out some recipes.



I’m also including this image because Patrick tells me # 3 when he’s trying to help me. “Mom, it’s all about the diet,” he says. Only he doesn’t mean “dieting” he means being aware of proteins and carbs and fats and choosing good, healthy foods.




Lucky for me I love fruits and vegetables. (and sweets too)

I also found THIS blogger who has a motivational story I enjoyed. Truthfully, I think I liked her post because she’s the same height as me (a fellow shorty)

3. Give yoga a chance.  What happens is, when my time is crunched, I always choose cardio over yoga classes thinking my ‘heart’ needs it more.  And yet when I see something like THIS post, I feel as if I’m missing out on another world. With deeper benefits. Do you practice yoga?

Well, that it for now. I’m so grateful to be able sit here without that terrible migraine.

And the chills.

I think I’m getting better, although simply watching that girl do those oblique squats makes me want to lay down and take a nap.


I can’t thank you enough for your comments and I’m going to be answering and catching up on my blog reading in the next few days.

Wishing you the blessing of good health!




I’m linking up here:


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

my first love


Do you remember your first love? That flushed, giddy feeling of being swept away?

I do. 

Even now, I remember how I felt when I spotted the traveling library bus that visited my tiny elementary school. We called it, The Bookmobile, and when I’d see it through my smudgy schoolroom windows, my heart would skip a beat just thinking of those big bus doors opening with a hiss and a thud.


(I remember MY bookmobile being bigger and more majestic. Isn’t this how we remember our first loves?)

When you’re one of the smallest third graders in the class, climbing up the three mammoth bus steps is a breathless experience; this was my own magical beanstalk dangling in the sky; it was my chance to visit a heavenly place filled with long, narrow bookshelves and the swooshing sound of books being opened and shut. 


The Bookmobile came twice a month.

For an eight year old book worm these were magnificent days. The routine was simple but painfully slow. Each time the door opened, only five children would be allowed inside to pick their four books.


It was here inside this tight, cramped space, where I first became intoxicated with the aroma of old books. This is where I learned the sensation of running my fingers over the bumpy, worn, book covers while I gazed sideways at the titles; and this is where I first experienced the crackling noise of pages coming alive in my hands.


It sounds dramatic, but I’ve often thought that books saved my life.

For a sensitive little girl growing up in a home where boys and girls were treated differently, books were the key to another life. Books introduced me to strong female characters and stories with bold ideas about the world.

I loved reading books, and my books loved me back. They helped me get good grades and positive attention from teachers who scribbled encouraging words on my papers.



Today my parents are the most supportive people in my life. But like so many others, they look back on some of their parenting and shake their heads. They certainly regret the sexist views of their early years; they now know that girls are every bit as equal and capable as boys. But when I was a babe they were young too, and simply repeating what they were taught.

But in the interim, books made me resilient.

In those moments when I felt alone, reading was my source of comfort and rebellion. And as I gaze over this post, I can see some early signs of where I was headed.

It’s not surprising my first book crushes were ones with young girls in central roles. Harriet the Spy, My Secret Garden and Alice in Wonderland were but a few.


One of my earliest favorites were The Borrowers series. Because I found the idea of a secret world hidden right under our noses to be utterly believable. I smile at this, when I think about my eventual profession.

I find it interesting that my little eyes were immediately drawn to book titles with  words like “secret” and “adventures” and “mystery” in them.

Which explains my love affair with Nancy Drew.


I was always fascinated by Nancy’s lifestyle. Her convertible. Her fancy home and her housekeeper. And her father Carson Drew who was an attorney. I’d never met a real attorney at that point.

But in the end it was Nancy’s probing, independent ways and her habit of getting into trouble that made me like her.


When I read Little Women I was inspired by Jo March.

Which March sister was your favorite?

I was intrigued when Jo turned down Laurie’s proposal of marriage and headed to New York. (Hmm, little did I know how my own life would mirror Jo’s)

And even at my young age, I admired her fierce dedication to writing. 


But when I think about little girl characters, it’s Francie from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn that touches my soul. I  fell in love with Francie’s starry-eyed dreams and her love of school. And I ached for her poverty.

Even now when I watch the movie, I cry during the scene when Francie graduates and receives the roses her father paid for, before he died.


a photo from the 1945 film that I loved!

But probably the sweetest-(borderline sappy) book I can remember reading as a little girl was Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster, and it falls under the category of man-rescues-damsel-in-distress. It’s almost embarrassing but I include it here because it has a twist.


In the film version Leslie Carron plays the young college woman.

Yes, there’s a handsome man who rescues a young woman, but in this ‘fairytale,’ the prize is a college degree. It happens when a wealthy donor agrees to pay for an penniless, eighteen year old woman to attend an exclusive college, on the condition he remains anonymous. Hence, the letters to Daddy Long-Legs.

Of course you know the ending. They meet and fall in love.


I share these books only because I see themes peeking out; I see a little girl expanding her ideas by reading all kinds of stories.

Did my love of books make a difference? Definitely.

Eventually I did become the first one in my family—nuclear and extended-- to graduate from college and then, graduate school. And this led me into the therapy profession, a job that was based entirely on listening to other women tell me their stories.

For years I worked with eating disorders, struggles which are usually right there under our noses, and kept hidden. And it was my job to help others look beneath the surface…

to solve their own mysteries.

Isn’t life fascinating?



Thank you Mr. Bookmobile.






Friday, February 15, 2013

Before and After


This post is for Melissa.


This is the Before photo.

Melissa emailed me a few weeks back and asked me about this coffee table of mine. Do you remember this project?

She was wondering if I’d ever finished it because she wanted to show her hubby the photos, and possibly paint her own table. And I have to tell you. I was so happy to get an email asking about one of my projects, well…I was tickled actually.

And it’s been in the back of my mind.


Get-those-photos-posted for Melissa. Because you know those husbands. They do better when they can see pictures first, don’t you think?

So after a few busy weeks, here they are… finally!

This is the photo of the pine Ethan Allen coffee table I’d bought on Craigslist. It had a clear finish on it so I decided to use chalk paint, because I really hate sanding furniture if I don’t have to.



After I painted it, I added a blend of clear and dark wax into the grooves.


Here’s how it turned out. As you can see, I decided to leave the top alone.



And in case you’re new here, I should tell you that I also went a little crazy with the white paint.

Remember these bricks?


It wasn’t just the coffee table that got a make-over.


Yep. I used white chalk paint on my bricks too.


I just looked around one day and everything seemed so dark. And it’s amazing how a little paint can change the feel of the room. Heck, I even painted the frame of the mirror.


Sometimes you just need to grab a paint brush and see what happens. I call it my paint therapy.

 What are you up to these days?



fun parties I link to:



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